Monday Sunrise Briefing: G-7 touts democracy over autocracy

Here are three news events - the G-7 summit, new Israeli leadership, and the French Open winner - from this past weekend (while you may have been attending a baseball game or a wedding, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news this week.

Richard Pohle/Pool via REUTERS
After the G-7 summit, President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden met with Britain's Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, Britain, June 13, 2021. The three are show here while the the U.S. national anthem is played.

During their three-day summit in England, the G-7 leaders sought to convey that the club of wealthy democracies - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States – is a better friend to poorer nations than authoritarian rivals (i.e. China and Russia). Summit nations staked their claim Sunday to leading the world out of the pandemic, pledging more than 1 billion vaccine doses to poorer nations, and vowing to help developing countries grow while fighting climate change. The G-7 “Build Back Better” plan promises financing for infrastructure – “from railways in Africa to wind farms in Asia” – to help speed up the global shift to renewable energy. The plan is a response to China’s “belt and road” initiative. A Chinese official responded: “The days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone.”

2. Leadership shift. Israel's parliament cast a historic vote on Sunday ending Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year tenure as prime minister. Naftali Bennett became prime minister, promising to try to heal a divided nation. Mr. Bennett will preside over a fragile coalition of eight parties, including conservative factions, centrists, and an Arab party, the first ever in an Israeli government. The vote ended a two-year cycle of political paralysis in which the country held four deadlocked elections. To his supporters, Mr. Netanyahu is a global statesman uniquely capable of leading the country through its many security challenges. But to his critics, he has become an autocratic leader who used divide-and-rule tactics to aggravate the many rifts in Israeli society, and they question his fitness to remain in office while on trial for corruption charges.

3. Grace, power, and consistency on clay. Tennis star Novak Djokovict won the French Open for the second time on Sunday while notching his 19th Grand Slam title overall - one away from the men's record shared by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. After losing the first two sets, he said there was a voice inside telling him: “You can’t do it, that it’s done, it’s finished,” he told reporters after the match. He decided to take charge. “I told myself, 'I can do it.' Encouraged myself. I strongly started to repeat that inside of my mind, tried to live it with my entire being.” To get to the finals, Djokovic had to eliminate 13-time French Open champion Nadal - a challenge the Serb likened to scaling Mt. Everest -  in a semifinal that lasted more than four hours Friday night. Djokovic is now one of three men – alongside Rod Laver and Roy Emerson – to have won each major tennis tournament twice. 

AP Photo/Kathy Willens
Best in Show. David Fitzpatrick, owner, breeder and handler, holds Wasabi, a Pekingese, after the dog won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Sunday, June 13, 2021, in Tarrytown, N.Y.

Look Ahead

MONDAY, June 14

Friends and allies. U.S. President Joe Biden and his NATO counterparts meet in Brussels to discuss China, Russia, and give a symbolic farewell to Afghanistan in their last summit before America completes pulling out its troops. Separately, Mr. Biden and Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are also expected to meet for the first time as heads of state. 

WEDNESDAY, June 16 

Fence-mending summit? Amid strained relations, President Biden and President Vladimir Putin meet in Geneva. 

Inflation watch. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to hold press conference at the conclusion of the Fed's two-day meeting. 

FRIDAY, June 18

Democracy undone? Iran’s presidential elections are scheduled to be held. Conservative hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, Iran's judiciary chief, is the leading contender among seven candidates hand-picked by Iran's Guardian Council. 

SATURDAY, June 19.

Emancipation Day.The Juneteenth holiday commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia mark it as a state holiday or observance. Communities across the country celebrate it with food and festivities. 

Generosity Watch

Generosity can be a sound investment in the future. But when Walter “Willie” Green gave out free food from his BBQ restaurant last summer, he considered it his last hurrah, a fire sale. An estimated 110,000 restaurants went out of business during the pandemic. Mr. Green thought Uncle Willie’s Wings in Newark, N.J. was next. 

But that act of giving turned out to be an act of renewal.

Support came pouring in. Uncle Willie’s Wings then joined Newark Working Kitchens, a free meal delivery service program for those in need, and set up to help restaurants survive the pandemic. Participating restaurants were paid $10 for each meal delivered out of a $1 million grant from Audible. Mr. Green ramped up to deliver 1,000 meals a week. NBC’s Today Show got one of its sponsors, the Ford Motor Company, to give Mr. Green a new delivery van

The spirit of giving came full circle Saturday, a year later.

Mr. Green held another free BBQ event in a Newark parking lot, complete with bouncy castle, face-painting, and music. South Ward Councilman John Sharpe James honored Mr. Green for using his own resources to feed residents last year. “We need to show support for people who have heart and love for the community,” said Mr. James, reported NJ.com.

Hidden Gem

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
The Rev. Kelmy Rodriquez, standing in front of the 96th Street subway station, is one of 68 volunteer subway chaplains in New York City.

Start your week with a recent story that inspired Monitor readers:

Underground counselors: The chaplains helping transit workers cope

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story about what it means to be a Southern Baptist, ahead of the annual conference.

Finally, check out the Monitor’s selected stories from Friday's subscription-only Daily Edition:

  1. How Iran’s crisis of confidence makes it less democratic
  2. Reporter’s notebook: How Biden’s 5 predecessors fared on NATO stage
  3. Vaccine passports: Why Europe loves them and the US loathes them
  4. Inheritance, fairness, and the billionaire class
  5. Joy returns to theaters with ‘In the Heights

 If you value our constructive, uplifting approach to journalism, please consider supporting our work by subscribing. Thank you!

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.