Monday Briefing


The Israeli military said yesterday that it would suspend daytime military operations near a border crossing in southern Gaza “until further notice” to allow more humanitarian aid to enter the enclave. Aid groups have made increasingly urgent warnings about the lack of food and other basic goods.

The announcement, made on the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, came amid a flurry of negotiations, mediated by the U.S., Qatar and Egypt, to reach a cease-fire. One sticking point in those talks is a disagreement over the permanence of any cessation of hostilities.

Israel’s military stressed yesterday that the pause would be limited, that its offensive in Rafah would continue and that there would be “no cessation of fighting” in southern Gaza overall.

The government suggested that the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had learned of the pause only from news reports and had signaled his disapproval. But analysts said it was likely that Netanyahu was aware of the plan and that the messaging was tailored to specific audiences.

A sprawling network of Democratic officials, progressive activists, watchdog groups and ex-Republicans has been taking extraordinary steps to prepare for a potential second Trump presidency. Those involved view his agenda as a threat to democracy and are laying the groundwork to push back if he wins the election in November.

The early timing and scale of the planning are without precedent. Some are drafting potential lawsuits in case Trump carries out mass deportations, as he has vowed to do. The A.C.L.U. hired a new auditor to withstand any attempt to unleash the Internal Revenue Service against it. At least five Democratic-run states have stockpiled abortion medication.

If Trump wins: He is openly planning broad changes to the government, many with authoritarian overtones, such as using the Justice Department to exact revenge on his adversaries and sending federal troops into Democratic-run cities. Here’s our overview of his agenda.

Iran and Sweden exchanged prisoners on Saturday, bringing relief to families but also raising concerns that the swap rewarded Iran for its hostage diplomacy. The country has systematically arrested foreign nationals on fabricated allegations to extract concessions from Western countries.

Iran released an E.U. diplomat and a dual Iranian-Swedish national. Sweden released Hamid Nouri, the first Iranian official to be convicted of crimes against humanity. A Swedish court sentenced him to life in 2022 after he was convicted of torture, war crimes and the 1988 mass execution of 5,000 dissidents. His conviction was hailed as a landmark case of trans-border justice.

Reaction: Family members of dozens of people who remain in Iranian custody, including detainees who are Swedish citizens, were outraged.

The Tony Awards — Broadway’s big night on television — ended in victory for “Stereophonic,” which won best new play, and “The Outsiders,” which won best new musical.

Over half of the new musicals that opened this season had scores written by artists whose primary credentials are in the music business, including Alicia Keys, Barry Manilow and Britney Spears.

My colleague Michael Paulson writes that it’s part of a broader pattern: The wellspring of Broadway’s sound is shifting, with more pop artists writing musicals. Some top artists are excited by the cross-pollination; some theater fans are worried that pop songs don’t advance storytelling like musical theater tunes.

In some ways, this isn’t new: In the early 20th century, theater stars found success on the stage and the radio, and jukebox musicals have long been Broadway staples. But it’s also a financial consideration. The theater industry has seen audiences shrink and costs rise since the pandemic-induced shutdowns, and familiarity sells tickets.

Bake: Red velvet cake is easier than you might think.

Read: Traveling” examines the life and music of Joni Mitchell.



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