The US secretary of state has arrived in Tel Aviv to meet the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, as Israel’s military pushes further into Gaza City.
Antony Blinken is expected to call for pauses in localized fighting in an effort to protect Gaza’s civilians – the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry says at least 9,061 people have been killed by Israeli strikes on Gaza since the war began on 7 October, when Hamas militants killed 1,400 Israelis, mostly civilians, and took, Israel estimates, more than 240 hostages. Independent UN experts said Palestinians in the territory were at “grave risk of genocide”.
Israeli forces have “completed the encirclement of Gaza City” and are fighting “with full force”, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), with troops surrounding it from several directions and deepening the ground offensive inside the city.
The IDF is on “very high alert” along Israel’s border with Lebanon, with a speech expected this afternoon from Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah.
In the US, the House of Representatives passed a Republican plan to provide $14.3bn in aid to Israel as it fights Hamas, despite Democrats’ insistence that the plan has no future in the Senate and the White House’s promise of a veto.
The White House has condemned Fox News over its “sickening attack on the rights and dignity” of Arab Americans after the rightwing channel’s host Jesse Watters seemed to advocate violence.
Sam Bankman-Fried found guilty of defrauding FTX customers out of billions
After a five-week trial, Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the now bankrupt crypto exchange FTX, was found guilty on all counts of defrauding his customers. Bankman-Fried was accused of swindling FTX customers out of about $10bn when FTX collapsed under the weight of a liquidity crisis caused by the lending of customer funds to Alameda Research, FTX’s sister hedge fund, without telling them. Bankman-Fried is due to go on trial on a second set of charges brought by prosecutors earlier this year, including for alleged foreign bribery and bank fraud conspiracies.
In other news …
Donald Trump’s eldest sons appeared in court and claimed they had no knowledge of the financial statements at the heart of the family’s $250m fraud trial.
A former Memphis police officer pleaded guilty in the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols. It was not immediately clear if any of the four other officers charged would follow suit.
The FBI raided the home of a consultant with ties to the New York City mayor, Eric Adams. Brianna Suggs, Adams’s top campaign fundraiser, was questioned by the FBI’s public corruption squad.
A sea lice outbreak on an Icelandic salmon farm has been described by one veterinary expert as an “animal welfare disaster”.
Stat of the day: air pollution in Delhi has risen to 100 times the World Health Organization’s limit
A thick toxic smog cloaked Delhi on Friday, shutting down schools and non-essential construction. The air quality index in the city almost hit 500, the highest the measurement will go and 100 times the limit deemed to be healthy by the World Health Organization.
“The number of patients with breathing problems has increased, with more people having coughs, colds, watery and irritated eyes, and breathing problems,” said Nikhil Modi, a doctor at Apollo hospital in Delhi. “People of all ages are affected by this. It is time for us to wear masks and go out only when needed.”
Don’t miss this: Nicolas Cage, more than a meme
Nicolas Cage spoke with the Guardian about his new film, the Ari Aster-produced black comedy Dream Scenario, and his place in the internet hall of fame of memes. “I might have been the first actor who went through a kind of meme-ification,” he said.
Cage added: “Everyone has the ability to become famous now. You’re the guy who tripped in the supermarket and someone filmed it. Or the woman on the plane who has a meltdown and now you’re the Airplane Meltdown Woman.”
… or this: the power of the ‘parents’ rights’ movement
Republicans have jumped on to the parents’ rights movement, deftly pivoting from its roots in grievances over schools’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic to cultural divides that have sparked clashes around instruction of topics related to race, sexual orientation and gender identity. Conservative political action committees have funnelled millions of dollars into school board races, backing candidates who oppose what they see as ultra-leftist ideology in public schools. In Virginia, the electoral potency of the parents’ rights movement is being tested.
Climate check: Shell’s plan for a $23bn shareholder buyout
Climate activists were outraged over Shell’s plans to pay shareholders at least $23bn in rewards this year, just days after announcing plans to cut up to 25% of the staff working in Shell’s low-carbon solutions team. Shell’s chief executive, Wael Sawan, told investors to expect payouts “well in excess” of expectations.
“People are sick of watching oil bosses feign concern about the planet while slashing jobs and investment in renewables and ploughing money into dividends, share buybacks and new fossil fuel projects,” said Charlie Kronick, a senior climate adviser at Greenpeace UK.
Last Thing: rats and the power of imagination
Researchers have discovered that rats can navigate their way through a space they have previously explored using their thoughts alone – a finding that suggests the rodents have some sort of imagination. A study from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janella Research Campus showed that animals can, at will, flexibly activate the brain’s representations of places that are distant from where they currently are.
“This is a fundamental building block of a specific type of imagination, one that enables us to project ourselves into the past or future, within a certain scenario,” said Chongxi Lai, the study’s first author.
First Thing is delivered to thousands of inboxes every weekday. If you’re not already signed up, subscribe now.
Get in touch
If you have any questions or comments about any of our newsletters please email firstname.lastname@example.org