We cover the collapse of Israel’s governing coalition and the connections between Chinese battery production and forced labor in Xinjiang.
Israeli government is falling
Israel’s governing coalition will vote to dissolve parliament before the end of the month, the prime minister’s cabinet said, leading the country to be elected for the fifth time in three years.
The collapse follows weeks of paralysis caused by the defections of two right-wing lawmakers and frequent uprisings by three others – leaving Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s coalition no longer in the majority in parliament. The fallout is throwing a political lifeline to Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister who left office last June and whose Likud party is currently leading opinion polls.
The elections, expected to take place in the fall, come at a tense time after an increase in Palestinian attacks on Israelis and an escalation in a shadow war between Israel and Iran.
The current coalition deal requires Yair Lapid, the foreign minister and a centrist former broadcaster, to take over as interim prime minister in the event that right-wing defectors lead to snap elections. If that agreement is fulfilled, Lapid will lead the government for at least several months.
Eastern city becomes a flash point in Ukraine
Now that Russia has seized control of much of the Donbas region, a small town has become a focal point where Ukrainian leaders say the fate of the Donbas region in the country can be determined.
The town, Toshkivka, was claimed by Russian forces over the weekend — a troubling development for Ukrainian forces defending a stretch about 30 miles wide that has come to be known as the Sievierodonetsk Pocket. The pocket is about three-quarters surrounded by Russian troops, leaving only a small opening through which Ukrainian troops can transport supplies and troops to their remaining population areas of the Donbas.
Ukraine’s struggle to keep the Sievierodonetsk pocket revolves around a strategy of engaging Russian forces in dense urban battles to lessen the impact of their overwhelming firepower. If Russia cuts supply lines to Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, it could claim full control of the Luhansk region, which makes up about half of the Donbas.
Elsewhere, Russia stepped up its bombing raids on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, weeks after Ukrainian fighters pushed back Russian forces. 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 in Russia. Some Ukrainians fled to Estonia; they told us their stories.
Oil: Russia became China’s largest source of petroleum last month when Chinese companies intervened to buy oil under tightened sanctions in the West.
sanctions: Russia has vowed to retaliate against Lithuania for blocking rail transport to the Russian territory of Kaliningrad.
Forced labor found in Chinese battery power
Chinese companies tied to forced labor in the Xinjiang region are playing an increasing role in the global supply chain for electric vehicle batteries, posing a potential problem for efforts to fight climate change.
While China’s draconian crackdown on minorities in Xinjiang has sparked global outrage, automakers continue to turn to Chinese manufacturers, which produce three-quarters of the world’s lithium-ion batteries. Trade experts estimate that thousands of international companies have ties to Xinjiang.
Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang receive training in management, etiquette and “love of the party and the country,” before being sent to work in mines and factories that produce some of the most sought-after minerals on the planet.
China denies the presence of forced labour. But an expert on human rights and contemporary slavery told The Times that resisting such “transferred labor” programs is seen as a sign of extremist activity and carries the risk of being sent to an internment camp.
A new US law that goes into effect Tuesday would ban entry to the country for products made in Xinjiang or linked to work programs there. It requires importers associated with Xinjiang to provide documentation proving that their products and their raw materials are free from forced labor – a difficult undertaking given the opacity of China’s supply chains.
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Around the world
Australians have only recently begun to document and value their linguistic distinctiveness. The hard work (“hard yakka”) of sifting through thousands of words and phrases — such as “face like a half-sucked mango” — is done by the editors of the Australian National Dictionary Centre, who help tell a story about a country that likes to play with words.
ART AND IDEAS
Rosé has become synonymous with fun summer drinking. But as The Times wine critic Eric Asimov 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 nice doesn’t equal low quality.”
If you think you don’t like rosé, try different varieties, especially if you’ve only had the very pale rosés that are in vogue or tasted ones that seemed bland or too sweet. “You may find that all these years you’ve been missing something that’s quite tasty,” Eric says.
Go to a serious independent wine store and ask for help, he says. “It’s imperative to talk to the people in the store, who tend to really care about what they’re selling and want to make people happy.”
And here’s Eric’s pick of 12 exceptional rosés from $13 to $35. — Natasha Frost, Briefing Writer