Monday Briefing

A helicopter carrying hostages released by Hamas arriving in Israel on Sunday.Credit…Amit Elkayam for The New York Times

A third exchange of hostages for prisoners

Hamas, the armed group that controls Gaza, released 17 more hostages, including a 4-year-old girl, and said it would seek to extend a temporary cease-fire with Israel. The current four-day pause is scheduled to end today. An additional 39 Palestinians in custody were freed on Sunday, according to Israel’s prison service.

The cease-fire was the longest break in fighting in Gaza since Oct. 7, when gunmen from Hamas and other militant groups launched a deadly attack on southern Israel.

Israel has said that it is prepared to grant another day’s pause for every 10 hostages Hamas releases beyond the 50 outlined in the agreement. The country said in that agreement that it would release 150 Palestinian women and children.

Promises: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel visited his country’s troops in the Gaza Strip. “We are continuing until the end — until victory,” he vowed, adding, “Nothing will stop us.”

The toll in Gaza: Even a conservative reading of the casualty figures shows that the pace of civilian deaths during Israel’s campaign has few precedents in this century, according to military analysts.

Related news:

  • The police in Burlington, Vt., were investigating the shooting of three students of Palestinian descent as a possible hate crime, the city’s mayor said.

  • Hundreds of protesters from Jewish Voice for Peace, who were promoting a cease-fire, blocked the Manhattan Bridge.

  • Hamas said that four of its commanders had been killed in its war with Israel.

  • With practically no fuel or coal, families in besieged Gaza are burning doors and window frames to cook what they can scrounge and are hunting desperately for food and water.

Wagner mercenaries at a former United Nations base in the Central African Republic.Credit…Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

The Wagner group falters in Africa

The death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the onetime leader of the Wagner mercenary group, has rattled its once-cozy relations with the Central African Republic. The nation is now weighing offers from Russia and Western countries, including France and the U.S., to replace Wagner as its primary security guarantor.

The outcome of this struggle could be a bellwether for the group’s future on the continent, where the C.A.R. is perhaps the most deeply enmeshed among the handful of African nations partnering with Wagner.

It remains unclear whether Western countries can offer the same level of security as the mercenary group and whether hard-pressed Central African officials will dare face rebel groups and other security threats without Wagner’s familiar embrace or the promise of troops.

Mothers and babies waiting for shots in Accra, Ghana.Credit…Natalija Gormalova for The New York Times

A surge in deadly outbreaks

Disruptions to health systems during the Covid-19 pandemic have left more than 60 million children worldwide without a single dose of standard childhood vaccines, in turn resulting in large outbreaks of diseases that primarily kill children.

Many who missed their shots have now aged out of routine immunization programs. Protecting them will require a costly vaccination blitz.

By the numbers: By the midpoint of this year, 47 countries were reporting serious and deadly measles outbreaks, compared with 16 countries in June 2020. Twelve countries reported the polio virus was circulating. Nigeria is facing a major outbreak of diphtheria, with nearly 600 deaths so far.


Around the World

Credit…Department of Fire and Emergency Services, via Associated Press
  • It is not yet summer in Australia, but the fire season is well underway, with hundreds of blazes since early October.

  • In many European nations, people with intellectual disabilities — mostly women — are still being sterilized without their consent.

  • Sierra Leone declared a nationwide curfew after a failed attack on an armory in Freetown, the capital.

  • Ahead of a presidential election in January, Taiwan is preparing for Chinese disinformation.

  • After a major Russian drone attack on Kyiv, a Ukrainian strike on a power station in Russian-held territory cut power to towns and cities.

What Else Is Happening

Credit…Bryan Anselm for The New York Times
  • Seeking to lure workers back into the physical office, companies are turning to an Instagrammable aesthetic.

  • After a major anti-immigrant riot in Dublin, donors gave more than 330,000 euros to a Brazilian immigrant who stopped the stabbing that incited it.

  • An initiative to train hairdressers in mental health counseling in West and Central Africa is providing relief in a region with the world’s least access to therapy.

  • Shoulder-fired rockets carry a known risk of brain injury. U.S. troops are still training with them.

From Opinion

  • Valentine Faure tells the story of the woman at the center of an infamous image from World War II.

  • Americans under 30 don’t trust religion — or anything else, Jessica Grose writes.

  • It’s OK to never “get over” your grief, Mikolaj Slawkowksi-Rode says.

  • Brad Stulberg shares a lesson: Your suffering doesn’t have to be meaningful.

  • For peace with the Palestinians, Israel must jettison the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, The Times Editorial Board writes.

A Morning Read

Credit…via Joe Berger family archive

“Bare bones as these refugee services were, they were almost luxurious compared with what today’s migrants are receiving.”

Joseph Berger, who was a reporter and editor at The Times for 30 years, gives a firsthand account of arriving to New York City as one of the 140,000 Jewish refugees who fled postwar Europe. For today’s migrants, he writes, it is even harder.


Inside Iron Maiden’s soccer team: The heavy metal band plays matches while on tour.

A beautiful European stadium: The politics behind the Pancho Arena, near Budapest.

The dichotomy of sports excellence: An addictive personality can facilitate greatness, but what are the consequences?

Soccer is punishing the wrong people: Owners can walk away when things go wrong, but supporters feel the impact.


Stay ‘delulu’

Call it magical thinking or manifesting, but the belief that people can influence their reality through sheer will has existed for centuries. Now, there’s a new term for this idea: “delulu.”

Derived from the word delusional, delulu first gained popularity online as shorthand for unrelenting confidence. It has come to describe the process of making the seemingly impossible possible. And for young people who may otherwise feel as if everything — the cost of living, job insecurity, politics — is stacked against them, it has become a way to have some degree of control in their lives.

In the words of Bianca Bernardo, a 23-year-old content creator in Los Angeles: “May all your delulu come trululu, because being delulu is the solulu.”


Credit…Kelly Marshall for The New York Times.

Cook: Make Cantoneseginger-scallion steamed fish in just 25 minutes.

Watch: “Fallen Leaves” is a magical rom-com, in Finnish.

Read: Revisit “Rubyfruit Jungle,” Rita Mae Brown’s breakthrough novel about lesbian identity, published 50 years ago this fall.

Sleep: The science is in — you deserve a great nap.

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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