International

Friday Briefing


Shortly after the truce between Israel and Hamas was scheduled to begin today, there were signs that some fighting continued. Cease-fires in the region often require some time to take hold, and it was unclear if the fighting threatened a fragile four-day pause in fighting. Read the latest updates.

Each day of the pause, Israel and Hamas will receive daily lists of the hostages and prisoners to be released, with Qatar passing them between the two parties, Majed al-Ansari, a spokesman for Qatar’s foreign ministry, said. Everyone set to be freed was alive, he said, adding that hostages from the same family “will be released together.”

The agreement also included an increase in humanitarian aid for Gaza, and Hamas said that four fuel trucks along with 200 trucks carrying relief supplies would enter the territory each day during the cease-fire.

In Gaza: Palestinians greeted the prospect of even a temporary cease-fire with a mix of relief and caution after seven weeks of bombardment. Gazan health officials say that more than 12,700 people have been killed by Israel’s retaliatory strikes since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, which Israeli authorities said killed 1,200 people.

In other news from the war:


Finland is closing all but one of its eight land border crossings with Russia over tensions related to an influx of migrants that Finnish officials blame Moscow for. Last week, Finland closed four of the entry points.

“Russia has sought for years to cause discord, to shake unity in Europe and to weaken the Western alliance and international rules-based order,” the Finnish prime minister, Petteri Orpo, told Parliament. He had previously said the border situation was deteriorating amid signs that the Russian authorities were helping asylum seekers travel toward Finland.

Finland, concerned that it could one day become a target of Russian aggression, joined NATO earlier this year, becoming the 31st member of the military alliance and in the process angering Moscow.

Background: The border dispute is the latest sign of erosion in the relationship between Finland and Russia, which share an 830-mile border. Their ties have deteriorated since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year.


Legal immigration into Britain climbed to a record 745,000 arrivals in 2022, despite the governing Conservative Party’s vow to curb that number. The figures were a fresh setback for the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, as he struggles to stop asylum seekers arriving in small boats on the British coast while trying to revive the economy and deal with dismal polling numbers.

The statistics relate to people given permission to enter the country, mainly to work or study. A majority now come from countries outside Europe, and the trend is politically awkward for supporters of Brexit. During the 2016 referendum campaign, those advocating departure promised to “take back control” of the country’s borders.

In the southern U.S., the Gullah Geechee, members of an ethnic group whose enslaved ancestors had been abducted from west and central Africa, fight to preserve tiny praise houses, a cradle of the Black church, before they’re erased by sprawl, climate change and fading memories.

“Prayer houses are the spiritual foundation of who we are in America as enslaved people and as free people,” one advocate said. “They have helped us stay attached to our African lineage as a form of resistance, resilience and strength.”

Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, a French historian at the forefront of a scholarly movement that probed the thoughts of anonymous peasants and priests, died at 94.

Soccer entourages: Do they actually benefit the player or the club?

The Premier League title race: The fight for English soccer’s biggest prize is closer than it has been in years.

Formula 1’s dilution debate: The tricky finances and competing motives of expanding the grid.

A project between Netflix and the filmmaker Carl Erik Rinsch has turned into a costly fiasco, in a microcosm of the era of profligate spending that Hollywood studios are now scrambling to end.

Netflix burned more than $55 million on the show, a science-fiction series about artificial humans, and gave Rinsch near-total budgetary and creative latitude — but, in a strange and protracted saga, never received a single finished episode.



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