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Your Thursday Briefing

More than 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers in the city of Mariupol surrendered to Russian forces in mid-May, after fighting from their base in the …

Your Thursday Briefing
30.06.2022 08:08

More than 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers in the city of Mariupol surrendered to Russian forces in mid-May, after fighting from their base in the bunkers of the Azovstal steel plant for months.Credit…Associated Press

Ukraine and Russia swap prisoners

Ukraine announced the largest prisoner exchange since Russia invaded, saying 144 soldiers were being returned to Ukraine, including dozens who had fought in the siege of Mariupol. The same number of Russian and pro-Russian personnel were returned.

The exchange came as NATO formally extended membership invitations to Finland and Sweden yesterday, clearing the way for what would be one of the alliance’s most significant expansions in decades. President Vladimir Putin of Russia, at a summit in Central Asia, played down the significance of the expansion.

At the summit in Madrid yesterday, NATO leaders also outlined a muscular new vision, positioning Moscow as its primary adversary. NATO’s secretary-general also announced plans for new deployments of thousands of troops to eight countries on the alliance’s eastern flank.

Details: The fate of Mariupol’s last fighters has long been one of the most sensitive issues of the war. When the Ukrainian government issued a surrender directive to more than 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers hiding under a steel plant last month, it vowed to do all it could to ensure that they would be returned home.

Fighting: Russia is methodically gaining ground in eastern Ukraine as it dispatches more troops in an effort to seize the last patch of sovereign Ukrainian territory — a stretch of about 20 miles — in Luhansk Province. The U.N. has documented at least 3,924 Ukrainian civilian deaths in the war.

Analysis: For the first time, NATO also declared China to be a strategic “challenge.” The plan signifies a fundamental shift from the post-Cold War era, when the alliance saw Russia as a potential ally.

Week after week, hundreds testified in a giant Paris courtroom built to accommodate more than 500 people.Credit…Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

Convictions in Paris attacks

Twenty men were convicted yesterday for their roles in a coordinated spree of shootings and bombings in November 2015 that killed 130 people in and near Paris.

The only living attacker, Salah Abdeslam, was sentenced to life in prison. Other defendants, who stood accused of intending to take part in the attacks or of providing various degrees of logistical help to the attackers, were found guilty of almost all charges against them.

Abdeslam was one of 10 Islamic State extremists who targeted the Bataclan concert hall, an area outside France’s national soccer stadium and the terraces of cafes and restaurants in central Paris. The massacre was the worst Islamist terrorist attack in French history.

Questions remain after the 10-month trial, but victims’ family members and survivors praised the justice system. “I have made peace with not having truth,” a teacher who escaped the Bataclan said.

Context: The trial served as a catharsis for some survivors and families of victims, many of whom testified during five emotion-filled weeks about the devastating physical and psychological aftermath and the difficult road to recovery.

Analysis: The massacre deeply traumatized France. It continues to shape national debates over French identity, the place of Muslims in a country that identifies itself as secular, and the balance between individual liberty and collective security.

Crowds gathered to bring Kanhaiya Lal Teli’s body to cremation. In a video, he can be heard screaming for his life.Credit…Reuters

A killing in India seeds unrest

Religious unrest is spreading in India after two Muslim men filmed themselves killing a Hindu, who they said had insulted the Prophet Muhammad. The men then filmed themselves gloating and threatening Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The video has spread quickly across India, heightening concerns of violence as the schism between Hindus and Muslims in India deepens. Yesterday, the incident led to protests in the state of Rajasthan, where the attack occurred.

In response, the authorities arrested the men on terrorism charges and shut down Rajasthan’s internet. The government also deployed its counterterrorism force, saying it was “immensely concerned” because the men had threatened Modi.

Background: The events that led up to the killing of Kanhaiya Lal Teli, a Hindu tailor, began last month when a spokeswoman for Modi’s party made insulting remarks about the Prophet Muhammad. Two Muslim men were killed at a protest calling for the spokeswoman’s arrest.

Details: Teli had posted a WhatsApp status in support of the spokeswoman, which the police said had led Muslims to file a complaint against him. Teli then filed his own complaint, citing death threats. A few days later, he was killed.



First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of Scotland said it was time to “let the people decide.”Credit…Andy Buchanan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • Scotland’s leader called for an independence vote next year, again challenging Britain’s top judges to intervene.

  • The E.U. proposed a ban on the sale of flavored heated tobacco products, used widely in e-cigarettes.

  • Heavy rains in southern Austria killed at least one person. Another is missing.

  • Prince Charles will stop accepting large cash donations for his charities after scrutiny over a $3.1 million gift from a former Qatari prime minister.

Around the World

Officials said that at least 53 people died from extreme heat inside the tractor-trailer.Credit…Lisa Krantz for The New York Times
  • A tractor-trailer carrying more than 50 dead or dying migrants passed through a U.S. immigration checkpoint without being inspected, a top Mexican official said yesterday.

  • The Philippines again ordered the news organization Rappler to shut down. The outlet’s co-founder, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa, vowed to appeal.

  • Iran is firing top security and military leaders as Israel’s shadow war intensifies.

  • Experts warn that the mental health effects of Shanghai’s lockdown could be long-lasting.

  • Earlier this week, Amazon moved to restrict L.G.B.T.Q.-related items and search results in the U.A.E., where homosexuality is criminalized.

What Else Is Happening

  • The singer R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison for racketeering and sex trafficking.

  • Carbon monoxide killed three Americans who were found dead at a Bahamas resort in May, the authorities said.

  • Chelsea F.C. has been long plagued by complaints and concerns. Early this year, a well-liked former staff member killed himself, stoking long-held anger.

  • Airbnb is permanently prohibiting “disruptive parties and events” at properties worldwide.

A Morning Read

The Egyptian government said Cairo’s houseboats were unsafe and unlicensed.Credit…Heba Khamis for The New York Times

Egypt is destroying historic houseboats that have lined the Nile since the 1800s. A Nobel laureate wrote a novel on one, while divas hosted debauched salons on others. Now, the floating homes appear to have fallen victim to the government’s push to modernize — and monetize.


Constantly creating

Taika Waititi has a lot on his plate. His secret to managing the workload: not thinking about it.Credit…Dana Scruggs for The New York Times

Taika Waititi might be the busiest man in Hollywood.

He directed and co-wrote the new Marvel movie “Thor: Love and Thunder,” which opens July 8. He played Blackbeard in the new HBO Max pirate comedy series “Our Flag Means Death.” He voices a character in the new Pixar film “Lightyear.”

He is also creating two Roald Dahl projects for Netflix,” working on a handful of TV series and writing a new “Star Wars” movie for Lucasfilm, among others. And that, Waititi, 46, told the Times, is “not even mentioning the five other things that haven’t been reported on yet.”

In just a few years, he has become one of the industry’s most ingenious and reliable purveyors of escapist fare. His style is distinctive enough that it still shines through on monolithic and increasingly familiar Marvel movies.

But Waititi’s runaway résumé is also a sign of how difficult he finds it to say no. “Sometimes you’re pissed off at life,” he said, “and you’re like, ‘Why did I say yes to everything? I don’t have a social life — I’m just working.’ But then the thing comes out, you see where the hard work goes and it’s really worth it.”

Read Dave Itzkoff’s full profile of the New Zealand filmmaker.


What to Cook

Credit…Ryan Liebe for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

Fresh and sun-dried tomatoes add pep to this bright pasta salad.

What to Watch

Here are three great documentaries to stream.

What to Read

The Portuguese author Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida shares suggestions for reading your way through Lisbon.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Palindromic title (Five letters).

And here’s today’s Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Amelia

P.S. Mark Scheffler, who has led the visual investigations unit since its inception, has been promoted to direct more investigative work.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is on the Jan. 6 hearings.

You can reach Amelia and the team at [email protected].


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