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Belarus, Schools, Israel: Your Monday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

Rather than try to blunt diplomatic fallout, Lukashenko signed new laws cracking down further on dissent. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry said that what happened to the jet was in strict accordance with aviation rules, while Russia, Lukashenko’s main ally, stood by him.

Who is Roman Protasevich, the 26-year-old detained journalist? He became a dissident as a teenager and fled the country in 2019, but has continued to roil Lukashenko’s government on the social media platform Telegram while living in exile in Lithuania.

2. New York City will eliminate remote learning for the next school year.

All students and staff members will be back in school buildings full time come September, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, making it one of the first big U.S. cities to remove the option of remote learning altogether. Above, a playground in New York City.

As a result, many parents will be able to return to work without supervising their children’s online classes, which could prompt the revitalization of entire industries and neighborhoods.

The debate over online learning is echoing across the country. New Jersey’s governor announced last week that public school students would no longer have remote classes in September, while officials in Florida, Illinois and Massachusetts have indicated there will be extremely limited remote options. Houston and Philadelphia will keep a remote option.


3. A judge now holds the future of the $100 billion market for iPhone apps.

A federal trial over whether Apple abused its power through its iPhone App Store — one of the biggest antitrust trials in Silicon Valley’s history — concluded today in an Oakland, Calif., courtroom with Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers pressing the lawyers on what should change in Apple’s business, if anything. Above, Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook.

The suit was brought by Epic Games, the maker of the game app Fortnite, which spent millions of dollars on lawyers, economists and expert witnesses. Yet it still began the trial at a disadvantage because antitrust laws tend to favor defendants, according to legal experts who tracked the case.

The case focused on how Apple wields control over the App Store to charge 30 percent commission on app sales. Judge Gonzalez Rogers has said she hopes to issue a verdict by mid-August.


4. Cable and brake failures caused a cable car crash in Italy, investigators say.

Charges including manslaughter and negligence are being considered after the accident yesterday near Lake Maggiore in northern Italy that killed 14 people.

The cable car had almost reached the end station on Mottarone mountain, a nearly 5,000-foot peak, when it started sliding backward, then hit a pillar and plunged to the ground. There was only one survivor, a 5-year-old boy.

In China, the provincial government in Gansu began to investigate the deaths of 21 runners in an ultramarathon who died when high winds and freezing rain struck suddenly on Saturday.

Some state news media have raised questions about the decision not to cancel the race. One competitor said he survived only because a shepherd carried his unconscious body to shelter.

5. The U.S. secretary of state travels to Israel tomorrow, seeking to bolster the nation’s cease-fire with Hamas.

Antony Blinken will also use his trip to the region to work on humanitarian aid for Gaza, but he has no plans to pursue full-fledged peace talks. Above, a tower in Gaza City destroyed by Israeli bombing.

While Israel still benefits greatly from American assistance, security experts and political analysts say that the country has quietly cultivated, and perhaps achieved, effective autonomy from the U.S.

The change comes just as a faction of Democrats and left-wing activists are challenging Washington’s long-held consensus on Israel.

6. Scientists partially restored a blind man’s sight with gene therapy.

Using a technique called optogenetics, researchers added light-sensitive proteins to the retina of the 58-year-old volunteer, who lives in France, giving him a blurry view of objects.

The result is a far cry from full vision. He had to wear special goggles that gave him the ghostly perception of objects in a narrow field of view. But in a new report, the authors say that the trial — the result of 13 years of work — is a proof of concept for more effective treatments to come. Above, the volunteer participates in the trial.

“It’s obviously not the end of the road, but it’s a major milestone,” said Dr. José-Alain Sahel, an ophthalmologist who splits his time between the University of Pittsburgh and the Sorbonne in Paris.


7. A few years ago, many in Silicon Valley expected that self-driving cars would be common by 2021. Now the industry is settling in for years of more work.

After court fights, injuries and deaths, and tens of billions of dollars spent on a frustratingly fickle technology, companies like Uber and Lyft have abandoned the pursuit.

Those remaining — the Alphabet subsidiary Waymo, auto industry giants and a handful of start-ups — could still toil for years. Each could spend an additional $6 billion to $10 billion before the technology becomes commonplace sometime around the end of the decade, according to estimates from one research firm.


8. On Saturday, Simone Biles executed a new move considered so dangerous that no other women even attempt it in competition.

The latest signature skill of the gymnastics star is the Yurchenko double pike. Biles performed it at the U.S. Classic, her first competition in 18 months.

To execute it, a gymnast first must launch herself into a roundoff back handspring onto a vaulting table, and then propel herself high enough to give herself time to flip twice in a pike position (body folded, legs straight) before landing on her feet. Above, Biles performing the double pike.

Biles received a provisional scoring value of 6.6 despite the vault’s difficulty. But the defending all-around Olympic champion said she would continue doing such complicated maneuvers. Why? “Because I can.”


9. The new color combinations for running shoes are jarring — by design.

Aqua blue, acid lime and grape purple. Electric orange interspersed with neon pink. Gray suede and cheetah print mixed with white and gold. Nike, Adidas and New Balance are using shifts in shades to get your attention, online and off.

It’s the secret psychology of sneaker colors. “Between 70 percent and 90 percent of subconscious judgment on a product is made in a few seconds on color alone,” said a New Balance executive.

At an early stage, designers consider, “How does this hue of blue translate at 8 p.m. on your Instagram feed when your phone battery is low?” a Reebok vice president said. “It’s worth overthinking.”


10. And finally, Gen Z cooking stars.

Eitan Bernath began posting cooking content on TikTok in 2019. Within 24 hours he accrued tens of thousands of followers. Today, the 19-year-old has more than 1.6 million.

The app’s algorithm makes it relatively easy to become an overnight food sensation. No one has seized on this opportunity faster than members of Gen Z, those born after about 1996.

Some of them say they’re already making six figures. Ultimately, what they want is to build their own businesses. What they don’t want is to work for someone else.

Have a delectable evening.


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