Your Friday Briefing

Good morning. We’re covering a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas, the White House meeting between President Biden and President Moon Jae-in and two countries with different approaches to Covid vaccines.

Israel and Hamas agree to a cease-fire

Israel and Hamas have agreed to a cease-fire to take effect on Friday morning, after more than 10 days of fighting, officials on both sides said.

International pressure had been mounting: the U.N. secretary general, António Guterres, had called for “an immediate cease-fire” while Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, visited Israel and pressed for peace in a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The announcement also followed behind-the-scenes pressure from the Biden administration.

The cease-fire will go into effect at 2 a.m. on Friday. Here are the latest updates and pictures.

Details about the deal were not immediately clear, but Israel had demanded that Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, halt all rocket fire aimed at Israeli cities, stop digging attack tunnels and halt demonstrations on the Gaza-Israeli border. Israel, for its part, would have to stop its aerial bombardment. A senior Hamas official based in Qatar confirmed in a telephone interview that the group had agreed to a cease-fire mediated by Egypt.

The toll: Since fighting began on May 10, the Israeli artillery campaign has killed more than 230 people in Gaza, many of them civilians, and badly damaged infrastructure, including the fresh water and sewer systems, the electrical grid, hospitals, schools and roads. Rockets fired at Israel from Gaza have killed 12 people.

Biden meets Moon at the White House

During their meeting on Friday, President Biden and South Korea’s leader, Moon Jae-in, will have to dance around an uncomfortable truth: North Korea is unlikely to ever give up its nuclear weapons.

Moon has said denuclearization is a “matter of survival” for South Korea and has called on Biden to revive talks on persuading Pyongyang to give up its weapons. But Biden officials harbor no illusions that the North will ever entirely disarm.

The stakes: North Korea’s arsenal of nuclear weapons, and its stockpile of fuel to make more, is larger than ever. The best unclassified estimates are that the North has at least 45 nuclear weapons, and appears headed to an arsenal roughly the size of Pakistan’s.

Next moves: For months now, the Biden administration has been engaged in a North Korean strategy review, but it has offered little details, other than to avoid a grand bargain like the one that Donald Trump offered. Instead of trying to wrap into one package a peace treaty, the promise of a new relationship between Pyongyang and Washington, and a sweeping disarmament plan, it will turn back to small, confidence-building steps.

A tale of two vaccine approaches

For most of the pandemic, Taiwan looked like the post-Covid future. Closed borders kept the coronavirus at bay, and residents went about their days as if it were 2019. But now, as local infections rise, the island has a distinctly different feel.

Mongolia, too, spent a long time without local cases. In November, an outbreak precipitated a political crisis, and things looked bleak. But now, perhaps unique among developing countries, Mongolia is promising citizens a “Covid-free summer.”

Updates

The split lies in two very different approaches to vaccine procurement.

Mongolia, which is used to living in the shadow of Russia and China, played the two off one another and managed to snap up doses. In Ulaanbaatar, the capital, 97 percent of the adult population has received a first dose and more than half are fully vaccinated.

Taiwan focused on developing its own vaccine, which has yet to pan out, and did not hustle for overseas doses. Only around 1 percent of the island’s 23.5 million residents have been vaccinated against the virus so far.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

India’s Serum Institute will not export vaccines before the end of the year, slowing aid to low-income countries.

Some Italians are foregoing vaccinations, worried their second dose would interrupt sacrosanct summer holidays.

THE LATEST NEWS

News from Europe

A German military officer, Franco A., will face trial on charges of plotting far-right terrorism under a fake refugee identity.

Russian officials have initiated legal action against the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, a contentious fight that could have significant implications for press freedoms across the country.

FIFA publicly condemned the now-defunct European Super League but privately held talks for months with the founders about endorsing the breakaway league.

The B.B.C. acknowledged that the reporter Martin Bashir deceived Princess Diana’s brother to score a landmark interview with her 25 years ago and apologized.

What Else Is Happening

Artists in Hong Kong are subtly rendering the 2019 pro-democracy demonstrations, risking crackdowns from the Chinese government.

The U.S. blocked a Uniqlo shipment earlier this year over concerns of that the shirts had been made, in part, by forced labor in the Xinjiang area of China.

Ford Motor opened a major new front in the battle to dominate the fast-growing electric vehicle market when it unveiled an electric version of its popular F-150 pickup truck called the Lightning.

A Morning Read

Attacks against Asian-Americans have risen over the past year, with New York City recording the largest increase in anti-Asian hate crimes. Now, many people of Asian descent are arming themselves with pepper spray and other personal-defense devices in response to the continuing spate of attacks.

ARTS AND IDEAS

Is B.M.I. useful?

There are few single measures in health care that seem to carry as much weight as body mass index, or B.M.I. The number, calculated by dividing your weight over the square of your height, is meant to describe your body in a single word: underweight, normal, overweight or obese.

For research studies and some doctors, B.M.I. can be a useful tool. Research has shown that across large groups of people, higher B.M.I. is generally associated with greater risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. It even played a role in determining eligibility for the Covid vaccine.

But although it can be useful to describe groups of people, B.M.I. doesn’t do much for an individual. The number cannot tell what percentage of a person’s weight is from their fat, muscle or bone, nor can it predict a person’s metabolic health.

Many adults feel judged by these categories, which were mostly developed using the bodies of white men. Experts have started to doubt B.M.I. as a useful measure for a single patient. Some even think it’s a scam.

PLAY, WATCH, EAT

What to Cook

This salad pizza features greens, beans and a Parmesan crust.

What to Watch

Corruption and kooky cameo characters are the punchline in “Two Lottery Tickets,” a Romanian buddy comedy.

What to Read

Fans of John le Carré are getting one more novel after his death.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: What do websites, sausages and golf courses all have in common? (Five letters).

And here is today’s Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Amelia

P.S. The Times has a new podcast: “Day X,” a spy story about Germany’s changing identity, and the backlash against it.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu.

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

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