Your Monday Briefing – The New York Times
Hello. We cover a tense peace between Israel and Hamas, the astonishing arrest of a Belarusian journalist and a success story of the Indian pandemic.
Tense calm in Israel and Gaza
The end of the fighting between Israel and Hamas does not resolve the underlying tensions that precipitated the more than 10 days of violence that ended in a ceasefire on Friday.
The Israelis came out of bomb shelters frustrated by the hasty truce. Many would have liked the country to continue its bombing, and officials recognize the possibility of more violence, possibly in the near future.
For Palestinians, the struggle has ignited their quest for greater rights and recognition. Many are watching with rage at Gaza, where Israeli airstrikes destroyed around 1,000 residential units, officials said, and damaged or demolished mosques, hospitals, schools and infrastructure.
Skirmishes continued in the region just hours after the ceasefire came into effect on Friday. In several places in the West Bank, Israeli forces used rubber bullets and live ammunition to disperse protests. And in an echo of the police raids that sparked the conflict, Israeli soldiers also stormed Jerusalem’s Aqsa Mosque, saying they were responding to Palestinians throwing stones and firebombs.
The root: In East Jerusalem, housing fights like the one that led to the recent conflict are a source of unrelenting tension as Palestinian families are routinely forced to demolish the only homes they have ever known.
Analysis: President Biden has resorted to light contact with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, boosting his credibility – which he may need to leverage with Iran – to exert pressure in private. He also said that the Democratic Party had not given up its support for Israel, but had followed a fine line, recognizing its commitments to the Palestinians. The United States intends to help Gaza rebuild itself and use financial investments to pressure Hamas to keep the peace.
Belarus lands plane
The brutal and erratic Belarusian leader forced a commercial flight to land on Sunday in order to arrest a prominent opposition journalist, which sparked international outrage.
A fighter jet intercepted a Ryanair plane flying from Athens to Vilnius, Lithuania. Once grounded in Minsk, Belarusian forces arrested Roman Protasevich, 26, a leading opposition journalist. He lives in Lithuania in exile, fearing imprisonment for incitement to hatred and mass disorder. If convicted, Protasevich faces more than 12 years in prison.
Aleksandr Lukashenko, who is often referred to as “Europe’s last dictator”, personally dispatched the fighter plane. Belarusian authorities mentionned they had ordered the plane to land due to a bomb threat, although Ryanair said nothing was found. Belarus’ leading investigative agency has opened a criminal case over a false bomb threat.
Media: Protasevich and his team report from a Telegram channel. The social network is one of the only uncensored media in the country, as most independent media have been forced to shut down after large-scale protests erupted following a contested presidential election in 2020 , when Lukashenko clung to power.
International reaction: Greece and Lithuania both called the incident a hijacking by the Belarusian government.
Success story of a rare virus in India
In Kerala, a state in southern India, local officials have succeeded where the national government has failed to provide relief to victims of the coronavirus.
The state increased oxygen production months before the second wave of the virus arrived. Coordination centers use data to direct patients and resources. Workers ensure patients adhere to their home quarantines and are able to obtain food and medicine. Its official death rate – though government data is lacking – is less than 0.4%, one of the lowest in India.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Even if deaths increase in Kerala, the state has always handled the crisis better than India as a whole. Throughout the pandemic, there have been more doctors, more tests and five times more hospital beds than the national average. Today, its vaccination rate is almost double the national average of 3 percent.
Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.
In other developments:
Nepal’s parliament was dissolved on Saturday for the second time in five months, exacerbating the political crisis as a devastating Covid-19 epidemic rages on.
In Pakistan, which has limited vaccine stocks and reams of paperwork, the rich are buying doses.
In the United States, the CDC is examining reports of a heart problem in a very small number of young people vaccinated with Covid, although the agency has not determined whether this was related to the inoculation.
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The look – bright, whimsical, even jarring – has its roots in Ultrafragola, a rippling, pink, neon-lit mirror designed in the 1970s by Ettore Sottsass. The Ultrafragola (meaning ‘ultimate strawberry’ in Italian) foreshadowed the style of the Memphis Group, a playful and wacky design collective founded by Sottsass that rejected the formality of mid-century modern Danish design – just as quakes crowd out the elegant Scandinavian aesthetic that has dominated for years.
The Ultrafragola craze probably started in the fall of 2019, when Lena Dunham posed with the object on the cover of Domino Magazine. The pandemic has only accelerated the revolution. The lockdowns gave potential influencers a lot more time to scroll, and the stress sent people looking for lightheartedness.
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