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Gaza, New York City, Summer Reading: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. International pressure is growing on Israel and the Palestinian militants to halt their 10-day-old conflict.

President Biden spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — their second phone call in three days — telling the Israeli leader he “expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a cease-fire,” administration officials said.

After visiting Israeli military headquarters, Netanyahu said he was “determined to continue this operation until its aim is met.” A senior Hamas official said that he expected a cease-fire agreement within a day or two, while Israeli media has reported that Israeli officials do not expect the bombing to stop until Friday at the earliest.

France and Germany, strong allies of Israel that had initially held back from pressuring Netanyahu, also intensified their push for a cease-fire.

At least 227 people in Gaza have been killed, including 64 children, by Israeli airstrikes. Rockets fired from Gaza have killed at least 12 people in Israel.

2. New York City, once the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, is open for business (mostly).

The city’s reopening has arrived at last, over a year after it shut down in March 2020, when it accounted for half the nation’s coronavirus cases. But the first day fully back was messy and confusing as new statewide rules were widely superseded by personal comfort levels. In short, it was New York City.

3. But the pandemic is far from over: India recorded the highest daily Covid death toll in any country.

India’s deadliest day came on Tuesday, when officials recorded 4,529 Covid-19 deaths. Previously, the highest single-day toll was in the U.S. in January, when 4,468 people died. Infections seem to be slowing in some of India’s urban centers, but the virus is still spreading in the countryside.

4. A fiercely divided House voted to create an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Proponents, including more than two dozen Republicans, see the commission as a crucial step to fully understand an event that directly implicates Donald Trump and his party. Modeled after the body that studied the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack, the commission will deliver its findings by Dec. 31. The fate of the commission will be decided in the Senate, where at least 10 Republican votes are needed to pass it.

Even with G.O.P. support on the House floor, Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, joined other Republicans in opposing the commission. McConnell had blamed Trump for the attack, but as Trump has reasserted control over the party, McConnell has been increasingly reluctant to stir his ire.

5. Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas signed into law a bill that bans most abortions in the state, one of the most restrictive abortion measures in the country.

The law prohibits the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy — before many women know they are pregnant — and would allow private citizens to sue anyone who provided a banned abortion.

The landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, which established a constitutional right to an abortion, will be revisited by the Supreme Court this fall when it considers a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. If Roe were overturned, legal abortion access could effectively end in much of the South and Midwest. We mapped which states would be affected most.

6. Young progressives are shaking up Massachusetts politics. They’re ardent, they’re organized and they don’t take orders.

For years, Massachusetts elections have revolved around a handful of influential Democratic strategists. Enter the Generation Z left who mobilized around Senator Edward Markey to help defeat a primary challenge from Representative Joseph Kennedy. They are “an army of 16-year-olds,” as one political veteran put it, “who can do anything on the internet.”

In Pennsylvania, Larry Krasner, Philadelphia’s progressive district attorney, easily defeated a Democratic challenger in the primary in spite of a rise in gun crime. And Pittsburgh is poised to have its first Black mayor. Ed Gainey, a five-term state representative, won the Democratic primary over Bill Peduto, a two-term incumbent with a national profile.


7. A severe drought, worsened by climate change, is ravaging the entire western half of the U.S.

While wells and lakes are drying up, threatening the region’s agriculture system, the most dramatic and potentially deadly impact of the widespread drought is the large fires that are raging in California, New Mexico and Arizona. None has been fully contained, and this is well before the full blast of summer heat.

The warning comes as a new study found that zombie forest fires, which smolder throughout the wet, cold winters in far northern forests and pop up again in the spring, are on the rise.

Tomorrow, Andrew Ross Sorkin and other experts will discuss what it will take to transform the economy to confront climate change. R.S.V.P. here.


8. After years of facing off in the N.B.A. finals, LeBron James and Stephen Curry are competing just to make the playoffs.

When the Los Angeles Lakers, the defending champions led by James, and the Golden State Warriors, powered by Curry, meet tonight, it will be a game to get into the playoffs as a lowly No. 7 seed — something that would have been unthinkable in the fall. Here’s how the teams got here.

9. Summer is coming. Bring a book.

Our Books editors rounded up the buzziest new books arriving this season, along with highly anticipated titles from best-selling writers, new reads in true crime (and fictional crime), titles for nonfiction die-hards and more.

While the pandemic stalled many summer traditions last year, there was one mainstay Covid couldn’t wreck: reading. “Those empty, quiet nights were a reminder of the boredom that pushed me into the arms of books in the first place,” Elizabeth Egan writes.

Fans of John le Carré, who died last year, are in for a treat: “Silverview,” a full-length novel that he left behind, will be out in October.


10. And finally, mustard and mayo as a window to your soul.

The Times Food desk asked its editors and reporters to share their favorite condiments — anything that enhances the flavor of food — and describe what leading roles these sauces, spices and pastes play in their daily lives. As Kim Severson says, “is there anything Dijon can’t do?”

For Eric Kim, doenjang, a fermented soybean paste, packs incredible savory punch full of salty redolence. Melissa Clark is having a Marmite moment. And Genevieve Ko’s “love of mayonnaise is a constant,” she says. “I’ll lick any that clings to the spatula after putting together a sandwich or mixing a salad.”

Have a spicy evening.


Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.

Want to catch up on past briefings? You can browse them here.

What did you like? What do you want to see here? Let us know at briefing@nytimes.com.

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