Analysis & Comment

Your Monday Briefing

Scotland’s former leader is arrested

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s former first minister, was arrested yesterday by police officers investigating the finances of the powerful Scottish National Party, which she led until her unexpected resignation in February. The news deepens the party’s crises and deals a new blow to its campaign for Scottish independence.

The Scottish police said that Sturgeon had “been released without charge pending further investigation.” (Police officers in the country can arrest people for questioning and then release them amid continuing investigations.) Sturgeon quickly proclaimed her innocence: “I know beyond doubt that I am in fact innocent of any wrongdoing.”

As part of the investigation, the police had also arrested and released her husband, Peter Murrell, the party’s former chief executive, and Colin Beattie, its former treasurer. The inquiry began in 2021 and examined the handling of about $750,000 in donations raised to campaign for a second independence vote.

Now, Scottish authorities are thought to be looking into whether money was diverted for a different purpose, and why Sturgeon’s husband made a loan to the party.

Background: Sturgeon had led Scotland for more than eight years until she announced she was stepping down. When she resigned, she said she was exhausted and had become too polarizing to persuade people to support independence.

Related: Boris Johnson, Britain’s former prime minister, abruptly resigned from Parliament on Friday after learning the findings of an investigation into parties he held during the Covid lockdown. Analysts say he now has almost no plausible path back to power — or voters’ good graces.

Ukraine signals its counteroffensive has begun

President Volodymyr Zelensky said that “counteroffensive and defensive actions are being taken in Ukraine.” It is the strongest confirmation yet that the long-anticipated campaign has started, after Ukraine launched multiple attacks last week.

Fighting raged yesterday in at least three areas of the front line in Ukraine. The Ukrainian military claimed to have made its first territorial gains: three small settlements in the eastern region of Donetsk. The claims could not immediately be independently verified, and it was unclear if Ukraine had managed to break through the Russian lines.

Experts warn that Ukraine will suffer heavy losses in the fighting. Ukraine and Russia have both already suffered casualties, two U.S. officials said. At least three German-made Leopard 2 tanks and eight U.S.-made Bradley fighting vehicles were recently abandoned by Ukrainian troops or destroyed, videos and photos verified by The Times show.

Context: The military operation, which is expected to become one of the largest in Europe since World War II, is seen as at a stage of probing attacks and feints.

Dam collapse: Floods have killed at least 14 people. Yesterday, Russian forces fired on a boat rescuing civilians from flooding, killing three people, the local authorities said. Upstream, villagers are facing a slow-moving disaster as water levels drop. “Everything will die,” a 64-year-old said, standing in her garden.

Tensions after Trump’s indictment

A wave of violent rhetoric followed Donald Trump’s federal indictment last week. His allies have portrayed the indictment as an act of war and called for an uprising to defend him, raising concerns about violence ahead of Trump’s scheduled court appearance tomorrow.

Other Republicans who are running for president are caught in a tough spot. They now have to decide between deferring to a system of law and order that their party has long upheld — or backing Trump. Trump himself is on the defensive, casting both his indictments and his bid for the White House as part of a “final battle” with “corrupt” forces.

Across the world, many saw the indictment as another sign of the country’s political messiness. Some chose silence in public and eye rolls in private. Allies voiced concerns that the episode was hurting not just Trump but also the U.S. itself, by showing that security secrets were not safe in its hands — and that its disorienting, partisan fever had yet to break.

Context: This is the first time a former U.S. president has faced federal charges. The indictment accuses Trump of mishandling classified documents that he kept upon leaving office and then obstructing efforts to reclaim them. But it is silent on one subject: Trump’s motive. We have annotated the documents for you.

THE LATEST NEWS

Around the World

Novak Djokovic beat Casper Ruud to win the French Open men’s singles title for a third time.

A homeless Syrian man was charged with attempted murder in France in connection with a stabbing attack that injured two adults and four children.

Ted Kaczynski, the “Unabomber” who attacked industrial society with homemade bombs, was found dead in his cell at 81.

Other Big Stories

“Leopoldstadt” won best play at the Tony Awards; “Kimberly Akimbo” won best musical. Here are all the winners.

Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia’s president, is trying to cast himself as the nation’s defender as protests grow in Belgrade and tensions flare in Kosovo.

Dinosaur bones were once considered extremely rare in Australia, but a flurry of discoveries is rewriting the country’s fossil record and sparking a tourism boom.

Greta Thunberg graduated from high school. She plans to keep protesting on Fridays, after 251 weeks of doing so as a student.

From Opinion

Thomas Friedman marvels at the ease of traveling between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Tanya Gold, a British journalist, defends Prince Harry.

Nicholas Kristof shares his memory of the crackdown at Tiananmen Square: “I watched for hours, from whatever cover I could find, as the People’s Republic of China butchered the people.”

A Morning Read

Four children survived in the Colombian jungle for 40 days after their plane crashed, killing their mother and two other adults. The country erupted in celebration when they were found in good health and spirits, officials said.

A top official praised the oldest, Lesly Mucutuy, who is 13: “It was because of her that the three little siblings were able to survive by her side, with her care, with her knowledge of the jungle.”

SPORTS NEWS FROM THE ATHLETIC

Analyzing Manchester City’s Champions League victory: Rodri’s goal, Phil Foden’s role and how three months of perfection ended with a victory over Inter Milan.

The battle of the Champions League broadcasters: Assessing the CBS, BT and beIN Sports coverage of Europe’s showpiece soccer finale.

How to watch soccer: Track runs and rotations. Meet the press. Set a tape loop. Look one line up. See space and time. Think inside the box. Don’t watch the ball.

ARTS AND IDEAS

Quiz: A.I. or nuclear?

Many A.I. experts are warning about the technology or calling for regulation — just as others once did with the atomic bomb. But some argue that we should see A.I. as a tool, much as nuclear energy can offer an alternative to fossil fuels.

To take stock of the onslaught of comparisons, my colleagues Ian Prasad Philbrick and Tom Wright-Piersanti made a quiz: Are these quotations about A.I. or nuclear technology?

1. “We are drifting toward a catastrophe beyond comparison.”

2. “The rise of _______ will be either the best or the worst thing ever to happen to humanity. We do not yet know which.”

3. “If any major military power pushes ahead with _______ development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable.”

Take a stab at all of the 12 quotations. (You can check your answers to these three at the end of this newsletter.)

PLAY, WATCH, EAT

What to Cook

An adaptable, no-fry take on chorizo taquitos.

What to Watch

“Aloners,” a portrait of a South Korean call center employee, explores grief and modern ennui.

What to Listen to

Hear new tracks from Rosalía, PinkPantheress and others.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: They’re breath-taking (five letters).

And here are today’s Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Amelia

P.S. How well did you follow the news last week? Take our quiz.

“The Daily” is about the stakes of Donald Trump’s indictment.

You can reach us at [email protected].

Answers: 1. Nuclear technology; Albert Einstein. 2. A.I.; Stephen Hawking. 3. A.I.; Future of Life Institute.

Amelia Nierenberg writes the Asia Pacific Morning Briefing for The Times. @AJNierenberg

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