The consequences of India’s worsening outbreak
As India’s Covid-19 crisis continues, demands for medical oxygen are far outstripping supply, with sometimes deadly effects.
At multiple hospitals across the country, dozens of patients have died after oxygen ran out. A court in New Delhi stepped in over the weekend, saying it would punish federal officials for failing to deliver oxygen to hospitals in that city, the government of which is run by an opposition party.
Social media networks have sprung up to get aid to people who need it. While some people seek oxygen or plasma, others are hunting for medicine that goes for high prices on the black market, or for ventilators, which are exceedingly rare.
Related: Australia barred its citizens from traveling home from India, saying they could face $50,000 fines and jail time.
Netanyahu’s last shot at forming a government
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said yesterday that he would be willing to hand over leadership for one year to a longtime right-wing rival, Naftali Bennett, in a last-ditch effort to cobble together a new government.
Netanyahu, who has spent the past 12 years in office and is now standing trial on corruption charges, announced the offer on Facebook just ahead of a deadline to form a government, in the wake of Israel’s fourth inconclusive election in two years.
The election in March left Netanyahu unable to muster a coalition with a majority. Even with Bennett’s small, pro-settlement party, he would be two seats short of a majority government.
According to Netanyahu, Bennett had demanded to serve for one year in a rotating premiership while negotiating with a Netanyahu-led bloc and an opposition bloc, playing each against the other. “It’s not exactly a routine demand from the person who heads a party with seven seats,” Netanyahu said.
Response: “I have just heard Netanyahu’s proposal, and I have to say it is unclear to me,” Bennett said. “I did not demand the premiership from Netanyahu, but rather I asked for a government. And that, to my regret, he does not have.”
Context: Offering this deal to “an old and bitter rival” is surprising, our Jerusalem bureau chief, Isabel Kershner, said. “It’s definitely a sign of desperation. But again, a lot of people doubt his sincerity — and Bennett is apparently among them.”
German authorities break up child sex abuse site
German prosecutors announced yesterday they had broken up a site used to share material showing child sexual abuse that had an international following of more than 400,000 members, describing it as “one of the largest child pornography sites operating on the dark net.”
Since at least June 2019, the site, named Boystown, included forums in which members from around the globe exchanged images and videos showing children, including toddlers, being sexually abused. The site also had chat rooms in which members could connect with one another in multiple languages.
In a statement, German federal prosecutors announced the arrests in mid-April of three German men who managed the site and a fourth who had posted thousands of images to it.
Official remarks: “This investigative success has a clear message: Those who prey on the weakest are not safe anywhere,” Germany’s interior minister, Horst Seehofer, said.
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Investigators in the small southern Italian city of Potenza say they discovered a criminal network that expanded all the way to a cappuccino-slinging cafe at a judicial building.
A clan of mobsters, led by a local family, operated the cafe as a front, according to court documents, to “potentially launder money and have a base inside the most important justice court in the district to acquire information.”
Davide Pennacchio, a local lawyer, said: “So many police, prosecutors, carabinieri went up to the bar to have coffee. And who knows how many things they could have said?”
ARTS AND IDEAS
The many lives of a single song
Musicians have rerecorded popular songs — and sometimes sent them back to the top of the charts — for decades. But in recent years, many artists have been releasing remixes of the same song.
The Florida rapper SpotemGottem, for instance, first released the song “Beat Box” more than a year ago. A remix, “Beat Box 2,” arrived in December, followed in short succession by “Beat Box 3,” “Beat Box 4” and, last month, “Beat Box 5.” Combined, listeners have streamed the songs hundreds of millions of times.
The strategy is to “extract maximum value from a single song,” Jon Caramanica writes in The Times. He calls it “an elegant promotional solution: If people decide they want to listen to your song, simply give them more of it.” Lil Nas X similarly kept his breakout song, “Old Town Road,” at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for a record-breaking 19 weeks in 2019, partly through remixes, which has helped him sustain stardom despite not having yet released a full-length album.
Often, these remixes can be substantial, adding a new layer to the song. But sometimes they’re a slightly altered version that is more obviously a ploy to game streams. “For younger artists, especially those who catch fire on TikTok, lengthening the life of a song,” Caramanica writes, “is crucial to setting a foundation for a chance at something beyond a one-viral-smash career.”
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
Studded with hazelnuts, this salad of beets, lentils and Cheddar is a party of sweet, earthy and salty flavors.
What to Read
Michael Lewis’s new book, “The Premonition,” is about the medical renegades who warned of a coming pandemic, even as the federal government proved to be inordinately unhelpful.
We are all relearning how to talk to one another, and this isn’t just because of the pandemic. But it’s worth making the effort to connect.