Wednesday Briefing: Updates on Gaza’s Main Hospital

Al-Shifa Hospital last week.Credit…Reuters

Babies remain in Al-Shifa Hospital as Israel closes in

Al-Shifa, Gaza’s main hospital complex, has been cut off from electricity for days. Hospital officials warn that the lives of roughly three dozen premature babies are under threat now that the incubators needed to keep them alive are without power.

As the fighting drew closer to Al-Shifa last week, many of the more than 60,000 people sheltering at the hospital complex have fled, according to the Gaza health ministry. But the babies’ fragile health makes moving them difficult, complicating Israel’s stated goal of emptying the complex of civilians before its troops try to enter. Israeli and U.S. officials say the hospital hosts an underground Hamas command center, a claim that Hamas and hospital officials reject.

The Israeli military said late Monday that it was working to deliver mobile incubators and respirators to help evacuate the babies. The Times was unable to reach the hospital director or the Gaza health ministry to ask about Israel’s offer, the details of which remained unclear.

Here’s the latest.

Persuading a watching world: Israel released videos from inside Gaza’s main children’s hospital that it claimed showed weapons and explosives found in the medical center, and a basement room where the military said hostages were kept. The assertions could not be independently verified, and the Gazan health ministry said the basement rooms shown were used as shelters “for those fleeing airstrikes.”

Mass graves: Workers at Al-Shifa buried dozens of bodies on the complex because they had started to decompose and posed a health hazard, according to medical authorities in Gaza.

Who fired: At least four strikes hit Al-Shifa on Friday morning, and at least three of the projectiles appear to have been Israeli munitions, a Times analysis found.

Protest: More than 500 political appointees and staff members representing some 40 government agencies sent a letter to President Biden in protest of his support of Israel in its war in Gaza. Thousands rallied in Washington to show solidarity with Israel.

Temperatures soared to 118 degrees Fahrenheit during the Hajj this year.Credit…Sajjad Hussain/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Global climate efforts are just “baby steps,” the U.N. says

Countries are taking only “baby steps” to rein in greenhouse gas emissions, a senior U.N. official said, summarizing a new report on promises made by the world’s governments so far.

If every country were to do what it had promised to curb global warming — a big if — emissions would grow by 9 percent between now and 2030, compared with 2010 levels, the report said. The figure was slightly better than where things stood last year, but findings like that are likely to be central to the debate in Dubaithis month at the annual U.N. global climate negotiations.

Related: A separate study from researchers in Saudi Arabia found that the country could face an “existential crisis” — threatening food and water supplies, along with the health of religious pilgrims during the Hajj — if warming were to occur at the level that is projected if every country meets its climate goals.

Sergei Khadzhikurbanov at a hearing in Moscow in 2013.Credit…Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

Russia pardons a man linked to a murdered journalist

Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, pardoned Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, who was convicted of organizing the murder of a journalist, in return for his service in Ukraine, his lawyer said yesterday. It was the latest in a series of such reprieves for high-profile criminals in Russia.

The journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, had become one of the most acclaimed in Russia for her reports of human rights abuses during the country’s wars in Chechnya in the 1990s. She was shot dead in 2006 in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building, causing shock waves in Russia and abroad and highlighting the growing dangers of reporting in the country.


Asia Pacific

Xi Jinping, then-vice president of China, in Iowa in 2012.Credit…Pool photo by Charlie Neibergall
  • With Xi Jinping, China’s leader, headed to the U.S., Chinese propaganda about America has softened.

  • Ahead of the meeting between Xi and President Biden today in San Francisco, the U.S. tempered expectations for breakthroughs.

  • The White House had planned to announce the completion of substantial portions an Asian-Pacific trade pact this week, but prominent Democrats have pushed back on some of the details.

Around the World

Speaker Mike Johnson predicted on Tuesday morning that the measure would receive “bipartisan agreement.”Credit…Kenny Holston/The New York Times
  • Mike Johnson, the House speaker and a Louisiana Republican, needs Democratic support to keep the government funded. He might get it.

  • Inflation in the U.S. cooled more than expected, encouraging travelers and most likely reducing the need for rate increases by the Federal Reserve.

  • Ukraine indicted three officials for treason, accusing them of colluding with Russia to tie President Biden’s family to corruption.

  • Germany agreed to a $16.2 billion rescue package for Siemens Energy, a major manufacturer of wind farms and a critical player in its energy transition.

Other Big Stories

  • A volcano in Iceland may erupt soon, as indicated by thousands of earthquakes. Here’s what to know.

  • The pain drug tramadol has addicted British soccer players. A ban goes into effect next year.

  • A supernova “destroyed” a part of the ozone layer for a few minutes, a study found.

A Morning Read

The International Space Station during a spacewalk on Nov. 1.Credit…NASA

Lost: One tool bag. Where: Some 250 miles above the Earth.

Two astronauts forgot the bag this month after they completed their first spacewalk to perform maintenance at the International Space Station.

It won’t be alone. The European Space Agency said in September that there were more than 35,000 pieces of debris, including tools like grease guns and bolts, floating over our heads. They’re tracked so they don’t damage satellites.


A detail of a map from 1475 in the “Rudimentum Novitiorum,” used by monks as a teaching aid.Credit…Oculi Mundi

When the map itself is the treasure

Thirty years ago, Neil Sunderland began collecting maps, amassing more than 130 from as far back as the 15th century. Now that multimillion-dollar trove has been digitized as Oculi Mundi (the Eyes of the World), an online archive overseen by his daughter Helen Sunderland-Cohen.

“There is an incredibly broad range of people around the world who are interested in maps because they’re such extraordinary objects,” Sunderland-Cohen said. “Some people just like to admire them. And they trigger all sorts of imaginative stories, like ‘Treasure Island’ or the map at the beginning of ‘The Lord of the Rings.’”

The maps are artifacts of people’s efforts to pinpoint where they were and where they were going next in the age before the emergence of GPS and phones that could tell us exactly where we are. Each map often has its own story. Perhaps it was made by a now-famous artist like Albrecht Dürer, represents the first known map of a certain area or was created using technology that was new for that time.


Credit…Sang an for The New York Times

Bake: Upgrade from standard pie dough with this pecan sandie pie.

Shop: You can find almost-new camera gear for a fraction of the cost.

Exercise: Walking is good for you. Running is better.

Read: Brian Stelter’s exposé of Fox News is a thrilling account of the conspiracy to steal the 2020 election.

Play Spelling Bee, the Mini Crossword, Wordle and Sudoku. Find all our games here.

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

P.S. Do you know the fictional places in these popular novels? Take our quiz.

We welcome your feedback. Send us your suggestions at [email protected].

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