Friday Briefing: Hamas Considers Israel’s Proposal

Khan Younis, in southern Gaza.Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Hamas examined Israel’s proposal and hinted at progress

The leader of Hamas’s political wing said that the group was studying Israel’s latest proposal for a deal with a “positive spirit,” and that the group would soon attend a new round of talks in Cairo. His statement raised hope for the stalled effort.

The proposal, which the U.S. has pushed in recent days, would include a weekslong temporary truce — its exact duration is unclear — as well as the release of hostages held by Hamas and Palestinian prisoners in Israel. It would also allow civilians to return to northern Gaza, and enable increased delivery of aid to the territory.

In Israel, the war cabinet met to discuss the cease-fire negotiations and a planned invasion of Rafah, where around a million people have been sheltering, according to an Israeli official. The anticipated offensive, which the U.S. has repeatedly urged Israel to abandon, has been a seemingly intractable sticking point in the cease-fire talks. If it goes forward, Hamas has promised to end negotiations immediately.

U.S. campuses: President Biden condemned the violence unfolding at universities across the country. He said Americans have “the right to protest, but not a right to cause chaos.” He rejected the notion of sending in the National Guard, which some Republicans have suggested.

Ukrainian soldiers wore gas masks during a training exercise that simulated a chemical attack.Credit…Nicole Tung for The New York Times

U.S. said Russia used chemical weapons in Ukraine

The U.S. accused Russia of using chemical weapons, including poison gas, against Ukrainian forces. That would violate the Chemical Weapons Convention, an arms control treaty ratified by more than 150 countries, including Russia.

The State Department said Russia had deployed tear gas and chloropicrin, a “choking agent” that was widely used during World War I. It added that the use of these chemical weapons was “not an isolated incident,” and was probably driven by Russian forces trying to dislodge Ukraine’s soldiers from well-fortified positions.

Ukrainian authorities have reported about 1,400 cases of suspected chemical weapons use on the battlefield by Russia since the invasion began in February 2022.

Brittney Griner: The American basketball star, who was detained in Russia for almost a year, is publishing a book about her ordeal. In an interview, Griner spoke about her time in a Russian prison. “I will never forget any of it,” she said.

The protests in Georgia’s capital have endured for weeks. Credit…Zurab Tsertsvadze/Associated Press

Protests swelled in Georgia over ‘the Russian law’

Security forces and protesters clashed violently late Wednesday night in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, after Parliament approved a divisive new bill in the second of three required votes.

Critics have called it the “Russian law.” They say it could be used to curb dissent, align the country more closely with Russia and hamper its efforts to join the E.U.

The draft law resembles one the Kremlin has used against opposition groups and media organizations. It would require groups that receive significant foreign funding to register as organizations “carrying the interests of a foreign power,” among other strictures.


Donald Trump is accused of falsifying records to cover up a sex scandal that threatened to derail his 2016 campaign.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times
  • Trump: Stormy Daniels’s former lawyer took the stand yesterday. In a hostile cross-examination, the defense sought to paint him as a serial extortionist.

  • China: The death toll from the expressway collapse has risen to at least 36 people.

  • Economy: The global economy has proved resilient and inflation has declined, but a wider Middle East war could change that, the O.E.C.D. said.

  • Brazil: Four days of rain have flooded the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, leaving at least 13 people dead and many others missing.

  • U.S.: President Biden called Japan and India “xenophobic” while he was speaking in defense of U.S. immigration policy at a fund-raiser.

  • Eurovision: Attendees at the song contest, which starts Tuesday in Sweden, will not be allowed to bring Palestinian flags or wave banners with slogans regarding the war in Gaza, the organizers said.


China has been lending the bears to U.S. zoos for more than five decades.Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The U.S. and China may be at odds these days over Russia’s war in Ukraine, Taiwan, cheap Chinese exports and human rights, but at least “panda diplomacy” is back. Beijing said that it would send two giant pandas — named Yun Chuan and Xin Bao — to the San Diego Zoo.


  • The muse of the games: Did you know they used to award Olympic medals for art? The tradition died years ago, and the winning artworks are largely forgotten.

  • A costly race: Horse racing is facing existential questions about its future as elite animals keep dying.

  • Dr. Orangutan? For the first time, scientists observed a primate in the wild applying a plant to a wound on its face, perhaps for medicinal purposes.


Some companies are trying to restore native trees in the Amazon and sell credits that represent the carbon they store.Credit…Victor Moriyama for The New York Times

Can forests be more profitable than cattle?

Scientists warn that rising global temperatures could push the Amazon to collapse in the coming decades, unless deforestation is halted and an area the size of Germany is restored.

But cattle ranching, which has ruled the region for decades, is the leading cause of deforestation. So, some companies are trying to make planting trees more lucrative than beef by monetizing their ability to lock away planet-warming carbon.


Credit…Johnny Miller for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Rebecca Jurkevich.

Cook: This sheet-pan meal riffs on an Italian sub.

Read: Honor Levy’s “My First Book” captures the quiet desperation of today’s smart set.

Watch: In “Terrestrial Verses,” ordinary Iranians face a maze of byzantine rules and small indignities.

Bake: If you have a scratched nonstick pan, it’s probably safer to use it at lower temperatures.

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

That’s it for today. See you next week. — Amelia

P.S. Lynsey Chutel, who writes our Spotlight on Africa series, is moving to our London newsroom. Congratulations, Lynsey!

You can reach us at [email protected].

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