Saturday, June 19

Israel-U.A.E. Relations, Belarus, Europe Unemployment: Your Friday Briefing


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Good morning.

We’re covering a major diplomatic agreement between Israel and the U.A.E., mass detentions in Belarus and millions struggling with joblessness in Europe.

Israel reached an agreement with the United Arab Emirates on Thursday to establish “full normalization of relations” and forgo “declaring sovereignty” over occupied West Bank territory for now to improve ties with the rest of the Arab world.

Unfortunately this means I’m often wary of starting a new novel because I can be fairly sure it will wipe out the rest of my day (and night).

What’s your favorite book no one else has heard of?

“Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women,” by Susan Burton and Cari Lynn.

At least, nobody to whom I’ve mentioned it has heard of it so far. It’s a bracing memoir in the same vein as “Notes From a Young Black Chef,” about someone almost destroyed by the deep structural racism of our society, but who managed, eventually, to rise up to help others.

You’re a concert pianist as well as a mathematician. Who are your favorite musician-writers? Your favorite memoir by a musician?

I don’t read much about music, actually; I prefer just doing it, or learning by observation, that is, going to many, many live performances (in the pre-pandemic world).

You’re the “scientist in residence” at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. How do you bridge science and art, and what’s your favorite book to discuss with your students?





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