Your Thursday Briefing

Tina Turner, 1939-2023

The singer Tina Turner, an unforgettable live performer and one of the most successful recording artists of all time, has died at 83 at her home in Switzerland, near Zurich. The cause of her death was not announced; she had a stroke in recent years and was known to be struggling with a kidney disease and other illnesses.

Turner embarked on her half-century career in the late 1950s, while still attending high school, when she began singing with Ike Turner and his band, the Kings of Rhythm. She soon became the group’s star attraction — and Turner’s wife — and the ensemble was renamed the Ike and Tina Turner Revue.

But Ike Turner was abusive, and after she escaped the marriage in her 30s, her career faltered. Her solo album “Private Dancer,” released in 1984, returned her to the spotlight — and lifted her into the pop stratosphere. The album would go on to sell five million copies and ignite a career that established her as a worldwide phenomenon.

In her own words: “My music doesn’t sound dated; it’s still standing strong,” she said in 2008. “Like me.”

Simply the best: “She was truly an enormously talented performer and singer,” Mick Jagger wrote on Instagram. “She was inspiring, warm, funny and generous. She helped me so much when I was young and I will never forget her.” Read other tributes.

For more: See Turner’s life in photos, and listen to a playlist of 11 essential tracks.

Intelligence on Kremlin drone attack

A drone attack on the Kremlin in Moscow on May 3 was most likely orchestrated by one of Ukraine’s special military or intelligence units, according to U.S. officials. But they said they did not know which unit carried out the attack, and it was unclear whether President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine or his top officials were aware of the operation.

U.S. intelligence agencies reached their preliminary assessment in part through intercepted communications in which Russian officials blamed Ukraine and through other communications in which Ukrainian officials said they believed their country was responsible for the attack.

It caused little damage but appeared to be part of a series of covert operations that have disquieted U.S. officials. The Biden administration is concerned about the risk that Russia will blame the U.S. for these actions and retaliate by expanding the war beyond Ukraine.

The latest: Fresh from leading a military incursion into Russian territory, commanders of anti-Kremlin armed groups taunted the Russian Army for its slow response and threatened Moscow with more raids to come.

In other news from the war:

China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, vowed that Chinese-Russian cooperation would reach a “higher level” during talks with Russia’s prime minister in Beijing.

The leader of Russia’s largest mercenary force warned that the country faced further setbacks unless its ruling elite took drastic, and likely unpopular, measures to win the war.

After capturing Bakhmut, Ukraine, Russian forces appear spent, military analysts say, and further advances seem out of reach, for now.

Ron DeSantis’s big moment goes awry

Ron DeSantis’s long-awaited official entry into the 2024 presidential campaign went haywire at its start last night during a glitch-filled livestream over Twitter that was marred by technical problems and dead air. The audio cut in and out amid talk of “melting the servers,” hot mic whispering and on-the-spot troubleshooting.

Despite the problems, DeSantis, the combative 44-year-old Republican governor of Florida who has championed conservative causes and thrown a yearslong flurry of punches at America’s left, provides Donald Trump the most formidable Republican rival he has faced since his ascent in 2016.

His candidacy comes at a pivotal moment for the Republican Party, which must choose between aligning once more behind Mr. Trump — who lost in 2020 and continues to rage falsely about a stolen election — or uniting around a new challenger to take on President Biden.

Response: The extended social media hiccup — as more than 500,000 people were waiting — was gleefully cheered on the platform itself. Donald Trump Jr. wrote a single word: “#DeSaster.” President Biden posted a donation button to his re-election campaign with the words, “This link works.”

Analysis: “DeSantis has long been seen as the candidate for Republicans who want Trumpism without the chaos,” said Trip Gabriel, who covers politics for The Times. “Although DeSantis is Trump’s closest rival — really, the only serious one for now — he has fallen about 30 points behind Trump in polls of Republicans since the start of the year.”


Around the World

A Chinese government hacking group infiltrated telecommunications systems in Guam, Microsoft said. The island is a crucial military base for the U.S. in the Pacific.

Typhoon Mawar is expected to head toward the Philippines over the next few days after pounding Guam with high winds and knocking out power.

One year after one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history, the families of the victims in Uvalde, Texas, are grappling with a host of questions.

France’s so-called ban on short domestic flights has resulted in three routes being cut.

A 95-year-old woman in Australia died after a police officer used a stun gun on her last week.

Other Big Stories

Scientists in Switzerland restored a paralyzed man’s ability to walk using spine and brain implants.

China has made arts and culture a central arena for ideological crackdowns, demanding that artists align their creative ambitions with Chinese Communist Party goals.

Britain’s inflation rate dropped last month to its lowest level in more than a year.

Shares in the Adani Group rose after a panel said that an investigation in India into the conglomerate’s finances had gone nowhere.

Animal News

A group of orcas has been ramming into boats off Southern Europe, sinking three and disrupting dozens of others.

Footage of a kiwi in Miami being petted by zoo visitors under fluorescent lights has caused an outcry in New Zealand.

The spiny mouse is widely known and commonly used in many lab experiments. But its body is full of secrets.

A Morning Read

To recline or not to recline? A veteran flight attendant lists her airline etiquette rules, which aim to strike a balance between reasonable comfort and thoughtfulness to fellow passengers.


Is Wrexham welcome in the U.S.?: Wrexham’s rapid rise in popularity is undeniable, but this summer it will be quantified in dollars and cents.

Myth-busting the best stories of the Premier League season: An evaluation of the most compelling narratives to see which were justified and which weren’t.

The most scrutinized shirt in soccer: The No. 7 jersey is not being worn at Manchester United at the moment, and whoever uses it next must live up to the hype.

From The Times: “This is definitely bigger.” Andrea Varnier, chief executive of the organizing committee of the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games, talks about managing the most sprawling Games in history.


Happy Africa Day

Today is the 60th anniversary of Africa Day, an occasion to challenge the negative perceptions concerning this rich continent. In some countries, May 25 is a public holiday; in others, it’s a day of concerts, food fairs and fashion. There is no single way to celebrate. Below are a few ideas:

Read from the past: Chinua Achebe changed African literature in 1958 with “Things Fall Apart,” a book that defines modern storytelling. Achebe challenged simplistic representations of Africa in books like Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness.”

Dance in the present: Afrobeats artists have sold out in venues in the U.S., and thumping Amapiano beats have infiltrated dance clubs in Europe. These genres, and the viral social media dances they’ve spawned, showcase a joyful, youthful side of the continent.

Watch the future: If superhero films are a vision of the future, Africa’s future appears to be female. And these heroines are kicking butts and taking names. “Supa Team 4,” the latest blockbuster African animation project, premieres on Netflix this July. The series follows four crime-fighting teenage girls in a futuristic Lusaka, Zambia’s capital. — Lynsey Chutel, a Briefings writer in Johannesburg.


What to Cook

In this salad, roasted potatoes meet creamy feta, briny olives, juicy tomatoes and lots of herbs.

Critic’s Notebook

Over the last few years, TV has offered striking portraits of female rage, Maya Phillips writes.

From Wirecutter

Are $2000 bedsheets worth the money?

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: College courtyard (four letters).

And here are today’s Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

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

P.S. The Times reached a deal for a new contract with the union that represents a majority of the company’s U.S. newsroom employees.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is on the ruined city of Bakhmut.

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

Natasha Frost writes the Europe Morning Briefing and reports on Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific from Melbourne, Australia. @natashamfrost

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