Israel forms a unity government as war intensifies
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed an emergency government yesterday, adding two opposition lawmakers — both former army chiefs — to his cabinet. Analysts said the infusion of military expertise would give the government greater legitimacy to make tough wartime decisions, including whether to invade Gaza, or even south Lebanon.
There was heightening fear that the conflict could widen: Fire was exchanged along Israel’s northern border with both Lebanon and Syria in recent days, and Israeli forces said they had launched retaliatory strikes inside Lebanon yesterday, hitting targets belonging to Hezbollah, an armed Iran-backed Lebanese group allied with Hamas.
Israel also launched more missiles at the Gaza Strip, where fears of a humanitarian disaster were growing. New airstrikes hit rescue crews trying to reach people buried under the rubble of earlier attacks. The authorities in Gaza said that its sole power plant had run out of fuel, forcing hospitals to rely on backup generators with limited fuel supplies.
Gazans say that Israel has hit structures that are normally safe, such as schools, hospitals and mosques. Israel has given broad warnings for people to leave certain neighborhoods or towns but acknowledged that the warnings are not as extensive or specific as they have been in the past.
India charged a novelist over a 2010 speech
The Indian authorities charged the renowned novelist Arundhati Roy over public comments she made 13 years ago about the restive Kashmir region, in the latest step in an intensifying crackdown on free speech by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The charges, which include offenses related to provocative speech, sprang from a complaint filed 13 years ago by a right-wing Kashmiri Hindu activist against speakers at a conference on unrest in the Kashmir region. It was not clear why the charge was being acted on only now.
Related: A court on Tuesday denied bail to the founder of NewsClick, an online news portal known for criticism of the Indian government that was raided last week, and another person linked to the site. The two have been charged under a draconian antiterrorism law, under which many people have spent years languishing in jail before their trials have begun.
Inside China’s new thrift economy
Beijing hopes domestic spending can spur growth, which has been dragged down by slowing exports and a ballooning real estate crisis that has felled some of the country’s biggest developers. China’s banks even lowered interest rates on deposits, hoping to encourage consumers to open their wallets more. But shoppers aren’t buying in.
To counteract the impact of a slumping economy, Chinese consumers are spending less and saving more. Last month, the hashtag “downgraded spending” was a trending topic on the social media platform Weibo, as some consumers gravitate toward cheaper coffee and forego brand-name clothes.
Winners: Some businesses, like the discount online retailer Pinduoduo, have found a windfall in this countrywide thriftiness. Its growth surpassed Alibaba in the first half of 2023.
THE LATEST NEWS
Roti — a round, unleavened bread of uncertain origin — is one of the world’s most ubiquitous and shape-shifting foods. It changes every time it reaches a new destination, and it means many different things to many people, from South Asia to South America.
Now, a new generation is shaping roti into a convenience food, using it for pizza, French toast and more.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Why we love to watch influencers fight
Many of boxing’s most popular fights these days no longer feature world champions or rising talents. They feature social media influencers.
These matchups are heavy on cocky chest puffing and lowbrow insults, and often have more in common with professional wrestling than good old-fashioned boxing. But the bouts are interesting, writes Brady Brickner-Wood for The New York Times Magazine, not because of their quality, but because of their characters. Influencers know something boxing purists don’t: A fight without a narrative, no matter how poetic its execution, is just a hollow technical exercise.