Thursday Briefing

President Joe Biden said Israel had “the right — and I would add responsibility — to respond to the slaughter of their people.”Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Biden calls for more aid for Gaza

President Biden called for more aid into Gaza and assurances that the help was reaching those who needed it most amid a growing humanitarian crisis.

The World Health Organization said yesterday that 12 of Gaza’s 35 hospitals were not functioning and that seven major hospitals were well over capacity, risking patient safety. E.U. leaders, who are scheduled to meet in Brussels today, were expected to ask for a “humanitarian pause” to facilitate aid deliveries.

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

Speaking at the White House yesterday, Biden offered another strong declaration of support for Israel, saying the country had “the right — and I would add responsibility — to respond to the slaughter of their people.”

Toll: 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.


  • President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey criticized Israel and called Hamas “not a terror organization” but a group “who fight to protect their land and citizens.”

  • U.S. intelligence officials said that they now had “high confidence” that the explosion at a hospital in Gaza City last week was the result of a Palestinian rocket that broke up midflight.

  • Israel’s strikes on Gaza are among the most intense bombing campaigns this century.

Hakeem Jeffries, the House Democratic leader, left, passed the gavel to the new speaker, Mike Johnson.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 U.S. 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 that 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 also played a pivotal role in Trump’s efforts to overturn the results.

Takeaway: The far right has become a dominant force in the Republican Party, having dictated the removal earlier this month of an establishment speaker before installing an arch-conservative replacement.

Employers say their workers have been attacked on the job.Credit…Andrew Testa for The New York Times

A surge of shoplifting in the U.K. is putting workers at risk

Britain is seeing a surge in shoplifting at the hands of, stores say, marauding teenagers, people stealing to finance drug use and organized gangs intent on looting. According to official figures, shoplifting incidents recorded by the police rose by 25 percent in the year ending in June.

The crime wave has unfolded as Britain’s sluggish economy suffers rampant inflation. Across the country, shop workers are facing risks that few associated with their jobs just a few years ago. It’s “like the Wild West,” one store owner said.

Response: The government announced a plan this week to tackle shoplifting in partnership with retailers, which have become increasingly vocal about the issue.


Around the World

Credit…Marco Ugarte/Associated Press
  • Hurricane Otis made landfall near Acapulco, Mexico, as a Category 5 hurricane. Forecasters warned of a “nightmare scenario” of destructive winds, flooding and mudslides.

  • For the first time, women will have voting rights at a Vatican conference to discuss sensitive church issues.

  • Japan’s Supreme Court ruled that requiring transgender people to undergo sterilization to legally change their gender identity was unconstitutional.

Other Big Stories

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

  • The United Automobile Workers and Ford Motor have reached a tentative agreement on a labor contract, the union said.

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

What Else is Happening

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

  • 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.

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

A Morning Read

Credit…Anthony Gerace; photographs from Patti Perret/Orion Releasing, JoKMedia/Getty Images

Fan edits — short montages of films and television shows like “Bottoms” and “Succession” set to music — function as unofficial trailers and free advertising, often going viral. In recent years, they have also become a staple of online fandom, giving watchers an outlet to champion their beloved films, shows and celebrities.


Fortuna Düsseldorf: The team making soccer tickets free.

The African Football League: The continent’s newest club competition, explained.

Simona Halep’s biggest match yet: A bid to overturn her doping ban.


Credit…Atul Loke for The New York Times

India’s festival of colors and ideas

During a five-day festival called the Durga Puja, the city of Kolkata, India, comes alive with hundreds of elaborate, vividly colored pavilions. The festival, which ended on Tuesday, is part Mardi Gras and part Christmas, and one of the most important religious celebrations for Hindus in eastern India.

Over the past few years, the festival pavilions have morphed from traditional works of art to high-tech installations representing progressive ideas, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party has tightened its grip on India. This year, pavilions focused on child labor, the sexual abuse of young girls and the hardships faced by auto-rickshaw drivers, among other subjects.

The festival’s message is 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 this gorgeous one-pot chicken and rice.

Read one of these newly published collections of poetry.

Scare yourself with these four terrifying picks across television, film and podcast.

Minimize your risk of Covid this season. Here’s what you need to know.

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. — Jonathan

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

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