Israel, JBS, Venus: your Wednesday night briefing
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Have a good evening. Here is the last one.
1. The leaders of the Israeli opposition have reached a coalition agreement to overthrow Benjamin Netanyahu.
Under the deal, Netanyahu, the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history, would make way for Naftali Bennett, above, and an alliance of eight very different political parties, with affiliations from left to far right.
Some analysts praised the diversity of the coalition, while others said its members were too incompatible for their pact to last. Parliament is expected to ratify the fragile deal in a confidence vote in the coming days.
Bennett, the leader of a pro-colonization party and a flag bearer of the religious right, who opposes a Palestinian state and wants Israel to annex the majority of the occupied West Bank, would lead as prime minister until 2023. If the government lasts a full term, then it would be led between 2023 and 2025 by Yair Lapid , a centrist former television host considered a standard bearer of secular Israelis.
2. President Biden has a new campaign to get the hang of it.
Faced with his July 4 goal to vaccinate 70% of adults against Covid-19, Biden announced a lot of new initiatives, including free childcare for parents while they are getting vaccinated and on-site vaccination events at black-owned hair salons.
Currently, 62.8% of adults in the United States have received at least one injection and 12 states have passed the 70% mark. Yet as employers lift mask policies, many workers feel exposed.
3. Production started to resume at nine beef factories in the United States after a cyberattack on the world’s largest meat processor forced them to shut down.
The attack on the company, JBS, raised new questions about the vulnerability of critical US companies. A ransomware attack last month forced Colonial Pipeline to shut down a pipeline that carries gas to nearly half of the east coast.
A White House official said the ransom demand came “from a criminal organization likely based in Russia.” Prices could rise due to the cyberattack, analysts said.
4. The United States is trying to persuade other countries to support a global tax.
At a meeting this week of the Group of 7 finance ministers, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will try to win the support of a broad agreement that could end global tax havens and establish an overall minimum tax. Such a deal has been elusive for years as countries like Ireland have sought to keep taxes low to attract global investment.
The Biden administration has made securing a global tax a priority as it seeks to increase corporate taxes in its country. Canada, Italy and Japan have so far signaled their support for a 15% minimum corporate tax plan, but it has yet to be approved by Britain.
Separately, a new analysis of Census Bureau surveys argues that the latest rounds of stimulus checks dramatically improved Americans’ ability to purchase food and pay household bills, and reduced anxiety and depression.
The Times also took a closer look at how the long Main Street in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, survived the pandemic. ($ 21 million in government loans assisted.)
5. Oil and gas giants sell their most polluting assets to small businesses. Today, these companies are becoming the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases in the country.
Five of the industry’s top 10 emitters of methane, a particularly powerful gas for global warming, are little-known oil and gas producers, according to a new analysis. Topping the list is Hilcorp Energy, which has grown by buying out old oil and gas assets. These companies have largely escaped public scrutiny, although they have become big polluters. Above is the Prudhoe Bay oil field in Alaska, which Hilcorp bought from BP.
In other climate news, Miami, the U.S. metropolitan area that may be most prone to sea level rise, faces tough decisions as it tries to alleviate its environmental problems . A 20-foot seawall proposed to protect it from storm surges faces backlash from environmentalists and real estate developers.
6. American cities are bracing for a violent summer.
Homicide rate in large cities increased by more than 30 percent on average last year, and up 24 percent to the start of this year, according to criminologists. Above, a crime scene in Miami on Sunday.
The question now is whether the rising level of murder in American cities that began last year, as the pandemic caused economic and social hardship, will continue to rise.
7. NASA has announced two new missions to explore Venus.
Both are expected to take place in the coming years, marking NASA’s return to Venus for the first time in three decades. Last year, Venus returned to the limelight after a team of scientists claimed to have discovered compelling evidence for the presence of microbes living in the planet’s clouds.
They said they had detected a molecule, phosphine, and could not find any plausible explanation for how it could have formed there, except as waste from living organisms. One of the robotic missions could confirm the presence of phosphine. The other would produce high-resolution three-dimensional maps of the surface of Venus.
8. Theater begins to tiptoe back to performance in person. Welcome to shows you can touch and feel.
Seeing puppet sheep frolic outside at New York’s Lincoln Center had the kind of reality our writer wanted. “There are feelings you don’t realize you miss until you meet them again,” she wrote. Here is the latest on The return of Broadway.
If you are still not ready for live performances, our Culture Office has collaborated with percussionists and composers to bring you these 5 minutes that will make you love percussions.
10. And finally, a swimming pool with a view.
At the Sky Pool, which opened last month in London, swimmers have a view of the Thames and the city skyline. And, straight on, they can see the street 115 feet below them.
“Swimming in it will make you feel like you’re floating in the air,” said a developer of the residential complex that houses the pool, which is made of transparent polymer and connects two apartment buildings.
The use of the swimming pool is exclusively reserved for residents and their guests, but not for all residents. In a complex where apartments start at £ 635,000 (roughly $ 900,000), developers have come under fire for restricting access to high-income residents.
Have a good night.
Your evening briefing is posted at 6 p.m. EST.
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