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Israel, AT&T, Roe v. Wade: Your Monday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. Israeli-Hamas violence showed no signs of abating, and diplomatic efforts appeared stalled.

Israel pounded targets in Gaza, and Hamas continued to unleash a barrage of rockets at towns across southern Israel, with the level of destruction escalating to the kind last seen in 2014. Above, a house in Gaza that was bombed by Israeli warplanes.

In the past week, Israeli strikes in Gaza have killed 212 people and wounded about 1,400, according to the authorities there. Rocket fire from Gaza has killed at least 10 people in Israel.

As the civilian casualties grow, the conflict has polarized Israeli society and the world as seldom before. Here is what is driving the conflict, and its arc so far.

2. A media shake-up — and a failed acquisition strategy.

AT&T agreed to spin off its WarnerMedia group and merge it with Discovery, a rival programmer, after spending three years trying to monetize its $85 billion purchase of Time Warner.

3. Top Republicans in Arizona’s largest county issued a broadside against the review of November’s election results.

After upholding the vote three times, Maricopa County officials attacked the latest audit, and the county’s top election official called former President Donald Trump “unhinged” for his online comments falsely accusing the county of deleting an elections database. Above, a contractor working for the audit company Cyber Ninjas.

“We can’t indulge these insane lies any longer,” Stephen Richer, the county recorder and a Republican, wrote on Twitter. The five elected supervisors, all but one of whom are Republicans, were meeting Monday to respond to a state senator’s accusations of irregularities.

4. The Supreme Court will hear a case that could undermine Roe v. Wade.

The review of a Mississippi law that seeks to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy will give the court’s 6-to-3 conservative majority its first opportunity to address the subject. Above, a rally at the Mississippi State Capitol organized by Planned Parenthood Southeast in 2019.

A decision is not expected until the spring or summer of 2022, after the court hears arguments during its next term, which starts in October.

Supporters of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion, reacted with dismay.

But Mississippi’s attorney general maintained that her state’s law is constitutional, and anti-abortion activists were optimistic that it would remove federal protections for the procedure. “This is the best court we’ve had in my lifetime, and we hope and pray that this is the case to do it,” the president of Ohio Right to Life said.

5. “It’s the vaccinations.”

That was Gov. Daniel McKee of Rhode Island explaining a 48 percent decline in coronavirus cases in his state over the past two weeks. Above, waiting for doses at Central Falls High School in Central Falls, R.I., in February.

Other states in the Northeast — Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania — are also reporting significant drops after once leading the nation in coronavirus cases. Nationally, reported cases have declined about 32 percent over the past two weeks, according to a Times database.

New York, which has also seen a steady decline in cases, decided today to adopt federal guidelines that do not require vaccinated individuals to wear masks. But even with the freedom to go maskless, some Americans say they plan to keep their faces covered in public indefinitely.

For companies, Covid-19 precautions seem like a moving target. Target, Walmart, Disney and others are the latest to relax their mask policies. Our DealBook newsletter answers questions about masks and vaccinations in the workplace.

6. A former confidant of Representative Matt Gaetz pleaded guilty to sex trafficking a 17-year-old girl and other charges on Monday.

The plea deal by Joel Greenberg, which will require him to help in other Justice Department investigations, was an ominous development for Mr. Gaetz. The congressman is under investigation into whether he violated sex trafficking laws by paying the same 17-year-old for sex. Above, Mr. Greenberg leaves the federal courthouse in Orlando in June.

Although Mr. Gaetz’s name was not mentioned in court, Mr. Greenberg has told investigators that he witnessed Mr. Gaetz have sex with the girl and that she was paid. Mr. Gaetz has denied ever paying anyone for sex.

7. You still have time to file your tax return. But not much.

No, it’s not April 15, but it is Tax Day, nonetheless, and your federal return needs to be filed electronically or postmarked by midnight.

We have last-minute tax information for you.

In other tax news, the Treasury Department said it would begin paying temporary child tax credits of up to $300 per month on July 15 to eligible families.

The credit, part of economic relief legislation passed in March, is expected to provide funds to 39 million households. The Biden administration projects that it will lift five million children out of poverty this year.


Officials agreed to reduce the size of the field to prevent overcrowding, though it’s unclear what will be done to reduce or control crowds along the course. The race will also have a staggered start, with a handful of runners entering the course every few seconds, a process that will take several hours.

The 26.2-mile race through the five boroughs is expected to be a milestone in New York’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s the North Star,” Ted Metellus, the race director, said. “It’s the thing that says we’re back.”

(Monday represented another key signal of the city’s return: New York subways resumed 24-hour service, more than a year after closing during overnight hours for cleaning.)


Credit…Skyhorse Publishing, via Associated Press

9. A biography of Philip Roth that became mired in controversy has a new publisher.

Skyhorse Publishing acquired “Philip Roth: The Biography” after it was dropped by the publisher W.W. Norton, in the wake of sexual assault accusations against the book’s author, Blake Bailey.

Skyhorse is the same independent press that last year released Michael Cohen’s memoir, as well as one by Woody Allen that had been dropped by his previous publisher.

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