Thursday Briefing: Gaza Is Running Out of Fuel

A water filling station in the city of Khan Younis in Gaza on Tuesday.Credit…Samar Abu Elouf for The New York Times

Gaza is running out of fuel

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza deepened yesterday as Israel said it had conducted “wide-scale” strikes and again warned residents in Gaza to flee south ahead of a possible invasion.

Fuel shortages in the enclave have grown so dire that UNRWA, the U.N. agency that helps Palestinians, said that it might have to start shutting down its operations. Israel has so far refused to allow in more fuel, arguing that it could fall into the hands of Hamas.

With shortages of fuel, medicine and other supplies, the World Health Organization said that 12 of Gaza’s 35 hospitals were not functioning, and that seven major hospitals were well over capacity.

E.U. leaders were to meet in Brussels today to call for a “humanitarian pause” that would allow more aid deliveries into Gaza. In Washington, President Biden said the U.S. was working with partners in the region to speed aid to those who need it most. The U.N. said Gaza needs at least 100 aid trucks a day. Sixty-two trucks have arrived since Saturday.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza raised the death toll from Israeli strikes since Oct. 7 to more than 6,500 people, a number that could not be independently verified.

Analysis: Palestinians accuse Israel of targeting civilians with its strikes. Israel believes that by degrading Gaza’s military infrastructure, often built near homes and civilian institutions, it will reduce loss of life once an invasion begins.

The hospital blast: U.S. intelligence officials said that they now had “high confidence” that the explosion at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City last week was the result of a Palestinian rocket that broke up midflight, and that no Israeli weapon was involved in the explosion. A New York Times analysis found that a widely cited video does not shed light on what happened.

Representative Mike Johnson managed to win support from mainstream Republicans and the far right.Credit…Kenny Holston/The New York Times

U.S. lawmakers finally elect a new House speaker

Representative Mike Johnson, a little-known lawmaker from Louisiana, was elected yesterday to the post of speaker of the House of Representatives, putting an end to three weeks of chaos that left the chamber paralyzed without a leader.

Johnson, 51, is the most junior lawmaker in decades to become speaker, an office which is second in line to the presidency. He may also be the most conservative: He opposes abortion rights and same-sex marriage, and is a leading denier that Donald Trump lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden. He played a pivotal role in Trump’s efforts to overturn the results.

Challenges: Johnson will lead a deeply divided House as Congress considers the Biden administration’s $105 billion funding request for Israel, Ukraine and the Mexico-U.S. border. Johnson has opposed continued funding for the war in Ukraine. He also faces a mid-November deadline to pass a measure to fund the government and avert a shutdown.

Read more about Mike Johnson, whose election represents a victory for the far right.

Japan’s Supreme Court hearing the gender change case in Tokyo last month.Credit…Jiji Press, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A ruling in Japan advances transgender rights

Japan’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously yesterday that requiring transgender people to undergo sterilization in order to legally change their gender identity was unconstitutional. Activists welcomed the ruling as a step forward for L.G.B.T.Q. rights in a nation that has been slow to recognize them.

Still, the court did not rule on a separate requirement that transgender people must undergo transition surgery in order to legally register as the gender with which they identify. In practice, that means many transgender people will still be unable to make the legal change. The top court said it would send the case back to the High Court for further discussion of the transition surgery clause.


Asia Pacific

President Joe Biden with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia at the White House yesterday.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times
  • President Biden welcomed Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia for a state visit during which the wars in Ukraine and Israel took center stage.

  • A bribery scandal involving lucrative building contracts in Hawaii is looming over coming efforts to rebuild after August’s devastating wildfires.

  • Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, met with China’s leader, Xi Jinping, in Beijing yesterday, as part of a weeklong visit focused on climate issues.

Around the World

Hurricane Otis’s strong winds bending palm trees early yesterday morning.Credit…David Hall via Storyful
  • Hurricane Otis made landfall near Acapulco, Mexico, as a Category 5 hurricane. Forecasters warned of a “nightmare scenario” of destructive winds, flooding and mudslides.

  • Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, is planning to testify at his criminal fraud trial, his lawyer said.

  • A judge in Donald Trump’s fraud trial ordered him to pay $10,000 for violating his gag order after he made comments to reporters about court staff.

  • Women will for the first time have voting rights at a Vatican conference to discuss sensitive church issues.

  • A Polish bishop resigned after his diocese was badly tarnished by reports of an orgy involving priests and a prostitute.

Other Big Stories

  • A radioactive sea of magma hides under the surface of Mars. The discovery helped to show why the planet’s core is not as large as earlier thought.

  • California regulators ordered Cruise, a General Motors subsidiary, to stop its driverless taxi service in San Francisco after a series of traffic mishaps.

  • Dengue, the excruciating mosquito-borne disease, is surging throughout the world and coming to places that had never had it. Here’s what to know.

A Morning Read

Visitors ride a Sun World cable car down the mountain overlooking the Muong Hoa Valley.Credit…Justin Mott for The New York Times

Vietnam has four of the longest cable cars in the world — all built in the last decade — underscoring the stunning transformation of its economy and tourism sector.

Much of the boom is being driven by the over-the-top projects of the Sun Group, one of the country’s biggest real estate and tourism developers, which feature giant Buddhas, ersatz European enclaves and selfie spots galore. You can even take a cable car to the Colosseum.


Women performing Dhunuchi Dance during Durga Puja celebration in Kolkata on Tuesday.Credit…Atul Loke for The New York Times

India’s festival of colors and ideas

Over five days, Kolkata comes alive with hundreds of elaborate, vividly colored pavilions during the Durga Puja festival. Part Mardi Gras, part Christmas, the festival, which ended on Tuesday, is the most important religious celebration for Hindus in this part of eastern India.

Even as the right-wing party under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tightened its grip, the festival has become more progressive over the years. This year, pavilions focused on the hardships faced by auto-rickshaw drivers; child labor and trafficking and the sexual abuse of young girls; and the suffering in the state of Manipur, where Modi has been accused of indifference amid deadly ethnic violence.

The festival’s message was unmistakable: India remains a nation of diverse beliefs, regardless of Modi’s push for Hindu homogeneity.


Credit…Kelly Marshall for The New York Times.

Make iwuk edesi, a one-pot rice with chicken that is a gift from southeastern Nigeria.

Watch these true crime documentaries that are very scary, and real.

Read “America Fantastica,” a novel about a journalist’s road trip and crime spree through the U.S.

Wash your sheets once a week and get them really clean.

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

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Justin

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