Friday Briefing – The New York Times

Israel struck Iran early this morning, according to two Israeli defense officials, in what appeared to be the country's first military response to the Iranian attack last weekend.

Three Iranian officials confirmed that an attack had hit a military air base near the central Iranian city of Isfahan early Friday morning, but they did not say which country it had attacked.

The explosions came less than a week after Iran fired more than 300 missiles and drones at Israel, its first direct attack on the country, in response to an Israeli attack on an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria that killed seven officials Iranians on April 1.

For days, Israeli leaders have threatened to respond to Iran's attacks, which have turned the years-long shadow war between the two countries into a direct confrontation. The attack came after the United States and European allies imposed new sanctions on Iranian military leaders and weapons makers, imploring Israel not to risk a wider war with too strong retaliation.

Read the latest updates here.

Voting begins today in a multi-stage election in India in which hundreds of millions of people will vote to determine whether their country's powerful prime minister, Narendra Modi, wins a third term.

The vote is seen as a referendum on Modi's economic situation and his increasingly centralized and Hindu vision of India. The elections will last until June 1 and the results are expected on June 4.

My colleague Amelia Nierenberg spoke with Mujib Mashal, the South Asia bureau chief.

How likely is a victory for Modi?

Modi and his coalition, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, have a huge and solid majority. And despite the anti-presidential ethos in Indian elections, Modi is different: his personal appeal is enormous. He is very popular. And he essentially governs as one man, without having to undergo regular parliamentary discussions and debates.

However, there can always be an element of surprise in Indian elections. This is especially true because Modi has such tight control over the media and information that you may never have an exact idea of ​​what might filter down to the ground.

What is Modi's speech?

He claims his 10 years in office have contributed to India's stature on the global stage. He says India is emerging as an economic and diplomatic power and is helping to instill some ambition in the country.

And many say that Modi's 10 years have brought stability to the country. But there is a contradiction in India's rise. Although it is growing as an economic and diplomatic power, this is very uneven growth. The economy does not create enough jobs for its huge youth population, and hundreds of millions of people are still at the mercy of government rations.

Much of his speech remains on religious lines. He combines economic and development appeal with a strong Hindu nationalist appeal, centered primarily on Hindus.

How come?

Modi wants India to be a developed country. He also wants it to develop according to a Hindu nationalist vision.

It brings it all together in this simple narrative: It is helping India grow. For him, for his party, India's identity is directly linked to the idea of ​​Hinduism.

What is the opposition's strategy?

Their presentation is largely a criticism of Modi. But they are fighting for ideological clarity, beyond the fact that Modi is becoming autocratic, that Modi is following a policy of collective hatred and that Modi is favoring his billionaire friends.

How do people feel about this election?

The pride of voting is great: people celebrate the process, as the turnout clearly shows. But, increasingly, there is also a sense that voting itself is overemphasized, and that democracy is not just about voting. It is also what happens when a kind of strongman like Modi uses his popularity to reshape democracy among the votes.

As Chinese cities grow, they are sinking, and Beijing and Tianjin are among the fastest sinking, according to a new study.

In 100 years, a quarter of China's urban coastal land could be below sea level due to a combination of subsidence and sea level rise. The key to minimizing damage is groundwater extraction, the researchers said.

Lives lived: Dickey Betts traded fiery riffs with Duane Allman as the guitarist of the Allman Brothers Band. He died at 80 years old.

When heavyweights collide: Analyzing Real Madrid's victory over Manchester City.

Conditional acceptance: Chelsea's Lauren James is subjected to further racist abuse online.

You don't need to know how to name an image of Keith Haring to recognize it; its vibrant line and electric palette are practically neon signs.

Haring's view was that art should be available to as many people as possible, and he correctly identified that most people's exposure to it occurred not in galleries but on the streets and in shops. The most likely place where you will encounter Haring's art now is not yet the museum, but the shopping mall, which he himself built.

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