Protests in Israel ahead of key vote
Israeli lawmakers are expected to hold a binding vote today on one part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to overhaul the judiciary. It will come after a weekend of protest and turmoil, and the issue has become a proxy for a broader emotional and even existential battle about the nature of the Israeli state.
Last night, pro-government demonstrators held a rally in Tel Aviv, as those opposed to the judicial overhaul gathered in Jerusalem. A day before, a miles-long column of demonstrators opposed to the reform marched to Jerusalem in searing heat. Some of the tens of thousands of people who participated had walked for days, and some camped outside Parliament.
Still, talks were continuing to seek an 11th-hour compromise over the bill, which aims to limit the ways in which the Supreme Court can overturn government decisions. Netanyahu had an emergency meeting with President Isaac Herzog in a last-minute effort to reach a compromise, according to Herzog’s office. “An agreement must be reached,” Herzog said in a statement.
Emotions running high: Over the weekend, an opposition lawmaker started crying during a speech in Parliament, a former Israeli Air Force chief welled up during a televised panel discussion and a leading doctor broke down during a prime-time interview.
In-depth: The crisis now centers on the legal concept of “reasonableness.”
The military: A group representing military reservists said that about 10,000 Israelis had declared that they would stop showing up for reserve duty if the judicial law were passed, raising fears about Israel’s military readiness.
The military issued an extraordinary public letter calling on reservists to report for duty and warned that “dangerous cracks” in the ranks could present an existential crisis for Israel.
Cambodia’s foregone election
The party of Hun Sen, who has been Cambodia’s prime minister for nearly four decades, declared victory yesterday in parliamentary elections that paved the way for his son’s dynastic rule.
The official results will not be confirmed until today, but the outcome is almost certain. The sole credible opposition party, the Candlelight Party, was disqualified in May by the National Election Commission, which answers to Hun Sen. His party has suppressed the opposition through violence, imprisonment, coup, forced exile and manipulation of the courts.
Hun Sen, 70, has announced that, at some point after the vote, he will hand over the position to his eldest son, Gen. Hun Manet, 45. But Hun Sen said that he would remain a power behind the throne: “Even if I am no longer a prime minister, I will still control politics as the head of the ruling party,” Hun Sen said in June.
At a party meeting last year, he drove the dynastic point home: “I will become father of the prime minister after 2023 and grandfather of the prime minister in the 2030s.” The period will be a risky time as Hun Sen loosens his grip on power, opening the way for possible infighting and internal upheavals.
Ukraine’s halting counteroffensive
My colleagues spent a month reporting on Ukraine’s fight to advance. They found the fighting mostly stalemated and Ukraine facing an array of obstacles — weary soldiers, unreliable munitions — against a determined foe.
Despite Ukraine’s adaptations, the country has made marginal progress in its ability to coordinate directly between troops. As casualties mount, soldiers in the trenches are often older and have less training. Ammunition is in short supply, and communications are precarious. Many countries gave Ukraine munitions, but accuracy varies wildly between the various shells.
Quotable: “We’re trading our people for their people, and they have more people and equipment,” said one Ukrainian commander.
Can Japan make coal cleaner?
The most advanced economies have committed to phasing out coal over the next seven years. But Japan stands alone in insisting it can make coal less damaging to the planet.
Now, a Japanese company says it can burn coal more cleanly by blending it with ammonia, which does not emit carbon dioxide when burned. The idea was conceived and heavily subsidized by Japan’s government, which hopes to export the technology to its neighbors in Asia.
But critics say the use of ammonia merely extends Japan’s reliance on fossil fuels — and could potentially increase carbon emissions. Burning ammonia can also produce nitrogen oxide, which is toxic to humans and is another emission to be managed.
Context: Japan turned to coal plants to compensate for shutting down its nuclear plants after the Fukushima disaster in 2011. That move extinguished 30 percent of the nation’s electricity supply overnight.
What to Cook
Soy-butter corn ramen needs just five ingredients.
What to Watch
“Return to Dust,” Li Ruijun’s newest feature, is a touching portrait of love and resiliency that doubles as a critique of China’s ruling class.
Now Time to Play
Play the Mini Crossword, and a clue: Creator of Eeyore and Piglet (five letters).
Correction: On Friday, a photo caption misidentified a New Zealand soccer player. The player was Jacqui Hand, not Hannah Wilkinson.