International

Monday Briefing


Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks in Israel and Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip have emboldened a newly aggressive Iran. After launching scores of attacks across the region, Iranian proxy groups have come into direct conflict with U.S. forces twice in the past week, and Washington is openly threatening airstrikes if the violence does not abate.

The Iranian nuclear program has dramatically ramped up. International inspectors announced last month that Iran initiated a threefold increase in its enrichment of near-bomb-grade uranium. Iran is now estimated to have the fuel for at least three atomic weapons. U.S. intelligence officials believe that the enrichment needed to turn that fuel into bomb-grade material would take weeks.

U.S. and European intelligence officials say they do not believe the Iranians want a direct conflict with the U.S. or Israel, a scenario the officials suspect would not end well. But Tehran seems more than willing to push the envelope.

A new power dynamic: Since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Iran no longer finds itself isolated. It is suddenly in an alliance of sorts with both Russia and China, two members of the U.N. Security Council that, in a past era, supported Washington in trying to limit Iran’s nuclear program.

In other news from the region:


Ukrainian officials said on Saturday that a barrage of Russian missile strikes on a city and a village close to the eastern frontline had killed at least 11 people, including five children, and injured 10. The Russian government did not immediately comment on the reports.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said in a statement that rescue operations were underway. “The Russian strike quite simply targeted ordinary, private homes,” Mr. Zelensky said.

Russia and Ukraine have been locked in an escalating cycle of air assaults. Moscow has struck Ukrainian territory with some of the largest attacks since the war began nearly two years ago, killing 90 civilians and wounding more than 400 over five days, according to the U.N. Kyiv, in apparent retaliation, has targeted the Russian region of Belgorod.

On the ground: Ukrainian combat medics are the first line of treatment for soldiers wounded on the battlefield, racing against time to try to save lives.


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh was nearly guaranteed a fourth consecutive term in office, after voting ended yesterday in a low-turnout election that has been marred by a crackdown on the opposition.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party, the main opposition, has boycotted the election as unfair and pushed for a nationwide strike. The situation had remained tense in the days leading up to the vote, with episodes of violence — including arson on a train in Dhaka that killed four people, and the torching of polling stations — reported across the country.

She had no next of kin, no funeral and no further instructions: simply that her ashes be interred at Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, just north of New York City.

But who was this woman who had died more than 2,000 miles away? And why would she be laid to rest at a pet cemetery, all alone?

Maj. Mike Sadler, a World War II navigator who guided Britain’s first special forces across North Africa, has died at 103.

The soccer food revolution: The Twitter account influencing it all.

A welcome corrective: The Africa Cup of Nations and the Asian Cup may finally be getting the respect they deserve.

Allez les Canadiens: Officials have been trying to bring back Quebec’s hockey team, a nationalist symbol, for almost 30 years.

Big in 2024: Which PGA Tour and LIV players could star this year?

For The New York Times Magazine, David Marchese spoke with the comedian Eddie Izzard about her move into British politics, coming out as trans, and how losing her mother as a child made her suspicious of love as an adult. This is a lightly edited extract. Read the full interview.

Last December, you ran for office for the second time, and for the second time you didn’t win. What have you learned from those two efforts?

You only learn from failure; you never learn from success. I know I can appeal to the average voter. Everyone votes emotionally. I know I could be a good politician. I could be good at Parliament.

But the question was, what did you learn?

Sorry, this is my point: I can get through to people. Some people say, “Oh, you’re going to do comedy.” I say: “No, Glenda Jackson: very serious. She didn’t act her way through her years in Parliament.” I know that once I get through, I will be good. If you look through the history of people getting into Parliament, it usually takes a number of elections. It’s not unusual.



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