Monday Briefing


The Israeli military said that it had withdrawn a division of ground troops from the southern Gaza Strip.

The drawdown, from the southern city of Khan Younis, means that no Israeli troops are currently maneuvering in southern Gaza, the Israeli news media reported. It was unclear what the withdrawal might signal for Israel’s oft-stated plan to invade the southernmost city of Rafah.

Israel has significantly reduced the number of troops on the ground in Gaza over the past several months. But officials made clear that the army would stay in other parts of Gaza to preserve its “freedom of action and its ability to conduct precise intelligence-based operations.” And Israel’s defense minister said the military was preparing for “follow-up missions” that included Rafah.

News of the withdrawal came as international mediators gathered in Cairo in hopes of brokering a temporary cease-fire, six months into a war that is now the longest involving Israel since the 1980s.

Mexico suspended relations with Ecuador after the Ecuadorean police entered the Mexican Embassy in Quito to arrest a politician who had taken refuge there, a move that Mexico called a violation of its sovereignty.

The politician, Jorge Glas, who was once Ecuador’s vice president, had been sentenced to prison for corruption, the Ecuadorean president’s office said. Glas had been living at the embassy since December and was granted political asylum by Mexico hours before he was arrested.

Rwanda marked 30 years since its 100-day genocide, during which extremists from the country’s Hutu majority massacred some 800,000 people, most of them ethnic Tutsis.

A daylong commemoration included a wreath-laying ceremony at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, which is the resting place for more than 250,000 victims of the slaughter.

“Our journey has been long and tough,” President Paul Kagame said at a ceremony yesterday, adding that “the lessons we learned are engraved in blood.”

Context: Kagame, who led Tutsi rebels during the genocide, has overseen impressive economic and health-care gains during his decades in power. But critics accuse him of relying on harsh methods to achieve that stability and to maintain his rule. He is up for re-election in July.

Brandon Blackwell of New York City wanted to turn quiz shows into a full-time job. He trained with a collection of 30,000 flash cards of obscure facts before setting out in 2016 for London, where he enrolled at Imperial College with plans to join the school’s team for the popular BBC show “University Challenge” and win.

A mainstay of British television, the show has long been dominated by Oxford and Cambridge. But largely thanks to Blackwell’s efforts, Imperial, a science and engineering school in London, has won twice and has a chance again today.

The moon will cross the sun and block its light for a few fleeting moments today, creating a communal experience that people won’t see again in North America for decades. The totality of the eclipse will cross from Mazatlán, Mexico, to Canada’s Newfoundland coast.

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