Your Tuesday Briefing – The New York Times



The Quarantine. Named for its history as a holding area for potentially infectious travelers, this neighborhood is poor, polluted and squeezed between the port, a major highway and a garbage processing center.

“The Quarantine has always been neglected,” said Fakhrideen Shihadi, a Quarantine native who oversees its tin-roofed mosque. His employer, the processing center, has stopped paying him since the economy contracted. He kept working anyway so he wouldn’t lose his job.

The explosion tore through the neighborhood, shaving walls from its tenements, killing four of Mr. Shihadi’s neighbors and filling the streets with smoke and wounded people. He and his family escaped their building unscathed.

Downtown. After the country’s devastating 15-year civil war ended in 1990, Beirut’s downtown was rebuilt, with investments from the Persian Gulf and wealthy Lebanese, as a showcase meant to reclaim Lebanon’s reputation as the “Switzerland of the Middle East.” But the area never fully took off.

Most Lebanese couldn’t afford the apartments or restaurants. Political turbulence and fear of Iran-backed Hezbollah, the militant group and political party, kept wealthy tourists away. The area became a battleground of tear gas, fires and flying rocks over the weekend as angry protesters tried to shake a political order they felt had failed them.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Isabella

Thank you

To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at


• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about what it means to be “canceled.”

• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: “___ Gems” (2019 film) (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.

• Taylor Lorenz, who covers internet culture for The Times, has been named one of Adweek’s Young Influentials, leaders in media, marketing and tech.



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