Monday Briefing

An Israeli airstrike on Gaza City as seen from Sderot, Israel, on Sunday.Credit…Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Diplomats race to ease crisis in Gaza

In frantic talks, and with an Israeli ground invasion looming, officials from the U.S. and Middle Eastern countries, including Egypt, sought to ease what Israeli officials have called the “siege” of Gaza. After days of acute water shortages, Israel has agreed to restore water to a pipeline that served a southern part of the enclave, a top U.S. official said. Read the latest from the crisis.

As Israeli troops massed on the border, more than two million Gaza residents endured a panicked countdown to the expected start of a ground invasion of the north. Israel, mobilized for war and torn between angst and anger since the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, has called up 360,000 military reservists for duty. Its round-the-clock bombings of Gaza have continued apace.

The U.N. has estimated that nearly a million Gazans have been displaced, as Israel calls on residents of the northern part of the enclave to move to the south. Many say that would be impossible, not least for the patients at Al Shifa Hospital, the Gaza Strip’s largest medical complex.

Geopolitics: President Biden warned Israel not to reoccupy Gaza, in his first significant public effort to restrain the U.S. ally since the Hamas assault. Israel’s operations have come under criticism from its neighbor Egypt and from China, both of which have said that they went beyond mere self-defense.

Consequences: The Biden administration has grown increasingly anxious that Israel’s enemies may seek to widen the war by opening new fronts. “We are on the verge of the abyss in the Middle East,” António Guterres, the secretary general of the U.N., said.

The leader of Civic Coalition, Donald Tusk, in Warsaw on Sunday.Credit…Piotr Nowak/EPA, via Shutterstock

Centrist parties poised to oust Polish nationalists

In Poland’s crucial general election, centrist and progressive forces appeared to have won enough seats to form a new government, though the governing nationalist party, Law and Justice, won the most votes of any single party.

Exit polls showed a strong second-place finish by the main opposition group, Civic Coalition, and better-than-expected results for two smaller centrist and progressive parties. That suggested a dramatic upset that would frustrate the governing party’s hope of an unprecedented third consecutive term.

Quotable: Donald Tusk, Civic Coalition’s leader, declared the projected results a “win for democracy” that would end the rule of Law and Justice, known by its Polish acronym PiS, which has been in power since 2015. “We did it! We really did!” he told supporters. “This is the end of this bad time! This is the end of PiS rule!”

Injured people being taken to a hospital after earthquakes on Sunday in Herat, Afghanistan.Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

More quakes hit Afghanistan

Two powerful earthquakes struck Herat Province in northwestern Afghanistan early yesterday, jolting a region already hit by three quakes that killed more than 1,000 people in just over a week. At least two people died in the latest quakes and more than 150 people were injured, officials said.

The magnitude-6.3 and magnitude-5.4 quakes struck the province just after 8 a.m. local time at a depth of about six miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The epicenter was about 20 miles northwest of Herat City, the provincial capital and a major economic hub near the border with Iran.


Around the World

Credit…Hokyoung Kim
  • Enormous wildfires aren’t just damaging ecosystems, they’re transforming them.

  • Daniel Noboa, the center-right heir to a banana empire, won Ecuador’s presidential election.

  • Voters in New Zealand ousted the party once led by Jacinda Ardern and elected the most right-wing government in a generation.

  • A referendum that would have given Indigenous Australians a voice in Parliament was rejected in every state.

What Else Is Happening

Credit…Brittainy Newman for The New York Times
  • How six stone-carving Italian brothers shaped the story of New York.

  • A fertilizer shortage is spreading hunger across Africa and parts of Asia.

  • “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” (the movie) grossed $95 million on its opening weekend in North American theaters.

  • Australia said it would fine X, formerly known as Twitter, for failing to provide information about its efforts to combat child exploitation.

From Opinion

  • The data on global warming is telling us something new, Zeke Hausfather writes.

  • Nicholas Kristof asks: What does destroying Gaza solve?

  • Now is the time for President Biden’s age to be an asset, Lydia Polgreen says.

  • Jessica Grose explores what happens when a woman chooses career dominance over her relationship.

A Morning Read

Credit…Todd Heisler/The New York Times

“I want to be forgiven”: Inside a meeting of the Minnesota Board of Pardons, where supplicants have 10 minutes to make their case for a pardon, a discretionary tool that may override court-ordered sanctions.

A pardon can mean better job and housing opportunities, the restoration of gun rights, the ability to chaperone school trips — and something more intangible: the formal return to society’s good graces.

Lives Lived

Suzanne Somers, who gained fame playing a ditsy blonde on the sitcom “Three’s Company,” and then by getting fired after demanding equal pay with her male co-star, died the day before she would have turned 77.


Manchester United takeover: What comes next after Qataris “pull out”?

A billion eyes: India and Pakistan’s face-off in the men’s cricket World Cup, which India won handily, was widely watched and shadowed by the countries’ stormy history.

The unexpected, covert birth of Haas: Formula 1’s original American team.


A museum changes course on human remains

The American Museum of Natural History holds some 12,000 human remains, including the skeletons of Indigenous and enslaved people taken from their graves — like those above, pictured in 1903 — and the bodies of poor New Yorkers who died as recently as the 1940s, some of whom may well have living, not-so-distant relatives.

Under a new policy, the museum will remove all human bones now on public display and improve the storage facilities where they are kept. Anthropologists will also spend more time studying the collection to determine the origins of the remains.


Credit…Kelly Marshall for The New York Times.

Riff on saag paneer.

Read Vladimir Nabokov’s best books.

Unlearn eight myths about sex.

Fall in love with being middle-aged.

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. Did you follow the news this week? Take our quiz to see how well you stack up with other Times readers.

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

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