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We’re covering a neck-and-neck race in Israel, Trump’s big challenge in dealing with Iran and a kind of lightning bolt you’ve probably never seen.
A murky outcome is a setback for Netanyahu
Israel’s election remained too close to call, but Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party appeared to come out ahead of Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative Likud.
The murky outcome itself was humiliating to the prime minister, who forced a do-over election after failing to assemble a coalition in May.
Clearer results are expected to trickle in soon. The winner could end up being decided not by the final vote count but by coalition talks.
Starkly different Israels: Mr. Netanyahu wanted to form a coalition with right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties, who promised immunity in his pledges to annex part of the West Bank. Mr. Gantz promised a secular government.
Go deeper: The election has brought to a head the tension between secular and religious Israelis.
But intelligence officials are hinting, in background conversations, that the evidence implicating Iran is too sensitive to make public. And this will make it hard to persuade already distant allies to act.
The battle: After the Iraq war, it would be hard for any American president to persuade the American public and U.S. allies to take his word that it is time to risk another war in the Middle East, barring incontrovertible evidence that could be made public.
Rare show of defiance from Russian celebrities
A growing number of Russian entertainers are voicing support for an actor who they say was wrongfully imprisoned after an anti-Kremlin rally, despite clear evidence in his favor.
They posted video statements on social media supporting the defendant, Pavel Ustinov, as state media largely ignored the case.
Risks: Calling out injustice in the legal system is unusual in Russia. And many speaking out appear in government-supported films.
Context: Mr. Ustinov, a 24-year-old actor, was sentenced to three and a half years for assaulting a police officer while being arrested at a Moscow rally. But a video from the incident shows him walking when four officers in riot gear approach him, push him to the ground and lead him away.
Spain heads to fourth election in four years
The country faces another round of political tumult — yet another election this November — after King Felipe VI announced that the main parties had failed to agree on who should lead the next government.
It underscores how fragmented and polarized Spanish politics have become.
Blame game: After five months of negotiations led nowhere, Pedro Sánchez, the caretaker Socialist prime minister, blamed the other three main parties for failing to endorse him as the government’s leader.
If you have some time, this is worth it
Work: love it and hate it
We’ve created an interactive that includes (literal) button pushing, true-life confessions and essays exploring our office culture.
Our writers take on a range of topics: the awkward, but essential, art of office chitchat, an analysis of how millennials and Gen Z-ers are going to fix the troubles of the workplace and … poop shame.
We’d love to hear from you: How do you feel about your office’s culture? Do you dread chitchat or does it brighten your day? Email us at [email protected], and your answer may appear in a future newsletter.
Here’s what else is happening
Indonesia fires: Officials say that most of the thousands of fires in Borneo and Sumatra were set intentionally to clear the land for plantations for palm oil, a lucrative cash crop. A particularly dry season has made the fires some of the worst the country has seen in years.
Afghanistan: Two suicide bomb attacks, one on President Ashraf Ghani’s campaign rally in Parwan Province and another in Kabul, killed dozens of people less than two weeks before elections. Both bombings were claimed by the Taliban, delivering on its warnings that President Trump’s cancellation of peace talks would lead to an escalation of violence.
Ecuador: Officials are investigating a sprawling data breach that made available online the personal data of up to 20 million people, more than the country’s population. It was unclear whether anyone had gained access to the data when it was vulnerable.
Myanmar: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the civilian leader and Nobel laureate once extolled as a champion of democracy, could face prosecution for crimes against humanity for military attacks against the Rohingya Muslims and other minority groups.
Snapshot: Above, a superbolt striking the sea near Fort St. Elmo in Valletta, Malta. These phenomena can be thousands of times more energetic than normal lightning. But don’t worry — you’re very unlikely to get struck by one.
Cokie Roberts: The renowned journalist and commentator for ABC News and NPR died of breast cancer complications at 75. She was a three-time Emmy winner and had many other accolades, but above all was remembered for her kindness.
Champions League: Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona emerged with a scoreless draw. For Barcelona, its continued dependence on Lionel Messi is both a valuable point and a worrying sign. Today, watch Real Madrid at Paris St.-Germain — two clubs that have completely lost their way, wrote our correspondent in the On Soccer newsletter.
London Fashion Week: “The point of fashion,” writes our chief fashion critic, “is to crystallize identity.” But for Britons enmeshed in a national identity crisis, that becomes a complicated mandate. In this year’s shows, it came through in symbolism — protective silhouettes in which to take refuge, like tents, and military-inspired looks.
What we’re reading: This HuffPost piece. Our Magazine writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner writes: “I loved this piece by Emily Peck on the revolutionary way that ‘Succession’ treats women, which is as people who keep their clothing on. I love Emily, and on Monday mornings, I listen to her and Felix Salmon on their special, ‘Succession’-focused episodes off the Slate Money podcast. It’s the balm I require after Sunday nights.”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: Citrusy roast chicken with pears and figs is simple enough for weeknights and festive enough for guests.
Watch: “Midnight Traveler” is an up-close and personal documentary about a refugee family’s search for safety. At its best, writes our film critic, it reminds you that those of us with homes make choices every day that affect the lives of others.
Go: Facing a birthday alone, our 52 Places traveler found an antidote to loneliness on Orcas Island off the coast of Washington State, where you can come face to face with the wild beauty of whales.
Smarter Living: It’s time to rethink when to upgrade your phone. For those who want the latest features, it’s long been accepted practice to get a new model every two years. But as advances in smartphones grow more incremental, our tech columnist recommends a new rule: If your phone is less than five years old, there’s no rush to buy.
If you have an older phone, here’s some advice on how to extend its life.
And now for the Back Story on …
Straw hat troubles
Nearly 100 years ago, a fashion faux pas led to days of bedlam across New York City.
The Straw Hat Riot emerged from the idea that straw hats should not be worn very far into September. (Men usually wore hats outdoors in those days, and straw was popular for summer.)
Every year after the cutoff (which moved around a bit), men would lose their hats to rowdies, so newspapers printed reminders. On Sept. 13, 1922, with the date still two days away, some youth gangs went further. They knocked straw hats off men’s heads, stomping on them and even starting “straw hat bonfires.”
For days, the mobs “terrorized whole blocks,” The Times wrote. Some armed themselves with sticks with nails at the end to snatch hats. Others stood along train tracks and swiped hats off passing riders. There were injuries and arrests before the trouble died down.
Three years later, President Calvin Coolidge essentially put an end to the cutoff rule by going for a mid-September stroll in the “tabooed headgear.”
That’s it for this briefing. Have a supercharged day.
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected].
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the attack on Saudi oil facilities.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: Claus subordinates (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times won three awards at last weekend’s Online News Association conference, for an interactive examination of the legacy of the lynching of Emmett Till; a visual investigation of the conflict in Gaza; and “The Privacy Project” from our Opinion section.