When Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Israel tomorrow, he plans to urge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to a series of brief cessations of military operations in Gaza, White House officials said today.
U.S. officials said the “humanitarian pauses” would be designed to allow for hostages to be released safely and for aid to be distributed. However they would not, U.S. officials emphasized, resemble a broader cease-fire, which the Biden administration believes would benefit Hamas.
A similar pause has been agreed to at least once before. President Biden said last night that Netanyahu had ordered to halt shelling briefly on Oct. 20 to allow for the release of two Americans, Judith Raanan, 59, and her daughter, Natalie Raanan, 17.
The push comes as Biden is under increasing pressure to respond to what humanitarian groups have called an urgent crisis for civilians inside Gaza, where food, water, medicine and fuel are in short supply.
Trump’s sons testified at their fraud trial
Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump both took the stand today in a Manhattan courtroom where the New York attorney general is seeking to impose a $250 million penalty on them and their father, the former president, and bar all three from doing business in the state. The Trumps are accused of inflating the value of their business assets.
During testimony, Donald Trump Jr. was calm but defensive, seeking to blame accountants for errors on financial statements that a judge had already found were fraudulent. His younger brother Eric was more combative — he acknowledged his place at the center of the business, but denied involvement in the financial statements.
In related news, a lawsuit in Denver is one of several across the country arguing that Donald Trump is ineligible to hold office again. Here’s what to know about it.
Ukraine’s top commander said the war was at a ‘stalemate’
With the front line in Ukraine having barely shifted despite months of fierce fighting, Gen. Valery Zaluzhny said the fighting had reached an impasse, the most candid assessment so far by a leading Ukrainian official of the military’s stalled counteroffensive.
“Just like in the First World War we have reached the level of technology that puts us into a stalemate,” he told The Economist. The general said modern technology and precision weapons on both sides were preventing troops from breaching enemy lines, and called for advances in electronic warfare as a way to break the deadlock.
In related news, Russia pulled out of a nuclear test ban treaty. Here’s what that means.
Many states are unprepared for groundwater depletion
As overuse and climate change combine to dry up America’s groundwater, the country relies on a patchwork of state and local rules so lax and outdated that in many places oversight is all but nonexistent, a New York Times analysis found. The depletion threatens not only the tap water that supplies about one-third of the country’s drinking water, but also some of the most productive farmland in the world.
The ‘last’ Beatles song
“Now and Then,” a lost-love song digitally reconstructed from a piano-and-vocal demo that John Lennon recorded in the late 1970s, was released today. It includes contributions from all four Beatles, made possible by new technology, and is being billed by the band’s label, Apple Corps, as “the last Beatles song.”
Our critic Jon Pareles says that while the new song can’t compare to the music the four Beatles made together in the 1960s, its existence matters more than its quality. For anyone who loves the Beatles, there’s an extra pang in hearing the full band’s last work together, even as a digital assemblage.
A title for the Texas Rangers, and for Arlington
Last night, after the final out of the World Series, the Texas Rangers celebrated in the middle of the field. It was the team’s first championship, the culmination of an unexpected rise to success over the last two years.
The title also finally gave the team’s hometown fans in Arlington, Texas, a reason to brag. The Rangers were long overshadowed by the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Astros, and now Arlington locals — who held viewing parties in driveways and blanketed the city in cheers — will get to host a World Series victory parade.
The retirement home with Olympic hopes
A retirement home in Calgary, Alberta, until recently resembled a typical seniors’ community: Neighbors played bridge and tabletop shuffleboard, the average age was 84 and the first sitting for dinner was at 4:30 p.m. sharp. That was until September.
The home now has a handful of much younger tenants: New Zealand’s curling team. In search of an affordable place to live while working on its Olympic aspirations in one of the world’s most celebrated curling hotbeds, the team came across a group of seniors willing to welcome it in.
Have an appreciative evening.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Matthew
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