The New York Times 2024-07-04 20:10:34


As Britain Votes, Change Is in the Air. Optimism, Not So Much.

Voters went to the polls in Britain on Thursday in a dyspeptic mood, many of them frustrated with the Conservative government and skeptical that any replacement can unravel the tangle of problems hobbling the country.

Their skepticism is warranted, according to analysts. Even if the Labour Party wins a robust majority in Parliament, as polls suggest, it will confront a raft of challenges, from a torpid economy to a corroded National Health Service, without having many tools to fix them.

The Labour leader, Keir Starmer, would inherit a “legacy of ashes,” said Robert Ford, a professor of political science at the University of Manchester. And voters, who less than five years ago elected the Conservatives in a landslide, are not likely to give Mr. Starmer much slack to turn things around.

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Iranians’ Demand for Their Leaders: Fix the Economy

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In the working-class neighborhood of Tehran surrounding Imam Hussein Square, the side streets and alleys are lined with secondhand stores and small repair shops for refurbishing all manner of household goods. But with little to do, most shopkeepers idle in front of their stores.

A 60-year-old man named Abbas and his son Asgar, 32, lounged in two of the secondhand, faux brocaded armchairs that they sell. Asked about their business, Abbas, who did not want his surname used for fear of drawing the government’s attention, looked incredulous.

“Just look down the street,” he said. “Business is awful. There are no customers, people are economically weak now, they don’t have money.”

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What to Know as Israel and Hezbollah Stand on Brink of New War

For months, concerns have grown that the war in Gaza might ignite a second conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, the well-armed militia that is loosely allied with Hamas and based just across Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.

The two sides have repeatedly traded strikes since the Gaza war began in October, killing civilians and combatants in Lebanon and Israel, with most of the civilian casualties in Lebanon. The hostilities have also forced more than 150,000 people on both sides of the border to leave their homes for temporary shelters. That has put pressure on the Israeli government to make the north of the country safe for residents again by pushing Hezbollah back from the border region.

Here’s a look at Hezbollah as it stands on the brink of a new fight, and why that could still be averted.

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Europe Seeks to Solve the ‘Patriot Puzzle’ in Ukraine

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A European plan to give Ukraine another Patriot air defense system to protect its battered cities from Russian airstrikes is coming together, piece by piece.

The radar and three missile launchers are being supplied by the Netherlands. Some interceptor missiles are coming from a four-country coalition led by Germany. A mobile fire control center has been promised, though officials won’t say yet from where or by whom. Additional missiles and launchers, as well as training for Ukrainians to use the sophisticated system, will be provided by as many as eight countries.

“We have all the pieces of the puzzle,” the former Dutch defense minister, Kajsa Ollongren, said in an interview before she left office this week as part of a long-expected transition in the Netherlands’ caretaker government. “We just have to put them together.”

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