Cease fire in Gaza
Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza agreed to a ceasefire late last night, which appeared to be in effect this morning. The move is expected to end a three-day conflict that has killed dozens of Palestinians, destroyed buildings and resulted in the deaths of two key leaders of Islamic Jihad, Gaza’s second largest militia.
The fighting began on Friday afternoon when Israel launched airstrikes to prevent what it said was an imminent attack from Gaza. The fighting has exposed tensions between Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian militia that has been badly damaged by the fighting, and Hamas, the militia that rules Gaza and has chosen to stay on the sidelines of the conflict.
Israel declined to divulge further details about the ceasefire agreement. However, Islamic Jihad said it had received assurances from intermediate Egyptian officials that Egypt would press for the release of two of the group’s leading members, Bassem Saadi and Khalil Awaudeh, who are being held in Israeli prisons.
Strategy: Israel has offered small economic concessions to ordinary Gazans — notably 14,000 work permits to help improve the Palestinian economy. The approach helped convince Hamas to stay out of this particular conflict and likely shortened its duration.
International context: Morocco and the United Arab Emirates – two of three Arab countries to formalize ties with Israel in 2020 – expressed concern over the violence but avoided criticizing Israel. Only the third country, Bahrain, directly condemned the Israeli strikes.
Missiles land near a nuclear plant in Ukraine
Missiles have landed at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, posing the latest threat to Europe’s largest nuclear facility. Russia and Ukraine blamed each other for the attack and fighting in the southern region has raised fears of a major casualty.
Russian forces have controlled the plant since March, using it as a base to launch artillery barrages on the Ukrainian-controlled city of Nikopol along the Dnipro River last month. Saturday’s attack included a volley of rockets that Ukrainian officials said damaged 47 apartment buildings and houses.
The fighting, along with Russia’s seizure of parts of the plant and anxiety among plant workers, prompted Raphael Grossi, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog, to warn last week that “every principle of nuclear safety has been violated.” Security concern in Zaporizhzhia has grown since a fire broke out as Russian forces took control.
Context: Since invading Ukraine in February, Russia has made it a priority to seize and target critical Ukrainian infrastructure, including power plants, ports, transportation, and agricultural storage and production facilities.
More from the war in Ukraine:
A historic US climate bill passes the Senate
The US Senate yesterday passed legislation that would make the most significant federal investment in history to address climate change. Paid for by tax increases, the measure would inject more than $370 billion into climate and energy programs, allowing the U.S. to cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 40 percent below 2005 levels by the end of the decade.
The final tally was 51 to 50 along party lines, with Vice President Kamala Harris calling the shots. The bill would provide billions of dollars in rebates for Americans who buy energy-efficient and electrical appliances as well as tax credits for companies that build new, emission-free sources of electricity, such as wind turbines and solar panels.
For Democrats, the measure’s passage capped a highly successful six-week period that included the final passage of a $280 billion industrial policy bill to boost American competitiveness with China and the biggest expansion of veterans benefits in decades. Republicans have denounced the climate legislation as federal overreach and reckless overspending.
Record: Originally billed as “Build Back Better,” a multitrillion-dollar social safety net plan modeled after the Great Society legislation of the 1960s, Democrats have watered down the bill in recent months and rebranded it as an inflation cut. Pretend. His vote is a major victory for President Biden and his party.
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London’s public housing project Trellick Tower, built in 1972, has gone from sight to icon of brutalism. Its flats, located near expensive Notting Hill, are snapped up as soon as they are listed.
Now, residents fear Trellick’s success has left the tower vulnerable. Given the dire shortage of affordable housing in London and the valuable real estate that Trellick occupies, it is likely that developers will attempt to build on the site in the future — despite the best efforts of its residents.
ARTS AND IDEAS
What should an LGBTQ museum be?
Queer Britain, a new museum near London’s King’s Cross station, is Britain’s first LGBTQ museum. It joins a number of international institutions whose directors are taking a hard look at how to frame queer history — and sometimes coming to different conclusions, reports Alex Marshall for the Times.
Queer Britain’s inaugural exhibition seeks to represent the diversity of the queer experience, with items on display including banners from this year’s Trans+ Pride parade, a rainbow hijab and Oscar Wilde’s prison cell door. “So much of the history of LGBTQ+ people is about erasure,” said Joseph Galliano-Doig, the museum’s director. “For us that means: We’re here and our stories deserve to be told.”
In Berlin, the Schwules Museum takes an explicitly political stance, seeking both to recognize queer history as part of collective, mainstream history and, as one board member put it, “to challenge problematic discourses that dominate the queer community.” The museum is currently hosting an exhibition about Tuntenhaus, a famous gay activist in Berlin.
As they continue to develop, how these museums decide to present LGBTQ history will remain a pressing question. “From the earliest days, history has been a tool for building queer identity,” said Huw Lemmey, co-host of the “Bad Gays” podcast. “Museums are not independent reporters of the past, they are part of an ongoing process of identity formation, so the stakes are very high.”
Read more about the goals of queer museums.