Israel, hurricanes, mountain biking: your Thursday night briefing

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Good night. Here is the last one.

1. Israel and Hamas agree to a ceasefire in Gaza to take effect on Friday morning.

The deal was negotiated by Egypt after 11 days of fighting that killed more than 230 people in Gaza, many of them Palestinian civilians, and severely damaged infrastructure, including freshwater and sewage systems, the electricity grid, hospitals, schools and roads.

In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced that his security cabinet had voted to accept the proposed truce, but warned “that the reality on the ground will determine the continuation of the campaign.”

More than 4,000 rockets fired at Israel from Gaza since May 10 have killed 12 people, most of them civilians. Above, a man stands next to an unexploded Israeli missile in Gaza.

The violence comes after a year when mass protests across the United States have changed the number of Americans who see racial and social justice issues. The pro-Palestinian stance has become more common. “As a Jewish community, we look at it through slightly different eyes,” said a rabbi from Syracuse, New York. Above, a demonstration in New York.

A shift is also occurring within the Democratic Party as progressive lawmakers led by Bernie Sanders introduced a resolution to block the sale of a $ 735 million weapons package to Israel.


3. President Biden signed a bill to combat hate crimes against Asian Americans.

The measure aims to speed up the investigation of hate crimes by the Department of Justice and to expand the channels for reporting them. It would also encourage the creation of hotlines, provide grants to law enforcement, and launch a series of prejudice public education campaigns against people of Asian descent. Above, a memorial after the Atlanta shooting.

Attacks against Asian Americans have increased over the past year, with New York City recording the largest increase in anti-Asian hate crimes. Today, many people of Asian descent are arming themselves with pepper spray and other personal defense devices in response to the continuing wave of attacks.

4. The final days of the government’s $ 788 billion coronavirus relief effort for small business has been mired in chaos and confusion.

The paycheck protection program was to accept applications for government guaranteed loans until May 31. But the program’s funding is almost exhausted and it has stopped processing most new applications.

Today, lenders are rushing to finalize hundreds of thousands of applications that were still pending when the Small Business Administration shut down the program to new applications. Many lenders have taken on more clients than they can handle and are now having a hard time dealing with angry borrowers. Above, George Greenfield, a loan seeker who runs a literary agency.


“We show up in communities and say to people, ‘You matter. We’re not just going to shut you out of the larger process, ”said Emily Smoak of the Minnesota Department of Health. Above, a mobile clinic in Minnesota.

In New York City, where 59% of people have received at least one dose, officials are looking door-to-door to convince those who are reluctant.


Hurricanes have become more destructive over time, in large part due to the influences of a warming planet. The United States is approaching this hurricane season as those responding to the nation’s disasters are at the end of their rope. Above, Nicaragua after Hurricane Iota.

With a year of record natural disasters and another difficult season looming, FEMA employees face burnout. Currently, 29% of the agency’s emergency personnel are ready to deploy compared to the start of the hurricane season last year.


7. President Biden and South Korean leader Moon Jae-in, will have to dance around an uncomfortable truth when they meet tomorrow: North Korea is unlikely to ever give up its nuclear weapons.

Moon, who will be in the White House, said denuclearization was a “question of survival” for South Korea and called on Biden to restart talks to persuade Pyongyang to give up its weapons. But Biden officials have no illusions that the North will never completely disarm. Above is a photo of a missile test provided by the North Korean government.

North Korea’s arsenal of nuclear weapons and its stockpile of fuel to make more is more important than ever. The best unclassified estimates are that the North has at least 45 nuclear weapons, and appears to be heading towards building an arsenal roughly the size of Pakistan’s.

8. The Big Apple just grew – 2.4 acres.

Little Island – mega-mogul Barry Diller’s $ 260 million project – was designed a decade ago to replace Pier 54 on the west side of Manhattan. It features trees, flowers and grass, organized around several performance spaces, including a spectacular 687-seat amphitheater overlooking the water. In the main square, you can grab a bite to eat and sit at cafe tables under canvas umbrellas.

Hundreds of low cost, free concerts, dancing and children’s programs are expected to kick off this summer. Our architecture reviewer calls it “the architectural equivalent of a kitchen sink sundae, with a little bit of everything.”


9. Growth of mountain biking the popularity has been extraordinary.

With improved cycling technology, more trails, and a growing interest in the sport in high school, mountain biking has seen increasing popularity over the past decade. The pandemic helped, as people sought relief from lockdowns. Above, bikers from Ohio.

Front-suspension mountain bike sales increased 150% last spring, according to a market research firm; in June, sales of more expensive models increased by 92%. The recovery looks likely to continue.

When you are done with your ride, you might want to cool off with a summer beer. Our wine critic, Eric Asimov, shares some of his favorites.


10. And finally, here is the bird kite.

In a project that doubles as a meditative experience, Laurel Schwulst, artist and educator, guides us through a simple and relaxing kite-making process. You just need some plastic sheeting, wooden dowels, electrical tape, and string, with a little help from scissors and a marker.

Making kites doesn’t require as much mathematical precision as you might think, Schwulst says. “But by making them myself, I learned that kites could be more forgiving, and that truly all amazing creations come from a process of trial and error and iteration.

Have a high-flying evening.



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