Your Monday Briefing

Good morning. We’re covering a heat wave in Europe, a shake-up in Ukraine’s government and a report on the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

At the beach in Brighton, an oasis in southern England.Credit…Daniel Leal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Extreme heat in Europe

A life-threatening heat wave is continuing its march across Western Europe this week.

Spain and Italy baked over the weekend, and wildfires raged in France, prompting the evacuation of more than 14,000 people near Bordeaux since early last week, the local authorities said. France’s national weather forecaster predicted temperatures of at least 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) on the country’s Atlantic coast through tomorrow.

Now, the blistering weather is moving to Britain. Today and tomorrow, temperatures could soar to41 degrees Celsius, which would shatter records.Air-conditioning is rare in the country, where buildings are constructed to retain heat (because cold temperatures have, in the past, been a bigger concern).

Here’s a guide to staying safe and cool during a heat wave.

Climate change: Heat waves in Europe have increased in frequency and intensity over the past four decades.

The war in Ukraine: Energy prices have shot up in Europe partly because of the war, making air-conditioners more expensive to run. The heat could damage French wheat yields at a time when mountains of Ukrainian grain remain blocked from distribution by Russian warships.

Last summer: In July, floods killed hundreds in Germany and other countries. In August, multiple wildfires consumed large areas of Greece, and one Sicilian town may have recorded the hottest temperature ever in Europe: about 51 degrees Celsius (nearly 124 degrees Fahrenheit).

Fires spreading in a wheat field after an attack in the Mykolaiv region of Ukraine.Credit…Agence France-Presse, via Ukraine Emergency Service/Afp Via Getty Images

Zelensky fires top officials

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, yesterday fired his prosecutor general and intelligence chief, the country’s top two law enforcement officials. It was the most significant government shake-up there since the start of the Russian invasion.

Zelensky said he was responding to a large number of treason investigations that were opened into employees of law enforcement agencies. American officials said the moves reflected Zelensky’s efforts to put more experienced leaders in key security positions.

Officials emphasized that the firing of Ivan Bakanov, the leader of Ukraine’s domestic intelligence agency and a childhood friend of the president’s, was not because of any mishandling of intelligence or any major penetration of Ukraine’s intelligence services by Russia.

Better Understand the Russia-Ukraine War

  • History: Here’s what to know about Russia and Ukraine’s relationship and the causes of the conflict.
  • On the Ground: Russian and Ukrainian forces are using a bevy of weapons as a deadly war of attrition grinds on in eastern Ukraine.
  • Outside Pressures: Governments, sports organizations and businesses are taking steps to punish Russia. Here is a list of companies that have pulled out of the country.
  • Updates: To receive the latest updates in your inbox, sign up here. The Times has also launched a Telegram channel to make its journalism more accessible around the world.

More strikes: Russia’s assaults intensifiedwith a “massive attack” on Mykolaiv, according to a Ukrainian news agency. Ukrainian officials said Russia launched at least 10 missiles toward the city. On Friday, a volley hit two universities, a hotel and a mall.

Toll: After a brief pause,Russia’s defense minister ordered troops to step up attacks, intensifying fighting in the eastern Donbas region. Yesterday, loved ones buried a 4-year-old girl with Down syndrome, one of 23 people killed by Russian missiles in Vinnytsia last week.

Europe: The continent is at a fragile moment as it confronts tests of its democracies, a plunging currency and the war in Ukraine.

Culture: President Vladimir Putin is making sweeping changes to school curriculums to shape the views of young Russians. And our critic Jason Farago traveled to Ukraine to chronicle the country’s fight to preserve and expand its artistic heritage during the war.

A memorial outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.Credit…Kaylee Greenlee Beal/Reuters

‘Systemic failures’ in Uvalde

The first comprehensive assessment of the law enforcement response to the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, found “systemic failures” and “egregious poor decision making” in the police response.

Nearly 400 officers responded to the school during the attack on May 24. Yet the decision to finally confront the gunman was made by a small group of officers, the report found, concluding that others at the scene could have taken charge and done so far earlier.

A flawless police response would not have saved most of the victims, who sustained devastating injuries when they were shot with a high-powered AR-15-style rifle. But some did survive, only to die on the way to the hospital, the report noted, adding in a footnote that “it is plausible that some victims could have survived if they had not had to wait” for rescue.

Background: Scores of officers waited outside two connected classrooms where the gunman killed 19 children and two teachers. It took 77 minutes for the police to storm into the classroom after the gunman started firing.



Credit…Tolga Akmen/EPA, via Shutterstock
  • Penny Mordaunt, a junior trade minister, is making a surprisingly strong run to replace Boris Johnson as Britain’s prime minister, a sign of the race’s unpredictability.

  • A German military officer known as Franco A. was sentenced to five and a half years in prison after he posed as a Syrian refugee in a far-right plot to assassinate prominent public figures.

  • Europe’s airports are struggling to meet surging demand after two years of pandemic-enforced staycations.

World News

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times
  • President Biden met with Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia, prompting denunciations from rights activists. Biden framed his meetings with Prince Mohammed and other Arab strongmen as an effort to contain Russia and outmaneuver China.

  • Biden also visited the West Bank, where he promised funding for hospitals and refugees but warned that “the ground is not ripe at this moment to restart negotiations” on Palestinian statehood.

  • The coronavirus pandemic is still a driving factor behind the world’s economic woes. For example, China’s economy grew just 0.4 percent in the second quarter as its Covid restrictions took a toll, the slowest rate since the pandemic began.

  • President Xi Jinping visited Xinjiang for the first time since China began a campaign of mass detentions of Uyghurs there.

What Else Is Happening

  • The director general of the renowned contemporary art exhibition Documenta resigned a month after a banner featuring antisemitic imagery was installed at the event in Germany.

  • Cameron Smith, the Australian golfer, won the British Open.

  • Heavier menstrual cycles were a temporary side effect of Covid vaccines for some, a study found.

A Morning Read

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt’s president, has jailed critics on a vast scale by holding them in pretrial detention, a Times investigation found.

From September 2020 to February 2021, The Times estimates, about 4,500 people were trapped in pretrial detention. At least one in four of the detainees had spent more than a year in detention, their cases extended without trial over and over again.

Here’s how my colleagues analyzed handwritten lists of names to count the detainees.


Credit…Anthony Kwan for The New York Times

Uncovering decades-old graffiti

A graffiti artist known as the “King of Kowloon” used to write peculiar, personal messages across Hong Kong.

During his lifetime, his work was not considered political. Instead, the artist, Tsang Tsou-choi, covered public spaces with expansive jumbles of Chinese characters that announced his unshakable belief that much of the Kowloon Peninsula rightfully belonged to his family.

Despite his fame, his works were often painted over by municipal workers seeking to keep graffiti at bay. Tsang’s art almost entirely disappeared from public spaces after his death in 2007.

But this year, peeling paint on a concrete railway bridge revealed remnants of Tsang’s writings. “I thought the old Hong Kong was saying hello again,” a local artist said.

The lost artworks have also taken on a new political resonance in a changed Hong Kong, where a sweeping campaign against dissent has crushed the city’s former freewheeling eccentricity.

“He was talking about these Hong Kong preoccupations long before other people were — territory, sovereignty, dispossession and loss,” said Louisa Lim, who examined Tsang’s legacy in the book “Indelible City: Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong.”


What to Cook

Credit…Bobbi Lin for The New York Times

When it’s too hot to cook, try one of these easy summer salads. This salty and tart stone fruit caprese is particularly intriguing.

What to Read

“Bad City,” about sex scandals at the University of Southern California, is “a master class in investigative journalism,” our reviewer writes.

What to Listen to

Our critics include songs from Lizzo, Pink, Marcus Mumford and others on this week’s pop playlist.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: “Signed, as a contract” (five letters).

And here’s 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. — Amelia

P.S. The Times and Hasbro are creating a board game based on Wordle.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about the James Webb Space Telescope.

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

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