Your Wednesday Briefing: A Dam Destroyed in Ukraine

The Kakhovka Dam and power plant in southern Ukraine collapsed yesterday, sending a torrent of water through a breach and forcing tens of thousands of people to flee.

Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for the disaster, but it is not yet clear who is responsible. Officials in Kyiv said Moscow troops had blown up a Russian-controlled dam on the Dnipro River in the early hours of the morning.

More than 40,000 people may be in the path of the floods, a Ukrainian official said. Here’s a map of the damage.

Downstream, residents described being horrified as flood waters swept away carrying trees and debris from washed away houses. More than 1,300 people were evacuated, officials said, as conservationists warned of a major and long-lasting environmental disaster. Water is expected to peak today, an expert said.

“People are shocked here,” says my colleague Marc Santora, who is in southern Ukraine. “They are used to all kinds of Russian bombing, all kinds of horrors, but this is far greater both in scale and in the impact it will have on the whole of society.”

The dam’s destruction came a day after US officials said it appeared a Ukrainian counteroffensive had begun. President Volodymyr Zelensky blamed “Russian terrorists.” A Kremlin spokesman said Ukraine had carried out a “sabotage” attack.

The dam supplies water for drinking and agriculture, and to cool reactors and spent fuel at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, but the UN’s nuclear watchdog said there was “no immediate nuclear security risk.”

Analysis: The dam is far from the intensive fighting in the eastern region of Donetsk. But its destruction could divert both sides’ resources from counterattacks.

Other concerns: The devastation could also wash away underground mines that Russian and Ukrainian forces have planted on the banks of the Dnipro, creating new dangers in areas that were once safe.

“It’s hard to overstate how shocking this news is,” wrote my colleague Kevin Draper. The PGA Tour and LIV have spent the past two years competing and suing each other. Some in the PGA have been harshly critical of LIV, both for dividing golf and for its association with Saudi Arabia and its abysmal human rights record. All lawsuits will now end between formal rivals.

However, much remains unknown about the new golf company, which was created so quickly that it was announced before it even had a name. One thing is certain: LIV has gained a foothold that warrants its immense influence on the future of gaming. The governor of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund will be the chairman of the new company.

Background: LIV lures some of the world’s most prominent players, some with contracts said to be worth $200 million, and offers a tournament prize fund that is some of the richest in golf history. Tiger Woods, who turned down a nine-point bid from LIV, has downplayed the league’s approach to competition.

Saudi ambitions: The royal wealth fund has bought Premier League teams and sponsored Formula 1 races. Saudi Arabia has also bid to host the soccer World Cup in 2030.

Prince Harry took a stand in a London court to accuse the Mirror newspaper group of hacking his cellphone more than a decade ago. He spent five hours filing a complaint against the tabloid.

Harry said that some of the journalists “had blood on their hands” and characterized their behavior as “absolutely heinous” and “criminal”. He said he suffered from “depression and paranoia” from the coverage. His testimony will continue today.

The court appearance was, in many ways, another chapter in the life of litigation: Harry and his wife, Meghan, were plaintiffs in no fewer than seven cases against tabloids and other news media organizations. Harry has also filed a lawsuit against the Home Office regarding the loss of his police protection while in England.

Rising sea levels and coastal erosion threaten a D-Day site on the French coast. Historians are now wondering: Can memory be preserved if the landing sites of the Allied invasion disappear?

“If I don’t have the site, I lose the history of what happened here,” said a war monument supervisor. “You should stay home on the couch and read a book.”

Lived life: Astrud Gilberto sang “The Girl From Ipanema” and helped popularize Brazilian bossa nova in the US. He died at the age of 83 years.

The first two episodes of HBO’s new drama “The Idol” were panned for their graphic sexual content. The network leaned toward controversy: It marketed the star-studded series, about a pop star whose life changes after a meltdown, as “the dirtiest love story in all of Hollywood.”

Jennie from Blackpink, the blockbuster K-pop girl group, made her acting debut as a backup dancer for the show’s aspiring idol, played by Lily-Rose Depp. On TikTok or Twitter, the number of posts criticizing the show would likely match those praising Jennie’s looks.

Tomato, salmon and garlic butter makes quick and delicious pasta dinner.

In Dorothy Tse’s “Owlish,” set in the fictional city that represents Hong Kong, a disloyal professor doesn’t see the civil decay around him.

John Mellencamp’s new album, “Orpheus Descending,” is an American scorn.

If you’re packing shoes for travel, consider a “sleaker,” a stylish sneaker that’s perfect for both city walks and country walks.

How often should you wash your hair?

Play Mini Crosswords, and a hint: Praise extensively (five letters).

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