Your Tuesday Briefing: Israel’s Governing Coalition Collapses

Source: : 2022-06-20 20:45:59 : Matthew Cullen

We’re covering the collapse of Israel’s governing coalition and connections between China’s battery manufacturing and forced labor in Xinjiang.

Israel’s governing coalition will vote to dissolve Parliament before the end of the month, the prime minister’s office said, sending the country into its fifth election in three years.

The collapse follows weeks of paralysis caused by the defection of two right-wing lawmakers and frequent rebellions by three others — making Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s coalition no longer the majority in Parliament. The fallout throws a political lifeline to Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister who left office last June and whose Likud party is currently leading in opinion polls.

The election, which is expected to be held in the fall, comes at a tense time after a rise in Palestinian attacks on Israelis and an escalation in a shadow war between Israel and Iran.

The current coalition agreement requires that Yair Lapid, the foreign minister and a centrist former broadcaster, would take over as interim prime minister in the event that right-wing defections prompt early elections. If that agreement is honored, Lapid will lead the government for at least several months.

As Russia has seized control of much of the Donbas region, a small town has become a focus point where Ukraine’s leaders say the fate of the country’s Donbas region could be decided.

The town, Toshkivka, was claimed by Russian forces over the weekend — a troubling development for Ukrainian forces defending a swath of territory roughly 30 miles wide that has come to be known as the Sievierodonetsk pocket. The pocket is about three-quarters encircled by Russian forces, leaving only a small gap where Ukrainian forces can shuttle supplies and troops into their remaining population areas of the Donbas.

Ukraine’s battle to hold the Sievierodonetsk pocket centers on a strategy of drawing Russian forces into close urban combat to reduce the impact of their overwhelming firepower. If Russia severs the supply lines into Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, it could claim complete control over the Luhansk region, which forms roughly half of the Donbas.

Elsewhere, Russia ramped up its bombings of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, weeks after Ukrainian fighters had pushed Russian forces back. Ten neighborhoods or villages around the city have been attacked in the past 24 hours, a city official said.

Video: Thousands of refugees from Ukraine have been sent to so-called filtration camps, where they have been interrogated and then forced to resettle to Russia. Some Ukrainians escaped to Estonia; they told us their stories.

Oil: Russia become China’s largest source of petroleum last month, as Chinese companies stepped in to buy oil that has fallen under widening sanctions in the West.

Sanctions: Russia vowed to retaliate against Lithuania for barring rail shipments to the Russian territory of Kaliningrad.

Chinese companies tied to coercive labor practices in the Xinjiang region play an increasingly significant role in the global supply chain for electric vehicle batteries, posing a potential problem for the effort to fight climate change.

Even though China’s draconian crackdown on minorities in Xinjiang has fueled worldwide outrage, car companies continue to turn to Chinese producers, who manufacture three-quarters of the world’s lithium ion batteries. Trade experts have estimated that thousands of global companies may have links to Xinjiang.

Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang undergo training in management, etiquette and “loving the party and the country,” before being sent to work in mines and factories that produce some of the most highly sought minerals on earth.

China denies the presence of forced labor. But one expert in human rights and contemporary slavery told The Times that resisting such “transferred labor” programs is seen as a sign of extremist activity and carries a risk of being sent to an internment camp.

U.S. response: A new U.S. law that goes into effect on Tuesday would bar products that were made in Xinjiang or have ties to the work programs there from entering the country. It requires importers with ties to Xinjiang to produce documentation showing that their products, and those products’ raw materials, are free of forced labor — a tricky undertaking given the opacity of Chinese supply chains.

Australians have only recently started documenting and appreciating their linguistic distinctiveness. The difficult work (“hard yakka”) of sifting through thousands of words and phrases — like “face like a half-sucked mango” — is done by the Australian National Dictionary Center’s editors, who are helping tell a story of a country that loves to play with words.

Rosé has become synonymous with fun summer drinking. But as Eric Asimov, The Times’s wine critic, says, you can open a bottle long after Labor Day. “I’m a firm believer in drinking rosé all year round,” he told us. “Being fun doesn’t equate to being low quality.”

If you think you don’t like rosé, explore different types, especially if you’ve only had the very pale rosés that are in vogue or tasted ones that seemed insipid or too sweet. “You might find that, actually, you’ve been missing something all these years that’s quite delicious,” Eric says.

Head to a serious, independently owned wine shop, and ask for help, he says. “What’s imperative is to actually talk to the people at the store, who tend to really care about what they sell and who want to make people happy.”

And here are Eric’s picks of 12 exceptional rosés from $13 to $35. — Natasha Frost, a Briefings writer

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