Friday Briefing

More than 60 people are believed to have died after a boat carrying them from Senegal capsized in the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Verde, the authorities said this week. A Spanish fisherman found the boat floating about 150 miles north of Sal, one of the islands that make up Cape Verde, according to the country’s national police.

The boat capsized after leaving Fass Boye, a fishing village about 90 miles north of Dakar, the Senegalese capital, on July 10. Thirty-eight people survived the accident, including four children, a spokeswoman for the U.N. migration agency said, adding that seven people had been confirmed dead and 56 others were still missing and presumed dead.

Smugglers have been piling migrants into poorly constructed or overcrowded boats to make the crossing to Europe from their home countries in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere. Many of the migrants take immense risks to escape war and poverty at home, while European countries seek to block the migrants before they reach their shores.

Context: At least 778 migrants died along the West African route to Spain during the first half of the year, according to the Spanish migrant advocacy group Walking Borders.

Droves of harbor porpoises are washing up dead on the shores of the Black Sea in southern Ukraine. Ukrainian officials say their plight speaks to the savage toll that Russia’s war is taking on marine life and on the environment more broadly — something they want to document for prosecution.

Currently, four specific acts — genocide, crimes against humanity, aggression and war crimes — are recognized as international crimes. Ukraine would like to add a fifth: ecocide. It is setting out to build its case against Russia, conducting autopsies of the dead porpoises while also investigating tens of thousands of registered Russian war crimes.

Quotable: “The environment is often called the silent victim of war,” said Maksym Popov, an adviser to the prosecutor general of Ukraine, who is specifically focused on environmental issues. Ukraine is trying to change that, since “the environment has no citizenship, no borders,” he said.

In other news from the war:

Emergency officials in Maui have defended their decision not to use outdoor alert sirens last week to warn locals of the fire as it headed toward the town of Lahaina, saying that the sirens are intended for tsunamis and would have sent residents to the hills and toward the flames. So far, 111 people have been confirmed dead, but only five have been publicly identified.

The devastation from the wildfire in Maui, the deadliest in the U.S. in more than a century, reveals the flaws in Hawaii’s efforts to adapt to climate change: The state has left huge areas of land covered in highly flammable invasive grasses; failed to adopt wildfire-resistant building standards; and shut down dams, reducing the island’s ability to store water.

In Canada: As a wildfire barreled toward Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories, the city’s entire population of about 20,000 people was ordered to evacuate by Friday afternoon.

The British singer Lily Allen, now sober, has a new life in New York and a new string to her bow: acting. She is currently playing a lead role in a West End revival of “The Pillowman,” running at the Duke of York’s Theater through Sept. 2.

“I still get to play with the human experience,” she said of this career transition, “but I don’t have to put my heart on my sleeve as much.”

The British broadcaster Michael Parkinson, known for his interviews with hundreds of the world’s most famous actors, musicians, athletes and politicians, has died at 88.

Mason Greenwood’s second chance: His Manchester United return.

“The Lionesses”: Building England’s women’s soccer team as a brand.

Projecting the U.S. Ryder Cup team: Which golfers will secure the final few spots?

From The Times: Vlatko Andonovski, the head coach of the U.S. women’s soccer team, has resigned, ending a relatively tumultuous tenure.

PFAS — chemicals found in countless consumer products — have been found to damage rodents’ immune systems. Yet they lurk in so much of what we eat, drink and use, and scientists are only beginning to understand how they’re impacting our health — and what to do about them.

“I’ve heard some people say, ‘Well, if everybody is exposed to PFAS, how come we aren’t all dead?’” said Jamie DeWitt, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. In fact, she said, “People actually are dying.”

That’s it for today’s briefing. And a note: I’m on vacation next week. You’ll be in my colleagues’ capable hands.

Thanks for joining me, and see you next time. — Natasha

You can reach Natasha and the team at

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