Your Friday Briefing

Russia’s floundering invasion of Ukraine has provoked an outpouring of discontent from supporters of the war, creating a new challenge for Vladimir Putin, the Russian president. Since launching his invasion in February, Putin has gone to great lengths to silence domestic dissent, including from the independent media.

Recent critiques have come from prominent officials, who have publicly rebuked associates of Putin for their failures with the war effort, and from pro-Russian bloggers who have voiced anger over the missteps that led to the rout of the Russian army in northeastern Ukraine.

One common thread has been that Russia’s military, despite the country’s enormous defense budget, turned out to be unprepared for a real war. Many Russian hawks have been calling on the military for months to escalate its offensive but are frustrated by its poor execution.

Analysis: While none of the prominent pro-war critics of the military have attacked Putin personally, the Kremlin could still lose control of the situation, if Russian battlefield losses continue, Tatiana Stanovaya, a Russian political analyst, said.

A man armed with a handgun and a knife killed 36 people, 24 of them children, at a child-care facility yesterday, in Nong Bua Lamphu Province, before shooting himself fatally. His wife and son were also found dead. The police identified the gunman as Panya Kamrab, 34, a former police officer who was fired in June for possession of methamphetamine.

The massacre ranks as the worst mass shooting by a sole perpetrator in Thailand’s history and exceeds the death tolls of the deadliest school shootings in the U.S. It came two years after a soldier killed 29 people in a mass shooting at a Thai shopping mall and army base.

The attack has catalyzed national soul-searching. Thailand’s gun homicide rate, while far lower than that in the U.S., is among the highest in Asia. Yet drills to respond to shootings are not part of the culture. And in a country where military-style hierarchies pervade everything from schooling to offices, mental health care is limited.

Details: Methamphetamine has flooded the region in recent years and has filled Thai jails with drug offenders. Panya was set to go on trial for possession of the drug today, and the 9-millimeter pistol used in the attack was legally owned, the police said.

Uganda has recorded 44 cases in an Ebola outbreak driven by a Sudanese strain of the virus that is resistant to existing immunization shots. Ten people have died, four of them health workers, but the death toll may be as high as 30, with 20 probable cases being those who succumbed to the virus before it could be identified.

Two vaccine candidates could offer protection against the strain. They have yet to reach the clinical trial phase in Uganda, Dr. Patrick Otim, a top W.H.O. official for Africa, said yesterday. If a successful vaccine is identified and approved, manufacturing may bring another delay: Roughly 100 doses of one of the candidates are ready to be administered.

For now, the authorities are reliant on proven methods, like contact tracing and isolation. A mobile lab, erected in the outbreak’s epicenter in the last few days, has cut down the turnaround time for testing to six hours from 24. Still, the virus has spread to five districts.

Related: Air travelers to the U.S. from Uganda will be redirected to airports where they can be screened for the virus.

At a qualifying event in Texas for the finals of the USA Mullet Championships, 14 hopefuls competed to be the face of what many say is not just a hairstyle but a lifestyle.

The reigning champion put it like this: “Once you get that mullet, it’s just a symbol you’re carefree. You don’t care what people think.” He added: “You never see somebody with a mullet that’s grumpy.”

Brazil retains the top spot in FIFA world rankings as Russia rises without playing: Brazil has retained its spot as the top-seeded team in the world after the latest FIFA world rankings were released on Thursday. The 2022 World Cup will be the next opportunity for the rankings to change.

The stakes, the favorites and that cup of tea as England takes on U.S.A.: England will host the United States on Friday at a sold-out Wembley — a meeting of the European champions and the World Cup holders. So, what is the significance of this game?

Exploring what owning a Premier League club means in Saudi Arabia: Let’s take a look inside Newcastle United’s popularity, soccer’s role in Saudi society and allegations of sportswashing.

Italy elected a far-right government last week, with Giorgia Meloni as the likely next prime minister. David Leonhardt, who writes The Morning newsletter, spoke with Jason Horowitz, our Rome bureau chief, about the results. This is a lightly edited excerpt. Read the rest of the interview.

What was the main reason for Meloni’s victory?

The real secret to Meloni’s appeal was not any particular policy or vision. In Italy, every election is a change election, and being the candidate of the protest vote is a powerful thing. Meloni was that. The other major candidates had all been part of Mario Draghi’s national unity government. She stayed in the opposition and vacuumed up the protest vote.

Meloni’s appeal is also based heavily on grievance — the grievance of workers left behind by the globalization of which she is ideologically suspicious.

The foreign-born share of Italy’s population has surged over the past couple of decades. Was that subject part of Meloni’s message?

Even though there has not been an uptick in migrant arrivals of late, immigration is now a talking point of the Italian right. Meloni has talked about replacement of native Italians by illegal migrants. Immigration has been in the populist ether here since 2014 or so, when Italy had a wave of illegal migration land on its shores. Left-wing parties are in a tough position, in which they can’t give up on integration because it is central to their values. But emphasizing it may hurt their electoral chances.

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