Wednesday Briefing

Israeli soldiers in the village of Kfar Azza, on Tuesday.Credit…Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Scale of Hamas atrocities emerges

The extent of the atrocities visited on civilians by the militant group Hamas has come into focus in recent days: More than 1,000 Israelis, including children, were slain; houses were ransacked or burned down; dozens of people have been held hostage. Hamas gunmen attacked Israeli civilians at rest and at leisure, at an outdoor festival and in their homes, on familiar roads and in the middle of town.

Israel continued to hammer Gaza with airstrikes yesterday, reducing some buildings to rubble. Officials in Gaza said hospitals and schools were hit, and that 900 Palestinians have been killed, including 260 children.

In Washington, President Biden bristled with anger as he characterized the acts as “pure unadulterated evil” and vowed unequivocally to stand with Israel against terrorism. Victims, he said, had been “butchered” and “slaughtered,” and he decried the “bloodthirstiness” of the assailants.

Quotable: “It’s not a war or a battlefield; it’s a massacre,” one Israeli commander said.

Go deeper: Satellite imagery and drone videos show damage to infrastructure, including communications towers, along the Gaza border shortly after the assault began.

What else to know:

  • Israel’s government approved the call-up of an additional 60,000 reservists, raising the total number mobilized over the last three days to 360,000, the most in such a short period since the country’s founding.

  • The U.N.’S top human rights official condemned allegations of “horrifying mass killings” and executions by Palestinian armed groups. At the same time, he warned that Israel’s announcement of a “complete siege” of Gaza would worsen the “already dire” humanitarian conditions there.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, left, met with his Romanian counterpart yesterday.Credit…Daniel Mihailescu/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Zelensky says Gaza war furthers Russia’s aims

Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, accused Russia of wanting to precipitate conflict in the Middle East to undermine international support for Ukraine, in comments that reflect concern that the war between Israel and Hamas could distract attention from Kyiv’s fight.

Zelensky, who has repeatedly expressed support for Israel, also appeared to seek to rally support for his country at a time when Ukraine is facing stiff Russian resistance on the battlefield and amid signs of wavering support among allies, including the U.S., Slovakia and Poland.

Quotable: “Russia is interested in triggering a war in the Middle East, so that a new source of pain and suffering could undermine world unity, increase discord and contradictions and thus help Russia destroy freedom in Europe,” he said.

In Russia: A judge ordered Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, to remain in a high-security prison until his trial begins.

A protester threw glitter over Keir Starmer as he spoke at the Labour Party conference.Credit…Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Labour vows to rebuild Britain

At the conference of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, Keir Starmer, its leader, brushed off an unexpected — and glittery — onstage protest to make a pitch that his party could rebuild the country after 13 years of Conservative rule.

“What is broken can be repaired; what is ruined can be rebuilt; wounds do heal,” he told a cheering crowd in Liverpool, England. “Today we turn the page, answer the question ‘why Labour?’ with a plan” for what he proclaimed a “decade of national renewal.” He offered no new announcements but suggested that Labour would build homes, add police officers and overhaul the health service.


Around the World

Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • The Biden administration formally declared the military takeover in Niger in July a coup and cut off economic aid to the country. Humanitarian assistance will continue.

  • Myanmar’s military bombed a refugee camp, killing 29 people and wounding 56 others, the ethnic rebel group that controls the area said.

  • The Chinese property developer Country Garden said that it was unable to repay a loan and was expected to miss upcoming overseas debt payments.

  • A magnitude 6.3 earthquake rocked Herat City in Afghanistan, near the site of two devastating quakes that killed more than 800 people last weekend.

  • Voters in Liberia went to the polls yesterday in the country’s presidential election. Preliminary tallies are expected within days, with official results later this month.

Other Big Stories

Credit…Matthew Hatcher/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • Scientists have used the gene-editing technology known as CRISPR to create chickens that have some resistance to bird flu.

  • Russia failed to regain a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council after a majority of countries in the General Assembly voted against it.

  • The U.S. has significantly narrowed its ambition for a climate trade deal, at least in its initial iteration, with Europe.

  • In the first week of Sam Bankman-Fried’s fraud trial, the judge repeatedly admonished the former cryptocurrency mogul’s lawyers, an ominous sign for the defense.

  • Donald Trump is suing Orbis Business Intelligence, a commercial intelligence firm in London, over a document that he argues was calculated to embarrass him.

What Else is Happening

  • Luton Airport outside London suspended flights through at least midday today after a parking garage collapsed because of a fire overnight.

  • Illicit e-cigarettes have flooded U.S. stores, exposing a gaping lapse in enforcement by the F.D.A.

  • In the next few years, the computers that power artificial intelligence could consume as much electricity as a country does.

  • The Washington Post said it would cut about 240 jobs, as the organization struggles to gain digital subscriptions.

A Morning Read

Credit…Haruka Sakaguchi for The New York Times

Three years into a mass experiment into remote work, we are beginning to understand more about how it is reshaping workers’ lives and the economy — even though there is much we still do not know.


Expanding the Olympic menu: Cricket, baseball, softball, flag football, squash and lacrosse would feature at the 2028 Games under a proposal.

Wayne Rooney departs D.C. United: Assessing his time in M.L.S.

Lionel Messi’s bodyguard: Protecting the greatest player on earth.

Referee self-analysis: Analyzing a soccer official’s performance.


Is culture at a standstill?

The shape of our jeans dates from the 1990s or the 2000s. The furniture we buy is often simply a replica of European antiques. Pop music on the radio is all but impossible to tie to the here and now.

This century might be the least culturally innovative century in the past 500 years, Jason Farago, a critic for The Times, writes. Our culture remains capable of endless production — and excellence — but is far less capable of change. But if cultural production no longer progresses in time as it once did, is a static position such a bad thing?


Credit…Sang An for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews. Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks.

Cook Chinese tomatoes and eggs, for a simple and tasty meal.

Listen to nine new songs recommended by our critic.

Enjoy the costumes in “Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction” on Netflix.

Forget these nutrition myths.

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

P.S. Take this week’s Flashback history quiz.

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

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