Your Friday Briefing: An Arrest in the Documents Leak

An arrest in the U.S. leak case

Federal investigators in the U.S. arrested a 21-year-old man who they believe is linked to leaked classified intelligence documents that have upended relations with American allies and exposed weaknesses in the Ukrainian military.

The Times identified the man as Jack Teixeira, a member of the intelligence wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard. Teixeira oversaw an online group named Thug Shaker Central, where the documents first appeared. The group consisted of about two dozen people, mostly young men and teenagers, who came together over a shared love of guns, racist memes and video games.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said yesterday that the F.B.I. took Teixeira into custody “without incident,” adding that he is accused of illegally sharing classified defense information. Here are live updates.

Background: Starting months ago, the authorities say, one of the users of the online group uploaded hundreds of pages of intelligence briefings into the small chat group, lecturing its members, who had bonded during the isolation of the pandemic, on the importance of staying abreast of world events.

How we found him: The Times linked Teixeira to the group using a gaming profile and other records. Details of the interior of Teixeira’s childhood home — posted on social media in family photographs — also match details on the margins of some of the photographs of the leaked documents.

New revelations: The cache of documents has shed light on recent U.S. accusations that China was considering giving Russia military aid. In mid-February, the U.S. intercepted communications indicating that Russian intelligence reported the approval of such aid by China’s top military body.

The documents also show infighting inside Russia’s government, which appears broader and deeper than previously understood.

The WTA returns to China

The Women’s Tennis Association will resume holding tournaments in China this year, the chief executive of the association said. The events had been suspended there in late 2021 because of concerns about the Chinese player Peng Shuai.

The WTA had said that it would not come back to China until it could speak directly with Peng, who accused a top official of sexual assault. She has since walked back her allegations, but the WTA has questioned whether she has been able to speak freely.

Now, after a 16-month-long stalemate, the WTA has blinked. Steve Simon, its chief executive, said he expected to hold eight tournaments in China this year. He said that the WTA would take a “different approach” because it did not feel that its inquiry was making progress under the current strategy.

Money at stake? Simon rejected a suggestion that the decision was all about the WTA’s bottom line. In 2019, the tour held nine events in China, which accounted for about one-third of its annual revenue. Since the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, the tour has faced major financial headwinds.

The U.S. fight over abortion pills

The legal battle over an abortion medication in the U.S. escalated yesterday after the Justice Department said that it would ask the Supreme Court to block a ruling that limited the drug’s distribution and made it less accessible.

The ruling, delivered by a federal appeals court on Wednesday, said that the pill mifepristone could temporarily remain available, but it blocked the drug from being mailed to patients and rolled back other steps intended to make the pill easier for patients to access.

As access to abortion has become restricted in the U.S., the market for abortion pills sold outside of the formal health care system has expanded significantly. Tens of thousands of patients have gone online in search of pills in the nine months since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Overseas market: If legal access is further restricted, overseas sellers of abortion pills may stand to benefit. The pharmacies, some of which are based in India and Vietnam, offer a convenient — though likely illegal — route for people trying to skirt abortion bans.

Florida: The state legislature passed a ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, which would be among the most restrictive in the U.S.


Asia Pacific

North Korea fired a ballistic missile, its first such test in more than two weeks, South Korea said.

Hong Kong police detained two men accused of soaking police officers during a celebration of Songkran, the Thai New Year festival.

China’s arrest of a Japanese pharmaceutical executive on espionage charges is testing Japan’s resolve. It prompted an unusually strong reaction from Tokyo.

Around The World

Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched in the streets in France to protest President Emmanuel Macron’s pension plan. A constitutional review, expected today, could give final approval.

Macron stood by his recent comments that Europe could not be a “vassal” of the U.S. on issues around Taiwan’s security.

Russian prison officials called an ambulance for the opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, who experienced acute stomach pain, his spokeswoman said.

Arab countries are meeting with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria after years of isolating him for his role in Syria’s civil war.

The Week in Culture

The unexpected death of Jung Chae-yull, a 26-year-old South Korean actress, has renewed concerns about mental health in the country’s competitive entertainment industry. The cause was not disclosed.

“Harry Potter” is becoming a TV series.

Movies by Wes Anderson, Hirokazu Kore-eda and others will vie for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival next month.

Brittney Griner, the American basketball star, is writing a memoir about her detention in Russia.

This year’s Met Gala will pay homage to Karl Lagerfeld.

A Morning Read

The Chamorro people, Guam’s first inhabitants, have survived 500 years of colonization. Now, their way of life is again being tested as the U.S. military increases its presence on the island.

Lives lived: Mary Quant, the British designer known as the mother of the miniskirt, died at 93. She put London fashion on the world map.


A Kerala reading list

Known as India’s “Spice Coast,” Kerala has long enticed outsiders. The author Abraham Verghese recommends these books to explore Kerala’s culture and help you plan a trip to the region.

To get your bearings, Verghese suggests a history of British colonialism, an exploration of the spice trade and “The Kerala Kitchen,” a colorful travelogue, memoir and cookbook. To help you understand Kerala’s ties to the Gulf, “Goat Days” captures how dreams of fortune can become a nightmare.

And if you’re struggling to find any of the titles, he suggests waiting until you get there. Bookstalls abound and have excellent translations: “I stock up at every visit,” he writes.


What to Cook

Make an unapologetically lamb-forward ragù for dinner this weekend.

What to Watch

The animated film “Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman,” adapted from Haruki Murakami’s short story collection, is set shortly after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.


Try a “sky couch” on your next long-haul trip.

What to Wear

We have tips to break out of an all-black wardrobe.

Now Time to Play

Play the Mini Crossword, and a clue: Brief smell (five letters).

Here are the Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Have a lovely weekend! — Amelia

P.S. The Times released “Spelling Bee Buddy” to help you play our popular game.

“The Daily” is about the leaked documents.

Tell us what you think about this newsletter. You can reach us at [email protected].

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