Your Friday Briefing: Queen Elizabeth II Dies at 96

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Plus the Solomon Islands postpones its election and tycoons leave China.
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Queen Elizabeth died peacefully yesterday afternoon after more than 70 years as the British head of state. She was Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. Here is her obituary, photos from her reign and live updates.
The queen was widely revered as she presided over Britain’s adjustment to a post-colonial era and saw it through its divorce from the E.U. Her years as sovereign were a time of upheaval. Still, she sought to project the royal family as a bastion of permanence in a world of shifting values, and to preserve the mystique that underpinned its survival.
“There is no analogous public figure who will have been mourned as deeply in Britain — Winston Churchill might come closest — or whose death could provoke a greater reckoning with the identity and future of the country,” writes Mark Landler, our London bureau chief.
Two days before her death, Queen Elizabeth II saw Britain through a fraught government transition. After months of scandal and a divisive campaign, Boris Johnson resigned on Tuesday, and the queen met with Liz Truss, making her the 15th and final prime minister to serve during her reign.
What’s next: Charles, her eldest son, is now king, and will be known as King Charles III. The country will now begin its “London Bridge” plan for the days after her death. (The Guardian has a fascinating explanation.)
Details: British news media outlets switched to rolling coverage after news of her deteriorating health yesterday. Family members rushed to Balmoral Castle, in Scotland, where she died.
Economy: The queen’s death comes at a precarious time for Britain. A cost-of-living crisis and fears of skyrocketing energy costs have gripped the nation, and fears of a recession are growing. Yesterday, Truss laid out a broad plan to freeze gas and electricity rates for two years.
The Solomon Islands will delay next year’s national elections until 2024, which could give an advantage to Manasseh Sogavare, its prime minister.
Sogavare claims the country can’t afford to hold national elections next year because it also plans to host the Pacific Games, an international sporting event. Sogavare reportedly sees the games as his crowning achievement, and hopes to win over the public with a sports spectacular.
His opponents see a power grab linked to Beijing’s influence. Sogavare bet big on China, cutting the Solomon Islands’ ties with Taiwan and signing secretive agreements with Beijing. Critics have worried that the budding friendship will weaken the Pacific Island nation’s young democracy and expand Beijing’s influence in the region.
Diplomacy: Australia’s foreign minister said that her government had offered to pay for the elections to be held as scheduled, expanding on similar past assistance. Sogavare described it as “an attempt to directly interfere into our domestic affairs.”
China’s billionaire tycoons helped build the country’s economy into a powerhouse. Now, they are keeping low profiles — or leaving the country.
In the latest exodus, two of China’s best-known entrepreneurs, Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, resigned this week as leaders of their struggling real estate empire, Soho China. The husband-and-wife team moved to the U.S. during the pandemic and had tried to manage their business remotely.
Their resignations underscore the growing concern among private entrepreneurs that China is veering away from an era of freewheeling capitalism, toward an increasingly state-driven economy that prioritizes politics and security over growth.
Resignations: Other very wealthy entrepreneurs have also stepped down from top jobs in recent months, including Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba; Colin Huang, founder of Pinduoduo, a rival to Alibaba; and Zhang Yiming, founder of TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance.
Departures: Zhou Hang, a prominent tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist, recently left Shanghai’s lockdown for Canada. There, he denounced China’s current policies.
Australia passed a new climate bill that codified a pledge to cut its carbon emissions by 43 percent by 2030, and to be net zero by 2050, BBC reports.
The Philippines rejected a request from the International Criminal Court to resume an inquiry into Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly war on drugs.
The death toll from a fire at a karaoke bar in Vietnam has risen to 33. It is the country’s deadliest fire since 2002.
Here’s an explanation of China’s “zero-Covid” policy.
Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, visited Kyiv and announced another $2 billion in long-term support to Ukraine and other countries in the region, bringing the total U.S. aid to $13.5 billion.
The C.I.A. director said Russia’s invasion looked like a “failure” after six grinding months of fighting.
The U.S. accused Moscow of forcibly deporting up to 1.6 million Ukrainians to Russia or Russian-controlled territory.
The head of the Ukrainian national energy company said conditions at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant were getting “worse and worse and worse.”
Iraq’s instability is deepening. The government is still paralyzed, militias have fought in Baghdad and — despite its oil wealth — the state can’t provide basic services.
The second suspect in a deadly stabbing rampage in Canada died after being taken into police custody.
Europe is suffering through economic turmoil. Yesterday, the European Central Bank raised interest rates, an aggressive move to fight inflation. Here are key takeaways.
Steve Bannon, who was pardoned by Donald Trump, was charged with two felony counts of money laundering, two felony counts of conspiracy and a felony count of scheming to defraud.
The war has devastated Ukraine’s vast fields. One surprise consequence: Bees are flying toward the front lines to gather nectar.
One 71-year-old beekeeper, Petro Fedorovych, has stayed put and is still gathering honey. “I built this house with my hands,” he told The Times late last month. “I will never leave.”
Lives Lived: For a time, Anne Garrels was the only U.S. network reporter broadcasting from Baghdad, where she said she subsisted on Kit Kat bars. She died at 71.
Chinese factories were shuttered again in late August, a frequent occurrence in a country that has imposed intermittent lockdowns to fight the coronavirus.
But this time, the culprit was extreme weather, exacerbated by climate change. A record drought crippled economic activity across the southwest, freezing international supply chains for automobiles, electronics and other goods that have been routinely disrupted over the past three years.
The interruptions could be a sign of the toll that climate change will most likely continue to wreak on the global economy. Many major companies source parts and products from places routinely affected by worsening extreme weather. Academics say the effect of these disasters, and of higher temperatures in general, will be particularly obvious when it comes to food trade.
“What we just went through with Covid is a window to what climate could do,” one expert said.
In other climate news:
Prescribed burns are crucial to reducing the risk of major wildfires. But in a warming world, they are harder to do safely.
Europe is burning wood pellets in the name of clean energy. But much of the wood comes from ancient, protected forests.
Dal adas, a red lentil and tamarind soup from southern Iran, is a spicy and warming meal.
In “The Bengali,” a travelogue-meets-mystery documentary, an African American woman seeks out her Indian grandfather’s past.
Here are 33 books coming this fall.
Play today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Brainiac (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. Happy 126th birthday to The Times Magazine, which debuted this week in 1896.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is on electric vehicles.
You can reach Amelia and the team at


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