Wednesday Briefing

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel before a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem this week.Credit…Ronen Zvulun/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Biden warns Israel it is “losing support”

In his most critical remarks so far, President Biden told Israel’s leaders that they were losing international support for their war in Gaza, exposing a widening rift with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who rejected out of hand an American vision for a postwar resolution to the conflict that would put the Palestinian Authority in charge of the territory.

Biden described Netanyahu as the leader of “the most conservative government in Israel’s history,” one that he said did not “want anything remotely approaching a two-state solution” with the Palestinians. He warned that Israel was “starting to lose” support in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere because of its “indiscriminate bombing.”

Top aides to Biden have said the president believes that his full-throated support of Israel has given him more leverage to press Netanyahu for restraint. The rising tension comes as Biden seeks to persuade lawmakers in Washington to support more than $15 billion in additional aid for Israel’s military campaign.

In Gaza: Nearly two months of aerial bombardment and a continuing ground war have leveled much of Gaza, killing more than 15,000 people, including several thousand children, according to the territory’s health authorities. The U.N. says that more than 85 percent of the population has been displaced.

In other news from the war:

  • Yemen’s Houthi militia, which is backed by Iran, hit a Norwegian tanker with a cruise missile, fanning fears of a wider conflict.

  • The U.N. General Assembly demanded an immediate cease-fire, in an overwhelming vote that highlighted much of the world’s desire to bring the bloody conflict to an end.

  • The clothing company Zara took down an ad campaign that featured mannequins wrapped in white plastic, over criticism that it was insensitive to Gazans.

Britain’s prime minister, Rishi Sunak, has tied his fortunes to the goal of stopping the arrival of migrants who cross the English Channel by boat.Credit…Pool photo by James Manning

The battle over Sunak’s Rwanda plan continues

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain survived a major threat to his leadership, advancing his flagship immigration policy — which would deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, and which may breach international law — over the objections of hard-right factions in his Conservative Party.

But the victory may prove fleeting. The legislation now moves to the House of Lords, the unelected upper chamber of Parliament, where it is likely to get a hostile reception. It will then face yet another vote in at the House of Commons, where right-wing lawmakers have vowed to demand amendments to make the bill even more draconian.

Beyond the legislative maneuvering lies a treacherous political landscape for Sunak, who has vowed to stop the flow of asylum seekers across the English Channel. A defeat for the bill yesterday could have prompted a challenge to his leadership. Adding to the fraught atmosphere was the news that a migrant had died on the Bibby Stockholm, a barge being used to house asylum seekers.

Go deeper: Here’s what to know about the Rwanda plan.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine at the U.S. Capitol with Senators Mitch McConnell, left, and Chuck Schumer.Credit…Kent Nishimura for The New York Times

Republicans sideline Zelensky

A visit by President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to Capitol Hill and the White House failed to stop a Republican filibuster of a $110.5 billion emergency spending bill that includes $50 billion more in security aid for Ukraine, as the G.O.P. insists on a wider clampdown on migration coming from Mexico.

President Biden warned that Russia was celebrating American division over the aid, which he said would be a gift to Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader. “Putin is banking on the United States failing to deliver for Ukraine,” Biden said. “We must, we must, we must prove him wrong.”

In Ukraine: Russia has suffered staggeringly high losses, according to newly declassified American intelligence. At the start of the war, the Russian army stood at 360,000 troops, of whom 315,000 have been lost.


Around the World

Credit…Rajesh Jantilal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • A judge in South Africa has set aside presidential recognition of the Zulu king, raising the prospect that he may have to step down.

  • Heavily armed militants killed 23 soldiers in an attack on a security post in Pakistan.

  • At the U.N. climate talks in Dubai, delegates confronted the question of how to feed a hotter planet’s population.

  • U.S. lawmakers called for severing more of America’s economic ties to China, including revoking low tariff rates that date back more than two decades.

Other Big Stories

Credit…Olivier Morin/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • Temperatures in the Arctic are rising four times as fast as those in the rest of the world.

  • Gas prices in the U.S. are falling quickly, helping to tame inflation.

  • Microsoft announced that it would stay neutral if U.S.-based workers sought to unionize.

  • The U.N. has ordered a former official to repay $63.6 million personally, after he lost U.N. funds by entrusting them to a man he met at a party.

What Else Is Happening

  • All seven members of the K-pop band BTS are now doing military service in South Korea. Some fans say they should have been exempt.

  • Indhu Rubasingham has been appointed the new leader of Britain’s National Theater, the first woman and first person of color to hold the role.

  • Months after it fired a curator suspected of stealing precious items, the British Museum said that around 1,500 artifacts were missing and hundreds more had been damaged.

  • The Vatican said that Catholic families may preserve “a minimal part of the ashes” of a relative, softening a previous rule.

A Morning Read

Credit…Sylvia Jarrus for The New York Times

Some people are using A.I. chatbots to create avatars of loved ones who have died. But their use as part of the mourning process has raised ethical questions, while leaving some who have experimented with them unsettled.

“People are squeamish about death and loss,” one chatbot co-founder said. “It could be difficult to sell because people are forced to face a reality they’d rather not engage with.”

Lives Lived

Zahara, a South African singer-songwriter whose soulful voice and heartfelt ballads resulted in platinum-selling albums, died in Johannesburg. She was 36.


Expanding Anfield: Liverpool is set for the biggest crowd in 50 years.

Welcome, FIFA: French lawmakers will today vote on a plan that would encourage international sports bodies to move to the country by promising them a special tax break.

Turkish soccer: After a referee was punched in the face, a team president was arrested and later resigned from his post.

The flight of N616RH: When Shohei Ohtani’s contract saga jumped the shark.


Credit…Hannah Reyes Morales for The New York Times

Young Africans are changing French

French, by most estimates the world’s fifth most spoken language, is changing — perhaps not in the gilded hallways of the institution in Paris that publishes its official dictionary, but in Africa.

More than 60 percent of people worldwide who speak French live in Africa, and demographers predict that by 2060, that number could grow to 85 percent. A growing number of words and expressions from there are now infusing the French language.

The change is being spurred by the booming populations of young people in West and Central Africa. Through social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube, they are reshaping the language from within countries that were once colonized by France.


Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times

Cook: Braise chicken with tomatoes and potatoes.

Gift: What to get the person who has everything.

Travel: Read our list of the best restaurant dishes Times food critics ate this year.

Groove: Enjoy the ideal holiday music playlist.

Cope: It’s common to get acne in your 30s, 40s and beyond. At-home treatments can help.

Play the Spelling Bee. And here are today’s Mini Crossword and Wordle. You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Natasha

You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

Back to top button