Your Friday Briefing: The Fatal Bullet

Good Morning. We are covering the aftermath of the death of an Al Jazeera journalist in the West Bank, a possible NATO expansion and a Covid outbreak in North Korea.

The bullet that killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh has become the central point of contention between competing efforts by Israelis and Palestinians to investigate who shot her.

Palestinian officials said Israel could not be trusted to investigate the murder and would not allow Israeli officials to examine the bullet. As Palestinian investigators searched the area where Abu Akleh was killed, a senior official rejected Israeli requests for a joint investigation and accused Israeli soldiers of killing her.

Israeli officials say it may have been hit by Palestinian fire and said they would need to examine the bullet to see if it could be compared to an Israeli rifle. They argued that the Palestinians were refusing to supply the bullet to obscure their origin. Here are the live updates.

Explanation: The bullet may reveal the weapon that fired it, and its condition may contain signals about the direction and distance from which it was fired. Israel said both sides fired M16s, which could complicate the investigation.

Bottom: Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American journalist, was reporting in the occupied West Bank during an Israeli attack, amid weeks of violence. Palestinian officials performed an autopsy but have yet to release their findings.

Funeral: Palestinians gathered in Ramallah, the administrative center of authority in the West Bank, for his funeral procession.


Russia’s war is presenting a paradoxical diplomatic test for its president, Vladimir Putin: Finland and Sweden, long neutral, are considering joining the NATO alliance, an important Western tie that Putin has tried to sever.

On Thursday, the Prime Minister and President of Finland announced their support for NATO membership. Parliament is expected to vote on Monday, and NATO’s secretary-general has promised Finland a “smooth and fast” accession process.

The move is a notable change: Finland, which has a long history of military non-alignment, says it is prepared to fight. Sweden, Finland’s strategic partner, has been neutral for over 200 years. Both countries are applying to join NATO, perhaps within a few days. Here are the live updates.

Analyze: The Scandinavian shift also poses a question for other NATO allies: why not Ukraine?

Russia: The Kremlin said that Finnish membership of NATO was “definitely” a threat and that it was prepared to “balance the situation” to ensure Russia’s security.

The West: It could take a year or more for Finland and Sweden to join NATO, leaving them vulnerable to Russian retaliation in the meantime. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday sought to fill that gap, pledging to defend countries if attacked.

Other updates:


The country ordered a nationwide lockdown on what it called its first Covid outbreak and declared a “maximum emergency”. The danger is great: almost all North Koreans are unvaccinated, except perhaps for a handful of elites.

The economic toll can also be severe. North Korea has already been hit hard by years of UN sanctions and its decision two years ago to close its border with China, its only major trading partner, to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

One expert said the North “may face a serious food crisis and the kind of big mess we’ve seen in China recently”, referring to the severe difficulties created by the draconian restrictions recently imposed on Shanghai and other major cities.

Weapons: The outbreak could also affect North leader Kim Jong-un’s efforts to expand his nuclear arsenal. But hours after the announcement, the North launched three ballistic missiles, South Korea said. Northern leaders can use missile tests to boost morale, one expert said.

Several new horror movies and shows rely on mothers, writes our reviewer Amanda Hess: “Their stories signal that there is something psychologically distressing about the role of motherhood itself.”

For the first time in decades, a Stradivarius from the early 1700s – considered the “golden period” of violin making – will be up for auction.

The Stradivarius, known as the “da Vinci,” was the instrument of choice for Toscha Seidel, who bought it for $25,000 in 1924 on CBS in the 1930s and taught Albert Einstein. He played the “da Vinci” on some celebrated soundtracks, including “The Wizard of Oz”.

Seidel, who died in 1962, valued the violin and said he would not trade it “for a million dollars”. When the auction ends next month, it could reach $20 million.

Pistachios add color and crunch to this rich and creamy bucatini.

In “What Artists Wear”, a British fashion journalist and art curator analyzes clothing as protection, performance and resistance.

“The Village House” follows an Indian family over two decades. “Instead of plot,” writes our reviewer, “the film accumulates rituals, traditions and memories and traces a larger arc of family change and rural emigration.”

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