Thursday Briefing

President Biden met with Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv.Credit…Kenny Holston/The New York Times

Biden backs Israel on hospital explosion

Outrage has rippled through the Arab world over a blast that killed hundreds at a hospital in Gaza. President Biden, on a wartime trip to Israel, firmly backed the Israeli government’s assertion that Israel did not cause the hospital explosion, which U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials said appeared to be the result of an errant rocket fired by Palestinian fighters.

Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls Gaza and is battling Israel, has blamed the explosion on an Israeli airstrike — a claim widely accepted across the Middle East, where many people see Israel as an occupying power backed by the U.S.

Heading home, Biden vowed that the U.S. would stand fast with Israel in its war against Hamas. He also unveiled a newly brokered deal to allow international humanitarian aid into Gaza from Egypt, offering the first hint of relief to a crisis that has left the enclave’s two million residents facing desperate shortages. He also announced $100 million in U.S. aid to help civilians in Gaza and the West Bank.

Urging restraint: Biden cautioned Israelis to not be so consumed by rage that they make mistakes. “After 9/11, we were enraged in the United States,” he said. “While we sought justice and got justice, we also made mistakes.” (Sign up for our war briefing for more coverage.)

Harvard: After a coalition of more than 30 student groups signed an open letter criticizing Israel, the personal information of those affiliated with those groups was posted online, and Wall Street executives demanded a list of names to ban their hiring.

Xi Jinping, left, and Vladimir Putin at the Belt and Road Forum.Credit…Louise Delmotte/Associated Press

Putin’s trip to Beijing

President Vladimir Putin of Russia was treated as the guest of honor at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, where he met with Xi Jinping, China’s leader, for three hours, as well as other Asian leaders. The conference, which drew representatives from nearly 150 developing nations, showcased Xi’s ambitions to reshape the global order, casting the leadership of China as an alternative to that of the U.S.

Putin, at the start of his meeting with Xi, said that China and Russia needed to coordinate their foreign policies more closely, given what he called the “current difficult conditions.” Putin’s visit has yet to yield any new economic deals with China, but the Russian leader presents himself as a global power broker despite Western efforts to isolate him.

Geopolitics: Russia and China have refused to condemn Hamas and instead criticized Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, especially its decision to cut off water and electricity in Gaza and the civilian death toll there.

The war in Ukraine: Putin sought to play down the impact that Ukraine’s newly acquired, U.S.-made missiles would have on the battlefield. “It is another mistake by the U.S.,” the Russian leader said, adding that it would only prolong “Ukraine’s agony.”

Representative Jim Jordan, center, again fell short of the votes needed to become speaker. Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times

Turmoil in the Republican Party

Representative Jim Jordan, the hard-line Republican from Ohio, lost a second bid for House speaker after running headlong into opposition from a group of mainstream G.O.P. holdouts who vowed to block the ultraconservative from the leadership post.

The latest round of infighting has badly damaged the party’s brand, leaving Republicans leaderless and one chamber of Congress paralyzed for more thantwo weeks. The chaos is raising the chances that Democrats could win back the majority next year and has fueled their campaign narrative that Republicans are right-wing extremists who are unfit to govern.


Around the World

Credit…John Wessels/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • Liberia’s closest election in decades is heading to a runoff after neither the president nor his main opponent secured a majority.

  • Britain’s weather agency issued a warning for parts of Scotland, where a month’s worth of rain is expected to fall today and tomorrow.

  • American families saw the largest jump in household wealth on record between 2019 and 2022, according to Federal Reserve data.

  • The governor of Texas is pushing to make crossing the border from Mexico without authorization a state crime — allowing the police to arrest migrants, including asylum seekers.

Other Big Stories

Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • China’s G.D.P. grew 1.3 percent in the third quarter when compared with the three previous months, more than expected.

  • Western intelligence chiefs vowed to do more to counter Chinese efforts to steal technology. Those attempts are increasingly being trained on Silicon Valley.

  • The U.S. military, seeking to stretch out across the Indo-Pacific, has begun a five-year ship repair agreement with India, a tangible step toward defense cooperation for the two nations.

  • Mike Pence’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination is facing financial problems, having incurred a debt of $620,000.

Arts & Culture

  • Hillary Clinton is one of the producers backing “Suffs,” a musical about the women’s suffrage movement that is heading to Broadway.

  • The Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama apologized for racist comments in her 2002 autobiography “Infinity Net.”

  • The British Museum revealed a plan to stop thefts, two months after it fired a curator for stealing artifacts.

  • Fans of Taylor Swift are headed to her international concerts. For some, tickets, airfare and accommodation cost less than a concert ticket in the U.S.

A Morning Read

Credit…Photo illustration by Chantal Jahchan

Traveling within the U.S. — from one coast to the other, for instance, or even between Washington and New York — is mostly slower today than it was a few decades ago, even as travel has continued to accelerate in other parts of the world.

A central reason is that the U.S. has stopped meaningfully investing in public services, with knock-on effects that touch wide swaths of the economy. In turn, the country has fallen behind other nations in educational attainment and has seen its child-poverty rate increase. As one economist put it: “We have a budget for a declining nation.”


Premier League stadium rankings: All 20, from worst to best.

John Barnes and a banana: The story behind soccer’s most notorious photo.

The next women’s tennis stars: The game’s best up-and-coming young players.


Credit…Amir Hamja/The New York Times

Mimicking the stores it replaced

Barnes & Noble, the biggest brick-and-mortar bookseller in the U.S., is pursuing a back-to-basics, books-first strategy, in which the chain aims to act more like the indie stores it was once notorious for displacing — and to embrace lighter, brighter interiors with modular shelves designed for maximum flexibility.

Consistency between outlets is low on the priority list. New York City has nine Barnes & Noble stores featuring four different logos above the front doors. Two stores are new; one has been fully renovated; and the others have had some updates but are mostly frozen in time, the still-functioning remains of bygone retail strategies.


Credit…Christopher Testani for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Add roasted broccoli to a grain bowl or a simple pasta dish.

Understand your risk of a stroke.

Bridge generations with a game of mahjong.

Read “The Future Future,” about a teenage socialite in a prerevolutionary Paris.

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

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

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