Welcome to the weekend. I’m glad you’re spending part of it with us. And allow me to share our Saturday edition of the World News Podcast, in which our top sports editor offers you an internationalist’s guide to Super Bowl LVIII.
A firefighter extinguishes a burning car hit by an Israeli strike in Rafah. REUTERS/Bassam Masoud
The latest: Israel’s prime minister ordered the military to make a plan to defeat the last Hamas fighters in Rafah on Gaza’s border with Egypt while evacuating hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians from the area. The Palestinian Authority said it’s an effort to drive the people from their land. An unnamed Israeli source said the plan would be to move people north of the combat zone.
Related developments: President Biden said Israel’s military campaign in Gaza was “over the top,” while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas’ ceasefire proposal was delusional. The UN’s secretary-general pledged action to stem any infiltration of Hamas into its ranks, and the US said it would not resume funding of the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency until the agency finished its investigation into whether staff participated in the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel.
An outsider in her party: Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s remaining rival for the Republican presidential nomination, is defying the longest of odds to stay in the race, with events scheduled in five states that won’t vote until March. Campaign sources and donors say they feel betrayed by the party and former supporters.
The art of the appeal: Supreme Court justices seem to be leaning toward rejecting a judicial decision to kick Trump off the ballot in Colorado for taking part in an insurrection in the 2021 attack on the Capitol. Next up will be Trump’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling that Trump is not immune from criminal charges related to his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. That appeal could go to the full DC circuit or straight to the high court.
‘Hero of the war’: The Ukrainian president’s replacement of popular army chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi with ground-forces commander Oleksandr Syrskyi comes as Kyiv faces ammunition shortages and uncertainty over the future of US military aid. It also could complicate troop management as Russia builds offensive pressure in the east. Moscow called the Russian-born Syrskyi a traitor.
Tucker’s two hours Vladimir Putin sat for a long interview with Tucker Carlson. More interesting than the content were the characters: Carlson is seen as having close ties to Trump, who wants to de-escalate the war, while the former Fox News star has said much western media coverage of the conflict is biased in Kyiv’s favor.
Competing claims: Former prime ministers and bitter rivals Nawaz Sharif and the jailed Imran Khan ran in an election marred by delayed results and militant attacks. The army said everything went fine. Khan’s aide said his party would form a government and called on supporters to protest if final election results are not released. The US, UK and EU sought an investigation into the process, and the result portends more turmoil and financial instability.
Over the border: Hindus have been flocking to the site of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi after an archaeological survey said it was built following the destruction of a temple in the same place. This is not the first case of real estate and religion causing clashes between Hindus and Muslims. Meanwhile in Uttarakhand to the northwest, lawmakers approved legislation to unify personal laws across religions, a move many Muslims oppose.
Before I forget…
The White Houseblasted a report from a Justice Dept. special counsel that said President Biden was suffering memory lapses. Vice President Kamala Harris said the report was “clearly politically motivated.”
The UN is seeking $4.1 billion in aid for civilians caught up in the 10-month war in Sudan, while UNICEF warned that 700,000 children there were likely to suffer from malnutrition and that tens of thousands could die.
Pope Francis said it was hypocrisy for people to oppose the Catholic church’s blessing of LGBTQ+ people, while the Archbishop of Canterbury said “profound disagreement” remains in the Church of England over homosexuality and same-sex couples.
Australia will introduce laws giving workers the right to ignore unreasonable calls and messages from their bosses outside work hours. I’d relocate for this, wouldn’t you?
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he did not script Taylor Swift’s romance with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce to allow the pop star to use the Super Bowl to support Joe Biden in the presidential election.
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