World

Friday Briefing

The Middle East is coming closer to the brink of a regional war, which the Biden administration has tried to stave off since Hamas’s deadly attacks against Israel on Oct. 7. Growing attacks have forced thousands from their homes at the border between Lebanon and Israel, while Israeli forces continue to pummel the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza. See the latest updates.

In Lebanon, the killing of a Hamas leader in Beirut is raising fears of a wider conflict at the country’s border with Israel. Many southern villages have already emptied out as clashes between Israel and Hezbollah intensify. Israel has evacuated more than 80,000 people on its side of the border.

In southern Gaza, Israel’s military pressed on with its bombardment of areas that it has told civilians to evacuate to amid fierce fighting, Palestine Red Crescent and Gazan officials said. Dozens of people have died in the last three days, according to the Gazan officials. The U.N. said that Israel’s attacks had left nowhere for residents to seek shelter from the bombing.

As of this week, every member of the House Republican leadership is formally backing Donald Trump’s campaign to recapture the White House. Trump pockets his endorsements through both fear and favor, cajoling fellow politicians by phone while firing off ominous social media posts about those who don’t fall in line.

The former president has a particular focus on gathering these formal endorsements. In recent weeks, his allies have told lawmakers that Trump will be closely watching who has and hasn’t endorsed him before the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 15.

Test case: In October, Trump felled a top candidate for House speaker, Representative Tom Emmer, by posting that voting for him “would be a tragic mistake!” On Wednesday, Emmer capitulated and endorsed him.

‘An admission’: Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, said in a new ad that he had been wrong to endorse Trump in 2016. “I did it because I thought I could make him a better candidate and a better president,” he said. “Well, I was wrong. I made a mistake.”

The Ukrainian military said yesterday that its troops were fighting “in the vicinities” of a village behind the eastern frontline town of Marinka. The town’s capture would be Russia’s most significant territorial advance since the fall of Bakhmut in May.

While its control is unlikely to turn the tide of the war, the loss of Marinka would be further evidence that Moscow has firmly seized the initiative on the battlefield after Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive stalled.

A library in a small mountain town in New York announced a one-time addition to its children’s lineup: Drag Queen Story Hour. Pandemonium broke loose — within months, someone had called in a bomb threat, a board meeting ended in thrown punches and a librarian was hospitalized with stress-induced vertigo.

The event never happened, but the library has now been closed for more than three months for the first time in its 53 years of operation.

An empty cabinet: The biggest English soccer club never to win a major trophy.

Knowing your worth: The rise of data and analytics in soccer contract negotiations.

‘Exposed flaws’: Rory McIlroy said that LIV Golf has identified shortcomings in the PGA Tour.

In a trial set for next week, Dmitry Rybolovlev, a Russian oligarch, plans to take on the auction house Sotheby’s, a giant of the art world. Rybolovlev claims that the company helped a dealer to trick him into overpaying by millions for works like Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi.”

Sotheby’s denies all wrongdoing. But whatever the trial’s result, it is expected to provide a rare window into the inner, often secretive workings of the art trade, where even buyers seldom know from whom they are purchasing art — or how much it is truly worth.

“This case is the granddaddy of them all,” said Nicholas O’Donnell, an art market lawyer, “when it comes to what do we do in the art market in terms of conflicting loyalties and transparency.”


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