Your Monday Briefing - The New York Times

Ukraine strikes back in the south Ukrainian soldiers yesterday launched a counteroffensive in Kherson, the key city that Russia has use...


Ukrainian soldiers yesterday launched a counteroffensive in Kherson, the key city that Russia has used as a staging base for its operations in southern Ukraine. Ukrainian forces attempted to delay Russian efforts to conquer and cut off a strategic swath of eastern Ukraine. Follow the latest war updates.

The announcement of the Ukrainian counter-offensive – “Wait, Kherson, we are coming!” the military said yesterday morning on Twitter – signaled what could turn out to be a new chapter in a war that has geopolitical, economic and humanitarian significance.

In recent weeks, Russian forces, stretched and suffering heavy casualties as they gained ground in the eastern Donbass region, have focused their efforts on fortifying defensive positions in the south. It was not clear if they were prepared for the Ukrainian counterattack.

Morale Building: Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, yesterday visited the northeast of the country, near Kharkiv, where he praised the military forces for their success in repelling the Russians from the outskirts of the city. Kharkiv, which endured months of shelling that killed scores of civilians and forced tens of thousands to flee, was hit again hours after it left.

In other wartime news:


President Biden traveled to Uvalde, Texas, with First Lady Jill Biden to visit a memorial outside Robb Elementary School where 19 children and two teachers were gunned down last week.

Less than two weeks earlier, the couple observed a minute’s silence near the site of a racist massacre at a Buffalo supermarket. The frequency of shootings has spurred a new round of negotiations on gun control measures in Congress, and some liberal states, including New York and California, are poised to pass stricter gun control laws.

The Department of Justice said yesterday that he would examine the response of law enforcement to the mass shooting in Uvalde. The prolonged response came despite some children inside classrooms calling 911 for help, raising questions about whether lives could have been saved if authorities had acted sooner.

Bipartisan approach: After Uvalde, Republicans said they wanted to do something, at least on school safety and mental health issues. Democrats are at least demanding tougher background checks at gun shows and internet gun bazaars. Many Democrats say they think Congress should go even further.


Two anti-establishment candidates, Gustavo Petro, a leftist, and Rodolfo Hernández, a right-wing populist, captured the top two spots in the Colombian presidential election yesterday, dealing a blow to the dominant conservative political class. The two will face off in a runoff election on June 19.

The election promises to be one of the most important in the country’s history. At stake: the country’s economic model, democratic integrity and the livelihoods of millions of people who have been pushed into poverty. Colombia has long been the United States’ strongest ally in the region: Petro has called for a reset of bilateral relations, including a review of a trade deal.

A win for Petro would mark a watershed moment for one of Latin America’s most politically conservative companies. His rise reflects not only a leftward shift across Latin America, but also an anti-incumbent fervor that has deepened as the pandemic has deepened poverty and inequality.

By the numbers: With more than 99% of the ballots counted on Sunday evening, Petro obtained more than 40% of the votes. Hernández secured more than 28%, an unexpected victory in second place ahead of establishment conservative candidate Federico Gutiérrez, who had voted in second place.

It’s easy to forget today that payphones were once essential to the daily lives of New Yorkers; in 1978, a telephone booth at Penn Station in New York City was the busiest in the United States, with an average pickup rate of 5,500 times per month.

As the effort to remove the last examples from the streets of New York wrapped up this week, Times reporters scoured our archives for stories about and images of the humble but ubiquitous phone booth. A 1966 classic, about two stolen chimpanzees, begin: “Tarzan and Jane were found in a Brooklyn phone booth early yesterday.”

The coming months are shaping up to be the most normal summer in years, although things aren’t quite back to normal.

Perhaps you are considering a summer break. Don’t assume that old travel patterns will necessarily continue. Flights can be harder than you remember, and beach houses can be harder to find in some places and easier in others.

Still deciding where to go? The Times runs a series – “A Summer of Cycling” – with reports on VancouverBritish Columbia; Vermont; Alaska; Hawaii; a journey of 150 miles from Italy to Croatia; and seven cities of the world how fun it is to explore by bike.

If you are staying at home, here are some recommendations for barbecue and cooking recipes which can be prepared in advance. This way you don’t have to work in the kitchen while everyone is having fun. The ultimate make-ahead meal is a picnic, and our recipe columnist David Tanis has lots of advice.

And if all you really want to do is lose yourself in a great movie or wonderful book, we’ve got you covered. Here is the Times list of 101 most interesting movies of the season and the guide from our colleagues in the Books department for summer reading. They have 88 pounds to carry you this season, including Detective novels, historical fiction, romance and cookbooks.

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