Your Tuesday Briefing – The New York Times

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Rishi Sunak has prevailed in a chaotic three-day race to become leader of Britain’s Conservative Party and, in turn, the country’s prime minister. His only remaining opponent, Penny Mordaunt, withdrew after failing to reach the threshold of 100 nominating votes from Conservative lawmakers.

Sunak, a former chancellor of the Exchequer, is expected to pull Britain back to more mainstream policies after a failed experiment by his predecessor, Liz Truss, in trickle-down economics, which rattled financial markets. He is also likely to offer a stark contrast to the flamboyant style and erratic behavior of Boris Johnson, his former boss.

The son of Indian immigrants, Sunak will be the first person of color and the first Hindu to be prime minister. At 42, he will be the youngest British prime minister in two centuries. He and his wife are among the wealthiest people in Britain, with a net worth greater than that of Queen Elizabeth II, The Washington Post writes.

Challenges: At the helm of a badly fractured Conservative Party, Sunak will confront the gravest economic crisis in Britain in a generation. Healing the rifts in the party, and leading the country through the economic crosswinds of the months to come, will require prodigious political skills.

Milestone: Sunak’s ascent is a significant step for Britain’s Indian diaspora. But for some his immense wealth has made him difficult to relate to. “I think it’s great that we have a person of color as the prime minister,” said one young person. But, she added, “he’s a rich, upper-class man, so he can’t speak for the entire community in that way.”

Russian troops have left a trail of wreckage and destruction across the hundreds of towns and villages they recently vacated in the Kharkiv region of eastern Ukraine. For the few residents who have traveled back into the war zone to check on their properties, the scale of the destruction has been staggering.

In the village of Kamianka, which was on a front line between Russian and Ukrainian forces, not a single building escaped damage. Russian troops retreated last month, leaving the area littered with unused shells and mines. Kamianka’s wooden church has been burned to the ground, and its school has gaping holes in its walls.

By the end of September, about 120,000 houses and 16,000 apartment buildings across Ukraine had been damaged or destroyed, according to the Kyiv School of Economics, which estimated overall physical damage at $127 billion. The World Bank, the E.U. and the Ukrainian government have estimated recovery costs at about $350 billion.

Rescue mission: For the Ukrainian authorities coming in to pick up the pieces and restore the local government in Kamianka, the task is immense and dangerous. Ukrainian troops and civilians have sustained casualties from mines, and Russian jets and artillery continue to bombard towns after withdrawing from them.

More news from the war:

As the U.S. midterm elections near, the Democrats’ majority in the House is in jeopardy of falling under the weight of public fears about crime and inflation, along with heavy Republican campaign spending and the traditional midterm drag on a president’s party in Congress. Democrats must win 218 districts to maintain control of the House, a feat that may be out of reach.

The party has struggled to find a closing message on the economy. Since midsummer, when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Democrats had hoped that emphasizing abortion rights could carry them to victory. Now, some Democrats are pushing for a new message that acknowledges the pain of inflation.

In other news from U.S. politics:

The #MeToo movement led to increased diversity and representation in the entertainment industry, but now there is worry that Hollywood has begun to regress.

“For three years, we hired nothing but women and people of color,” said one male film executive. But, increasingly, some powerful producers and agents have started to question the commercial viability of inclusion-minded films and shows.

The comic actor Leslie Jordan, famous for his role on “Will & Grace” and more recently for his viral videos during the coronavirus pandemic, died after a car crash in Hollywood. He was 67.

Previewing the Women’s World Cup: With the 32 teams for 2023 mostly determined, we can truly start looking forward to next summer. Group of death? Best group stage match? Top players to watch? We’ve got it all.

Movement in Manchester? If Cristiano Ronaldo rejects a reduced role and presses to leave again, manager Erik ten Hag would allow him to — once again — explore finding a new club. But the coach would still rather the superstar be flexible and rejoin the team.

Gio Reyna’s return is a reminder for Borussia Dortmund to enjoy the good times: The USMNT attacker, back for the first time since aggravating a 14-month hamstring injury in April, scored and fell to the ground like a five-set winner in a Grand Slam tournament — but more in relief than jubilation.

In recent months, climate activists in Europe have glued themselves to paintings by Picasso and Botticelli and thrown mashed potatoes on a Monet and tomato soup on a Van Gogh. In a video, Phoebe Plummer, 21, who threw the soup, asked: “What is worth more: art or life?”

The paintings — which were protected by glass — weren’t damaged by the activists. But the fame of the works seems to have helped garner more publicity and to start a conversation online. And to those who ask how defacing famous art helps to address climate change, Plummer has an answer: It’s to direct attention “to the questions that matter.”

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Natasha

P.S. Vox named Zeynep Tufekci, a Times Opinion columnist, to its inaugural list of 50 people working to make the future better.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is on election denialism in the U.S.

You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].


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