Welcome to the Weekend Briefing. The place is hopping, but before we review the big events, read this story on how those fake eyelashes that say “Made in China” are coming from North Korea. We have more about the lashes on the Reuters World News podcast.
A plane takes off from an unidentified location as the U.S. launches air strikes on targets linked to Iran. U.S. Central Command via X
The latest: The U.S. launched the strikes against facilities linked to Iran and the militias they back, after a drone attack killed three American troops in Jordan. The move falls short of hitting targets in Iranian territory while raising the threat of wider war in the Middle East.
Israel and Gaza: Israeli air strikes killed 18 Palestinians in Rafah and Deir Al-Balah, Gaza health officials said. More than half of the strip’s 2.3 million residents are homeless and crammed into the area at the Egyptian border as Israeli troops shell the Rafah’s outskirts. The U.S. and Britain are pushing Benjamin Netanyahu on the idea of a Palestinian state, and the White House imposed sanctions on four Israeli men it accused of being involved in settler violence in the West Bank.
Pressing question: A federal judge delayed the start of Donald Trump’s trial on charges that he tried to overturn the 2020 election while an appeals court determines whether he is immune to prosecution over actions he took while president. The Georgia prosecutor trying the former president in another case acknowledged that she had a personal relationship with a lawyer on the team. Trump and Nikki Haley are going great guns against each other in South Carolina before the state’s primary.
Not a total celebration: President Biden went to Michigan to receive the support of union autoworkers crucial to his reelection bid, while Arab-Americans refused to meet his campaign in protest at his backing of Israel’s actions in Gaza. Biden also is hoping for a victory among the heavily Black electorate in the Democratic South Carolina primary this weekend.
A partial decision: The UN’s high court said it would hear a case in which Kyiv asked it to declare that it did not commit genocide in eastern Ukraine, which Russia claimed as a pretext for invading its neighbor. The court threw out a request by Ukraine to rule on whether the Russian invasion violated the 1948 Genocide Convention. Poland’s president caught heat for wondering if Ukraine can retake Crimea.
Money: EU leaders agreed to extend $54 billion in new aid to Ukraine, while the U.S. Congress remains divided over backing Kyiv. Ukraine suspended a senior defense official over suspected corruption in weapons procurement. Ukraine’s army chief listed challenges hurting the war effort after media outlets reported that he might be fired. Ukraine’s parliament is considering a bill that would allow Kyiv to call up more people for military service and strengthen punishment for draft evasion.
Drama and numbers: Meta Platforms added over $196 billion in stock market value on Friday, with its shares surging to a record high after the Facebook parent declared its first dividend and posted strong results. Mark Zuckerberg at a congressional hearing apologized to parents who said their children were harmed on social media, but did not assume responsibility for facilitating the abuse. Breakingviews columnist Anita Ramaswamy argues that investors should be much more cautious about this than they’re acting.
Drummer and numbers: A judge tossed Elon Musk’s $56 billion pay package at Tesla, calling it an “unfathomable sum” that was unfair to shareholders. Here’s a story about the heavy-metal drummer who made it happen, and here’s one about the activist investors licking their lips over what they’re going to do to the electric-vehicle company. The move prompted Musk to seek shareholder approval to incorporate in Texas instead of Delaware.
Before I forget…
The UN’s World Food Programme is receiving reports of people dying of starvation in Sudan as the army and paramilitary rivals met in secret in Bahrain. It was their first such contact in nine months of fighting.
We produced a great-looking report on how the Houthis are attacking ships in the Red Sea. Highly recommended.
Northern Ireland may soon get an Irish nationalist as first minister, a historic milestone in a province established a century ago to ensure the dominance of pro-British unionists.