Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times

President Biden condemned the “unimaginable cruelty” of Hamas attackers who raped and mutilated women in Israel on Oct. 7, and he blamed the terrorist group’s refusal to release its remaining female hostages for the breakdown in cease-fire talks. Hamas has rejected the allegations. Read an analysis of Biden’s foreign policy strategy.

“Survivors and witnesses of the attacks have shared the horrific accounts of unimaginable cruelty,” Biden said. “Reports of women raped — repeatedly raped — and their bodies being mutilated while still alive — of women corpses being desecrated, Hamas terrorists inflicting as much pain and suffering on women and girls as possible and then murdering them.”

Matt Miller, a State Department spokesman, said that “a number of people believe” that Hamas did not want to release female hostages because of the stories they would tell about how they were treated. But he said he was “not able to speak with a definitive assessment that that is the case.”

At the U.N.: A presentation organized in part by Sheryl Sandberg, the Silicon Valley executive, accused the organization of ignoring the rape and mutilation of women by Hamas and recounted gruesome details from witnesses.

In Gaza: A humanitarian crisis is deteriorating by the hour as a result of renewed fighting, the W.H.O. said, appealing for the protection of civilians, as tens of thousands of people are displaced and hospitals experience intense bombing. See maps of the attacks.

In other news from the war:

President Biden is seeking to replenish Ukraine’s war chest and to send aid to Israel. But that push is on the brink of collapse in the Senate, as Republicans prepare to block the funding unless Democrats agree to clamp down on migration coming from Mexico.

A vote to block aid would spotlight flagging U.S. resolve at a critical time in Ukraine’s war against Russia. The country’s counteroffensive against entrenched Russian forces in southern Ukraine has so far failed to meet its objectives, and Moscow’s forces have been going on the offensive in the east.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine was expected to address senators via secure video to make a personal appeal for more aid. But he canceled at the last minute, leaving the pitch to Biden administration officials. No explanation was given.

War crimes: Prosecutors in Ukraine have started an investigation into whether Russian troops shot dead two Ukrainian soldiers who were in the act of surrendering.

Vladimir Putin: The Russian leader will make a rare trip today to the Middle East, where he is set to discuss bilateral relations, oil and international affairs in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

When Donald Trump goes on trial on charges of plotting to overturn the 2020 election, federal prosecutors intend to tell a sweeping story, informing the jury about everything from his support for the far-right Proud Boys to his decade-long history of making baseless claims about election fraud, according to unsealed court papers.

The court papers, originally filed under seal in Federal District Court in Washington, contained an array of allegations against the former president that prosecutors working for the special counsel Jack Smith want to introduce at the election interference trial. Technically, some evidence fall outside the span of the conspiracy charges the former president is facing.

Under the federal rules of evidence, prosecutors are permitted to introduce proof at trial that either predates or postdates the scope of an indictment if it can help them prove a defendant’s motive or intent to a jury.

Biden: The president suggested he might have been content to serve only a single term if his predecessor were not attempting to recapture the White House. “If Trump wasn’t running, I’m not sure I’d be running,” he said. “But we cannot let him win.”

Liz Flatt was 8 when her older sister, Debbie, was killed. Debbie, at 18, was newly married, and she was Flatt’s whole world.

Nearly 50 years later, the murder is still unsolved — and so Flatt, in desperation, reached out to true crime podcasters. Then they turned on her.

Luis Suarez’s year in Brazil: “Like watching an alien play with humans.”

Glentoran vs. Linfield: The story of the Belfast derby.

Mercedes’s sobering 2023 season: A winless campaign that could reinvigorate the team.

Emilie Gossiaux was an art student in New York City when, in 2010, a truck hit her. She suffered a traumatic brain injury and lost her sight. Her art career, which had once benefited from her keen eye, was put on pause.

But after learning to “see” with her hands, Gossiaux’s childhood dream of showing her work in museums is coming to fruition. “Other-Worlding,” her first solo exhibition, opens this week at the Queens Museum in New York City. The show celebrates her 13-year-old guide dog, London, and their mutual dependency.

“I protect her, and she protects me,” she said.

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