Your Friday briefing: Thailand in turmoil

After the military-backed Senate rejected Pita Limjaroenrat as prime minister, Thailand faced another intense period of political unrest and nationwide protests.

Pita, a former technology executive who positioned himself as a pro-reform advocate, could not muster enough support from senators. His party won the May elections, and the victory had challenged not only the generals but also the country’s powerful monarchy.

As Parliament prepares for a second vote on Wednesday, the political fate of Pita and his coalition is at stake. He received just 324 votes in the House and Senate combined – fewer than the 376 he needed to win the premiership.

“It’s deja vu,” said one political science professor, referring to the cycles of elections, protests, coups and crackdowns that have taken place in Thailand since 2007. Supporters of Pita’s coalition gathered outside the parliament building in Bangkok where the vote was taking place. and some had vowed to take to the streets in protest if he failed to win enough votes to become prime minister.

What’s next: A likely scenario is that Pheu Thai Party – another party in the coalition that supported Pita in the election – would field Srettha Thavisin, a real estate tycoon who is seen as a more sympathetic candidate in the Thai military establishment. The tumultuous week ahead may or may not end with a new prime minister.

Another key theme is how artificial intelligence could be used to reproduce actors’ performances from their past work without compensation or permission.

In the double strikes, workers are taking on both tried and tested studios like Disney, Universal, Sony and Paramount and newer giants like Netflix, Amazon and Apple. The studios claim that they are also in a crisis. They say streaming has depressed stock prices and profit margins.

“I don’t think Hollywood is ready for that,” said my colleague Nicole Sperling, who is in charge of entertainment. Studio executives have been surprised by the determination of the actors, who, unlike the writers, have not gone on a major strike in four decades, she added.

“Hollywood was already about 80 percent closed, but all productions that were slow going are now shutting down and upcoming projects are severely hampered,” she explained.

Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes in Delhi, the capital of India, after authorities warned of widespread flooding. Days of torrential rains have battered much of northern India, killing dozens.

The Yamuna River, which flows through the capital, has exceeded the so-called danger mark by three meters (about 10 feet), authorities said. Migrant workers living on the banks lost their makeshift shelters. Officials closed schools and turned them into disaster relief camps. Three water treatment plants were closed after floods, threatening access to drinking water.

Context: So far, at least 91 people have died in six states near Delhi this monsoon season. The country’s annual monsoon season has become more erratic and extreme in recent years due to global warming.

Spain’s comic shows at bullfights, starring a few people with dwarfism, have become the frontline in a war over traditions. Critics say they’re banned by a new law, but cast members say the show must go on.

“It’s the right to work, they can’t take it from us,” said one artist.

“Squid Game” showed Netflix that a laser focus on local tastes can reach a global audience. It was the most watched show of all time on the streaming service and sparked interest in Korean content.

Netflix wants to dominate the entertainment world, but it’s pursuing that goal in one country after another. Rather than creating shows and films that appeal to all 190 countries where the service is available, it’s banking on having a compelling story somewhere, everywhere, captivating, regardless of language.

Netflix already offers shows in more than 30 Asian languages. This strategy seems to be working: last year, 60 percent of subscribers worldwide watched a Korean-language show or film.

In the novel The Militia House, an abandoned building in Afghanistan fascinates and frightens the Marines stationed nearby.

These seven new under-the-radar songs are worth your time.

Play the mini crossword puzzle. Here’s a clue: smile big (four letters).

Here are the Wordle and the Spelling Bee. You can find all of our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. I hope you have a nice weekend! – Amelia

PS: Our series on slavery and racism in America, The 1619 Project, was nominated for an Emmy for Best Documentary or Nonfiction Series.

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