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A Bridge Explosion Rocked Russia

A video grab shows the damaged Kerch Strait Bridge today.
Credit...Crimea24Tv/AFP Via Getty Images

A vital bridge linking the occupied Crimean Peninsula to mainland Russia was attacked early this morning, killing two people and forcing its temporary closure.

Rail service over the crossing, known as the Kerch Strait Bridge, resumed soon after the assault, but damage to the car lanes will likely complicate Russia’s efforts to resupply its troops in southern Ukraine. Ukrainian officials celebrated the assault, which Russia said was carried out by maritime drones, but declined to officially take credit.

Initial reports suggested that today’s explosions were far less severe than a similar attack in October. But in the wake of last month’s failed mutiny by the Wagner mercenary group, the latest assault was cited by prominent Russian bloggers as more evidence of the failures of Russia’s military command.

Hours after the explosions were reported, Moscow announced that it was pulling out of the Black Sea grain deal, an agreement that helped keep global food prices stable. Kremlin officials insisted that the decision was not connected with the attack.

The assault came as Ukraine has begun to focus more on wearing down Russian forces with artillery and long-range missiles, in an effort to slow its losses amid a grinding five-week counteroffensive that has moved slower than expected.

Pollution from hundreds of wildfires in western Canada billowed through the Midwest today and blanketed several East Coast cities. New York, Washington, Boston and Atlanta all reported air quality levels that can be unhealthy for vulnerable populations. In Pittsburgh, the air was “unhealthy for all.”

Officials in several states urged residents to take precautions by limiting outdoor activities and wearing masks. See the air quality forecast near you.

In the South and West, tens of millions of people are facing dangerous levels of heat.

President Biden invited Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, to a meeting in the U.S. later this year, easing months of tensions between the two leaders. It would be their first meeting since Netanyahu reassumed the role in December.

The invitation came on the eve of a visit to Washington by Israel’s president, which had long been seen as a slight to Netanyahu. It also reversed Biden’s decision in March to avoid meeting the prime minister “in the near term” after criticizing Netanyahu for pushing to overhaul his country’s judiciary.

In Israel, lawmakers are advancing parts of a plan to reduce the power of the Supreme Court. A final vote is expected by early next week.

That’s a question that has bedeviled economists and policymakers, as the Fed has aggressively raised interest rates in an effort to tame inflation. And we still won’t know the answer for a while.

But my colleague Jeanna Smialek explored an economic surprise that has increased the possibility of a so-called soft landing: the labor market. Prices have cooled while unemployment has remained at rock bottom and hiring has remained healthy. If that continues, inflation could return to normal without zapping the job market or pulling the U.S. into a recession — a situation once considered improbable.

Politics: Donald Trump and his allies plan to limit the independence of federal agencies if voters return him to the White House.

New York: Edward Caban was named commissioner of the N.Y.P.D., the first Latino officer to hold the position.

Washington: Senate Democrats plan to push ahead this week with legislation imposing new ethics rules on the Supreme Court.

International: Hampered by a real estate slump and tumbling exports, China’s economy slowed this spring. That appears to be why it’s re-engaging with the U.S.

Health: Treating people with Alzheimer’s in the early stages of the disease is more likely to slow down cognitive decline, a trial of a new drug found.

Iran: The country’s government is once again deploying police officers to enforce its conservative dress code for women.

Hollywood: Ongoing strikes could fundamentally disrupt the entertainment industry, putting the 2024 box office and the fall broadcast lineup in jeopardy.

Lottery: Tonight’s Powerball jackpot has grown to one of the largest ever: $900 million.

Mystery: A six-foot-tall metal cylinder was found on a beach in Western Australia. The authorities have yet to identify it.

The pop star’s latest installment of rerecorded music, “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version),” debuted this week as the year’s biggest new album. It notched the equivalent of 716,000 sales in the U.S., far outpacing the rest of the competition.

It was Swift’s 12th No. 1 album, beating Barbra Streisand for the most chart-toppers by a woman. Drake also has 12 No. 1 albums, but the only acts with more are Jay-Z (14) and the Beatles (19).

Lionel Messi has yet to play a game for Inter Miami. But as the greatest soccer player of his era, and maybe the greatest of all time, his reputation precedes him. South Florida, home to America’s largest Argentine community, has taken notice.

Artists in and around Miami have raced to paint murals of Messi, restaurants have redrawn their menus to offer his favorite dish (milanesa) and shoppers stopped and gawked when he was recently spotted at a grocery store. The craze culminated last night when Inter Miami officially presented him and his No. 10 jersey in a rain-soaked but packed stadium.

“I’m very happy to have chosen to come to this city with my family,” he said. He is set to debut in a match on Friday. With Inter Miami in last place, expectations are high.

A Texas-size dream: One man is seeking to build a public museum focused on displaying the Lone Star State’s paleontological plenty.

Stolen art: Shelby White is a trusted adviser to the Met, which is embarking on a new initiative to rid its collection of stolen items. At home, she held 71 looted antiquities.

Style aces: At Wimbledon, the off-court fashion included three-piece suits, smart-looking hats and lots of tennis whites.

Finding Tom Cruise: My colleague Caity Weaver attempted to track down the action star, who has famously avoided the press. It’s harder than it sounds.

Cook: These crispy tacos are stuffed with potato and cheese, and they are oh so satisfying.

Watch: Here are five of the best action movies available to stream right now.

Read: In “The Country of the Blind,” a writer chronicles the loss of his vision.

Listen: That jazzy tune you heard while you were on hold? This part-time musician made it.

Prepare: For those traveling to Paris, we have tips for avoiding the crowds.

Run: It’s marathon training season. Here’s how to begin.

Heal: Hunching over a desk may be causing your back pain. Here’s what you can do about it.

Scrub: Most people don’t clean their makeup brushes enough. It’s time to buck that trend.

Play: Here are today’s Spelling Bee, Wordle and Mini Crossword. For more, find all our games here.

Beyoncé’s current Renaissance World Tour employs 14 culinary professionals, including a pastry chef who makes his famous cookies for her 400 to 600 crew members.

It’s extravagant, but not entirely out of the ordinary. Many touring artists now take several professional cooks and mobile kitchens on the road with them for efficiency, health and morale. And unlike in decades past, many tours now include a vegan chef and place a priority on physical and mental well-being.

Before, back in the early ’80s and ’90s, it was more of a party — cocaine and whatever they wanted. And now it’s just a business,” Linkin Park’s longtime chef said.

Have a top-shelf evening.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Matthew

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Posted on 17 Jul 2023 23:53 link