Friday Briefing

President Biden spoke from inside the Oval Office.Credit…Tom Brenner for The New York Times

Biden’s address on two wars

In a prime-time address last night, President Biden sought to convey to Americans what is at stake as wars rage in the Middle East and Ukraine, before his expected request to Congress for $14 billion in emergency assistance for Israel and $60 billion for Ukraine. He argued that providing the aid was in the interest of global stability and the national security of the U.S.

The speech came as hundreds of Israeli tanks and armored vehicles gathered about four miles north of the Erez border crossing into northern Gaza in preparation for a potential ground invasion. The crossing has been closed since Hamas fighters seized it on Oct. 7. See maps of the attacks.

Trucks carrying food and medicine were lined up on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing. Israel has repeatedly bombed the area around the crossing, and Egyptian workers were repairing roads yesterday so that the trucks could pass, officials said. Hopes are high that the aid trucks would be able to cross into Gaza today, according to the U.N.

Hospital explosion: U.S. intelligence agencies said that a deadly blast at Ahli Arab Hospital killed 100 to 300 people, a more conservative estimate than that given by officials in Gaza. Here’s what we know about what happened.


  • A U.S. Navy warship in the Red Sea shot down three cruise missiles and several drones. The Pentagon said that pro-Iranian rebels in Yemen had fired them, possibly aiming for Israel.

  • A State Department official resigned in protest of the Biden administration’s decision to send Israel weapons.

  • The Senate voted unanimously to declare U.S. support for Israel.

The newsroom of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Moscow.Credit…Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

Russia detains a U.S. journalist

The Russian authorities have detained Alsu Kurmasheva, an editor working for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, an American broadcaster funded by the U.S. government, on charges of failing to register as a “foreign agent,” the media company said.

Kurmasheva, who holds dual U.S.-Russian citizenship, is the second American journalist to be detained in Russia this year after Evan Gershkovich, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal. He was arrested in March and accused of espionage, which he and The Journal deny. He remains in a high-security prison in Moscow awaiting trial.

Analysis: Kurmasheva’s detention is likely to further raise suspicions that the Kremlin now views American citizens on its soil as high-profile assets who can be traded for high-value Russians held in United States custody.

Ukraine’s economy: The country is experiencing a modest recovery. Although Ukraine’s output is still considerably smaller than before the war, the economy will grow by an estimated 3.5 percent this year, the World Bank predicts.

Representative Jim Jordan said he would push for another vote to become speaker.Credit…Kenny Holston/The New York Times

A House in disorder

House Republicans remained riven with dissent, as they failed again to coalesce around a speaker candidate, leaving the House paralyzed with war raging overseas and a government shutdown growing near.

Members were unable to act on even the most basic of legislation. As of last night, Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the hard-right Republican nominee, appeared no closer to winning the post. He said he would push for another vote this morning, even though he was bleeding support, and calls were increasing for him to step aside.


Around the World

Credit…Tingshu Wang/Reuters
  • China is likely to have added 100 nuclear warheads to its arsenal since last year, the Pentagon said, and the country is on track to have more than 1,000 by 2030.

  • Britain’s governing Conservative Party lost two parliamentary seats in special elections.

  • Protests in Seoul reveal a country increasingly polarized over its leader, perhaps indicating a political storm ahead.

  • Amid rising tensions, Canada has withdrawn two-thirds of its diplomats based in India after that country said it would revoke their diplomatic immunity.

  • The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam stopped giving out Pokémon cards inspired by the Dutch artist after a frenzy in the gift shop.

Other Big Stories

Credit…Ricardo Tomás
  • Major online platforms like Facebook, Twitter and even Google are moving away from news.

  • “Prima donna,” “lap dog,” “scary”: A forthcoming biography of Mitt Romney reveals his private assessments of fellow Republicans.

  • Sidney Powell, a former member of Donald Trump’s legal team, pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor counts in an election interference case in Georgia and was sentenced to six years of probation.

What Else is Happening

  • Hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean are now twice as likely to grow from a weak storm into a major one within just 24 hours, a study found.

  • In London, tours devoted to the Victorian-era serial killer Jack the Ripper are thriving.

  • A rare pamphlet announcing Christopher Columbus’s first voyage across the Atlantic Ocean sold for $3.9 million at auction.

A Morning Read

Credit…Shannon Parker

Another potential sighting of Bigfoot has captured the internet’s attention. Why does fascination with this mythical creature endure?


A wealth of data: Wearable technology is transforming soccer.

Lacrosse at the Olympics: Why a lacrosse team representing six Native American nations is not currently eligible for the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles.

The Las Vegas Grand Prix: How the city is preparing for the race.


Credit…Hulton Archive, via Getty Images

Britney’s fame and frustration

“The Woman in Me,” Britney Spears’s autobiography, comes out next week. (Read our review.)

The book “seems designed to be read in one sitting,” Leah Greenblatt, our critic, writes. “It’s nearly impossible to come out of it without empathy for and real outrage on behalf of Spears, whose admitted bitterness over the dire circumstances of the last decade-plus of her life is tempered by an enduring, insistent optimism.”

Other ‘greats’: Read our T Magazine special, which celebrates four talents across music, film, art and fashion; their careers are a master class in curiosity, composure and defiance.


Credit…Christopher Testani for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews. Prop Stylist: Christina Lane.

Bake a big, beautiful cheesecake.

Watch “Killers of the Flower Moon,” Martin Scorsese’s epic. (Our critic calls it a “masterpiece.”)

Avoid losing your bags with a cheap luggage tag.

Spend 36 hours in Glasgow.

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. And a programming note: I’ll be away for the next two weeks, and this newsletter will be written by my colleague Jonathan Wolfe.

Have a great weekend. — Natasha

P.S. Particularly interested in news from South Africa, France or some other nation? Sign up for Your Places: Global Update to track our coverage.

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

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