Monday Briefing

A tent camp for displaced Palestinians, in southern Gaza, near the border with Egypt.Credit…Said Khatib/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A ‘dire’ situation at the Gaza-Egypt border

Tens of thousands of Palestinians have gathered near Gaza’s border with Egypt, as they attempt to flee Israel’s complete siege of the Gaza Strip. Aid officials warned that conditions were “dire” amid “extreme” overcrowding, and they have raised alarms about the spread of disease and the risk of a potential mass displacement into Egypt.

The crossing is the only point where aid has come into the territory, and where a relatively small number of people have been allowed out, since the war began more than two months ago. Thousands continue to arrive, heeding evacuation orders from Israel’s military, but relief is in short supply and airstrikes continue in the area.

“The health care system is collapsing,” António Guterres, the U.N. secretary general, warned, saying that there was “no effective protection of civilians in Gaza.” He added that “public order” was expected to completely break down soon.

In other news: The Qatari government has for years sent millions of dollars to prop up the Hamas government in Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel not only tolerated those payments, he had also encouraged them, gambling that a strong Hamas would reduce pressure for a Palestinian state.

Campus antisemitism: Republicans have been attacking elite universities for years. After a tense congressional hearing last week, many on the left are joining them.

Who is a ‘colonizer’? In bitter debates around the world, invoking a brutal history has become a powerful accusation.

Saudi Arabia has flatly opposed any deal that would even mention fossil fuels.Credit…Amr Nabil/Associated Press

Saudi Arabia blocks a climate deal at COP28

Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading exporter of oil, has become the biggest obstacle to an agreement at the U.N. climate summit in Dubai, where countries are debating whether to call for a phaseout of fossil fuels to fight global warming, officials said.

The Saudi delegation has flatly opposed any language that would even mention fossil fuels, as well as a provision aimed at tripling global renewable energy capacity by 2030. Other countries, including the U.S., China and India, have also raised concerns about more ambitious efforts to fight climate change, but Saudi Arabia has stood out as the most implacable opponent of any agreement on fossil fuels.

Analysis: “Most countries vary on the degree or speed of how fast you get out of fossil fuels,” said Linda Kalcher, a former climate adviser to the U.N. Saudi Arabia, she said, “doesn’t even want to have the conversation.”

Background: The Saudi opposition is significant because U.N. rules require that any agreement forged at the climate summit be unanimously endorsed. Any one of the 198 participating nations can thwart a deal.

The former president’s about-face all but ends the lengthy and chaotic proceedings.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Trump cancels plans to testify in fraud trial

Donald Trump has decided not to return to the witness stand to testify today as he had planned, setting up an abrupt and anticlimactic ending to the defense’s case in his civil fraud trial in Manhattan.

The former president’s about-face, announced yesterday afternoon, all but ends the lengthy and chaotic proceedings. In January, both parties are expected to file final briefs, after which the trial judge, Arthur Engoron, is expected to deliver his ruling.

Details: The New York attorney general, Letitia James, has asked that Trump be fined $250 million and be permanently barred from running a business in the state. Even before the trial, Justice Engoron concluded that the former president had committed fraud by inflating the values of his assets on annual financial statements.


Around the World

Credit…Jean-Francois Badias/Associated Press
  • E.U. officials agreed to a new law to regulate artificial intelligence, one of the world’s first comprehensive attempts to limit the use of the technology.

  • Six teenagers were convicted in France for their role in the killing of a teacher by an Islamist extremist.

  • At least six people were killed and dozens more injured after storms and tornadoes left a swath of destruction in Tennessee.

  • Berlin has become one of the richest vegan food cities in Europe, thanks in part to transplants attracted by the city’s experimental bent.

Other Big Stories

Credit…Javad Parsa/NTB, via Agence France-Presse
  • Narges Mohammadi, an imprisoned Iranian human rights activist, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In Oslo, her 17-year-old twin children accepted the award on her behalf.

  • Amazon has accused an international organization of conspiring to steal millions of dollars in online products through fraudulent refunds.

  • Fears are mounting that a second Trump presidency could mean an American retreat from the continent and a gutting of NATO.

  • A growing number of Britons have dipped into their own pockets to pay for procedures they can get for free under the country’s National Health Service.

From Opinion

  • For Palestinians, the future is being bulldozed, Megan Stack writes.

  • There’s no one answer to America’s housing crisis — but there is one old-fashioned solution that may help, Nicholas Kristof says.

  • In this video, Adam Westbrook explains how Britain put one of the world’s best health care systems on life support.

  • Americans are pessimistic about their economic futures, Steven Rattner writes. Can you blame them?

A Morning Read

Credit…Anton Thomas

In “Wild World,” Anton Thomas’s hand-drawn map of the world, hundreds of animals sprawl across valleys and volcanoes, deltas and deserts.

The map, which took him three years to create, represents the “idealistic planet that I wanted” as a child, he said. “I would look out at Wellington Harbor,” in the New Zealand capital, “and see all the houses, and imagine what it was like before any humans showed up.”

Overlooked No More

Remembering Ada Blackjack, a survivor of a harrowing Arctic expedition who braved the harsh conditions of the far north with few essential skills and who died in 1983.


Relegated for the first time: The fallout from Santos’s disastrous season in Brazil.

A free-agent saga: Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese star pitcher and outfielder, has agreed to a 10-year, $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Federico Gatti: The former bricklayer who has become Juventus’s new hero.

2023 MLS Cup champions: How the Columbus Crew clinched the title.


Cultural phenomena from 2023

Journalists on The Times’s Culture desk chose 24 films, TV shows, albums, books and art that they couldn’t stop thinking about. Here’s a selection. (Read the full list.)

The TV show “Fellow Travelers” bounces between the perils of McCarthy-era Washington and the advent of AIDS in the 1980s, examining the U.S. through the lens of a relationship between a roguish diplomat and the younger man who loves him.

In Hayao Miyazaki’s hand-drawn animated film “The Boy and the Heron,” we have the privilege of following him into another gorgeous dream world.

At the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a clown called Julia Masli tried to solve her audience’s problems — everything from feeling too hot to being a hypochondriac — in a show that was madcap and euphoric.


Credit…Kerri Brewer for The New York Times

Cook: This vibrant chicken, spinach and potato stew is among our most popular recipes of 2023.

Choose: How to select a meaningful gift for a child.

Listen: An eight-hour, 124-song playlist of our critics’ favorite tracks and albums from the year.

Reuse: Try these sustainable alternatives to wrapping paper.

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

P.S. In The Times’s weekly Australia Letter, the reporter-researcher Yan Zhuang bids farewell to the country before moving to the Seoul bureau.

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

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