Cargo ships in the Black Sea, off the coast of Romania, last month.Credit…Andreea Campeanu for The New York Times
Ukraine’s influence increases in the Black Sea
Ukraine is increasingly managing to gain a degree of control over part of the disputed waters of the Black Sea, aided by an intensifying military campaign and Ukraine’s growing ability to hit Russian warships, experts say.
In recent weeks, seven cargo vessels have successfully sailed a new shipping corridor established by Ukraine to evade Russia’s de facto blockade of its Black Sea ports, according to the Ukrainian Navy. Once the ships left Ukrainian waters, they hugged the western Black Sea coast near NATO members, a likely deterrent where Russia is unlikely to take action.
Under a yearlong agreement with Russia, Ukraine had been able to ship its grain by sea, but Moscow pulled out of the deal in July and warned that it would consider any ship approaching a Ukrainian port to be a potential military threat. In response, Ukraine devised its new route, offering passage through a maze of maritime mines the country installed to protect its shores.
Analysis: “We’ve seen that Ukraine is taking an increasingly offensive approach in the Black Sea,” said Thea Dunlevie, an analyst at the Center for Maritime Strategy.
In other news from the war:
A Ukrainian military spokesman said Wagner fighters were returning to the eastern front.
Russia released new videos of a Russian admiral that Ukraine claimed to have killed, with the footage showing him apparently alive and well.
The U.N., caught between reform and rupture
At the U.N. General Assembly, leaders gathered to debate the world’s most pressing problems: war in Europe, poverty, a warming planet and pandemics. They also acknowledged that the U.N.’s premier body, the Security Council, had been paralyzed by the inability of its permanent members to act in unison on Russia’s bloody invasion of Ukraine.
Deep divisions among the five permanent members have also stymied collective action to stop deadly conflicts, human rights abuses and nuclear threats around the world, from Ukraine to Syria, Mali to Myanmar, South Sudan to North Korea. More recently, Russia has vetoed resolutions condemning its invasion of Ukraine.
These failures have amplified decades-long calls to change the institution. But despite abundant evidence of the Council’s failures, breaking the gridlock holding up change is nearly impossible, as there is little consensus and the U.N.’s founding charter was designed to make alterations extremely difficult.
Quotable: “The world has changed. Our institutions have not,” the U.N. secretary general, António Guterres, said last week.
What a judge’s ruling means for Trump’s empire
Donald Trump could lose his grip on three flagship Manhattan properties after a state judge ruled that he had persistently committed fraud by inflating the value of his assets. The judge sided with New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, who had brought a civil case against the former president.
As a punishment, the judge effectively revoked Trump’s licenses to operate those properties — and potentially an even broader swath of the family business that the former president built over the last half-century. The ruling left much of his New York operation hanging in the balance.
Related: Separately, the judge overseeing Trump’s trial on charges of seeking to overturn the 2020 election denied his attempt to disqualify her from the case for supposedly being biased against him.
THE LATEST NEWS
Around the World
With the number of asylum seekers rising, along with support for the far right, Germany said it was strengthening controls along its border with Poland and the Czech Republic.
Britain said it would allow a long-delayed $9.4 billion North Sea drilling project despite objections from environmental groups.
Parallel diplomatic visits this week highlighted the fast-warming ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Pvt. Travis King, the American soldier who entered North Korea on July 18, was released into U.S. custody after weeks of diplomacy.
Other Big Stories
An E.U. law aimed at forcing social media giants to adopt new policies to curb harmful content is expected to face blowback from Elon Musk, who owns X.
Read our recap of the second G.O.P. debate. (Donald Trump did not participate.)
Analysts raised their forecasts for oil prices toward $100 a barrel as they tried to understand the intentions behind Saudi Arabia’s recent production cuts.
An antitrust lawsuit the U.S. government filed against Amazon could completely change how big tech firms do business.
Top House Republicans are eyeing potential impeachment charges of bribery and abuse of power against President Biden.
What Else Is Happening
So-called fairy circles — strange, polka-dot-like patterns of barren earth — may occur in up to 263 sites, in 15 countries, across three continents.
A NASA astronaut safely returned to Earth after spending 371 days in space, on a journey of nearly 6,000 orbits that covered more than 157 million miles.
Israeli citizens will be able to travel to the U.S. without a visa. Israel has given U.S. citizens, including Palestinian Americans, visa-less entry since July.
Travelers with passports from poorer nations like India, South Africa and China are struggling to obtain European visas.
A Morning Read
In Georgia, Texas and Washington, D.C., three Black women are working to preserve desecrated African American burial grounds and the stories they hold.
“I thought about all of these women in that cemetery who blazed a trail for me to be here and my daughters to be here, and all of the love that I remember in my home and in my family,” one volunteer said. “But my daughters said it best: ‘Mama, we cannot let our family be buried in a trash dump like that.’”
Ajax implosion: How did one of Europe’s biggest soccer clubs get in such a mess?
Daniel Farke’s first touch: Analyzing the impressive skill that went viral.
The making of Liam Lawson: New Zealand’s Formula 1 trailblazer.
ARTS AND IDEAS
The new all-seeing, all-talking ChatGPT
ChatGPT — viral A.I. sensation, slayer of office work, sworn enemy of high school teachers and Hollywood screenwriters — is getting new powers: seeing, hearing and speaking.
The bot will soon be able to respond to images. You can upload a photo of the contents of your refrigerator, for example, and receive instructions about what to cook for dinner. Users will also able to converse aloud with it, the way you might talk to Siri or Alexa.
Kevin Roose, our tech columnist, got early access to the new ChatGPT for a hands-on test. “I certainly didn’t mistake ChatGPT for a conscious being, or develop emotional attachments to it,” he said. “But I also saw a glimpse of a future in which some people may let voice-based A.I. assistants into the inner sanctums of their lives.”
For more: Meet the A.I. Jane Austen.
Cook “pizza chicken.”
Purchase the perfect vacation keepsake.
Reflect on why you matter.
Watch Wes Anderson’s new film, “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar,” on Netflix.
Listen to nine songs to make you say “yeah!”
Play the Spelling Bee. And here are today’s Mini Crossword and Wordle. You can find all our puzzles here.
That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Natasha
P.S. Connect famous characters with their novels in our quiz.
You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].