Friday Briefing


What could happen to Gaza in the aftermath of Israel’s war? A clear line between war and peace in Gaza is deeply implausible, with Israeli forces likely to come in and out of the territory for a long time, and the future is murky at best, Steven Erlanger, our chief diplomatic correspondent, writes in an analysis.

Any sustainable settlement would most likely require a regional deal involving countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Qatar and led by the U.S., Israel’s most trusted ally. Such a settlement would require new leadership both in Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as well as a deal to release Israeli hostages and Palestinian detainees.

President Biden has said that he would like a “revitalized Palestinian Authority” eventually running Gaza as a stage toward an eventual “two-state solution” — an independent Palestine, largely demilitarized, alongside Israel and committed to a lasting peace. The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has expressed strong opposition to a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu: The Israeli leader’s vision is unclear. He continues to insist that Hamas will be “destroyed” and all the hostages released, but those goals seem more contradictory as casualties on both sides mount. He has also denied wanting to reoccupy Gaza for the long run, but insisted that Israel retain security control over both Gaza and the West Bank.

In other news from the war:

  • Families of Israeli hostages being held in Gaza protested yesterday at a border crossing in a bid to to block aid from entering the territory.

  • A strike hit a crowd of people who were waiting for humanitarian aid trucks in Gaza City, killing multiple people and injuring scores of others, the Gazan health authorities said.

  • William Burns, the C.I.A. director, will travel to Europe to meet with Israeli, Egyptian and Qatari officials for talks aimed at the release of hostages held in Gaza and a longer cease-fire.


U.S. officials say North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, could take lethal military action against South Korea in the coming months after having shifted his policy to one of open hostility. Kim’s declarations have been more aggressive than in the past and should be taken seriously, the officials said, though a full-scale war on the Korean Peninsula is not thought to be imminent.

Kim’s more aggressive posture has been evident through a series of actions this month, including the firing of several cruise missiles from the North’s west coast into the sea, the announcement of tests a new solid-fuel intermediate-range missile tipped with a hypersonic warhead and the firing of hundreds of artillery shells into waters near South Korean islands, forcing some residents to seek shelter.

He has also formally abandoned a longtime official goal of peaceful reunification with South Korea, the North Korean state news media announced this month, and has repeatedly denounced the security pact announced in August by the leaders of the U.S., South Korea and Japan.

The U.S. economy grew at a 3.3 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2023, ending a year in which unemployment remained low, inflation cooled and a widely predicted recession never materialized. The figure was down from the 4.9 percent rate in the third quarter but easily topped forecasters’ expectations.

Forecasters entered 2023 expecting the Federal Reserve’s aggressive campaign of interest-rate increases to push the economy into reverse. Instead, growth accelerated. Early forecasts suggest there is little sign that a recession is imminent this year. Layoffs remain low, and job growth has held steady.

Election campaign: “Economic growth is stronger than we had during the Trump administration,” President Biden said yesterday in Wisconsin, a swing state.

On New Year’s Eve, Matthew Sachman, a 19-year-old college student, died in a tragic accident when he fell onto New York City subway tracks and was killed instantly by an oncoming train.

In the days after his death, poorly written news articles, shady-looking YouTube videos and inaccurate obituaries began to appear online, with false details about his age, hometown and even cause of death, as profiteers using A.I. tools capitalized on the anguish and desperation of the people who were mourning him.

Tennis’s shifting talent pool: How Eastern Europe has surpassed the U.S.

Olympics: Want to attend the Summer Games in Paris? Be prepared to pay.

Luis Rubiales: Spain’s onetime soccer chief will face trial over his nonconsensual kiss of a star player during the Women’s World Cup medal ceremony last summer.

The only way is up: In 2024, women’s soccer is expected to generate more than 500 million euros, or $542 million, in revenue.

Viewers of award shows might have noticed a trend in recent years: Some of the red carpets have been colors other than red.

Instead, the color has appeared on those posing on the carpet: Selena Gomez, Dua Lipa, Charles Melton and Margot Robbie, to name a few, are among the stars who have worn shades of red at recent awards shows like the Emmys and the Golden Globes.

For a more workable approach, style watchers have declared a “pop of red” the fashion power move of the season: a swipe of cherry-red lipstick, a pair of scarlet socks or a crimson shoulder bag.

“There is only one rule for making it work, and it is both simple, and simple to remember,” the fashion critic Jess Cartner-Morley writes in The Guardian. “The rule is: keep it simple. That goes both for the red accent piece, and also for the rest of your look.”

For more: Is it ever inappropriate to wear red lipstick?



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