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Your Friday Briefing: Thailand in Turmoil

Pita Limjaroenrat, 42, has considerable popular support. Credit…Lauren Decicca/Getty Images

Thailand’s Pita fails to win vote for prime minister

After the military-backed Senate rejected Pita Limjaroenrat as prime minister, Thailand was staring down what could be another intense period of political unrest and nationwide protests.

Pita, a former technology executive who had positioned himself as a champion of reform, was unable to muster enough support from senators. His party won elections in May, and the victory had challenged not only the generals but also the nation’s powerful monarchy.

As Parliament prepared to hold a second vote on Wednesday, the political fate of Pita, and his coalition, hangs in the balance. He received only 324 combined votes in the House of Representatives and the Senate — short of the 376 he needed to win the premiership.

“This is déjà vu,” a political science professor said, referring to the cycles of elections, protests, coups and crackdowns that have occurred in Thailand since 2007. Supporters of Pita’s coalition gathered outside the Parliament building in Bangkok where the vote was held, and some had vowed to hit the streets in protest if he did not win enough votes to become prime minister.

What’s next: A likely scenario is that Pheu Thai — another party in the coalition that backed Pita in the elections — would field Srettha Thavisin, a property tycoon who is considered a more palatable candidate among Thailand’s military establishment. The tumultuous week ahead may or may not end with a new prime minister in charge.


Actors and writers picketed in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Credit…Mario Tama/Getty Images

Hollywood is going on strike

About 160,000 television and movie actors voted yesterday to strike as of midnight, joining screenwriters, who walked off the job in May. It will be the first industrywide shutdown in 63 years.

Both groups say the crisis was created mainly by the explosion of streaming, which has changed the way they are paid. Actors say that their residuals, a type of royalty payment, have “severely eroded” in recent years. The writers say their compensation has stagnated.

Another core issue is how artificial intelligence could be used to replicate actors’ performances using their previous work without compensation or permission.

The dual strikes pit the workers against old-line studios like Disney, Universal, Sony and Paramount as well newer juggernauts like Netflix, Amazon and Apple. The studiosmaintain that they’re in crisis, too. They say streaming has cut into share prices and profit margins.

“I don’t think Hollywood is ready for this,” my colleague Nicole Sperling, who covers entertainment, said. Studio executives were caught off guard by the resolve of the actors, who, unlike the writers, have not staged a major strike in four decades, she added.

“Hollywood was already about 80 percent shut down, but any production that was hobbling along will now close, and upcoming projects will be severely hampered,” she explained.


Water enveloped sections of residential areas and historical sites in Delhi.Credit…Adnan Abidi/Reuters

A view from India’s flood zone

Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes in Delhi, India’s capital city, after the authorities warned of widespread flooding. Days of torrential rains have battered large swaths of northern India, killing dozens of people.

The Yamuna River, which flows through the capital, breached the so-called danger mark by three meters (about 10 feet), the authorities said. Migrant workers living on the banks lost their makeshift homes. Officials closed schools and converted them into disaster relief camps. Three water treatment plants were shuttered after they were flooded, threatening access to drinking water.

The Yamuna River is a tributary of the Ganges.Credit…Arun Sankar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Context: So far this monsoon season, at least 91 people have died in six states near Delhi. The country’s annual monsoon season has become erratic and more extreme in recent years as the world warms.

THE LATEST NEWS

The War in Ukraine

A former Russian position in the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine.Credit…David Guttenfelder for The New York Times
  • A Russian general who was fired from his command railed against the military leadership in the latest example of disarray among the country’s top defense ranks.

  • Diplomats from Russia and China met on the sidelines of a summit in Indonesia to discuss cooperation a day after the NATO summit concluded.

  • Some far-right Republicans want to cut U.S. military funding for Ukraine.

Around the World

A covered body in West Darfur last month.Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • The U.N. found a mass grave in Darfur, in the west of Sudan, with the bodies of at least 87 people, who were most likely killed by the paramilitary group battling the Sudanese army.

  • U.S. health authorities approved the first over-the-counter birth control pill, which could expand contraception access.

  • The White House’s plans to put new restrictions on U.S. investments in Chinese companies could undermine recent diplomatic efforts.

Other Big Stories

  • Germany called for a reduction in its dependency on Chinese goods while still maintaining its economic ties with the country, its largest trading partner.

  • Guatemala’s presidential election was thrown into chaos after a top prosecutor moved to suspend the party of a surging anti-corruption candidate.

  • U.S. authorities are investigating OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, over data collection and claims of publishing false information on individuals.

The Week in Culture

  • Threads, Meta’s Twitter competitor, found overnight success. But its growth may not last.

  • Kevin Spacey told a British court that he was a “big flirt” but denied the accusations of four men who say he sexually assaulted them.

  • Museums are footing the bill to guard artworks against climate activism.

  • Demand for Taylor Swift tickets disrupted Ticketmaster in France.

A Morning Read

Some comic bullfighters take pride in their performance.Credit…Samuel Aranda for The New York Times

Spain’s comic shows at bullfights, some of which star people with dwarfism, have become the front line in a war over tradition. Critics say they are banned by a new law, but performers say the show must go on.

“This is the right to work, they can’t take it away from us,” a performer said.

ARTS AND IDEAS

Netflix is focusing on content that resonates with a single market’s audience.Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Netflix’s K-drama game plan

“Squid Game” showed Netflix that a laser focus on local taste can deliver a global audience. It was the most-watched show ever on the streaming service, and it sparked interest in Korean content.

Netflix wants to dominate the entertainment world, but it is pursuing that ambition one country at a time. Instead of creating shows and movies that appeal to all 190 countries where the service is available, it is betting that a compelling story somewhere is compelling everywhere, no matter the language.

Netflix already has shows in more than 30 Asian languages. That strategy seems to be working: Last year, 60 percent of subscribers worldwide watched a Korean-language show or movie.

PLAY, WATCH, EAT

What to Cook

Credit…Linda Xiao for The New York Times

Make the easiest salted caramel ice cream by hand.

What to Watch

“Theater Camp” is a bitterly funny mockumentary set at a drama institute.

What to Read

In the novel “The Militia House,” an abandoned building in Afghanistan captivates and terrifies the Marines stationed nearby.

What to Listen to

These seven new, under-the-radar songs are worth your time.

Now Time to Play

Play the Mini Crossword. Here’s a clue: Smile wide (four letters).

Here are the Wordle and the Spelling Bee. You can find all our puzzles here.


That’s it for today’s briefing. I hope you have a lovely weekend! — Amelia

P.S. Our series on slavery and racism in the U.S., “The 1619 Project,” was nominated for the Emmy for best documentary or nonfiction series.

“The Daily” is on affirmative action.

If you have thoughts or suggestions, you can always reach us at [email protected].

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