Your Thursday Briefing

Netanyahu’s rivals strike a deal.,


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We’re covering the fragile coalition deal in Israel to replace Netanyahu, and the vast differences in Covid outbreaks around the world.

ImageNaftali Bennett, left, and Yair Lapid in Parliament on Wednesday.
Naftali Bennett, left, and Yair Lapid in Parliament on Wednesday. Credit…Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

Israeli opposition parties announced that they had reached a coalition agreement to form a government and oust Benjamin Netanyahu, the longest-serving prime minister in Israeli history and a dominant figure who has pushed his nation’s politics to the right. Here are the latest updates.

The alliance will be led until 2023 by Naftali Bennett, a former settler leader and standard-bearer for the religious right, who opposes a Palestinian state and wants Israel to annex the majority of the occupied West Bank.

Context: Eight very different political parties — with affiliations from the left to the far right — are working together. Some analysts praised the coalition for its diversity, but others said its members were too incompatible. Raam became the first Arab party to join a right-leaning coalition in Israeli history.

Palestinian reaction: Palestinians are consumed by their own political moment, united by a new sense of shared identity and purpose.


Closures at a park in Ho Chi Minh City.Credit…Reuters

The authorities in Malaysia have barred people from venturing too far from their homes. In Nepal, 40 percent of coronavirus tests are positive. Even Vietnam, which for months kept the virus at manageable levels, is dealing with an outbreak at a church in Ho Chi Minh City and the emergence of a deadly new variant.

In India, the government has canceled national exams for 12th graders as it struggles to control a devastating second wave.

As the U.S. and parts of Europe start to return to normal, some countries in Asia and also in South America are having their worst outbreaks yet, underscoring the disparities in vaccine access. The number of Covid deaths in some places are higher than they’ve ever been.

Quotable: “The ongoing devastation being wreaked by Covid-19 in the Global South should be reason enough for the rich countries to want to enable a quick and cheap global vaccine rollout,” said one sociologist at the London School of Economics.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

  • To meet a jump in demand for bicycles in Europe, companies in Portugal are building new factories, hiring workers and dealing with parts shortages.

  • Animal births at Sri Lanka’s zoos are up by 25 percent, a rare bright spot as Covid-19 ravages an economy closely tied to tourism.

  • A man in China’s eastern Jiangsu Province is the first known human to be infected with a strain of bird flu known as H10N3. The World Health Organization called it a “reminder that the threat of an influenza pandemic is persistent.”


Treasury Secretary Yellen in Washington last month.Credit…Erin Scott for The New York Times

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is meeting on Friday and Saturday with Group of 7 finance ministers in Britain to secure a broad agreement that would put an end to global tax havens and establish a global minimum tax.

Such a pact has been elusive for years, but the Biden administration has made it a priority as it moves to increase corporate taxes domestically. So far, Canada, Italy and Japan have joined the U.S. in backing a 15 percent minimum corporate tax plan, but Britain has not yet endorsed it.

Yellen has said the effort is aimed at ending a “race to the bottom” in which countries cut their tax rates in order to entice companies to move headquarters and profits across borders.

Separately, the U.S. moved closer to imposing tariffs on certain goods from six countries in retaliation for taxes those nations have imposed on digital services offered by tech companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google.


The Iranian Kharg 431, the country’s largest naval vessel, in 2012.Credit…Ashraf Shazly/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A Morning Read


Credit…Jialun Deng

China’s biggest internet company, Tencent, has at times also been its least popular. It wouldn’t hesitate to copy another company’s idea, driving the upstart out of business: Entrepreneurs called Tencent the industry’s boldest copycat. Nowadays, Beijing is reining in its big tech companies — but not Tencent. No one is sure why.

Naomi Osaka dropped out of the French Open this week after tennis officials fined her, and threatened further punishment, because she refused to participate in post-match news conferences. She did so, she explained, because hostile questions from journalists exacerbated her struggles with depression.

The conflict has highlighted two broader issues: the increased attention on athletes’ mental health and the shrinking power of traditional news media. It has prompted nuanced reflections from sportswriters. Among them:

“In order to properly do our jobs, and to properly serve the public good, we need access to athletes; we need the filter of reporters to ensure that every word you read isn’t just glorified P.R.,” Kavitha A. Davidson of The Athletic wrote. But, she added, “there’s a reckoning that still needs to be had about the way we’ve covered women players and players of color,” who are often “subjected to vacuous questioning.”

“The days of the Grand Slam tournaments and the huge media machine behind them holding all of the clout are done,” Kurt Streeter wrote in The Times.

What to Cook


Credit…Johnny Miller for The New York Times. Food Stylst: Laurie Ellen Pellicano.

Make a light strawberries and cream cake to share.

What to Read

“At Night All Blood Is Black,” which won the International Booker Prize, tells the story of a Senegalese soldier’s descent into madness while fighting for France in World War I.

What to Listen To

Five minutes that will make you fall in love with percussion.

What to Watch

Our streaming picks in Australia for June include “Sweet Tooth,” “Good on Paper” and “Eden.”

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Russian “no” (four letters).

And here is today’s Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Melina

P.S. The word “greynaissance” — from an article about how older people are reshaping Korean culture — appeared for the first time in The Times this week.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is focused on Senator Joe Manchin, a centrist lawmaker who often decides which way a vote will go.

You can reach Melina and the team at

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