A Northern Ireland Brexit deal
Britain and the E.U. struck a landmark agreement yesterday that would end a dispute over post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland. The agreement, known as the Windsor Framework, may help to avert a trade war and smooth relations between Britain and the E.U., as well as improve ties between Britain and the U.S.
Domestically, the deal is an acute risk for Rishi Sunak, the British prime minister, opening him up to a backlash from Brexit hard-liners in his Conservative Party and the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland, which has campaigned to rewrite the trade rules rather than simply modify them and which said, after the agreement, that “key issues of concern” remained.
President Biden had pressed Sunak to negotiate an end to the impasse with Brussels. The deal could smooth the way for a visit by the president to London and Belfast, Northern Ireland’s capital, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, which ended the decades of bloodshed known as the Troubles.
Details: The deal includes a “green lane” with little bureaucracy for goods traveling from Britain to Northern Ireland that are destined to stay there; a provision allowing the British Parliament to set certain taxes for Northern Ireland; and an “emergency brake” enabling the elected assembly in Belfast to prevent new E.U. laws on goods from being applied there.
Background: Northern Ireland’s trade rules have become a totemic issue for Brexiteers and unionists because of its unique status: It is part of the U.K. but shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland, a member of the E.U. and its single market.
More aid to bolster Ukraine
Top American officials will visit Eastern Europe this week as the U.S. redoubles its efforts to prop up the Ukrainian economy and to try to curb the Kremlin’s ability to skirt Western sanctions. Together, they underscore the Biden administration’s commitment to blocking Moscow’s ambitions in Ukraine as the war enters its second year.
Janet Yellen, the Treasury secretary, paid a surprise visit yesterday to Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, and Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, is set to arrive tomorrow in Kazakhstan, the heart of what Moscow considers its sphere of influence in Central Asia. None of the nations in that region voted yes last week on the U.N. resolution calling for Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine.
In Ukraine, which reported 14 Russian drone attacks overnight, Yellen announced the transfer of $1.25 billion in economic aid to help pay for schools, firefighters and doctors. It is the first installment of a $45 billion aid package approved by Congress in December. “America will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” she said.
Context: The diplomatic moves come as China prepares to welcome Aleksandr Lukashenko, the president of Belarus and a staunch ally of Russia, for a three-day visit. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has spent the past year seeking to deepen ties with China, which the U.S. has said will provide more overt assistance to Moscow.
Related: The Russian military is relying on tens of thousands of inexperienced conscripts to carry out its latest offensive, which has barely budged over the last month.
Turmoil and revenge attacks in the West Bank
After a Palestinian gunman killed two Israeli settlers on Sunday in the occupied West Bank, mobs from nearby Israeli settlements responded with ferocity: That night, settlers burned and vandalized at least 200 buildings in four Palestinian villages, more than 100 Palestinians were reported injured, and at least one Palestinian was killed, according to Israeli rights groups and Palestinian officials.
Hundreds of settlers, some of them armed with knives and guns, set ablaze hundreds of cars and homes in the five-hour rampage. It was one of the most intense episodes of settler-led violence in memory, putting increased pressure on Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, whose right-wing government includes settlers among its ministers.
The extraordinary spasm of violence came in an already deadly year. About 60 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since the start of 2023, mainly in gun battles between Palestinian armed groups and Israeli soldiers, and at least 13 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Political response: “I ask — even when the blood is boiling — not to take the law into one’s hands,” Netanyahu said. His words were ignored not just by the settlers but also by some lawmakers from his own coalition, one of whom said after the arson attacks, “I want to see that place in flames, metaphorically.”
Warning signs: Armed Palestinian groups warned of further attacks; protesters in the Gaza Strip held demonstrations at the edge of the enclave, risking confrontations with Israeli soldiers; and settler activists called for Israelis to gather at friction points in the West Bank after the funerals of the two settlers, who were brothers.
THE LATEST NEWS
Around the World
China accused the U.S. of politicizing the coronavirus pandemic after the U.S. Energy Department concluded that the virus had emerged from a lab in Wuhan, China.
Arrivals of migrants in Europe have returned to levels last seen in 2017. European officials have sought to outsource the issue, at great expense, to faraway countries with worrisome human rights records.
The Indian authorities arrested a leader of the opposition Aam Aadmi Party on suspicion of corruption. Supporters said the arrest was politically motivated.
Hundreds in Afghanistan have died in plunging temperatures, and malnutrition has been rampant as the Taliban government’s ban on female workers has hampered international aid.
Other Big Stories
In a deposition, Rupert Murdoch, the head of the media empire that owns Fox News, acknowledged that network hosts had endorsed the false narrative that the election in 2020 was stolen from Donald Trump.
Another quake, measuring 5.2 in magnitude, struck Turkey, shaking parts of the same area that was devastated by previous quakes.
The Biden administration announced a crackdown on the labor exploitation of migrant children. Read The Times’s investigation into the practice.
What Else Is Happening
The skies of Britain and Ireland were painted in vibrant shades Sunday night as the Northern Lights were visible as far as south as Kent and Cornwall.
Japan’s first e-sports high school, which mixes class work with intensive video game training, may serve as a model for getting chronically absent students back in school.
Hong Kong will end its mask mandate, one of the last in the world, starting tomorrow.
A Morning Read
Meet the runner who leads every pack and then vanishes: Erik Sowinski is a professional pacer, a talented runner who is in high demand on starting lines and nowhere to be found at the finish.
SPORTS NEWS FROM THE ATHLETIC
Why the future looks bright for Manchester United: Players are buying into a strict culture, which has culminated in United’s first trophy in six years, as well as a chance to compete near the top of the Premier League.
How bad will it be for Barcelona this year? Could Sunday’s defeat at Almeria be the start of another slump for Barcelona? “We missed a golden opportunity,” said its exasperated manager.
Arsenal knocked out of the Women’s F.A. Cup: Another poor display in the backfield has cost Arsenal Women its place in the F.A. Cup. The latest performance is part of a worrying trend.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Fashion can’t get enough of the Bloomsbury Group
In 1920, Virginia Woolf invited T.S. Eliot to visit her home in Rodmell, England. “Please bring no clothes,” she wrote. “We live in a state of the greatest simplicity.”
Today, the Bloomsbury Group, a constellation of British artists and intellectuals that includes Woolf, E.M. Forster and Vanessa Bell, is often associated with its members’ personal aesthetics. Woolf’s statement captures their spirit — one that goes far beyond any “look.”
The fashion world is having a Bloomsbury moment. Dior Men’s spring 2023 show last June included sweaters printed with Post-Impressionist works by the early 20th-century painter Duncan Grant, and Fendi’s spring 2021 haute couture show drew inspiration from Woolf’s 1928 gender-transgressive novel, “Orlando.”
“As a visual person, and as someone who enjoys the romanticism of literature,” said Steven Stokey-Daley of the men’s wear line S.S. Daley, “I find Bloomsbury so exciting to unpick and explore.”
For more: The weirdest, wildest and most wearable moments from the fall 2023 shows.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
Add brightness to your day with this airy lemon pudding.
What to Read
The Times’s romance columnist recommends books about love.
In “Enchantment,” Katharine May describes how a simple series of actions made her feel alive again.
Now Time to Play
Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: The “p” of m.p.g. (three 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. Thanks for joining me. — Natasha
P.S. Dan Victor, a reporter for The Times who has covered the love story behind Wordle, the lettuce that outlasted Liz Truss and the M&M culture wars, is joining the Live team as an editor.
The latest episode of the “The Daily” is on an election denialism lawsuit against Fox News.
You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].
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