Your Monday Briefing

A deadly plane crash in the Philippines.


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Good morning. We’re covering a fatal plane crash in the Philippines, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and a fight against the Delta variant in Australia.


The scene of the crash in the Philippines on Sunday.Credit…Joint Task Force Sulu

A deadly Philippines plane crash

A military plane in the Philippines crashed on Sunday, with 96 soldiers and crew on board.

The plane missed a runway while trying to land on the island of Jolo. At least 45 people died, including three civilians on the ground. Officials fear the death toll will continue to climb.

The soldiers were heading to Jolo to bolster the military’s operations against Abu Sayyaf, a small Islamist group that the Philippine government considers a terrorist organization.

Context: The Philippine military has been trying to modernize its aging fleet. The plane that crashed first flew in 1988, and it was used by the United States Air Force until the Philippines bought it in January. Three helicopters have also crashed this year.


An American soldier in 2019 at the Bagram Air Base.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

U.S. ends major Afghanistan operations

American troops and their Western allies have left the base at the center of the sprawling war in Afghanistan, effectively ending major U.S. military operations there after nearly two decades.

A contingent of 650 troops will remain to protect the American Embassy in Kabul. The top U.S. commander, Gen. Austin Miller, will remain for “at least a couple more weeks,” a Pentagon spokesman said, as President Biden signals to Afghans that the U.S. is not abandoning them.

The withdrawal on Thursday happened with little fanfare and no public ceremony, and in an atmosphere of grave concern over the Afghan security forces’ ability to hold off Taliban advances across the country.

Some U.S. intelligence estimates predict that the Afghan government could soon fall to the Taliban, who are inching closer to Kabul after having taken about a quarter of the country’s districts in the past two months. President Ashraf Ghani and his aides have become increasingly insular, and the city is vibrating with unease and trepidation.

Quotable: “There’s no hope for the future,” said Zubair Ahmad, 23, who runs a grocery store in Kabul. “Afghans are leaving the country. I don’t know whether I am going to be safe 10 minutes from now.”

Relics: Just a mile from Bagram Air Base, shops sell items left over from two decades of fighting. Each one tells a story.


A line at a vaccination center in Sydney, Australia, on Thursday.Credit…Jenny Evans/Getty Images

Australia faces the Delta variant

The Delta variant is spreading through Australia, a challenge to the country’s pandemic exceptionalism. Until now, its strict “Covid zero” policies have succeeded: No one has died from the virus in 2021.

But less than 8 percent of Australians are fully vaccinated and the caseload, now at around 200, grows every day. Half of the country’s 25 million people have been ordered to stay home. On Friday, the country doubled down on travel restrictions and announced that the trickle of a few thousand international arrivals allowed each week (and quarantined) would be cut by half.

For every nation pursuing a Covid-zero approach, among them China and New Zealand, it amounts to a warning: Absent blanket vaccinations, a pandemic fortress cannot hold without ever more painful restrictions.

Quotable: “This is the beginning of the end of Covid zero,” said Catherine Bennett, the chair of epidemiology at Deakin University in Melbourne. “We may be able to get it under control this time, but it’s just going to be harder and harder.”

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

President Biden pressed ahead with a celebration of “independence from the virus” on July 4, even though the country did not quite meet his self-imposed goal of a 70 percent partial vaccination rate. Travel peaked, and the White House planned a 1,000-person party.

Iran’s president warned of a potential fifth wave, as the Delta variant spreads.

Brazilians, already angry over the slow pace of vaccine acquisition, took to the streets to protest a vaccine corruption scandal.

Indian police are investigating whether scammers gave out thousands of shots of salt water instead of Covid-19 vaccines.



Credit…Satoru Watanabe, via Associated Press

At least 19 people are missing in Japan after heavy rainfall caused a mudslide in Atami, above, a coastal town about 60 miles southwest of Tokyo.

Tigrayan forces paraded captured Ethiopian solders through the regional capital, Mekelle, as crowds cheered. Here are photos from our reporters and an interview with Tigray’s leader.

Pope Francis, 84, will have colon surgery in his first hospital admittance since becoming pope in 2013.

A cyberattack affected businesses across the world, including one of Sweden’s largest grocery chains.

Officials in Surfside, Fla., are rushing to demolish what remains of the collapsed Champlain Towers South condominium before a tropical storm makes landfall. 121 people are still missing.

China News

China forced Didi, the country’s leading ride-hailing app, off app stores, citing cybersecurity issues.

French prosecutors are investigating whether international fashion companies like Zara and Uniqlo have used Uyghurs for forced labor in Xinjiang.

U.S. researchers identified 119 new intercontinental ballistic missile silos under construction on the edge of the Gobi Desert.

Schools are inculcating officials in Xi Jinping Thought as the country shifts in a more authoritarian direction.

Sports News


Noah Lyles, a U.S. sprinter, wore a black glove and raised his fist when he was introduced before an Olympic trials race.Credit…Ashley Landis/Associated Press

The International Olympic Committee changed its policy to allow protests by athletes — but not during events, nor while on the podium for medal ceremonies, in the athletes’ village or at the opening and closing ceremonies.

ESPN is aflame in controversy after a white reporter suggested that a Black colleague had gotten an assignment because of her race.

A Malaysian soccer star has found political asylum in Japan after defying the junta at a match.

Check out these amazing photos of the U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials.

A Morning Read


Luo Huazhong popularized the idea of “lying flat.”Credit…Qilai Shen for The New York Times

Some Chinese millennials are chilling, a nascent countercultural backlash against the country’s hypercompetitive work culture. Now, China is suppressing online discussion of “lying flat,” which it views as a direct affront to the country’s long-held prosperity narrative.


What waiting looks like

Adam Ferguson, a photographer, worked with migrants in Mexico to create a series of self-portraits as they waited to cross the border into the United States.

Ferguson mounted an analog, medium-format camera onto a tripod with a cable release and then stepped back. The migrants themselves chose the moment to press the button, becoming both subject and photographer.

Often, photographs of vulnerable people are taken without their consent or knowledge. In these, they convey a piece of their journey in their own way.

“I’d seen so many photos of poor, marginalized migrants scrambling across the river in makeshift watercraft, crying and being detained,” Ferguson told The Times. “I wanted to make a set of photos of people we so often see as victims and make them more human and relatable.”


What to Cook


Credit…Christopher Simpson for The New York Times

Vegetables add crisp, fresh texture to this cold noodle salad with spicy peanut sauce.

What to Watch

“Ted Lasso” and “Summer of Soul (… Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” are among our streaming picks for July.

What to Read

The Paper Palace,” by Miranda Cowley Heller, is ripe with eloquent descriptions of longing and tradition on Cape Cod.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.

And here is today’s Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Amelia

P.S. Haley Willis from our Visual Investigations team joined CBS to discuss our 40-minute report compiling video on the Capitol riot.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about the debate over critical race theory. On the latest episode of “The Argument,” a debate over who has power in American society.

You can reach Amelia and the team at

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