Monday Briefing

Much of Lahaina was destroyed by a fast-moving wildfire in western Maui, Hawaii.Credit…Max Whittaker for The New York Times

Death toll from Maui fires continues to rise

A summer of ferocious weather across much of the U.S. has now yielded the nation’s deadliest wildfire in more than a century. On the Hawaiian island of Maui, at least 93 people have been confirmed dead, more than 2,200 buildings have been leveled and many people on the island remain unaccounted for after what began as scattered brush fires quickly escalated.

The death toll could increase as rescuers travel to parts of the state that have been blocked by fires or by closed roads, and a precise figure may not be known for weeks. Dozens of people have also been injured, some critically.

No cause for the fire has been determined, but experts said one possibility was that active power lines that fell in high winds ignited the wildfire that ultimately spread to Lahaina, a coastal town of 13,000 in western Maui that was leveled. Low humidity and strong mountain winds, as well as worsening drought conditions, probably also contributed to the fire, as did invasive plant life.

Related: Those staying near Lahaina say they have received far more help from volunteers than from federal and local agencies.

The U.S. waited over a year before agreeing to let F-16s be sent to Ukraine.Credit…Piroschka Van De Wouw/Reuters

Ukraine’s counteroffensive, without fighter jets

Lacking significant air power, can Ukraine’s grinding counteroffensive prevail? Military officials and experts say yes — but it is likely to be far more difficult without F-16 fighter jets, an advanced aircraft and a pillar of the warfare tactics that the West has urged Ukraine to adopt.

The Biden administration waited more than a year before letting NATO countries send the jets to Ukraine. By the time pilots are trained, it will be too late for them to assist and protect ground forces slogging through this phase of fighting.

Some experts said that the dearth of air power had put Ukraine at a disadvantage against Russian attack helicopters, which have picked off Ukrainian tanks and armored vehicles. With more warplanes, one Austrian intelligence officer said, Ukraine could better defend its ground troops from such attacks. Neither Ukraine nor Russia has achieved air superiority since the war began last year.

In other news from the war:

  • Russian shelling killed at least seven people, including a family of four, in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine, officials said.

  • Ukraine’s military has made “tactically significant” progress in its counteroffensive, analysts say, making gains that have forced Moscow to divert forces from other parts of the front line.

The fishing boat that struck the rocks, off a beach in Dakar, Senegal.Credit…Carmen Abd Ali for The New York Times

Deadly boat accident in Senegal

At least 16 bodies of migrants hoping to reach Spain were recovered in Dakar, the capital of the Western African nation of Senegal. Their bodies washed ashore about three weeks after the migrants’ wooden fishing boat struck a ring of underwater rocks. It was the latest in a string of tragedies to befall people risking the treacherous ocean route to Europe.

The boat was being chased by patrol vessels from Spain and Senegal in near-total darkness when it hit the rocks, a witness said. Senegalese officials said they were investigating, and a spokesman for Spain’s Interior Ministry denied that a Spanish patrol vessel pursued the pirogue, saying their patrol boat alerted the Senegalese authorities that a boat was sinking after it ran aground.


Around the World

Credit…Arash Khamooshi for The New York Times
  • Iranians are using a celebration of Shiite Muslim identity to protest the government.

  • Asylum seekers housed on the Bibby Stockholm, a British barge, have been evacuated after potentially deadly bacteria were found in the water system.

  • Pakistan’s government appointed Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar as caretaker prime minister, a move that kicked off preparations for the country’s next general elections.

  • A Norwegian climber who broke records ascending K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, was accused of ignoring an injured porter who later died.

  • A Japanese candy, designed to have no taste at all, was widely sold in a convenience store chain. Then it vanished.

From Opinion

  • Katie Engelhart, a health reporter, writes about the haunting image of a prisoner with dementia.

  • Britain is beautiful — but decaying, writes Ross Douthat.

  • David Brooks writes: Left or right, apparently we’re all victims now.

  • Andrew Cote explains why a floating speck of metal sent scientists’ hearts racing.

A Morning Read

Credit…Mason Trinca for The New York Times

The clean energy future is arriving faster than imagined amid a pivot from fossil fuels and toward wind, solar and other greener forms of energy. Renewables are now expected to overtake coal by 2025 as the world’s largest source of electricity.

For more: Resistance to wind and solar projects from environmentalists is among the impediments to widespread conversion to renewables.

Lives Lived

In her native Italy, the novelist Michela Murgia was a voice for minority groups and a lightning rod for political debate. She has died at 51.


Old Trafford redevelopment: Manchester United’s stadium needs urgent work, but plans remain in limbo.

World Cup injuries: Dealing with the heartache of being ruled out of the biggest soccer tournament.

McLaren’s revival: How Lando Norris has been central to the F1 team’s improvement.


Blackout weddings

Twenty years ago this month in the U.S., the power went out across the Northeast and the Midwest, turning weddings into chaotic but fulfilling events. The blackout stranded guests who were en route to weddings, turned off a blow dryer as one bride was getting ready and cut the lights and sound at reception halls. For The Times, Sadiba Hasan asked couples who married that weekend: Did a wedding day crisis set up your marriage for success?

For Dr. Dvasha Stollman, the answer is yes. At her wedding, light came only from candles and from boats outside the window of the seaside event space. Caterers kept food hot with portable warmers. A band played traditional Jewish music acoustically, and guests shed layers of clothing to cope with the lack of air-conditioning.

“It was a very campy feel,” Dr. Stollman said. “Anyone who went to our wedding had really the best time.”


What to Cook

Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times.

Serve miso-honey chicken with asparagus.

Literary Travel

Barbara Kingsolver’s guide to reading across Appalachia.

From Wirecutter

Advice to help keep your produce fresh.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Aggressively sell (four 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. And thanks to those who wrote in about the games segment of the newsletter on Friday. We’re testing how to improve the newsletter, and that segment was mistakenly omitted in some of the versions.

See you next time. — Natasha

P.S. Emily Anthes, a science reporter, spoke to Times Insider about her visit to a chimpanzee sanctuary in Louisiana to observe how it prepares the animals for extreme weather.

Reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

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