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Thursday Briefing

Thursday Briefing

My colleague Declan Walsh and the photographer Ivor Prickett spent three weeks in Sudan, where few foreign reporters have had access in the past year. Since conflict erupted there in April 2023, millions of people have been displaced, and a looming famine threatens the lives of hundreds of thousands of children.

Khartoum, the capital and one of the largest cities in Africa, has been reduced to a charred battleground. A feud between two generals has dragged Sudan into civil war and turned the city into ground zero for one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.

As many as 150,000 people have died since the start of the fighting, according to U.S. estimates. Nine million have been forced from their homes, making Sudan home to the largest displacement crisis on earth, the United Nations says. Another genocide now threatens Darfur, the region that became synonymous with war crimes two decades ago.

The U.N. warns that famine could kill more than 220,000 children in the coming months. If unchecked, it could rival the Ethiopian famine of the 1980s.

On the ground: In a hushed famine ward, starving babies fight for life. Every few days, one of them dies. Artillery shells soar over the Nile, smashing into hospitals and houses. The state TV station was used as a torture chamber.

What’s next: Peace talks led by the U.S. have stalled. The Sudanese state is collapsing, threatening to drag a fragile region down with it. Experts say it is only a matter of time before one of its neighbors — like Chad, Eritrea or South Sudan — gets sucked in.

Israel organized and paid for a campaign last year that used fake social media accounts and news sites to urge U.S. lawmakers to support the war in Gaza, a Times investigation found. The secretive effort signals how far Israel was willing to go to sway American opinion.

The campaign began in October and remains active on X. At its peak, it used hundreds of fake accounts that posed as real Americans to post pro-Israel comments. Even though the U.S. has long been one of Israel’s staunchest allies, the war in Gaza has been unpopular with many Americans, who have called for President Biden to withdraw support for Israel in the face of mounting civilian deaths.

Details: The campaign didn’t have a widespread impact, Meta and OpenAI said last week. X didn’t respond to a request for comment.


Earth is already experiencing some of its highest temperatures in 100,000 years. Yet the U.N. weather agency announced today that there was a nearly 90 percent chance that the planet would set yet another record for its warmest year by 2028.

The chances are almost as great that, between now and then, the average global temperature will be 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, higher than it was at the dawn of the industrial age — the level that countries set out to avoid under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Today is the 80th anniversary of D-Day, when the Allied forces invaded Normandy during World War II. Many of the remaining veterans are making what is likely to be their last visit to the beaches of northern France. They number fewer than 200. Their average age is about 100.

One of those is Bill Becker, 98, who was a top-turret gunner on an American aircraft. “I made it,” he said, with a tired smile.

Assessing the contenders: Italy’s Euro 2024 squad guide.

Novak Djokovic’s knee injury: What his withdrawal means for the French Open.

Contract extension signed: Sergio Pérez signs on with Red Bull Formula 1 until 2026.

In the past few years, Saudi Arabia’s royal family has spent lavishly to improve the country’s reputation overseas — and reduce its economic dependence on oil. That has included an $800 billion investment in tourism.

But what is it like to travel through a country that was long off-limits to most Westerners? Can the Saudi government persuade would-be visitors to look past — or reconsider — its longstanding associations with religious extremism, ultraconservatism and human rights abuses?

To see the changes for himself, Stephen Hiltner, a journalist for our Travel section, photographed his monthlong trip across the kingdom. Read about his journey and see his pictures.

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