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The New York Times for the 2nd week of August 2022

August 08

Children in Gaza City reacted to an Israeli airstrike on Saturday. Over the weekend, 44 Palestinians, including 15 children, were killed, health officials said.Mohammed Abed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A cease-fire in Gaza

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza agreed to a cease-fire late last night, which appeared to hold as of this morning. The move is expected to end a three-day conflict that has killed dozens of Palestinians, destroyed buildings and resulted in the deaths of two key leaders of Islamic Jihad, Gaza’s second-largest militia.
The fighting began on Friday afternoon when Israel launched airstrikes to foil what it said was an imminent attack from Gaza. The fighting revealed simmering tensions between Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian militia that was badly damaged by the fighting, and Hamas, the militia that runs Gaza and which opted to remain on the sidelines of the conflict.
Israel declined to reveal further details about the cease-fire agreement. However, Islamic Jihad said that it had received assurances from intermediary Egyptian officials that Egypt would lobby for the release of two of the group’s leading members, Bassem Saadi and Khalil Awawdeh, who are detained in Israeli jails.
Strategy: Israel has offered small economic concessions to ordinary Gazans — notably 14,000 work permits to help improve the Palestinian economy. The approach has helped convince Hamas to stay out of this particular conflict and likely shortened its duration.
International context: Morocco and the U.A.E. — two of the three Arab countries that formalized ties with Israel in 2020 — expressed concern about the violence but avoided criticism of Israel. Only the third country, Bahrain, directly condemned Israel’s strikes.
Russian forces began staging artillery attacks from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant about a month ago.Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

Rockets fired at a nuclear plant in Ukraine

Rockets landed on the grounds of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, posing the latest threat to Europe’s largest nuclear facility. Russia and Ukraine blamed one another for the attack, and fighting in the southern region has prompted fears of a major accident.
Russian forces have controlled the plant since March, using it as a base to launch artillery barrages at the Ukrainian-controlled town of Nikopol across the Dnipro River for the past month. Saturday’s assault included a volley of rockets that Ukrainian officials said damaged 47 apartment buildings and houses.
The fighting, along with Russia’s occupation of parts of the plant and the stress borne by plant workers, prompted Rafael Grossi, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, to warn last week that “every principle of nuclear safety has been violated.” Concern about safety at Zaporizhzhia has mounted since a fire broke out as Russian forces took control.
Context: Since invading Ukraine in February, Russia has made it a priority to seize and target critical Ukrainian infrastructure like power plants, ports, transportation and agricultural storage and production facilities.
More from the war in Ukraine:
The Senate passed major climate legislation on Sunday. The House is expected to follow suit later this week. Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

A historic U.S. climate bill passes the Senate

The U.S. Senate yesterday passed legislation that would make the most significant federal investment in history to counter climate change. Paid for by tax increases, the measure would inject more than $370 billion into climate and energy programs, allowing the U.S. to slash its greenhouse gas emissions about 40 percent below 2005 levels by the end of the decade.
The final tally was 51 to 50, along party lines, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaking vote. The bill will provide billions of dollars in rebates for Americans who buy energy-efficient and electric appliances as well as tax credits for companies that build new sources of emissions-free electricity, such as wind turbines and solar panels.
For Democrats, passage of the measure capped a remarkably successful six-week stretch that included final approval of a $280 billion industrial policy bill to bolster American competitiveness with China and the largest expansion of veterans’ benefits in decades. Republicans have condemned the climate legislation as federal overreach and reckless overspending.
Background: Initially pitched as “Build Back Better,” a multitrillion-dollar, cradle-to-grave social safety net plan on the order of the Great Society legislation of the 1960s, Democrats scaled back the bill in recent months and rebranded it as the Inflation Reduction Act. Its passage is a major victory for President Biden and his party.
Around the World
Sarah Waiswa for The New York Times
Other Big Stories
A Morning Read
Andrew Testa for The New York Times
The London public housing project Trellick Tower, built in 1972, has gone from eyesore to Brutalist icon. Its apartments, located near expensive Notting Hill, are snapped up as soon as they are listed.
Now, residents fear that Trellick’s success has made the tower vulnerable. Given the dire shortage of affordable housing in London and the valuable real estate occupied by Trellick, it is likely that developers will attempt to build on the site in the future — despite the best efforts of its inhabitants.


Alex Ingram for The New York Times

What should an L.G.B.T.Q. museum be?

Queer Britain, a new museum near London’s King’s Cross station, is Britain’s first L.G.B.T.Q. museum. It joins an array of international institutions whose directors are carefully considering how to frame queer history — and sometimes coming to different conclusions, Alex Marshall reports for The Times.
Queer Britain’s inaugural exhibition seeks to represent the diversity of queer experience, with items on display including banners from this year’s Trans+ Pride parade, a rainbow hijab and the door to Oscar Wilde’s prison cell. “So much of the history of L.G.B.T.Q.+ people has been about erasure,” said Joseph Galliano-Doig, the museum’s director. “For us this is saying: We are here, and our stories deserve to be told.”
In Berlin, the Schwules Museum takes an explicitly political stance, seeking both to recognize queer history as part of collective, mainstream history and, as one board member put it, “to challenge problematic discourses which are dominant within the queer community.” The museum is currently hosting an exhibition about Tuntenhaus, a renowned gay activist squat in Berlin.
As they continue growing, how these museums decide to present L.G.B.T.Q. history will remain an urgent question. “From the earliest days, history was a tool in the construction of queer identity,” said Huw Lemmey, the co-host of the “Bad Gays” podcast. “Museums aren’t independent reporters on the past, they’re part of an ongoing process of identity formation, so the stakes are very high.”
Read more about the aims of queer museums.

Stockholm Instead of Rome? October Instead of July? How Heat Waves Are Changing Tourism in Europe

Shifts in travel patterns are likely to become more common in Europe, a region that climate researchers describe as a “hot spot” for severe summer heat.

August 09

Secret Service agents outside Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.Josh Ritchie for The New York Times

F.B.I. searches Trump’s home in Florida

The F.B.I. searched Donald Trump’s Palm Beach, Fla., home, including a safe that agents broke open, the former U.S. president said yesterday — an account signaling a dramatic escalation in the various investigations into the final stages of his presidency. The search appeared to be focused on files that Trump had brought to Florida when he left the White House.
For many months, Trump delayed in returning 15 boxes of material requested by officials with the National Archives, doing so only when there became a threat of action to retrieve them. He was known throughout his term to rip up official documents that were intended to be held for presidential archives.
To get a search warrant, the F.B.I. would have needed to convince a judge that it had probable cause that a crime had been committed, while the search almost certainly also required approval from the Justice Department as well as top F.B.I. officials. The F.B.I. declined to comment, and Justice Department officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Response: “After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate,” Trump said. “Such an assault could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries.”
Related: The raid on Mar-a-Lago came as Trump weighs an increasingly likely third White House bid. Polling last month showed that while Trump maintained his primacy in the party, a significant number of Republicans said they would not support him in a rematch with President Biden.
Residents lined up to fill containers with water in July in Mykolaiv, Ukraine.Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

U.S. will increase aid to Ukraine

The U.S. will send up to $1 billion worth of weapons and supplies from the Pentagon’s own stockpiles to Ukraine, the 18th such package of military aid since August 2021. Most of the munitions, including 75,000 shells for 155-millimeter howitzers and additional air-defense missiles, represent resupplying of weapons that have already been shipped to Kyiv.
One weapon not known to have been sent previously is the 120-millimeter mortar. The weapons will come with 20,000 rounds and will be included in this new series of shipments. Mortars of that size are infantry weapons that can generally fire a projectile containing about seven pounds of high explosive over a range of about four and a half miles.
Separately, the U.S. is providing an additional $4.5 billion in financing to Ukraine’s government to help the country “maintain essential functions,” according to a statement from the U.S. Agency for International Development.
More news from the war:
South Africa’s foreign minister, Naledi Pandor, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.Pool photo by Andrew Harnik

The U.S. outlines its goals in Africa

Speaking in Pretoria, South Africa, Antony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, unveiled the Biden administration’s main approach to addressing the growing influence of China, Russia and Middle Eastern nations across Africa: promoting democratic governance across the continent.
“History shows that strong democracies tend to be more stable and less prone to conflict,” he said. “The poor governance, exclusion and corruption inherent in weak democracies makes them more vulnerable to extremist movements and foreign interference.” His message comes as some African countries turn away from democracy and settle into authoritarian rule.
The U.S. aims at countering diplomacy efforts by China and the Kremlin: Russia has a decades-long history of partnership with African nations and organizations and has told African leaders that American-led sanctions on Moscow exacerbate a global food shortage. China has established an enormous presence in Africa, though there has been a backlash among some Africans against labor and loan practices by Chinese companies.
Priorities: Blinken said that the U.S. strategy “reflects the region’s complexity, its diversity, its agency” and “focuses on what we will do with African nations and peoples, not for African nations and peoples.” Pandemic recovery, health security, climate adaptation and environmental conservation were pillars of the Africa strategy, he added.
Around the World
Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times
Other Big Stories
Pool photo by Stephen B. Morton

August 10

As of June, the war had destroyed or damaged about 15 percent of Ukraine’s internet structure.Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

Russian control of Ukraine’s internet

In parts of Russian-occupied Ukraine, Russia has also begun occupying cyberspace. It has cleaved off Ukrainians in Kherson, Melitopol and Mariupol from the rest of the country, limiting access to news about the war and communication with loved ones. In some territories, the internet and cellular networks have been shut down altogether.
Restricting internet access is part of a Russian authoritarian playbook that is likely to be replicated further if the country takes more Ukrainian territory. The occupied areas are now in the grip of a vast digital censorship and surveillance apparatus, with Russia able to track web traffic and digital communications, spread propaganda and manage the flow of information.
Russia’s rerouting and censorship of the Ukrainian internet has little historical precedent. In 2014, after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula, a state telecommunications company built infrastructure to redirect internet traffic from Crimea to Russia. Data from Ukrainian networks is now being redirected through those cables, researchers said.
Circumvention: To help people in those areas connect to the global internet, Ukraine’s government is providing free access to certain VPN services. Ukrainian officials are also seeking donations for routers and other equipment to put internet service into bomb shelters, including those at schools.
In other news from the war:
The Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Springs, Fla.Saul Martinez for The New York Times

F.B.I. search prompts a swirl of questions

An F.BI. search on Monday of the Florida home of Donald Trump, with explosive legal and political implications, has raised new questions about the former president’s vulnerability to prosecution and has fueled further partisan division.
In apparent contravention of the Presidential Records Act, Trump took materials, including sensitive documents, with him to Florida when he left the White House. People familiar with the inquiry said the Justice Department had grown concerned about the whereabouts of possible classified information and whether Trump’s team was being fully forthcoming.
Trump’s aides and allies intensified their criticism of the search yesterday, asserting, without citing any evidence, that it was a brazen use of prosecutorial power for political purposes and casting Trump as a victim. President Biden’s press secretary said he had received no advance word of the decision to carry out the search. The Justice Department has maintained public silence.
Background: Throughout his presidency, Trump was disdainful of record-preservation laws and was known to tear up documents and in some cases to flush them down toilets. The National Archives determined last year that many important presidential documents were missing and believed to be in his possession.
Analysis: The search of the Mar-a-Lago estate is a high-risk gamble by the Justice Department, but Trump faces risks of his own, writes Michael D. Shear, a White House correspondent for The Times.
Counting votes in Nairobi, Kenya.Luis Tato/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Kenya heads to the polls

Polls in Kenya’s hotly contested presidential election closed yesterday after months of bitter jostling and mud slinging. Supporters cheered one of the front-runners, Raila Odinga, the veteran opposition leader, at his Nairobi stronghold, while William Ruto, his rival and a former vice president, praised the majesty of democracy after casting his vote before dawn.
The electoral commission estimated voter turnout at 60 percent — a huge drop from the 80 percent turnout in the 2017 election, and a sign that many Kenyans, stung by economic hardship or jaded by endemic corruption, preferred to stay home. In the coming days, the critical question is not only who won the race, but whether the loser will accept defeat.
Past elections have led to rocky periods involving accusations of vote-rigging, protracted courtroom dramas, bouts of street violence and even a murder mystery. It can be weeks, even months, before a new president is sworn in. Polls in this election were too close to call, and vote counting is continuing.
Results: The winning candidate needs more than 50 percent of the vote, as well as one-quarter of the vote in 24 of Kenya’s 47 counties. Failure to meet that bar means a runoff within 30 days. The most likely event is a legal challenge, analysts say. Any citizen or group can challenge the initial result in court within seven days.
Around the World
Frank Augstein/Associated Press
Other Big Stories
Pete Marovich for The New York Times

August 11

A satellite image showed significant damage at Saki Air Base in Crimea.Planet Labs

Satellite images show damage from Crimea blast

Satellite photos taken after a series of explosions on Tuesday at a Russian air base in Crimea appear to show at least three blast craters and at least eight wrecked warplanes, indicating a serious blow to the Russian military contradicting the Kremlin’s account. Russian authorities had previously denied that any aircraft had been destroyed.
A senior Ukrainian official has said the blasts were an attack carried out with the help of partisans but was not more specific. Military analysts have said that Ukraine does not have missiles that can reach the base from territory it controls, well over 100 miles away, and that Ukrainian jets would have been unlikely to penetrate that far into Russian-controlled airspace.
Witnesses reported multiple explosions at the Saki base. Officials said at least one person was killed and more than a dozen wounded. Sergei Aksyonov, the Kremlin-installed leader of Crimea, said that at least 62 apartment buildings and 20 commercial structures had been damaged. He declared a state of emergency and raised the terrorism threat level on the peninsula.
Background: Russia has heavily militarized Crimea since seizing it from Ukraine in 2014 and has used the peninsula as a vital jumping-off point for military operations since the broader invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. Even so, the attack on the air base suggests that Ukrainian forces are able to carry out guerrilla operations there.
In other news from the war:
Donald Trump invoked the Fifth Amendment repeatedly on Wednesday.Brittainy Newman for The New York Times

Trump declines to answer questions under oath

Days after his home was searched by the F.B.I. in an unrelated investigation, Donald Trump invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination while being questioned under oath by the New York State attorney general, Letitia James. The former president responded to every question posed by her investigators by repeating the phrase “same answer.”
Trump’s refusal to respond substantively could determine the course of the three-year civil investigation into whether the former president fraudulently inflated the value of his assets to secure loans and other benefits. He has long dismissed the inquiry but was compelled to sit for questioning under oath after multiple judges ruled against him this spring.
His only detailed comment, people with knowledge of the proceeding said, was an all-out attack on the attorney general and her inquiry, which he called a continuation of “the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country.” Reading from a prepared statement, he said that he was being targeted by lawyers, prosecutors and the news media.
Next steps: James is now left with a crucial decision: whether to sue Trump or seek a settlement that could extract a significant financial penalty. And while declining to answer questions might have offered the safest route for the former president, it could strengthen the attorney general’s hand in the weeks to come.
An oil well in Putumayo, Colombia.Federico Rios for The New York Times

A U.N. agency’s oil and gas partners

A $1.9 million regional aid package unveiled by the United Nations Development Program on the edge of the Colombian Amazon is one example of how one of the world’s largest sustainable development organizations teams up with polluters, even those that at times work against the interests of the communities the agency is supposed to help.
A Times investigation found that U.N. partnerships with oil companies have led to the agency’s acting in the interests of those firms. In the program in the Amazon, the U.N. agency paired with GeoPark, a multinational petroleum company that holds contracts to drill near and potentially on the ancestral land of Indigenous Colombians like the Siona people.
These partnerships are part of a strategy that treats oil companies not as environmental villains but as major employers that can bring electricity to far-flung areas and economic growth to poor and middle-income nations. The development agency has used oil money to provide clean water and job training to areas that might otherwise be neglected.
Response: The development agency said it supports a clean energy transition and does not encourage drilling. But Achim Steiner, the agency head, said that its mission was to bring people out of poverty and often entailed working in countries built on fossil fuels. “We have to start where economies are today,” he said. “I don’t see a contradiction, but there is a tension.”
Around the World
Petty Officer 1st Class David Mercil/United States Navy

Gabby Jones for The New York Times

August 12

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA, via Shutterstock

Garland moves to unseal Trump search warrant

Merrick Garland, the U.S. attorney general, moved to unseal legal authorization for the F.B.I.’s search of Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s home in Florida. He said yesterday he had personally approved it after “less intrusive” attempts to retrieve documents taken by the former president failed and cited the “substantial public interest in this matter.”
A person briefed on the matter said investigators were concerned about material from what the government calls “special access programs,” a designation typically reserved for sensitive operations carried out by the U.S. abroad. There was concern that allowing those highly classified documents to remain at Mar-a-Lago would leave them vulnerable to efforts by foreign adversaries to acquire them, a source said.
Trump’s lawyers have until 3 p.m. E.D.T./8 p.m. B.S.T. today to oppose the motion to release the warrant and the inventory, a step that could delay or block release of the material. Some of his aides were reportedly leaning toward doing so. But in a late-night post, Trump said he would not oppose the release. “I am going a step further by encouraging the immediate release of these documents,” he said.
Background: The Justice Department subpoenaed Trump this spring — months before the F.B.I.’s search — for documents he was believed to have taken from the White House.
Timing: The public statement by Garland came as a sprawling set of investigations into the former president on multiple fronts was gaining momentum.
Russia is experiencing a high rate of casualties in the war in Ukraine. Emile Ducke for The New York Times

Losses leave Russia short of its goals

The staggeringly high rate of Russian casualties in Ukraine, with 500 Russian troops wounded or killed daily, may prevent the Kremlin from seizing Ukraine’s entire eastern region this year, U.S. officials and military experts say. Progress in Donetsk has stalled, and Russia has been forced to redeploy its forces to the south.
Russia’s glacial pace in the east has been further slowed by the arrival of American multiple-launch rocket systems, which have allowed Ukraine to take back some territory and made it harder for Russian soldiers to reach other areas.
Western officials said that the Russian military has struggled to bring reservists and new recruits into the fight as it suffers steep casualties. Russia has already committed nearly 85 percent of its fielded army to the war, drawing on troops from the country’s far east and deployments around the world, defense officials say.
Casualties: The Russian government classifies troop deaths as state secrets, but American officials say that estimate of Russia’s losses include about 20,000 deaths. The conflict is believed to have become the bloodiest land war in Europe since World War II.
Analysis: The leaders of Turkey and Russia have a complicated relationship with mutual benefits, writes Steven Erlanger, The Times’s chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe. Turkey needs Russian cash, gas and business, while Moscow needs friends to try to evade Western sanctions.
In other news from the war:
Kayed al-Fasfos was released from an Israeli prison after a 131-day hunger strike. Samar Hazboun for The New York Times

Palestinian prisoners turn to hunger strikes

Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and military rule have few means to combat a major power imbalance between the two sides. Prisoners detained by Israel have long turned to hunger strikes, leaving the Israeli authorities largely unable to act against the prisoners or to stop the images of emaciated strikers from publicly circulating.
There are currently about 500 Palestinian prisoners being held under what is called administrative detention, without charges or trial based on secret evidence, according to Palestinian rights groups. Israel does not divulge information on detainees and says that the administrative detentions are necessary for preventing attacks against its citizens.
Hunger strikes are either collective, with dozens or hundreds taking part, or individual to protest prison conditions or the open-ended detentions themselves. They have drawn criticism of Israel from around the world, including the U.N. Despite legislative attempts to allow striking prisoners to be force-fed, the Israeli authorities have struggled to address them.
First person: Kayed al-Fasfos, a Palestinian accountant, spent nine months in an Israeli prison without charge or trial. He was released last year after a 131-day hunger strike. “Even if I had died,” he said, “I would consider it a victory because in the end I left the prison.”
Around the World
Patricia De Melo Moreira/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • Wildfires are again ripping through France, weeks after the last heat wave.
  • North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, said the country had brought its coronavirus outbreak to an end without vaccines. ​Outside experts have expressed doubts.
  • The W.H.O. told people to not blame monkeys for monkeypox after a report that the animals were harmed in Brazil amid fear of transmission.
Other Big Stories
Chris J Ratcliffe/Press Association, via AP
What Else Is Happening
A Morning Read
Kerem Yucel/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Arctic warming is happening even faster than expected, according to new analysis. Over the past four decades, the region has been heating up to four times as fast as the global average, not the commonly reported two to three times. Some parts, notably a sea north of Norway and Russia, are warming up to seven times as fast.
One major contributor: A feedback loop in which warming melts sea ice in the region, which exposes more of the Arctic Ocean to sunlight and leads to more warming, which in turn leads to still more melting.
Lives Lived
Jean-Jacques Sempé, the French cartoonist known internationally for his children’s book illustrations and The New Yorker covers, died yesterday at 89.

Promoting democracy in Africa

America’s new Africa policy, presented by Secretary of State Antony Blinken in South Africa this week, leans on a familiar strategy: promoting democracy. But the challenge will come in selling it to a changing continent.
“Given history, the approach has to be somewhat different,” said Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s foreign minister. “I would recommend a greater attention to tools that Africans have developed.”
Along with having their own tools and institutions, such as the African Union, more African states are wealthier than they were a generation ago, said Bob Wekesa of the African Center for the Study of the U.S. in Johannesburg. Those states now have relationships with traditional U.S. rivals like Russia and China, as well as emerging powers like Turkey and India.
“They can afford to say, ‘We can choose who to deal with on certain issues,’” Wekesa said. Traditional U.S. allies like Botswana and Zambia are likely to embrace the American strategy, but strongman leaders in Uganda and even Rwanda are likely to be more resistant, he added.
In Kigali yesterday, Blinken said that he had urged the leaders of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to end their support for militias in eastern Congo. He also raised concerns about the detention of Paul Rusesabagina, the U.S. resident who inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda.”
But just hours before his meeting with Blinken, Paul Kagame, the Rwandan president, poured cold water over suggestions that he would be swayed on the Rusesabagina case.
“No worries … there are things that just don’t work like that here!!” he said on Twitter. — Lynsey Chutel, Briefings writer based in Johannesburg.

August 13

Climate and Tax Bill Rewrites Embattled Black Farmer Relief Program

To circumvent legal objections, the new law will provide aid to farmers who have faced discrimination, regardless of their race.

August 14

Published by Guestspeaker

A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".

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