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Your Monday Briefing – The New York Times

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Russian forces desperately need new soldiers. Already, the government is using what some analysts call a “stealth mobilization” to bring in new recruits without resorting to a politically risky national draft. “Russia has a problem with recruitment and mobilization,” said Kamil Galeev, an analyst specializing in Russia. “It is basically desperate to get more men using any means possible.”

To make up the shortfall, the Kremlin is relying on impoverished ethnic minorities, Ukrainians from the separatist territories, mercenaries and militarized National Guard units to fight the war. Volunteers are promised hefty cash incentives. But analysts have raised doubts about how long Russia can sustain its offensive in Ukraine without a general mobilization.

For now, avoiding a draft for adult males allows the Kremlin to maintain the fiction that the war is a limited “special military operation,” while minimizing the risk of the kind of public backlash that spurred the end of previous Russian military debacles, like the one in Afghanistan and the first Chechen war.

Casualties: The numbers of battlefield dead and wounded are closely held secrets on both sides. The British military recently estimated the number of dead Russians at 25,000, with tens of thousands more wounded, out of an invasion force of 300,000, including support units.

In other news from the war:

  • After seizing control of Luhansk Province, the Russian military has turned its attention to the neighboring province of Donetsk.

  • Brittney Griner, the W.N.B.A. player who has been detained in Russia on drug charges since February, was honored by her fellow players during the league’s All-Star Game in Chicago yesterday.


Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan president, and Ranil Wickremesinghe, the prime minister, are in hiding after huge protests roiled the capital, Colombo, this weekend. Other officials have said the two intend to resign, and it is not clear who is running the country. Whoever takes the reins will be faced by a crisis, analysts said, inheriting a crashed economy and an exhausted and furious public.

Opposition leaders clamored to decipher Rajapaksa’s intentions: whether he would indeed quit or whether his silence is a sign that he is gauging his options for a protracted fight. Discussions on who might succeed him were also taking shape, with the speaker of the Parliament viewed as the likely choice for interim president.

Sri Lanka’s downward spiral has played out against a backdrop of global instability. In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the economic sanctions against Moscow that followed, inflation, high energy prices and food shortages have afflicted much of the world. Even before that, the pandemic had disrupted the supply chain.

Scenes: The British colonial-era building serving as Rajapaksa’s official residence has effectively become a free museum. A stream of visitors have packed into the halls and stairways, and activists have put out calls encouraging people to visit the other top compounds they had overrun: the president’s offices and the prime minister’s residence.


Executives from the American military contractor L3Harris visited Israel in recent months in an attempt to purchase NSO Group. The cyberhacking firm has been placed on a U.S. government blacklist because its spyware, Pegasus, has been used to penetrate the phones of political leaders, rights activists and journalists.

American intelligence officials quietly supported the plans to purchase NSO, the executives said in talks in Israel. But White House officials said that they were outraged to learn about the negotiations, and that any attempt by American defense firms to purchase a blacklisted company would be met with serious resistance. L3Harris then said it had scuttled its plans.

Questions remain about whether parts of the U.S. government had hoped to bring control of NSO’s powerful spyware under U.S. authority. It also left unsettled the fate of NSO, whose technology has been a tool of Israeli foreign policy even as the firm has become a target of intense criticism for the ways its spyware has been used by governments against their citizens.

Context: The episode was the latest skirmish in an ongoing battle among nations to gain control of some of the world’s most powerful cyberweapons, and it reveals some of the headwinds faced by a coalition of nations — including the U.S. under the Biden administration — as it tries to rein in a lucrative global market for sophisticated commercial spyware.

“Africa Fashion,” a landmark exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, charts the influence of Africa’s fashion scene.

“There is not one singular African aesthetic, nor is African fashion a monoculture that can be defined,” said Christine Checinska, the museum’s first curator of African and African diaspora fashion. Instead, the show focuses on the ethos of Pan-Africanism embraced by many of the continent’s designers and artists. “It centers on abundance, not on lack,” she added.

In two decades of flying, things have never been as stressful as they are now, writes Kristie Koerbel, a veteran flight attendant. “Historically, summer is always a challenging time to fly, but this summer is much worse,” she writes. The key is to travel smart. Read all her tips here.

Always fly direct. That way if you are delayed, you don’t need to worry about making your next flight. If you can’t avoid connecting, don’t book the shortest layover: A one-hour layover is not enough anymore. In most cases, three hours is safe.

Fly as early in the day as possible. The first flights of the day rarely cancel. Thunderstorms build as the day gets warmer, flight crews reach their duty limits later in the day and traffic builds at busy airports. If your early flight does happen to cancel, there will be more options to rebook a different flight.

Think twice about the cheapest fares. If you buy the cheapest seats you may not be able to sit with your family. Also, be aware that if a flight is oversold, and no one volunteers to give up their seat, the first to be bumped will be the family that saved a few dollars by using a bargain website.

Bring a sweater. Here is a flight attendant secret: We sometimes keep the airplane cold intentionally. For people who struggle with airsickness, heat makes it worse. We don’t want anyone to use those sick sacks.

For more: Here’s what to know if your bag doesn’t arrive when you do.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Natasha

P.S. The financial reporter Joe Rennison is joining The Times to cover markets and trading.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is on Boris Johnson’s resignation.

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



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Michael Avenatti sentenced to 14 years in prison for cheating clients out of millions

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Michael Avenatti was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Monday for cheating four former clients out of millions of dollars and trying to obstruct the IRS from collecting payroll taxes from a coffee shop that he owned. 

It caps off a stunning fall from grace for the former attorney, who is already serving five years in prison for stealing book proceeds from porn actress Stormy Daniels and trying to extort Nike out of $25 million. 

The 14-year sentence handed down on Monday will run consecutively to the five years that he is already serving in previous cases, U.S. District Judge James V. Selna ruled. 

Michael Avenatti speaks to members of the media after leaving federal court on Feb. 4, 2022, in New York.

Michael Avenatti speaks to members of the media after leaving federal court on Feb. 4, 2022, in New York.
(AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Avenatti, who addressed his victims in court on Monday, was also ordered to pay $7 million in restitution. 

MICHAEL AVENATTI SENTENCED TO 4 YEARS IN PRISON FOR DEFRAUDING STORMY DANIELS

“I am deeply remorseful and contrite,” Avenatti said in court before the sentencing. “There is no doubt that all of them deserve much better, and I hope that someday they will accept my apologies and find it in their heart to forgive me.”

Prosecutors laid out in a 36-count indictment how Avenatti collected a $4 million settlement from Los Angeles County for a man who was paralyzed from injuries he sustained while in custody of law enforcement. Avenatti used the funds for his coffee business and personal expenses, paying the man “advances” of no more than $1,900 at a time. 

MICHAEL AVENATTI’S BID TO BE SENTENCED REMOTELY DENIED: STORMY DANIELS QUIPS, ‘SEE YA THERE, B—-!’

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels, left, stands with her former lawyer Michael Avenatti during a news conference.

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels, left, stands with her former lawyer Michael Avenatti during a news conference.
(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Avenatti obtained a $3 million settlement for another client in early 2017 and used most of the money for a private jet, then lied to the client by saying the settlement would be paid out in monthly payments over several years. 

US PROSECUTORS TARGET AVENATTI’S $4.5 MILLION JET FOR CIVIL FORFEITURE

Prosecutors also said that Avenatti stole from clients whom he represented in an intellectual property claim and another business dispute. 

For the tax fraud charge, Avenatti failed to pay more than $3 million in payroll taxes related to his coffee business then tried to stop the IRS from collecting the unpaid taxes. 

Michael Avenatti speaks at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018. 

Michael Avenatti speaks at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018. 
(Chris Zoeller/Globe-Gazette via AP)

Prosecutor Brett Sagel characterized Avenatti as a serial fraudster. 

“He didn’t turn to his criminal actions by desperation, by need, by the inability to do anything else,” Sagel told the court. “Despite the significant advantages that this defendant had — a first-rate education, a thriving legal career — he chose to commit the deplorable acts in this case time and time again.”

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Prosecutors agreed to drop remaining charges after Avenatti pleaded guilty to five counts earlier this year. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 





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World Cup 2022: Fifa opens disciplinary proceedings against Uruguay FA and four players

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Host nation: Qatar Dates: 20 November-18 December Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app. Day-by-day TV listingsFull coverage details

Fifa has opened disciplinary proceedings against Uruguay’s football association and four players over their conduct at the end of their final World Cup group game against Ghana.

Uruguay beat Ghana 2-0 but went out on goals scored, finishing third behind South Korea in Group H.

Uruguay’s players reacted furiously at full-time, confronting the referee and appearing to manhandle an assistant after they failed to award a penalty after a coming together between Darwin Nunez and Alidu Seidu.

Jose Maria Gimenez, Edinson Cavani, Fernando Muslera and Diego Godin all face potential punishments for breaches of Fifa’s disciplinary code relating to offensive behaviour and misconduct.

More to follow.

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Get your daily dose of Fifa World Cup reaction, debate & analysis with World Cup Daily on BBC Sounds

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England cruises past Senegal 3-0 to reach World Cup quarterfinals

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England reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup for a second tournament in a row thanks to a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Senegal.



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