Also, Twitter rebranded as X. Here’s the latest at the end of Monday.
Thousands of Israelis took to the streets today to protest after the country’s Parliament passed a law to limit the Supreme Court’s ability to overturn decisions made by government ministers. Its passage was the first stage of a deeply contentious effort to curb the power of the judiciary, which critics have called an affront to democracy.
Protesters blocked roads in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities. Some burned tires, while others clashed with the security forces, who fired water cannons into the crowds. A truck drove into protesters on a highway in central Israel, injuring three people.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the leader of the coalition, which is considered the most right-wing and religiously conservative in Israeli history and is advancing the judicial changes. Netanyahu sought to quell unrest in an address to the nation by suggesting to push the broader overhaul until later in the year.
There is little evidence, however, that a delay will solve his problems. Tensions may continue to worsen: The largest labor union is considering a national strike and 10,000 military reservists have threatened to resign from duty. Opposition leaders are hoping the Supreme Court will rule on the legality of the new law, but it has never struck down a quasi-constitutional law of this kind.
“If the court takes up the case, any ruling could take weeks or months,” my colleague Isabel Kershner said from Jerusalem. “If it strikes down the law, Israel would be facing an unprecedented constitutional crisis.”
For more: Here’s everything you need to know about Netanyahu’s proposed judicial changes, and why it is affecting Israel’s relationship with the U.S.
Russia continues to target Ukraine’s exports
Russian drones hit a Ukrainian port town on the Danube River, destroying a grain hangar and escalating Moscow’s threats to Ukraine’s agricultural industry.
Less than a week after Russia pulled out of a deal enabling Ukraine to ship grain across the Black Sea, the attack showed an effort by Moscow to target alternate export routes. The strikes, in a town just across the river from Romania, were also the closest Russia has come to hitting a NATO member state.
In other news from the war, Russia said it destroyed two attack drones targeting Moscow this morning in what it called a strike by Ukrainian forces. No one was injured.
Twitter rebrands as X
Over the weekend, Elon Musk said Twitter as a brand would soon cease to exist. By this morning, major changes were already underway: The Twitter bird is now gone, replaced with a stylized X symbol.
The change is in some ways a step toward Musk’s long-discussed vision for an “everything app.” He is hoping that X, Twitter’s apparent new branding, can combine social media and instant messaging with payment services, like the Chinese app WeChat.
But it is also a risky gamble to reinvent a business that has struggled since Musk paid $44 billion for it last year. Third-party data suggests Twitter user numbers are falling, ad revenue has dropped 50 percent and it’s not clear how much runway he has left to get X off the ground.
‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ blew past sales expectations
After weekend sales figures showed that Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” and Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” had raked in $235.5 million in the U.S. and Canada, the biggest opening weekend in more than four years, my colleague Brooks Barnes declared: “The movie business lives!”
The success of “Barbie,” which sold an estimated $155 million in tickets — the biggest opening on record for a female director — could be credited in part to its ability to become a cultural phenomenon: At backyard parties and movie theaters, pink was everywhere.
More top news
Border: The Justice Department sued Texas over the state’s installation of a floating barrier meant to stop people from swimming across the Rio Grande.
Fires: Greece is carrying out what officials call its biggest evacuation in history, as residents and tourists flee wildfires that continue to spread.
Law enforcement: The Miami-Dade police chief was severely wounded by a self-inflicted gunshot.
International: Spain’s far-right party performed poorly in yesterday’s elections, suggesting that Spaniards are turning away from political extremes.
Politics: Former Senator Kelly Ayotte, a Republican, entered the race for governor of New Hampshire.
Taxes: The I.R.S. said it would immediately halt the practice of sending agents to make surprise visits to homes and businesses.
Montana: A woman was killed by a bear over the weekend on a trail near Yellowstone National Park.
EVENING WIND DOWN
‘Futurama’ is back. Not much has changed.
A new season of the animated sci-fi comedy “Futurama” premiered on Hulu today after a 10-year absence. Depending on whom you ask, it’s the eighth or the 11th season. But either way, this rendition is very much a mirror of the previous one — almost aggressively so.
The show has no qualms about mining its own past and iconography, and if you’re already a fan, you’ll be perfectly happy. The voices, the tone and even the opening sequence are all the same. But if you haven’t watched the show before, you’ll be aware that you’re missing something, time and time again.
Can super shoes supercharge training?
Just about every elite runner now races in a pair of so-called super shoes — thick sneakers with a springy midsole plate that have been shown to give racers a slight boost with each stride. But many sports scientists believe they are just as valuable on training days.
“Because the shoes are a new tool, the more we run in them, the better we adapt,” one physiologist said. Even regular people may benefit because the super shoe foam is often more durable than the typical running shoe’s, and it could allow older runners to recover faster.
Dinner table topics
Becoming a New Yorker: Aaron Rodgers, the Jets’ new quarterback, has thrown himself into the culture of his new home before he has thrown a single pass.
Enduring teenage angst: Nu metal is back, as bands like Deftones and Slipknot catch on with younger fans.
An unlikely path: How did a felon and former heroin addict spin her background in canine cremation into a lucrative publishing career? Here’s her story.
Reality shows abound: TV viewers will soon see fewer new scripted shows, which could continue well into next year if the Hollywood walkouts persist.
WHAT TO DO TONIGHT
Cook: This cherry tomato Caesar salad could be the freshest salad you eat all year.
Watch: A documentary about Oscar De La Hoya premieres tonight on HBO. Here’s what else is on TV this week.
Read: In Andrew Lipstein’s “The Vegan,” a guilty hedge funder eats his feelings.
Protect: Our fashion critic offered advice for wearing a vintage dress without wrecking it.
Plan: Here are six crowd-free hotels you can still book this summer.
Give: To thank hosts, here’s what T Magazine editors are wrapping up this summer.
Lather: This fun yet ridiculous “whipped-cream” sunscreen actually gets the job done.
Play: Here is today’s Spelling Bee, Wordle and Mini Crossword. Find all our games here.
ONE LAST THING
Scientific strife over the search for aliens
A fireball that crashed into the Pacific Ocean from space caught the eye of Avi Loeb, a Harvard astrophysicist. The object was moving so fast, 28 miles per second, that Loeb concluded it must have been interstellar. Then, after retrieving what he said were fragments of the object, Loeb made a far more eye-catching claim: It could have come from an extraterrestrial spacecraft.
Many astronomers, however, saw Loeb’s announcement as just the latest example of him making an outlandish declaration that is too strong and too hasty. Several of his colleagues have even begun to refuse engaging with Loeb’s work in peer review.
Have an extraordinary evening.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back on Monday. — Matthew
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