Your Thursday Evening Briefing – The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know at the end of the day.
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Good evening. Here’s the latest at the end of Thursday.
1. Israel pushed President Biden to take a firmer stance on Iran, revealing their divide on stopping Iran’s nuclear program.
Israel’s caretaker prime minister, Yair Lapid, pushed Biden to go beyond his public commitment to stop Iran from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon. Lapid declared that all democratic nations must vow to act: “If they continue to develop their nuclear program, the free world will use force.”
Biden did not repeat that commitment. Instead, he stuck to talking about blocking Iran from obtaining a weapon, not about a program that might be intended to develop one. The distinction goes to the heart of the allies’ differing approaches in dealing with Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Biden will next meet with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority in Bethlehem tomorrow before flying to Saudi Arabia. In the past, he’s tried to isolate Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over human rights abuses. Now, Biden needs his help.
2. A Russian strike in central Ukraine killed at least 23 people, officials said. Three children were among the dead.
Emergency responders are frantically searching for survivors in the rubble, and dozens are missing. More than 70 people, including three children, were hospitalized, Ukrainian officials said.
The midmorning attack on an office building in the city of Vinnytsia — which is hundreds of miles from the contested Donbas region of eastern Ukraine — is the latest to hit a civilian target without an apparent military aim. The strategy underscores one of Russia’s most brutal psychological weapons: the terrorizing of civilians.
Separately, the U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner appeared in a Russian court after pleading guilty to drug charges.
3. Texas is suing the Biden administration over access to emergency medical abortions.
A presidential order had sought to allow the termination of a pregnancy in emergency situations if there were complications that posed a threat to the health or life of the woman. The Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, challenged the executive order, saying it would “force abortions” in hospitals in the state.
The suit represented an opening salvo in what is likely to be a protracted legal tug of war between the Biden administration and states like Texas that have swiftly taken steps to ban most abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Elsewhere, an Ohio man was charged with the rape of a 10-year-old girl, whose travel across state lines to receive an abortion captured national attention.
4. A changing international political landscape.
Italy’s golden period of stability was thrown into chaos after Prime Minister Mario Draghi resigned in response to a revolt by anti-establishment populists within his national unity government.
But in a sign of how traumatic Draghi’s departure would be, the country’s president refused to accept his resignation, essentially freezing the situation for a week and giving Draghi a chance to form a new government.
And in Sri Lanka, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigned via email days after fleeing the country amid protests and economic turmoil.
5. Young American voters are fed up with their (much) older leaders.
Led by politicians often three times their age, many voters under 30 are hungry for new blood and new ideas. A survey from The Times/Siena College found that just 1 percent of Americans 18 to 29 strongly approve of the way President Biden is handling his job. And 94 percent of Democrats under 30 said they wanted another candidate to run two years from now.
Of all age groups, young voters were the most likely to say they wouldn’t vote for either Biden or Donald Trump in a hypothetical 2024 rematch. The numbers are a clear warning for Democrats as they struggle to ward off a drubbing in the November midterm elections.
In New York, a 38-year-old lawyer and congressional candidate is trying to eke out his own path to victory, wearing sneakers. And in Rhode Island, State Senator Tiara Mack, 28, is using the Twitter campaign #TwerkFor to rally supporters.
6. Ivana Trump, a former wife of Donald Trump, is dead at 73.
A glamorous businesswoman, she helped build his real estate empire and commanded almost as much media attention as her husband as they helped define the 1980s as an era of gaudy excess. Mr. Trump announced her death in a statement on his social media platform. The New York City police are investigating whether Mrs. Trump fell down the stairs at her home in Manhattan.
Mrs. Trump, who was born in Czechoslovakia, was the vice president for interior design for his company and managed one of his most prized properties, the Plaza Hotel, all while raising their three children, Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka.
The couple’s 1990 divorce, driven in part by Mr. Trump’s affair with Marla Maples, provided tabloid fodder for weeks. The divorce made Mrs. Trump something of a heroine for spurned wives everywhere — she even had a cameo in the 1996 film “The First Wives Club.”
7. A summer of extreme weather rages on.
Powerful storms swept through southwestern Virginia, bringing heavy floods and landslides and damaging more than 100 homes, officials said. People were forced to wade through waist-deep water to reach safety, and homes were swept off their foundations.
About 41.7 million people live in areas expected to have dangerous levels of heat this week in the South, the West and the Midwest. Track the heat with our map here.
Other parts of the globe are also facing exceptionally hot temperatures: Britain is bracing for record-breaking highs this weekend, leading its national weather service to deliver an extreme weather warning.
8. France without Dijon mustard? Mon dieu!
As France celebrated its most important national holiday, Bastille Day, the disappearance of mustard from supermarkets has caused a deep disquiet. A perfect storm of climate change, the war in Ukraine and Covid has left consumers scrambling and chefs appealing online for spare supplies of the condiment.
The main culprit is a shortage of the brown seeds that make mustard, well, mustard. At least 80 percent of them come from Canada, and a heat wave slashed seed production by 50 percent last year. France consumes about 2.2 pounds of mustard a year per habitant, making it the world’s largest consumer.
9. “The Devil Wears Prada.” “The Post.” “Big Little Lies.” “Don’t Look Up.”
Meryl Streep wears glasses in all of the above, creating “immensely satisfying” scenes. Amanda Hess, our critic at large, writes about Streep’s one weird trick with reverence.
“It’s stunning how often our most celebrated movie actress has built her performances on one of the form’s hackiest bits,” she writes. “I’ve come to see a pair of glasses on Streep’s face as a Chekhov’s gun: At some point you know they’re coming off, and it’s going to be fabulous.”
From our comedy critic: Jason Zinoman looked at the career of Janeane Garofalo, whose trailblazing stand-up career has long been overshadowed. That may also be the reason she’s still so sharp, he says.
10. And, finally, woodpeckers in slow motion.
Watching a woodpecker repeatedly smash its face into a tree, it’s hard not to wonder how its brain stays intact. Scientists have long believed that structures in and around a woodpecker’s skull absorb the shocks. Woodpeckers have even inspired the creation of shock-absorbing materials like football helmets.
But after analyzing high-speed footage, researchers have discovered that woodpeckers do not absorb shocks during pecking, which one said would have been “a waste of precious energy for the birds.” And they likely aren’t being concussed, either, as the pressure created by the impact of their small heads is far below what would cause a concussion in a primate.
Have a speedy night.
Brent Lewis compiled photos for this briefing.
Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.
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