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Your Thursday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest at the end of Thursday.

The Moskva sunk after Ukraine said it had attacked it with missiles. Russia said there was a fire.Credit…Alexey Pavlishak/Reuters

1. The flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet sank amid conflicting claims of the cause.

Ukraine said it had hit the vessel, the Moskva, with a missile. Russia said it had been damaged by a fire and that it later sank while being towed in a storm. Analysts said the loss of the ship would not alter the course of the war, but a confirmed missile attack would be a sign of Ukraine’s military capability and could serve as a deterrent to Russian naval attacks.

In Brussels, E.U. officials started drafting the most contested measure yet to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine: an embargo on Russian oil products, even though the move may increase energy prices around the bloc.


Elon Musk: “I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe.”Credit…Susan Walsh/Associated Press

2. Elon Musk has begun a hostile bid to take over Twitter.

The bid came only weeks after Musk became the social media company’s largest shareholder. He offered $54.20 a share, valuing the company at roughly $43 billion.

“Twitter has extraordinary potential,” Musk wrote in a letter to the chair of Twitter’s board. “I will unlock it.”

The move could have broad implications for a social network where world leaders, lawmakers, celebrities and more than 217 million other users conduct daily public discourse. Twitter’s board is likely to take up to several days to review the offer.


Angie Aguilar, 9, receiving her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine last year. Credit…Mike Kai Chen for The New York Times

3. Pfizer says its Covid vaccine booster strengthens the immune response in children 5 to 11.

Pfizer-BioNTech said the booster increased the level of neutralizing antibodies against multiple strains of the coronavirus in a small trial of children.

The companies said they would ask the F.D.A. for emergency authorization of a booster for 5- to 11-year-olds in the coming days. Currently, residents 12 and older in the U.S. are eligible for at least one booster, and people age 50 or older are eligible for a second.

In New York, two new Omicron subvariants are spreading quickly. But the official data on case counts is becoming less reliable as people increasingly turn to at-home testing and mass testing sites shut down. Scientists say truly keeping tabs on the virus will require more creative thinking and investment.


Investigators cordoned off the 36th Street station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, on Tuesday.Credit…Dakota Santiago for The New York Times

4. The man charged in the Brooklyn subway shooting was ordered to be held without bail.

A federal judge ordered Frank James to be detained until trial, after prosecutors said he carried out a violent and well-planned attack that left at least 30 people injured. He has been charged with the federal crime of committing a terrorist act on a mass transit system.

Lawyers for James asked the judge to ensure that he received psychiatric care in jail. They also said their client had called a tip line to turn himself in.

The shooting on Tuesday was the bloodiest crime on the city’s public transit system in nearly four decades. But the following days have revealed a remarkable truth: Not one person died. Experts say luck and poor marksmanship appear to have saved the many victims.


El Shafee Elsheikh was tried in Alexandria, Va., on charges of conspiracy and hostage-taking.Credit…Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

5. A federal jury convicted a British member of the Islamic State for the abduction and deaths of four Americans.

The jury took less than a day to convict El Shafee Elsheikh, 33, the most prominent member of the Islamic State to be brought to trial in the U.S.

The verdict capped a two-week trial that featured the testimony of former captives, who detailed beatings, sexual abuse, waterboarding and murder perpetrated by a cell of four Britons, nicknamed the Beatles. Elsheikh’s defense lawyers denied that he was a member.

Among the cell’s captives were Kayla Mueller and three American men — James Foley, Steven Sotloff and Peter Kassig — who, according to prosecutors, were killed by one of Elsheikh’s close associates. Elsheikh was captured in Syria by a Kurdish-backed militia in 2018.


A medical-marijuana dispensary in Bellmawr, N.J.Credit…Hannah Yoon for The New York Times

6. Legal marijuana sales will start next week in New Jersey.

Adults will be able to purchase cannabis at certain medical-marijuana dispensaries starting next Thursday, marking the culmination of a yearslong effort to legalize marijuana and to confront the racially unbalanced penalties for possessing the drug.

New Jersey voters approved the legalization of marijuana in November 2020, but it was not until this week that state regulators gave the final go-ahead to legal sales of recreational cannabis. Enthusiasm within the industry is palpable: Dispensaries are making plans to entertain customers waiting in line with D.J.s, doughnut trucks and steel drum bands.


A saguaro cactus in Catalina State Park, on the edge of Tucson, Ariz.Credit…Cassidy Araiza for The New York Times

7. Even cactuses may not be safe from climate change.

The cactus — fond of heat, and accustomed to rough soils — might not seem like an obvious victim of climate change. But new research estimates that global warming

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