Your Friday Briefing – The New York Times

A Hollywood union that represents 160,000 television and movie actors approved a strike yesterday for the first time in 43 years, bringing the $134 billion American movie and television business to a halt over anger about pay and fears of a tech-dominated future.

The announcement came after negotiations with studios over a new contract collapsed. The actors will today join screenwriters, who walked off the job in May, on picket lines in New York, Los Angeles and the dozens of other American cities where scripted shows and movies are made.

Both the writers’ and actors’ unions say they are trying to ensure living wages for workaday members, in particular those working for streaming services. Screenwriters fear that studios will use A.I. to generate scripts, and actors worry that the technology could be used to create digital replicas of their likenesses without payment or approval.

Quotable: “I am shocked by the way the people that we have been in business with are treating us!” Fran Drescher, the president of the actors’ union, said. “How far apart we are on so many things. How they plead poverty, that they’re losing money left and right when giving hundreds of millions of dollars to their C.E.O.s. It is disgusting. Shame on them!”

Consequences: While on strike, actors in the union will not be able to work in front of the camera, and they will not be permitted to promote current projects — including such big budget summer releases as “Barbie,” “Oppenheimer” and “Haunted Mansion.”


Maj. Gen. Ivan Popov, a top Russian general in Ukraine, has lashed out at his bosses after being fired from his command, accusing them of undermining the war effort with dishonesty and politicking, in the latest sign of turmoil within the Kremlin’s military leadership.

In a recording, Popov accused his superiors of inflicting a blow on his forces by removing him from his post in retaliation for privately voicing the truth to leadership about battlefield problems. The fallout reflected the disarray that has roiled Russia’s military command since a failed mutiny that was led by the mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin three weeks ago.

Speculation has swirled in particular about the fate of Gen. Sergei Surovikin, the head of the air force and a former chief of forces in Ukraine, who hasn’t been seen publicly since the rebellion and who reportedly knew about it in advance. A person close to the military said he was being detained.

In other news from the war:


Aspartame, an artificial sweetener widely used in diet drinks and low-sugar foods, could possibly cause cancer, a W.H.O. agency said yesterday. But a second committee from the organization said that the ingredient was safe in moderation, and a person weighing 150 pounds could still drink about a dozen cans of diet soda a day and avoid a risk of cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer said that its conclusion that aspartame was a possible carcinogen was based on limited evidence from three observational studies of humans. The agency said that the studies linked the consumption of artificially sweetened beverages to an increase in cases of liver cancer — at levels far below a dozen cans a day.

But the agency called for further study and cautioned that the results could potentially be skewed toward the profile of people who drink higher amounts of diet drinks.

Other health news: U.S. health authorities approved the first over-the-counter birth control pill.

She has a tragic back story and a penchant for petty crime. She is Otter 841, a 5-year-old female sea otter in Santa Cruz, Calif., who is wanted for misconduct against surfers.

A Premier League soccer raid by Jamaica: Persuading some of England’s top talents to switch allegiance could benefit Jamaica’s 2026 World Cup hopes.

On the set of Apple’s Formula 1 movie: How Brad Pitt’s faux team fit into the British Grand Prix.

How to win on Wimbledon grass? Get low, stay low and embrace the chaos.

One sesame burger bun, plus 20 slices of American cheese.

That is the formula for the Real Cheeseburger, an improbable invention from Burger King Thailand. The sandwich, priced at 109 Thai Baht, or about $3.15, was gone almost as quickly as it arrived, selling in a limited offer for a matter of days.

While the Real Cheeseburger was never recognized as a culinary masterpiece, its distinctive geometry and terrifying simplicity attracted supersize attention. Social media posts showed customers testing it out it, with mounds of American cheese seeming to fuse together with each bite.

The sandwich was “a shock to the digestive system,” Eric Surbano, who sampled it, said. “It makes me wonder why Burger King thought of this aside from the viral aspect of it,” he added. “Perhaps they just have a surplus of cheese lying around. Perhaps they just hate us.”

That’s it for today’s briefing. Have a fabulous weekend, and I’ll see you on Monday. — Natasha

P.S. Our series on slavery and racism in the U.S., “The 1619 Project,” was nominated for an Emmy.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is on affirmative action.

Send feedback, thoughts and reactions to the Real Cheeseburger to briefing@nytimes.com.

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