Friday Briefing: Gaza Aid Deal Sees Progress

Humanitarian aid from the U.N. is loaded onto a military aircraft in Dubai yesterday.Credit…Giuseppe Cacace/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The U.N. and Egypt lay the groundwork for Gaza aid

The U.N. has made progress on an agreement that lays the groundwork for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza from Egypt, two officials said, although the details of how and when the desperately needed food and medicine would be delivered were not immediately disclosed.

Under the agreement, international observers would inspect aid trucks before they enter Gaza to satisfy a demand by Israel, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Previous reports of imminent agreements to ease the backup at Gaza’s border with Egypt — both for people and aid — have failed to materialize. Egypt said it would allow 20 aid trucks into the enclave, according to President Biden, but the timing is unclear. Hopes are high that the aid trucks will be able to cross into Gaza today, according to E.U. officials.

The toll: Gaza health officials said at a news conference that at least 3,785 people had been killed in the enclave since Oct. 7. The figures are believed to include casualties from the hospital explosion in Gaza City, for which Hamas and Israel blame each other. U.S. intelligence agencies estimate the blast killed between 100 and 300 people, but cautioned that their assessments could change.

Gazans are struggling to communicate with the outside world and each other, as Israeli airstrikes have badly damaged communications and power infrastructure.

Mobilization: Satellite imagery shows that hundreds of Israeli tanks and armored vehicles have 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.

U.S. support: The U.S. Senate yesterday unanimously pledged to furnish Israel with security, diplomatic and intelligence assistance. President Biden is expected to request $100 billion for Israel, Ukraine and other crises from Congress by today.

A sprawling missile silo field under construction in the Xinjiang region of China.Credit…Planet Labs PBC

China’s military is adding more nuclear warheads

China is continuing to build up its strategic nuclear arsenal and has most likely amassed 500 nuclear warheads as of May, the Pentagon said in a new report, an increase of about 100 over last year’s estimate. It remains on track to have more than 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030, most of them for weapons capable of striking the continental U.S.

The most eye-catching evidence of China’s nuclear buildup in recent years has been three clusters of missile silos constructed last year in the deserts of northern China. At least some intercontinental ballistic missiles had been installed in them, the report said.

The U.S. has also recorded more “coercive and risky” air intercepts by the Chinese military in the Asia-Pacific region over the past two years than in the previous decade, including one that came as close as 10 feet to an American military plane, the Defense Department said in its annual report to Congress on China’s military might.

A shop damaged by shrapnel and bullet holes in the Kherson region of Ukraine.Credit…Nicole Tung for The New York Times

Ukraine’s economy rises as it adapts to war

There are signs that Ukraine’s economy is recovering, albeit modestly.

Though its economic output is still considerably smaller than before the war — the economy shrank by one-third after Russia’s full-scale invasion last year — it will grow by an estimated 3.5 percent this year, the World Bank predicts. The expansion is driven by a pickup in domestic spending and is underpinned by a steady flow of foreign financial aid.

Economists say it will take many years for Ukraine’s economy to return to prewar levels, and forecasts in a time of fierce fighting are bound to be uncertain. Still, local analysts and businesspeople say, a sense of resilience and relative stability has taken hold after nearly 20 months of war.


Around the World

Sidney Powell in Georgia in 2020.Credit…Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters
  • Sidney Powell, a member of Donald Trump’s legal team in 2020, pleaded guilty in his Georgia election case and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

  • Jim Jordan said he would pursue another vote on his bid to become U.S. House speaker, hours after saying he would end his bid and endorse the interim speaker.

  • The Federal Reserve may need to raise rates again if growth remains hot or if the labor market stops cooling, its chair said.

  • Russia detained Alsu Kurmasheva, a U.S. journalist, after she visited the country for family reasons.

Other Big Stories

  • A severe storm could pose a “danger to life” in Scotland.

  • 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.

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


Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio in “Killers of the Flower Moon.”Credit…Melinda Sue Gordon/Apple Original Films
  • Our critic writes that “Killers of the Flower Moon,” Martin Scorsese’s bloody history of the Osage murders of the 1920s, is a masterpiece.

  • Britney Spears has a forthcoming memoir, which we obtained from a retail store in advance of its authorized release. Here’s what to know.

  • Fuchsia Dunlop, the first Westerner to train at the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine, has written a new history of Chinese food.

A Morning Read

Queen LatifahCredit…Rahim Fortune

A woman had never been a hip-hop star, an actress, a producer and the face of mainstream America all at once. Then Queen Latifah made it look almost easy.

Some of rap’s most innovative artists are women. Black actresses onscreen (Viola Davis, Zendaya) represent queer love and desire. Cover-girl aesthetics are embodied by curvy Black artists and models in Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty fashion line.

We see this because we live in a world that Latifah helped make.

Lives lived: Burt Young built a prolific Hollywood career as a tough guy in films like “Chinatown” and “Rocky.” He died at 83.


A demonstration in Seoul last November.Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

South Korea’s protests are a cultural touchstone

It’s almost a national pastime for South Koreans to take grievances to the streets.

But recent protests in Seoul reveal a country increasingly polarized over its leader. Churchgoers and elderly people on the right shouting, “Hooray for President Yoon Suk Yeol!”​ — and singing along to pop standards catering to old people, like “What’s Wrong With My Age?” — will be followed days later by young progressives chanting, “Out with Yoon Suk Yeol!”

Such rallies were born during South Korea’s difficult march toward democracy in the 1980s when massive crowds, often armed with rocks, firebombs and even stolen rifles, clashed with riot police officers, tanks and paratroopers. These days, demonstrations are usually part rock concert, part revival meeting, but when they grow in size and intensity, they can herald a political storm ahead.


Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times

Make cheese buldak, an easy (and fiery) Korean chicken dish.

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Improve your grip strength. It’s tied to your quality of life.

Watch an unflinching documentary about an Indian girl’s quest for justice.

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

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