A new prime minister in Israel
Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, yesterday formally ousted Benjamin Netanyahu, whose 12-year reign as prime minister was the longest in the country’s history. The Knesset approved a new coalition government by a single vote: 60 to 59, with one abstention.
He was replaced as prime minister by Naftali Bennett. Often described as further to the right than Netanyahu, Bennett sees no path to Palestinian statehood and believes Israel should annex much of the occupied West Bank. The centrist leader Yair Lapid, who helped broker the deal, will take his place as prime minister in two years.
The eight parties in the coalition, which span the political spectrum, have little in common. They plan to steer clear of issues that would divide them, like the conflict with Palestinians, and promise a domestic focus: patching budgets, fixing roads and rebuilding the fumbling economy.
Tel Aviv dispatch: Ecstatic Israelis descended onto Rabin Square on Sunday for a celebration marking the swearing-in of the new government.
Netanyahu: The 71-year-old has no plans to retire and may still lead the powerful Likud party. In a self-congratulatory speech on Sunday, he listed his accomplishments and swore vengeance, pledging to lead his supporters “in a daily battle against this bad and dangerous left-wing government, and bring it down.”
The G7 summit draws to a close
President Biden and fellow Western leaders concluded the first in-person Group of 7 summit since the pandemic began. They issued a confrontational joint communiqué about Russian and Chinese government behavior, even as they disagreed about other crucial issues.
China: Biden urged fellow leaders to offer hundreds of billions in loans to developing nations, in a direct challenge to Beijing’s Belt-and-Road Initiative and as a “democratic alternative” to China’s lending and investment push.
Climate change: Leaders failed to set an expiration date for burning coal, though they promised to cut collective emissions in half by 2030. The G7 nations together produce about a quarter of the world’s pollution.
Diplomacy: Leaders openly welcomed Biden and the return to international diplomacy after Donald Trump’s disregard for alliances. On Sunday, after the summit, the Bidens headed to Windsor Castle for tea with the queen.
Angela Merkel: The German chancellor, known for her commitment to compromise, joined the world’s top democratic leaders one last time. Her absence will be keenly felt, analysts say.
Biden’s next moves: Biden will meet this week with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, as well as the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Although Biden said relations with Moscow were at a “low point,” he is open to collaborating on humanitarian assistance for Syrians and on Putin’s proposal to mutually extradite cybercriminals.
A drop in U.S. virus testing
Coronavirus testing continues to decline in the U.S. from a mid-January peak of about 1.8 million daily tests, making it more difficult for the country to identify outbreaks and track the spread of highly contagious variants.
Experts in testing and public health attribute the decline to shrinking community spread, because of vaccinations, as well as to pandemic fatigue. But with only 43 percent of Americans fully vaccinated, they said that collecting accurate data remains essential to fighting the virus as states reopen and travel resumes.
Quotable: “We’re not over this,” said Dr. Susan Butler-Wu, of the University of Southern California. “Testing is really critical, because you are flying blind without it.”
In other developments:
Only 60,000 residents of Saudi Arabia will be allowed to attend the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca next month.
Vaccine avoidance stemming from fears about the Sputnik shot is exacerbating a new surge in Russia.
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News From Europe
“These things happen,” the Mexican president said after a train in Mexico City fell 40 feet from an overpass to the traffic below in May, killing 26 people. But a Times investigation found serious flaws in the basic construction of the metro that appear to have led directly to its collapse.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Lilibet: Trendsetter or follower?
Baby names often wax and wane with the decades. Right now, parents are engaged in an arms race for idiosyncratic or ancient names.
Take Lilibet, the name Prince Harry and Meghan chose for their second child. It might sound old-fashioned — it’s Queen Elizabeth II’s childhood nickname — but the name is distinctively modern in its uniqueness, argued Pamela Redmond, a co-author of 10 baby-name books and a founder of Nameberry.
Names that start with L, many of which have warm connotations, are also gaining popularity, as Lily, Lola, Lila and Luna shoot up charts. (Letter groupings are also common: J dominated the 1970s and ’80s with Jennifer and Jason, while K names soared in the 2000s, perhaps thanks to the Kardashians.)
And the names of relatives are becoming more popular, too. “Today people want genuine family names. In the ’80s, there were these fake family names, like Parker and Morgan,” Redmond said, “which sounded like family names but weren’t.”
For more, check out this name quiz from the most recent U.S. election.