Friday, June 25

Your Tuesday Briefing – The New York Times

The E.U. yesterday urged airlines to avoid Belarus’s airspace and imposed sanctions on Aleksandr Lukashenko, the country’s strongman leader, a day after Belarus brazenly forced down a Ryanair commercial airliner so it could seize a dissident journalist onboard.

The British government said it would prohibit Belarus’s national airline from operating in the country, and some Eastern European airlines are diverting flights over Belarus airspace. Pete Buttigieg, the U.S. transportation secretary, has called for a safety review of flights operated by U.S. airlines over Belarus.

Rather than try to blunt diplomatic fallout, Lukashenko signed new laws cracking down further on dissent. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry said that what happened to the jet was in strict accordance with aviation rules, while Russia, Lukashenko’s main ally, stood by him.

Background: Who is Roman Protasevich, the 26-year-old detained journalist? He became a dissident as a teenager and fled the country in 2019, but has continued to roil Lukashenko’s government on the social media platform Telegram while living in exile in Lithuania.

A few years ago, many in Silicon Valley expected that self-driving cars would be common by 2021. But after court fights, injuries and deaths, and tens of billions of dollars spent on a frustratingly fickle technology, companies like Uber and Lyft have abandoned the pursuit. Now the industry is settling in for years of more work.

Those companies still remaining could spend an additional $6 billion to $10 billion before the technology becomes commonplace sometime around the end of the decade or later.

The movie “Space Jam” — a comedy centered on a basketball game that pits Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes characters against aliens — came out in 1996, during the internet’s early days. Its official website reflects its age: a simple pixelated image of stars, dotted with cartoon planets. By remaining unchanged, it has become a beloved cultural artifact for a subset of millennials.

The site “is important in the way antique maps are important,” Gina Cherelus and Caity Weaver write in The Times. It documents the internet as it once was, with downloadable screen savers, printable coloring pages and a one-second audio clip of Jordan saying, “You guys are nuts.”

In 2010, the website ascended to meme status after a popular Reddit post remarked on its continued existence. Rolling Stone called it “the website that wouldn’t die.” was recently repurposed to advertise the coming sequel, “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” starring LeBron James. But you can still find a prominent link to the original site. When it was made, “the internet was still whispering its promise,” said Don Buckley, an advertising executive for the film. “We were exuberant about its possibilities.”

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