Your briefing on Tuesday – The New York Times

Officially, the Russian military has suspended its efforts to seize Ukrainian territory. But in the last days it intensified their haphazard attacks on civilian areas, with strikes inflicted by combat aircraft, artillery and rockets. Residents and Ukrainian soldiers were intimidated, maimed and killed by blows.

Ukrainian officials said yesterday that at least eight civilians had been killed in Russian strikes in the previous 24 hours. In the east of the Donetsk region, at least 10 cities and towns were hit and two people died, bringing the death toll of civilians in the region to nearly 600 since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Although its forces are severely depleted, Russia is far from finished with its assault on Ukraine. Ukrainians and Western analysts believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin will soon order a new offensive to seize the remaining Ukrainian-held territory in Donetsk.

Quote: Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy has ridiculed the idea that Russian attacks have subsided. “Many people spoke about an alleged “operational pause” in the actions of the occupiers in Donbas and other parts of Ukraine,” he said. “Thirty-four Russian air strikes over the past day is the answer to all those who came up with this “pause”.

Go deeper: After every strike on a civilian target, Russia denied or shied away from responsibility. The Times reviewed some of the deadliest strikes and Russian explanations for them.

The candidates vying for Boris Johnson’s seat as leader of the Conservative Party and British prime minister reflect the country’s rich diversity, with six of them having recent ancestors from outside Europe. Four out of 11 are women.

However, in terms of political proposals, they are more uniform: Nearly all are promising tax cuts, most are in favor of legislation to end the Northern Ireland trade deal with the EU, and many will continue to deport some migrants to Rwanda.

Under the new rules passed yesterday, lawmakers will shortlist applicants in successive rounds of voting, starting tomorrow with the backing of the 20 lawmakers needed to compete in this first contest, and ending next week with a two-man shortlist. One candidate will emerge victorious from the Conservative membership vote by early September.

The uniformly right-wing nature of the candidates’ proposals reflects the electorate of the Conservative Party. The party’s center of gravity has shifted to the right during its bitter Brexit battles. Johnson purged other centrist lawmakers such as former cabinet minister Rory Stewart.

Quote: “They’re all just strangely out of touch with reality,” said Jonathan Portes, professor of economics and public policy at King’s College London. “They’ve just gone to this fantasy land, talking about tax cuts.”

As Elon Musk tries to back out of a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, he inexorably leaving the social media company at a disadvantage than it was when he said he would buy it. He damaged Twitter’s credibility, damaged employee morale, scared would-be advertisers, highlighted the company’s financial difficulties, and spread misinformation about how it operates.

The dangerous situation highlights why Twitter is going to sue Musk as early as this week to see the deal go through. The legal battle is likely to be protracted and extensive, including months of costly litigation and high-stakes negotiations involving elite lawyers. Twitter may win, but if it loses, Musk can walk away by paying a breakup fee.

In a letter to Musk’s lawyers on Sunday, Twitter’s lawyers said his move to end the deal was “invalid and wrongful” and that Musk “knowingly, willfully, willfully and materially violated” his agreement to buy the firm. Twitter will continue to provide information to Mr. Musk and work to close the deal, the letter added.

Rise and fall: Shares of Twitter fell more than 11 percent yesterday to one of the lowest levels since 2020 as investors anticipated the upcoming legal battle. Since Twitter accepted Musk’s takeover bid on April 25, its shares have lost more than a third of their value. as investors increasingly doubt that the deal will be completed on the agreed terms.

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Let’s call it a plot twist: over 300 independent bookstores have opened in the US in the past couple of years – “a welcome resurgence after an early pandemic-driven downturn.” Alexandra Alter and Elizabeth Harris writing in The Times. Many shopkeepers are people of color, making the book business, which was predominantly white, more diverse.

The rapid growth of physical bookstores is especially surprising at a time when physical bookstores are facing stiff competition from Amazon and other online retailers. Many bookstore owners are also facing new uncertainties due to the gloomy outlook for the economy as a whole.

“People are really looking for a community where they get real recommendations from real people,” said Lansing, Michigan-based bookseller Nishell Lawrence, who decided to open a bookstore after visiting a local store and finding some books by black women. “We don’t just base things on algorithms.”

That’s all for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. – Natasha

PS Francis X. Clynes, The Times journalist who covered New York politics, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the riots in Northern Ireland, among many other topics, died Sunday at age 84.

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