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Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times

Wednesday Briefing - The New York Times

Kenya’s president, William Ruto, deployed the military yesterday to crack down on what he called “treasonous” protesters after thousands of demonstrators, furious over the passage of tax increases, flooded the streets of the capital, Nairobi, stormed the Parliament building and set fire to the entrance.

The police fired tear gas and guns. At least five people were reported dead from gunshot wounds, and more than 30 others were injured, according to a joint statement by Amnesty International, the human rights group, and several Kenyan civic organizations. The numbers could not be immediately confirmed by The Times.

Kenyans have widely criticized the bill, saying that it would drive up the cost of living for millions. But the government has argued that the legislation was crucial to securing revenue for important initiatives.

Here’s what to know.

Other protests: The demonstrations spread beyond Nairobi, as protesters blocked streets with burning tires in Nakuru, a city some 100 miles away. Last week, at least one person was killed and 200 others were injured across the country, Amnesty International said. In recent days, the government has been accused of abducting critics and making mass arrests.

What’s next: Ruto now has two weeks to sign the legislation into law or send it back to Parliament for revisions.

Photos: Here’s what it looks like on the ground.

Israel’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously yesterday that the military must begin drafting ultra-Orthodox Jewish men. The decision has threatened to split Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government, which depends on two ultra-Orthodox parties.

All nine judges on the court agreed that there was no legal basis for the military exemption. Debate over the issue, which has long been a source of tension between secular Israelis and the ultra-Orthodox community, has grown only more heated as the war in Gaza continues and reservists are called to serve second and third tours.

What’s next: There’s no timeline for conscriptions, but any such move is almost certain to meet fierce religious resistance. As a means to pressure the ultra-Orthodox community to accept the judgment, the court said that the government could suspend subsidies for religious schools that do not adhere to the ruling.

Hunger in Gaza: A U.N.-backed panel of experts said that almost 500,000 people face starvation and that the war had created a catastrophic lack of food.

The plea deal that the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange reached with prosecutors was bad for American press freedoms. But it could have been much worse, writes my colleague Charlie Savage in a news analysis.

Assange pleaded guilty today in a courtroom in Saipan, part of a remote U.S. territory in the Western Pacific, to one charge of violating the Espionage Act for sharing state secrets on WikiLeaks. Assange then was to return to Australia, his home country, after spending five years in British custody. Here’s what we know about Assange and his deal.

For the first time in American history, gathering and publishing information that the government considers secret has been successfully treated as a crime, setting a chilling precedent for journalists. Because Assange agreed to a deal, however, there is no risk that the case could lead to a definitive Supreme Court ruling that supports a narrow view of press freedoms.

Wood-fire-oven pizzerias, once rare outside Italy, are now fixtures in many American cities. The result? Pizza in the U.S. is better than it has ever been, writes my colleague Brett Anderson — who ate dozens of pizzas in 18 states to report this article.

China is now the first country to bring soil from the far side of the moon back to Earth. The sample, which parachuted into Inner Mongolia yesterday aboard a capsule from the Chang’e-6 spacecraft, could hold clues about the origins of the moon and Earth.

The far side of the moon is something of a mystery: It never faces Earth, so direct communication with landers there is extremely difficult, making the area hard to reach successfully. Some scientists hope that China’s missions could advance the global scientific understanding of the solar system.

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