Your Monday Briefing: Australia’s New Leader

Good morning. We’re covering a change of power in Australia, President Biden’s trip to Asia and catastrophic floods in India and Bangladesh.

Anthony Albanese, the next prime minister of Australia.Credit…Jaimi Joy/Reuters

Australia’s incoming Labor leader

Prime Minister Scott Morrison conceded defeat to Anthony Albanese, the incoming Labor prime minister, ending nine years of conservative leadership.

The opposition Labor party made the election a referendum on Morrison’s conduct. Albanese, whose campaign was gaffe-prone and light on policy, promised a more decent form of politics, running as a modest Mr. Fix-It who promised to seek “renewal, not revolution.”

Voters were most focused on cost-of-living issues, but the election was also about climate change, Damien Cave, our bureau chief in Sydney, writes in an analysis. Australians rejected Morrison’s deny-and-delay approach, which has made the country a global laggard on emission cuts, for Albanese’s vision of a future built on renewable energy.

Details: In Australia, where mandatory voting means unusually high turnout, voters did not just grant Labor a clear victory. They delivered a larger share of their support to minor parties and independents who demanded more action on climate change — a shift away from major party dominance.

Food: Elections in Australia come with a side of “democracy sausage” hot off the barbecue, a beloved tradition that acts as a fund-raiser for local groups and makes the compulsory trip to the voting booth feel less like a chore and more like a block party.

President Biden being greeted by Park Jin, South Korea’s foreign minister.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Biden visits Asian allies

On his first trip to Asia as president, Joe Biden attempted to strengthen ties with allies rattled by Donald Trump’s erratic diplomacy and wary of Beijing’s growing influence.

In Seoul on Saturday, he met with President Yoon Suk-yeol, who was inaugurated 11 days prior, and criticized Trump’s attempts to cozy up to Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s dictator. Biden and Yoon will explore ways to expand joint military exercises that Trump sought to curtail in a concession to Kim.

Today in Tokyo, Biden will unveil an updated trade agreement that seeks to coordinate policies but without the market access or tariff reductions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Trump abandoned five years ago. The less sweeping framework has some in the region skeptical about its value.

Context: Russia’s war in Ukraine snarled Biden’s original strategy of pivoting foreign policy attention to Asia. The trip is an effort to reaffirm that commitment and demonstrate a focus on countering China.

Heavy rainfall flooded streets in Bangalore, India, on Friday.Credit…Jagadeesh Nv/EPA, via Shutterstock

Heavy floods in India, Bangladesh

More than 60 people were killed, and millions more were rendered homeless as heavy pre-monsoon rains washed away train stations, towns and villages.

Extreme weather is growing more common across South Asia, which has recently suffered devastating heat waves, as the effects of climate change intensify.

This year, parts of northern and central India recorded their highest average temperatures for April. Last year, extreme rainfall and landslides washed away sprawling Rohingya refugee camps overnight in Bangladesh, and in 2020, torrential rains submerged at least a quarter of the country.

Context: India and Bangladesh are particularly vulnerable to climate change because of their proximity to the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. The tropical waters are increasingly experiencing heat waves, which have led to dry conditions in some places and “a significant increase in rainfall” in others, according to a recent study.

Details: The Brahmaputra, one of the world’s largest rivers, has inundated vast areas of agricultural land, villages and towns in India’s remote, hard-hit northeast.



The Taliban have also urged women to stay home unless they have a compelling reason to go out.Credit…Kiana Hayeri for The New York Times
  • The Taliban are aggressively pushing women to wear burqas and crushing rare public protests against the order.

  • Protests continue in Sri Lanka, as citizens demonstrate against a president they blame for crashing the economy.

  • The U.N.’s top human rights official will visit Xinjiang, where Beijing has cracked down on the Uyghur minority, and other parts of China this week. Activists say the trip holds significant risks for the credibility of her office.

  • Some Chinese people are looking to emigrate as pandemic controls drag into their third year.

The War

Russian forces attempted to breach Sievierodonetsk’s defenses from four directions but were repelled, a Ukrainian official said.Credit…Yasuyoshi Chiba/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Here are live updates.

  • Russia renewed its attack on Sievierodonetsk, one of Ukraine’s main strongholds in the Donbas region. Its forces are also trying to cross a river in the region despite having suffered a major blow there this month.

  • In a rare acknowledgment, a Kremlin minister said that sanctions have “practically broken” the country’s logistics.

  • Profile: The Russian Orthodox leader Patriarch Kirill I has provided spiritual cover for the invasion.

  • Atrocities: The Times is documenting evidence of potential war crimes, like killings in Bucha, some carried out by a notorious Russian brigade. A Times visual investigation shows how Russian soldiers executed people there.

World News

  • The U.S. has surpassed one million Covid deaths, according to The Times’s database.

  • The coalition that replaced Benjamin Netanyahu is crumbling — potentially leading to new Israeli elections that could return him to power.

  • Iran is cracking down on its filmmakers, arresting leading artists in what analysts see as a warning to the general population amid mounting discontent.

  • Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson and Aidy Bryant are leaving “Saturday Night Live.”

  • Tornadoes in western Germany killed one person and injured dozens more, while an unusual heat wave struck parts of Spain and France.

A Morning Read

Resty Zilmar recently had to return to a more urban area for work.Credit…Hannah Reyes Morales for The New York Times

For decades, young Filipinos have left rural areas in pursuit of economic success, leading to overcrowded cities. The pandemic temporarily reversed that pattern, and many enjoy rural life. If the government makes good on stated efforts to reinvigorate the hinterlands, the shift may stick.

Russia-Ukraine War: Key Developments

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Support for Ukraine. President Biden signed a new $40 billion aid package for Ukraine, bringing the total American investment in the war to $54 billion in just over two months, a day after the Group of 7 economic powers pledged they would provide nearly $20 billion to support Ukraine’s economy over the coming months.

Russia’s punishment of Finland. Russia cut off its natural gas supplies to Finland on May 21, according to Finland’s state energy provider. Russia said that it was suspending the supply because Finland had failed to comply with its demand to make payments in rubles. Finland has also submitted an application to join NATO, angering Russia.

In southeast Ukraine. Fresh from its triumph over the last armed Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol, Russia appeared to be laying the groundwork for annexing swaths of southeastern Ukraine. Russian officials have already moved to introduce the ruble as the local currency, install proxy politicians in government and cut the population off from Ukrainian broadcasts.

NATO’s expansion. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said he was determined to “say no to Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership,” though he was willing to continue talking to European leaders. He has pointed to the two nations’ stance toward Kurdish militant groups he regards as terrorist organizations as a reason for his objections.


Why is Haiti so poor?

When the world looks at Haiti, sympathy for its endless suffering is often overshadowed by scolding about corruption and mismanagement.

But many of its problems trace back to France, which demanded ransom after Haitians led a successful slave rebellion in 1791 and established an independent nation in 1804. France forced Haiti to take out a loan from French banks to make the payments.

Because of this “double debt” — the demand and the loan to pay it off — Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas. The Times calculated that the payments to France cost Haiti from $21 billion to $115 billion in lost economic growth over time, as much as eight times the size of Haiti’s entire economy in 2020.

That debt hamstrung Haiti’s economy for decades, eventually luring Wall Street and delivering big margins for the institution that ultimately became Citigroup.

France’s betrayal also led to political upheaval. In 2003, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the country’s first democratically elected president after decades of dictatorship, tried press France for reparations. The U.S. and France quickly ousted him from power.

Here are six takeaways from The Times series and an explanation of how journalists conducted their research.


What to Cook

Credit…Armando Rafael for The New York Times

A vinegar dressing punches up this vegan broccoli salad.

What to Watch

Here are five action flicks to stream, including an unpredictable Korean gangster film and a South African story of rebellion against apartheid.


Waist trainers promise long-term weight loss results. Do they deliver?

Now Time to Play

Play today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Send, as money (Four letters).

Here are today’s Wordle and 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. Melina Delkic, who used to write this very briefing, is joining the Express desk as a senior staff editor in June. We are so proud of her, and we will miss her so much!

The latest episode of “The Daily” is on long Covid.

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

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