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Gaza, George Floyd, Eurovision: Your weekend briefing


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Here are the top stories of the week and a look ahead.

1. The ceasefire between Israel and Hamas seems to hold up after a brief war that revered around the world.

In total, the Israeli military killed 248 Palestinians in Gaza, including 66 children, and thousands were displaced during the 11 days of the fighting. 12 people, including two children, were killed in Israel in rocket attacks by Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza.

2. Maternity wards are being closed in Italy. Ghost towns are popping up in China. Hundreds of thousands of properties in Germany have been leveled and the land turned into parks.

The world’s demographics are changing, pushing for more deaths than births. Although the population of some countries continues to grow, almost everywhere else, birth rates are falling as women have better access to education and birth control. Demographers are now predicting that the world population will decline sustainably for the first time towards the middle of this century. Above a couple in Acciaroli, Italy.

A planet with fewer people could ease the pressure on resources, slow climate change and reduce the stress on women. But the data also point to changes that are difficult to fathom: Fewer workers could change the way societies are organized and the way we think about families and nations.


3. A year ago Tuesday, George Floyd went to buy a pack of cigarettes. The world has not been the same since then.

4. The number of deaths worldwide from the coronavirus is likely two to three times higher than the official data, said the World Health Organization. Above São Paulo, Brazil.

Six to eight million people may have died of Covid-19 since the pandemic began, compared to 3.4 million deaths recorded in official country reports.

5. The Biden administration set set aside $ 4 billion to help minority farmers. White farmers say they are wrongly excluded.

The tension has plunged Shade Lewis and other paint farmers up in La Grange, Missouri, into a new culture war for race, money and power in American agriculture. The payment plans have generated thousands of angry comments on farm forums. Some rural residents have gathered around a new slogan: All Farmers Matter.

Black farmers have struggled financially for generations and received little help from the Trump administration bailouts last year. On Friday, the USDA announced that it would begin lending thousands of minority farmers as part of the aid program in June.

6. Russia faces a new security threat from climate change in the Arctic. Some call it the beginnings of a very cold war.

Nowhere on earth was climate change as pronounced as in the polar regions. As the sea ice melts, Russia is sending more soldiers and equipment to the far north, making it essentially the first military to take into account the strategic effects of climate change on the region. One expert called the great meltdown Russia’s strategic “worst nightmare”.

The drastic reduction in sea ice opens the Arctic to ships during the summer months, exposing Russia to new security threats. Of the five countries with significant Arctic coastlines – Canada, Denmark (in Greenland), Norway, Russia, and the United States – Russia has by far the longest.

7. “We just want to say For all of Europe, for the whole world, rock ‘n’ roll never dies! “

This is Damiano David, the Maneskin singer after winning the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday night. With her song “Zitti E Buoni” Maneskin beat 25 other acts from all over Europe to bring the title home for Italy. France finished second and Switzerland third.

The competition was the first major global cultural event to be held in person since the coronavirus pandemic broke out last year. Other contenders were a folk-techno act from Ukraine, a feminist Russian pop star and an Icelandic disco band. Here’s what we learned from the grand finale:


8. The NBA playoffs are underway. The scariest teams aren’t on top.

In the Western Conference, neither of the top two seeds – the Jazz or the Suns – is favored to escape the conference while the defending champions Lakers and the Clippers lurk. In the Eastern Conference, the nets are finally in full strength and the bucks and the 76s are being revised. Here is a preview of the matchups.

And the curtsey – the curtsey! – finally take a seat at the table. Nobody is more excited about it than his long-suffering fans. You’re playing the Hawks at 7 Eastern tonight.

However, the toughest playoff matchup could be the opponent the NBA has faced for 14 months: the coronavirus.


9. Beauty is in the eye of the beer keeper.

The pandemic, for all its suffering, brought new customs and tastes with it. In nearly 20 states, takeaway cocktails that were allowed under the rules of the Covid era are now here to stay. Breweries and beverage companies have invented new summer beverages, including hop-infused seltzer, hard seltzer smoothies, and popsicle-inspired beer.

All our wine critic Eric Asimov wants is a great summer beer. He prefers Pilsener for a pronounced hop character, which is dry and flowery, or Kölsch, which is slightly milder. Gose, a wheat beer, is also a great choice. A beer on a summer’s day, “outside in the shade of a big old oak tree, with friends and an occasional breeze,” is exactly what is needed, writes Asimov.


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