Clashes escalate between Israel and Gaza
Three Israeli civilians and 15 Palestinians were killed over the weekend as Palestinians launched hundreds of rockets and Israel responded with airstrikes and targeted killings of fighters in Gaza. It is the worst combat since their war in Gaza in 2014.
Israel deployed an armored brigade and an infantry brigade to be available for a possible ground incursion, and another infantry brigade was put on standby.
Context: In the last year, Israel and Gaza have been locked in a cycle of clashes followed by de-escalations, with Egyptian-brokered talks repeatedly achieving a temporary cooling off along the border. A November truce, which called for Israel to ease its blockade of Gaza and for Palestinians to cease attacks, has never fully taken hold.
Timing: Security, always focal in Israel, is now more so. The country celebrates Memorial Day and Independence Day this week, and a stream of international singers are arriving to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv later this month.
U.S., seeing trade deal near, raises pressure on China
Senior Chinese officials arrive in Washington this week for what could be the final round of talks between the world’s two largest economies.
On Sunday, President Trump appeared to try to increase the sense of urgency, threatening to increase tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods this coming Friday and impose levies on hundreds of billions of dollars of additional imports “shortly.” He also complained in a Tweet that negotiations were moving “too slowly.”
Another angle: The Trump administration has been under bipartisan pressure to raise the topic of China’s detention of Uighurs and other minority Muslims during the trade talks, but it has declined to do so and has backed away from imposing sanctions on officials believed to be involved in the crackdown in Xinjiang.
North Korea revives an old playbook
On Saturday, North Korea fired a volley of projectiles off its eastern coast — the most serious weapons test by the country since November 2017 when it launched an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The test comes months after the second summit meeting between President Trump and the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, ended abruptly over a disagreement on whether harsh sanctions against North Korea would be lifted before it dismantled its entire nuclear weapons program.
Analysis: Mr. Kim could be toying with the idea of ending his own moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests, which could escalate pressure on Mr. Trump to return to the negotiating table.
On the ground: About 40 percent of North Korea’s population is in urgent need of food aid after the country suffered its worst harvest in a decade, according to the U.N., underscoring the crippling impact of international sanctions.
If you’re following the Indian elections …
The diaspora’s impact
More than half of the Indian diaspora — a population of about 30 million — can’t vote in the general elections because they don’t have Indian citizenship. The roughly 13 million who do, can only vote if they return to the country, as there are no online or postal options.
But many are still trying to take part. Some have organized rallies abroad, and reports suggest that thousands returned to the homeland to volunteer for canvassing efforts.
Such international engagement dates to 1975, when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency, suspending civil liberties, installing a curfew and imprisoning political opponents without trial.
During that time, opposition leaders and activists mobilized Indians abroad to appeal to foreign leaders and to engage with the international news media to pressure Ms. Gandhi, according to research published last year by Edward Anderson of Cambridge University and Patrick Clibbens of Oxford University.
Days after her declaration, dozens of protesters gathered outside the Indian Embassy in Washington and the Indian High Commission in London. Some provided “information, funds and moral support.”
The mobilization helped transform “the way in which the government and political organizations in India perceived the political significance of the diaspora,” wrote Mr. Anderson and Mr. Clibbens.
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Here’s what else is happening
Moscow: A Russian-made Aeroflot flight made an emergency landing at the city’s main airport on Sunday while it was almost entirely engulfed in a gigantic plume of flame and smoke, killing 13 people and injuring many more.
Cyclone Fani: Authorities in India and Bangladesh saved many lives by evacuating more than a million people into specially built cyclone shelters ahead of the storm, one of the biggest to hit the two countries in years.
Legacies: We collected some gems from the life’s work of people remembered in recent obituaries in The Times.
Hotel anxiety: Spending the equivalent of a down payment on a car for one night at the Japanese-inspired Nobu Ryokan in Malibu, our L.A. bureau chief worried whether he could live up to his room.
What we’re reading: This in Practical Typography. There’s no end of analysis of the Democratic presidential candidates, but Matthew Butterick, a typographer, coder and lawyer, takes the choice of fonts on their campaign homepages as his starting point. Michael Wines, our national correspondent, calls it a “hugely entertaining review.”
Now, a break from the news
Go: “Ink,” James Graham’s invigorating play about London journalism goes on a journey to the tabloid underworld — and the American present.
Smarter Living: Mobile language-learning apps are great, but not that great. Our writer reviewed Memrise and Babbel, and accumulated a Duolingo streak in excess of 500 days. He concludes that the apps do well teaching new writing systems, like Korean, Japanese or Russian, and basic conversational phrases useful for travel. But fluency requires much more, including understanding gestures and context, so consider the apps a starting point.
And we have guidance and caveats on booking with budget airlines.
And now for the Back Story on …
The Met Gala
Get ready: Whatever your social feeds, they are about to be overwhelmed by the biggest, most over-the-top red carpet event of the year.
Nominally a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute, the Met Gala is a high-octane gathering of stars from Hollywood, fashion, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, sports and beyond.
The wattage is due to the button-pushing, arm-twisting genius of its fairy godmother/mastermind, the Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who also ensures everyone Dresses To Impress, in a theme that complements that of the exhibit it nominally heralds.
This year, it’s Camp, which may break the internet.
In theory, the public eye gets no further than the red carpet and the cocktail hour. Vogue alone covers the whole shebang, for a special magazine edition. Guests are not supposed to post, so the famous can let their hair down.
But it’s hard to resist. In 2017, someone snuck a bathroom snap of Bella Hadid, Lara Stone, Paris Jackson and Ruby Rose smoking on the floor and put it on Instagram. Met trustees were not pleased.
That’s it for this briefing. Have a glamorous day.
To Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and Kenneth R. Rosen for the break from the news. Vanessa Friedman, our chief fashion critic, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is on a secret dossier in Venezuela.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Favored dog breed of Queen Elizabeth II (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• James Bennet, the editorial page editor for The New York Times, recused himself from 2020 election coverage following the entry of his brother, Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, in the presidential race.
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