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Israel, hurricanes, mountain biking: your briefing on Thursday evening

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. Israel and Hamas agreed a ceasefire in Gaza enter into force on Friday morning.

The deal was brokered by Egypt after eleven days of fighting that killed more than 230 people in Gaza, including many Palestinian civilians, and made infrastructure, including freshwater and sewer systems, electricity grids, hospitals, schools and roads difficult was damaged.

In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced that his security cabinet had voted in favor of the ceasefire proposal, but warned that “the reality on the ground will determine the continuation of the campaign”.

More than 4,000 rockets fired from Gaza at Israel since May 10 have killed 12 people, mostly civilians. Above, a man stands next to an unexploded Israeli missile in Gaza.

The violence comes after a year of mass protests in the US changed how many Americans see problems with racial and social justice. The pro-Palestinian position has become more general. “As a Jewish community, we look at it differently,” said a rabbi in Syracuse, NY. Above, a protest in New York.

A shift is also taking place in the Democratic Party when progressive lawmakers, led by Bernie Sanders, passed a resolution to block the sale of a $ 735 million arms package to Israel.

3. President Biden signed a bill to combat hate crimes against Americans from Asia.

The measure aims to speed up the Justice Department’s review of hate crimes and expand the channels to report them. It would also encourage the establishment of hotlines, provide grants to law enforcement agencies, and launch a range of public awareness campaigns on biases against people of Asian origin. Above, a memorial in Atlanta to the victims of a shootout that killed eight people, six of whom were women of Asian descent.

Attacks against Asian American citizens have increased over the past year, with New York City seeing the largest increase in anti-Asian hate crimes. Now, many people of Asian descent are equipping themselves with pepper spray and other personal defenses to respond to the ongoing flurry of attacks.

4. The fIn the final days of the government’s $ 788 billion coronavirus relief effort for small business is sunk in chaos and confusion.

The Paycheck Protection Program should submit applications for government-supported loans by May 31st. However, funding for the program has almost been used up and most new applications have ceased to be processed.

Now lenders are trying to complete hundreds of thousands of applications that were still in progress when the Small Business Administration closed the new application program. Many lenders have gained more clients than they could handle and are now struggling to manage angry borrowers. Above, George Greenfield, a loan applicant who runs a literary agency.

“We show up in communities and tell people, ‘You are important. We’re not just going to let you out of the bigger process, ”said Emily Smoak of the Minnesota Department of Health. Above, a mobile clinic in Minnesota.

In New York City, where 59 percent of people have received at least one dose, officials are turning door-to-door to try and attract those who hesitate.

Hurricanes have become more destructive over time, not least due to the effects of a warming planet. The U.S. is nearing this hurricane season as those who respond to the nation’s disasters are stretched thin. Above Nicaragua after Hurricane Iota.

After a year of record natural disasters and another difficult season, FEMA employees are facing burnout. There are currently 29 percent fewer emergency services from the agency than at the beginning of the hurricane season last year.

7. President Biden and South Korea’s leader Moon Jae-in, will have to dance around an uncomfortable truth when they meet tomorrow: North Korea is unlikely to ever give up its nuclear weapons.

Moon, who will be at the White House for the meeting, said denuclearization was a “survival issue” for South Korea and urged Biden to resume talks on persuading Pyongyang to give up his arms. But Biden officials have no illusions that the North will ever completely disarm. Above is a photo of a North Korean government missile test.

North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and supply of fuel to produce more are greater than ever. The best unclassified estimates are that the north has at least 45 nuclear weapons and is headed towards the amalgamation of an arsenal about the size of Pakistan’s.

8. The Big Apple has just grown – by 2.4 acres.

Little Island – mega-mogul Barry Diller’s $ 260 million pet project – was conceived a decade ago to replace Pier 54 on Manhattan’s west side. It includes trees, flowers, and grass arranged around several performance rooms, including a spectacular 687-seat amphitheater that overlooks the water. You can have a bite to eat in the main square and sit at coffee tables under canvas umbrellas.

Hundreds of free and affordable concerts, dance and children’s programs are planned for this summer. Our architecture critic calls it “the architectural equivalent of an ice cream sundae with a little bit of everything”.

9. The growth of mountain biking in popularity was exceptional.

Thanks to improved bike technology, more trails, and growing interest in it as a college sport, mountain biking has seen a rapid surge in popularity over the past decade. The pandemic helped as people sought relief from lockdowns. Up top bikers in Ohio.

According to a market research company, sales of mountain bikes with front suspension rose by 150 percent last spring. By June, sales of more expensive models rose by 92 percent. The upswing should continue.

When you’ve finished your ride, you might want to cool off with a summer beer. Our wine critic Eric Asimov shares some of his favorites.

10. And finally: See, the bird kite.

In a project that also serves as a meditative experience, Laurel Schwulst, artist and educator, guides us through a simple and relaxing process of making kites. All you need is some plastic wrap, wooden dowels, tape, and string, with a little help from scissors and a marker.

Making kites doesn’t require as much mathematical precision as you might think, says Schwulst. “But when I made them myself, I learned that dragons can be more forgiving and that truly all amazing creations come from a process of trial and error and iteration.”

I wish you a high-flying evening.

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