Thursday Briefing


David Cameron, Britain’s foreign secretary, acknowledged that Israel seemed certain to retaliate against Iran, despite pleas for restraint from Israel’s allies.

“It is clear that the Israelis are making a decision to act,” Cameron told the BBC just before he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. “We hope that they do so in a way that does as little to escalate this as possible.”

Israel’s allies have joined other world leaders in repeatedly pressing Netanyahu to avoid taking any action that could increase tensions with Iran, which launched more than 300 missiles and drones at Israel over the weekend.

Israel’s war cabinet has met several times since to discuss when and how to respond, and officials are said to be considering a range of options, from a direct strike on Iran to a cyberattack or assassinations.

Three Russian missiles struck Chernihiv yesterday, north of Kyiv, killing 17 people and injuring scores more, Ukrainian officials said. President Volodymyr Zelensky blamed Ukraine’s lack of air defenses for the deaths.

With U.S. military assistance largely suspended since the start of the year because of resistance by Republican lawmakers, the Western-supplied air defense systems needed to shoot down near-daily Russian missile bombardments are nearly out of ammunition.

Ukraine has sought to target Russian weapons at their source, both in occupied parts of Ukraine and inside Russia itself. Explosions and fires were reported yesterday at a key Russian air base in the occupied Crimean Peninsula in what appeared to be a Ukrainian attack.

U.S. aid: Mike Johnson, the House speaker, scheduled a vote this Saturday on foreign aid, including for Ukraine, despite resistance by fellow Republicans, including those seeking his ouster.

Several areas of Oman received over 230 millimeters, or about 9 inches, of rain between Sunday and Wednesday. The average annual rainfall in Muscat, the nation’s capital, is about 100 millimeters. The rain also shut down Dubai’s airport.

Experts said the extreme deluge was most likely the result of a regular rainy weather system being supercharged by climate change. Here are pictures of the flooding.

The advent of consumer neurotechnologies, like headbands that serve as meditation coaches, has opened a new area of intimate data for companies to monetize: the electrical signals underlying our thoughts, feelings and intentions.

A new law in the U.S. state of Colorado takes aim at consumer-level brain technologies, to prevent companies from harvesting vast troves of highly sensitive brain data, sometimes for an unspecified number of years, and from sharing or selling the information to third parties.

Ahead of schedule: The treble is on for Paris Saint-Germain.

Defeat in Monte Carlo: Why Jannik Sinner and Novak Djokovic won’t mind.

Andretti push forward: Their latest Formula 1 plans, despite being rejected.

Jane Perlez, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who served as The Times’s Beijing bureau chief, has spent much of her career writing about China. She covered the rise of Xi Jinping, China’s leader, and how the U.S. has struggled to respond to China’s growth.

Now, Jane is exploring the origins of the rivalry and conflict between the two superpowers in her new podcast, “Face-Off: The U.S. vs. China.” In the eight-episode series, Jane and her co-host, Rana Mitter, a historian at Harvard, talk with diplomats, spies and even Yo-Yo Ma.

The podcast focuses on key parts of the unraveling relationship — including near misses between U.S. spy planes and Chinese fighter jets, and compromises by Apple as that company courts China — to dig into how the two countries, once friends, have become adversaries.

“We try to provide some rationality and some ways to think about going forward without the hysteria,” Jane told me. “We are trying to see China for what it is, which is a challenge, but it’s something that the U.S. is immensely capable of dealing with.”

Check out the first three episodes here.

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