Thursday Briefing

Counterprotesters stormed a pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles.Credit…Mark Abramson for The New York Times

Police converge on U.S. campus protests

Police officers arrived on college campuses across the U.S., and scores of pro-Palestinian demonstrators who had erected encampments and seized buildings were arrested.

Officers last night ordered protesters to leave their encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles, or face arrest. A stream of students left the encampment after the warning, but hundreds remained inside, putting on helmets, masks and goggles as dozens of officers waited nearby.

The night before, violent clashes erupted when a group of about 200 counterprotesters stormed the encampment, pepper-spraying protesters and trying to demolish barricades. The two groups fought until officers quieted the unrest around 3:30 in the morning.

In New York City, police officers in riot gear arrested demonstrators at Fordham University’s Manhattan campus, the third university in the city, after Columbia and the City College of New York, to face mass arrests in 24 hours.

Despite more than 1,300 arrests of protesters across the country since April 18, according to a count by The New York Times, students at many universities appeared to have no intention of backing down.

More on the Middle East:

  • Cease-fire talks: Antony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, urged Israel to delay an invasion of Rafah and pressured Hamas to accept a cease-fire deal. A Hamas spokesman said that the group was “negative” on the current proposal but was willing to continue negotiating.

  • Protesters: Some of the demonstrators see the conflict in Gaza as part of a broader struggle against injustice. Some Gazans say the protests give them hope.

Rishi Sunak, the British prime minister.Credit…Darren Staples/Reuters

U.K. conservatives braced for rough local elections

Voters in England and Wales go to the polls today to elect mayors and local council members, in what will inevitably be seen as a barometer for Britain’s coming general elections. Given the Conservative Party’s dire poll numbers and the sour public mood, storm clouds are already forming.

The question is not whether the Tories will lose seats to the Labour Party — that is a foregone conclusion among pollsters — but whether the losses will exceed expectations. A professor of politics at the London School of Economics suggested that if the Conservatives, who are defending 985 seats in England, can hold their losses to fewer than about 500 seats, the party faithful will probably accept the setback. But steeper losses, he said, could set off a spasm of panic and even put Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s job in jeopardy.

Here’s what else you need to know about the local elections.

Related: The last time Ben Houchen ran for mayor of Tees Valley in northeastern England, in 2021, he won almost 73 percent of the vote, but to win again he will have to overcome the negative view much of the electorate holds of the Conservative Party.

Shawnna Bolick, one of two Republicans who voted to repeal the abortion ban.Credit…Matt York/Associated Press

Arizona repealed a 19th-century abortion ban

Arizona lawmakers narrowly reversed a ban on abortion that became law a half-century before women could vote.

A bill to repeal the law passed in the Republican-controlled State Senate with the support of every Democratic senator and two Republicans. It now goes to Gov. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, who is expected to sign it on Thursday.

The ban had gathered dust for decades until Arizona’s Supreme Court ruled that it could be enforced after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The issue galvanized Democrats and created a rift on the right between anti-abortion activists and Republican politicians who were worried about a political backlash.

In Florida, a ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy went into effect yesterday.


Credit…Xinhua News Agency, via Associated Press
  • China: 36 people were killed and at least 30 were injured when an expressway in the country’s southeast collapsed after days of heavy rain.

  • Sanctions: The Biden administration announced nearly 300 new penalties on international suppliers of military technology that officials said had been replenishing Russia’s arsenal.

  • Bulgaria: The country is steadily taking control from Russia of an important oil terminal in the Black Sea port city of Burgas.

  • South Korea: A doctors’ walkout has led to weeks of drastic disruptions and delays, and the public is blaming the government.

  • Britain: Two men were charged in connection with the cutting down of a beloved tree that had stood along Hadrian’s Wall.

  • Bird flu: Testing of retail dairy products across the U.S. revealed no signs of the live bird flu virus.

  • Covid: The Chinese virologist who shared the coronavirus’s genome held a rare public protest after he was locked out of his lab in Shanghai.

Business and Economy

  • U.S. economy: The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged and suggested that rates would stay high for longer.

  • Electric vehicles: China’s improved electric cars threaten to leap ahead of those made by international rivals.

  • Truth Social: A co-founder of Donald Trump’s social media company said that the agreement that led to the company’s $6 billion windfall was nearly derailed years earlier — by Trump.


Credit…Cris Bouroncle/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

From the Roman Empire to the Maya civilization, history is filled with social collapses that historians have traditionally studied individually.

But a new study, which used statistical models to analyze 30,000 years of archaeological records that indicated the impact of wars, famine and climate change, found that going through downturns helped societies withstand future shocks. Essentially, the more adversity a society faced, the more resilient it became, though only over vast time scales.


  • Beneath the sand: Indigenous rangers in Australia found a northern marsupial mole, the “hardest of all the animals to find.”

  • The stars, at last: Edward Dwight was passed over for a spaceflight 60 years ago. Now, at 90, he’s finally going up.

  • Electric pizza: The future of the New York slice is in electric ovens rather than gas-, coal- or wood-fired ones.


Restorative justice: Inside the education course for soccer’s banned fans.

Saudi Arabia Masters: Tennis Australia expresses its opposition to the proposed January event.

Winner-in-waiting: Lando Norris feels no Formula 1 pressure.


Credit…Wojtek Radwanski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Rare editions of Pushkin vanished from European libraries

Police officials are investigating what they believe is a vast, coordinated series of thefts of rare 19th-century Russian books — primarily first and early editions of Pushkin — from libraries across Europe. The thieves often replace the books with elaborate replicas and spirit them out of libraries.

Since 2022, more than 170 books valued at more than $2.6 million have vanished from libraries in Germany, Finland, France, Latvia and elsewhere, according to Europol. The University of Warsaw library was hit hardest, with 78 books gone.

The authorities have arrested nine people in connection with the thefts, but who is behind them remains an open question.


Credit…Linda Xiao for The New York Times

Cook: Make a great taco even better with jackfruit.

Listen: These five minutes will make you love jazz bass.

Read: A guide to Paul Auster’s best books, plus an appraisal of his work.

Tolerate: Here are tips to block out a loud chewer.

Play the Spelling Bee. And here are today’s Mini Crossword and Wordle. You can find all our puzzles here.

P.S. Sui-Lee Wee wrote about her reporting trip to Indonesia, where she met leaders of the “green Islam” movement.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Thank you for reading, and see you tomorrow. — Dan

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

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