Your Wednesday Briefing

International anger over military documents leak

Little new information has emerged about a major leak of dozens of classified military and intelligence documents. But senior Biden administration officials yesterday sought to calm anger in foreign capitals over the documents, noting that they had spoken to their Ukrainian counterparts as well as other unidentified American allies.

Lloyd Austin, the defense secretary, acknowledged the many unknowns about the documents. ”They were somewhere in the web,” he said. “And where exactly and who had access at that point, we don’t know. We simply don’t know at this point.” A niche online community has became a focus of international attention in the leak.

Some foreign governments were roiling over the breach, prompting criticism of the U.S. for conducting surveillance of its allies and claims that the documents could not be trusted. South Korea’s government said a report that purports to describe Seoul’s internal deliberations over whether to supply artillery shells that might end up in Ukraine was false.

Details: One document provides insight into planning for contingencies, outlining four “wild card” scenarios in Ukraine. They include the deaths of the leaders of Russia and Ukraine, the removal of leadership within the Russian armed forces and a Ukrainian strike on the Kremlin.

In other news from the war:

Lawmakers in Moscow moved to make it much harder for people to dodge the draft.

How Ukraine’s power grid survived so many Russian bombings.

Macron returns from China

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, has returned from a three-day visit to China in which he sought to further his ambitions for France in a world changed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Beijing’s emergence as an arbiter of global conflict.

His reception on returning to Europe has been chilly. In France, he faces weekly protests in the streets; in diplomatic circles, he now finds himself excoriated abroad for what have been criticized as naïve attempts to sway first Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, and now Xi Jinping, China’s top leader. The French president is now more isolated than ever.

Macron has unsettled allies from Warsaw to Washington with his embrace of what a Sino-French declaration called a “global strategic partnership with China.” And his comments on the security of Taiwan, which he suggested was not Europe’s problem, have caused further consternation.

Follow-up: Yesterday, the Élysée Palace, home to the president, felt it necessary to clarify France’s allegiances, so muddied had the optics become. France, it said, “is not equidistant between the U.S. and China. The U.S. is our ally, with shared values.”

A deadly airstrike in Myanmar

Myanmar’s military regime yesterday bombed a large gathering in rebel-held territory, killing at least 100 people in the junta’s deadliest attack since it seized power in a coup more than two years ago. At least 30 of the victims were children, according to officials, and the death toll was expected to rise.

Rescuers described a gruesome scene in Pazigyi Village in the southern part of Sagaing Region, where body parts were scattered over a wide area after a military jet and a helicopter bombed and strafed the largely civilian gathering. Images and video shared on social media showed widespread death and destruction, as well as debris scattered over a wide area.

The apparent target of the attack was a celebration to mark the local resistance movement’s opening of an administration office. Only the charred frame of the building remained standing after the air raid, a video and photos showed.

Context: Myanmar’s military, which has battled armed ethnic groups for territorial control since soon after independence in 1948, has a long history of brutal attacks on civilians. As the country’s resistance movement has become increasingly better armed, the military has doubled down, killing monks and civilians at a monastery last month.


Around the World

The Middle Eastern rice dish maqluba has become the meal of choice for breaking the Ramadan fast at Al Aqsa Mosque, even as tensions escalate at a site also revered by Jews.

President Biden will today begin a four-day foreign trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland during which he will explore his own roots and celebrate America’s connection with the Irish people.

An audio recording of French officers threatening young pension protesters has reignited a fierce debate over police brutality in France.

Other Big Stories

The I.M.F. said that the world economy faced the increasing risk of a slowdown, partly because rising interest rates could curtail bank lending.

The man who carried out a deadly mass shooting in Louisville, Ky., on Monday had told at least one person that he was suicidal, and he had purchased the weapon legally.

Troubles in the tech industry and entertainment have hurt California’s tax revenue.

Science Times

Humans living about 3,000 years ago used hallucinogens, most likely derived from local plants, as part of their rituals.

Virtual vets can make care easier for unwell pets — but not in all circumstances.

The thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, thought to have been extinct for about a century, may have persisted for a few decades longer than previously believed.

Researchers ask: Can A.I. be truly intelligent without a body that can interact with and learn from the physical world?

A Morning Read

What began as a soft war over in-person work has started to harden. Bosses are tiring of remote work and mandating a return to the office, citing the desire for more teamwork and mentorship, as well as concerns about lost productivity.

But workers whose lives have been transformed by remote work are ready to fight to keep their newfound freedoms. In one survey, nearly two-thirds of employees said they would consider looking for another job if asked to return in person full time.

Lives Lived

With her billionaire husband, Myriam Ullens started philanthropic institutions around the world, including a museum in Beijing. A stepson shot her to death over a fight about money. Ullens was 70.


European soccer’s great thinker: Pep Guardiola’s teams have evolved at four positions: defensive midfielder, fullback, winger and striker.

All eyes on Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun: The young striker is attracting interest for club, country and shoe manufacturers.

Wrexham nears league promotion: The Welsh club beat its rivals in an epic contest in which the goalkeeper Ben Foster saved an injury-time penalty.

From The Times: Biathlon, a hybrid of cross-country skiing and target shooting, requires serenity as well as speed.


Rolling supercomputers

Car designs are prompting a new question: How much screen is too much screen? Fifteen inches? Seventeen? How about 56?

Screens have become integral to modern vehicles, combining traditional functions like audio displays with optional content like social media feeds. All those services can distract drivers, as can the screens’ increasing sizes and clunky interfaces.

“Screens have their right of existence — they do a lot of things better than physical switches,” Klaus Busse, Maserati’s head of design, said. “It’s just been pushed a little too far.”


What to Cook

For a midweek treat, make this big, beautiful baked cheesecake.

What to Watch

In the final season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” which premieres Friday, Midge Maisel finally makes good.

What to Read

“Once Upon a Prime” would be a superb gift for fans of math and literature.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: It’s good to sing in it (three letters).

And here are 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. — Natasha

P.S. The Times’s Telegram app account is now sharing stories from around the world. To follow, click here.

“The Daily” is about dissent in Russia.

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

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