Long-simmering issues come to a head in France
Last week, a teenage boy was killed in a fatal traffic stop outside Paris, prompting days of violent protests. Days later, France’s top administrative court upheld a ban on religious symbols that has prevented a French citizen who wears a hijab from playing soccer. The cases are different, but each touches upon deep-seated issues of identity and inclusion in the country.
Nahel Merzouk, the shooting victim, was a French citizen of Algerian and Moroccan heritage. Many minority residents living in the country’s poorer suburbs believe that the police would never have shot a young white man living in an affluent neighborhood of Paris, even if he had a history of minor traffic violations.
And Mama Diakité, the Muslim soccer player, said she felt betrayed by the ruling in a country that bills itself as a defender of rights. “I don’t feel safe because they don’t accept who I am,” she said. In France, simply talking about race is deeply taboo, said Julien Talpin, a sociologist. “It’s kind of a strange position that the best way to solve the problem is to not talk about it,” he said, “but that’s basically the dominant consensus in French society.”
Government response: An official in President Emmanuel Macron’s office last week rejected outright the idea that there were two Frances of different conditions and treatments and dismissed the notion of institutional bias within the French police force. But recent studies have made clear just how prevalent racial discrimination is in France, particularly among the police.
Grueling combat ahead in Ukraine’s counteroffensive
Ukraine’s long-awaited counteroffensive, now well into its fourth week, is moving at a slower pace than expected as Russian troops have dug in, fiercely contesting every mile of the drive into Russian-occupied territory.
Last month, in the battle for the village of Neskuchne, about 70 Ukrainian troops faced off against roughly 150 Russian soldiers, as well as a contingent of Russian inmates-turned-soldiers. It was a far cry from the large, NATO-trained brigades equipped with Western tanks and armored troop transports that military analysts had anticipated.
In the days after Neskuchne’s “liberation,” which was announced on June 10, Ukrainian forces have managed to retake several villages farther south. But since an early string of victories, Ukraine’s offensive has been slow. Ukrainian forces have been mired by staunch Russian defenses, mounting casualties and field after field of land mines.
The latest: The frontline is now roughly five miles from Neskuchne. The distant thud of artillery is a near-constant soundtrack, mixed with the bark of outgoing rounds from firing positions around the village.
Related: China is likely to extend more support to Russia after a short-lived mutiny, as China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, needs Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, in power to help uphold the countries’ shared interests.
Greece’s fatal inaction at sea
More than 600 people died last month when a migrant boat, the Adriana, sank in the Mediterranean. A Times investigation drawing on satellite imagery, radio signals, sealed court documents and more than 20 interviews with survivors and officials found that hundreds of those deaths could have been prevented.
Survivors said that passengers had called for help and that some had tried to jump aboard a tanker that had stopped to give out drinking water. These accounts are at odds with assertions by the Greek authorities, who have said that the migrants did not want to be rescued. As passengers panicked and the ship sank, the Greek government treated the situation like a law enforcement operation, not a rescue.
The Greek authorities have repeatedly said that the Adriana was sailing to Italy — contradicting the evidence that shows definitively that the vessel was drifting in a loop for its last six and a half hours.
A class system: The passengers collectively paid as much as $3.5 million to be smuggled to Italy. Survivors said Pakistanis were at the bottom of the ship; women and children were in the middle; and Syrians, Palestinians and Egyptians were at the top. Out of 350 passengers from Pakistan seeking a better life, only 12 survived. The women and young children went down with the ship.
Context: The E.U. authorities often postpone rescues out of fear that helping will embolden smugglers to send more people on ever-flimsier ships. As European politics have swung to the right, each new arriving ship is a potential political flashpoint.
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From ‘Fleabag’ to ‘Tomb Raider’
Phoebe Waller-Bridge has gone from idiosyncratic, relatively small-scale work like “Fleabag” and “Killing Eve” to big-action projects like James Bond, the new “Indiana Jones” movie and a show based on the Tomb Raider video game. David Marchese, reporting for The Times, asked her why.
“With Bond there is something dangerous, transgressive and incendiary about that character, and it’s the same with Indy,” Waller-Bridge said. “We accept them now as the biggest franchises, but in the kernel of these characters is something naughty and dangerous. They were the rascals of their time, and I feel like Villanelle and Fleabag are rascals.”
She added: “So it was less like, ‘I want to go do this big movie,’ and more, ‘I want to play in the sand pit with these rascals.’”