Your Tuesday Briefing
Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, has vowed to stay on; his job has been in peril for months.Credit…Tolga Akmen/EPA, via Shutterstock
Johnson survives a no-confidence vote, for now
Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, won a tense no-confidence vote among Tory lawmakers yesterday, 211 to 148. Yet the vote presages a volatile period in British politics as he fights to stay in power and lead a divided Conservative Party.
Johnson vowed to stay on, declaring that the victory should end speculation about his future in the role. “It’s a convincing result, a decisive result,” he said. But history suggests otherwise: Conservative prime ministers who have been subjected to such a vote are usually drummed out of office, regardless of the outcome.
For a politician who led the Tories to a landslide election victory in 2019 with the promise to “get Brexit done,” it was a bruising fall from grace, Mark Landler, our London bureau chief, writes in this analysis. Johnson’s job has been in peril for months.
Context: Johnson’s support has eroded since last year, when a scandal erupted over revelations that he and his senior aides threw parties at 10 Downing Street, violating Covid lockdown rules. More than 40 percent of Conservative lawmakers voted against him in an unexpectedly large rebellion.
Conservatives: With a comfortable majority in Parliament, the party is in no danger of losing power. Johnson may attempt to ride out the storm by claiming that he got a larger mandate than when he was first elected leader of the party in July 2019.
Potent weapons reach Ukraine
Britain has joined the U.S. in pledging to send Ukraine advanced rocket systems, which can hit targets up to 50 miles away. President Biden said last week that the U.S. would soon deliver a precision rocket system with a similar range. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has repeatedly warned the West against supplying Ukraine with such arms.
Since Russia invaded, NATO nations have upgraded Ukraine’s arsenal with increasingly sophisticated tools without training soldiers how to use the equipment. In some cases, soldiers learned enough to operate complex tools, sometimes using Google Translate to understand English-language manuals, but then rotated to other placements, leaving the unit with an expensive paperweight.
The fighting in eastern Ukraine has increasingly become an artillery war, and Western rockets could dent Moscow’s weaponry advantage in the battle for the Donbas. The barrages have exacted a heavy toll on the Ukrainian Army: The government has said that as many as 100 soldiers are dying every day.
‘We pray for them, too’: Even as Russian shells kill monks and nuns, the Sviatohirsk Monastery of the Caves in eastern Ukraine, a key site in the Russian Orthodox Church, remains loyal to the church and its pro-Putin leader, Patriarch Kirill.
Guerrilla attacks are rising in the Russian-occupied south.
U.S. federal authorities intend to seize two aircraft believed to be owned by Roman Abramovich, saying the oligarch violated strict export regulations linked to Russia’s invasion.
Israel’s government teeters again
Israel’s fragile coalition government once again edged closer to collapse after its Parliament voted against applying Israeli civilian law to Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank.
The decision undermined the two-tier legal system that distinguishes between Israelis and Palestinians in most of the territory and that is often at the heart of accusations that Israel operates an apartheidlike system in the West Bank.
Technically a temporary measure, the law — which is distinct from the military law by which Israel generally governs Palestinians living in the same area — has been routinely extended by lawmakers since 1967 and expires at the end of the month. The effort failed by a 58-to-52 vote after Naftali Bennett, Israel’s right-wing prime minister, failed to keep his tenuous coalition in line.
Consequences: If no lawmakers change course, the move could topple the government, throw a political lifeline to Benjamin Netanyahu — the leader of the opposition who lost power last June — and place the governing of West Bank settlements in chaos, legal experts said. Another vote is forthcoming.
THE LATEST NEWS
Other Big Stories
A movement to restore democracy in Myanmar has evolved into deadly warfare between the country’s ruthless military and an underpowered resistance force that has turned to assassinations as its weapon of choice.
In a blow to President Biden, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the Mexican president, said he would not attend the Summit of the Americas after learning that Cuban, Venezuelan and Nicaraguan leaders had not been invited.
Five members of the far-right group the Proud Boys were indicted on charges of seditious conspiracy for their role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Around the World
A British freelance writer for The Guardian and a Brazilian expert on Indigenous peoples have been reported missing in the Amazon rainforest. They were traveling together while the writer was interviewing Indigenous people who monitored the area for illegal miners and fishers.
A British tourist who took pottery shards from an archaeological site was sentenced to 15 years in an Iraqi prison after a Baghdad court convicted him of trying to smuggle the artifacts out of the country.
The U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on a New York law limiting who can carry handguns. Officials worry that gun violence could spike if the law is overturned.
What Else Is Happening
In a new pilot program of more than 3,300 workers across 70 companies, Britain is experimenting with a four-day workweek.
Elon Musk threatened to pull out of his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, accusing the company of withholding data about spam accounts.
The Biden administration announced a pause on new tariffs on the solar industry after importers complained that the levies threatened the adoption of solar energy in the U.S.
A Morning Read
More than a year after they first began arriving in Britain under a new visa program, tens of thousands of people from Hong Kong are settling into their new home. But they still long for the one they left behind.
“You grow up in a place, and you don’t recognize it. It becomes a stranger,” one recent arrival said, reflecting on the changes in Hong Kong as he mixed evaporated milk into steaming tea. “When we think of it, we just want to cry.”
ARTS AND IDEAS
Into the void
Does the picture you see above appear to be moving, growing or expanding? This static image, of a darkness that threatens to swallow up the viewer, has much to teach us about how our brains and eyes see the world.
In a study published last week, psychologists tested this illusion on 50 men and women with normal vision. Using an infrared eye tracker, they found that the greater a participant’s response to the illusion, the stronger the pupil dilation response. About 14 percent of people can’t see the illusion at all.
Your pupils unconsciously adjust to the light in your surroundings, dilating to capture more light in darkness and constricting to prevent overexposure in brightness. When you look at this illusion, the hole is not darkening. But the perception of the hole darkening is enough to make your pupils respond.
The researchers hypothesize that the illusion works because the gradient on the central hole makes it look as if the viewer is entering a dark hole or tunnel, prompting the pupils to dilate.
One hypothesis is that the brain is trying to predict and show us the future in order to perceive the present, a result of the brain’s strategy to navigate an uncertain, ever-changing world. The brain adapts by, say, prompting pupils to dilate when anticipating darkness.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
Try this fragrant green curry glazed tofu.
What to Watch
“Crimes of the Future” is a creepy dispatch from the end of the world, starring Viggo Mortensen and Léa Seydoux.
What to Read
Like all parenting memoirs, “Raising Raffi” is about ideals and expectations crashing into reality.
Now Time to Play
Here’s today’s Mini Crossword and a clue: Full of substance (five letters).
And here’s today’s Wordle and the Spelling Bee.
You can find all our puzzles here.
That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Natasha
P.S. Our new class of newsroom fellows started yesterday. These talented early-career journalists represent 15 U.S. states as well as Britain, Turkey, India and Kenya.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is on the Depp-Heard trial.
You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].