Also, Jim Jordan loses a vote to be speaker. Here’s the latest at the end of Tuesday.
An explosion killed hundreds of people today at a hospital in Gaza that was packed with civilians sheltering there, Palestinian officials said. Palestinians and Israelis blamed each other for the blast, and the tragedy could reshape the conflict just as President Biden is expected to arrive in Israel tomorrow.
The Gazan health authorities said that the explosion, which occurred at Ahli Arab Hospital, had been caused by an Israeli airstrike. The Israeli military said it was caused by a rocket fired by a Palestinian armed group that malfunctioned after launching.
The explosion immediately raised the stakes for Biden’s trip to Israel and Jordan, where he was expected to try to de-escalate the crisis. Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, called off a trip to Jordan, where he had been scheduled to meet with Biden.
The hospital explosion compounded the escalating humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Even before the blast, rescuers were struggling to free more than a thousand people trapped under rubble, and fights were breaking out over loaves of bread.
“The situation in Gaza is a disaster in the truest sense of the word: massacres everywhere,” said Amir Ahmed, a paramedic with the Palestinian Red Crescent, adding that the streets reek of death.
American-led diplomatic efforts to provide safety and aid to Gaza’s two million residents have so far yielded few results. The Rafah border crossing into Egypt is the only potential portal for people to escape and for supplies to enter, but it has remained closed.
A separate diplomatic effort led by the U.S. and Qatar — a tiny nation with extensive ties to militant groups — is focused on negotiating the release of hostages held by Hamas.
Republicans failed to unite around a new speaker
Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the right-wing hard-liner whom House Republicans nominated last week for the chamber’s leadership role, lost his first bid to be elected speaker this afternoon. Twenty Republicans voted for candidates other than Jordan, leaving him 17 votes short of the majority he needed to prevail.
The next vote for speaker will be tomorrow at 11 a.m. Until Jordan, or another candidate, is able to secure the support of nearly every Republican, the House appears set to continue its prolonged stretch of leaderless paralysis, touched off by the ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy two weeks ago.
Ukraine used powerful U.S. weapons for the first time
Ukrainian forces struck two air bases today in Russian-held territory with powerful American-supplied long-range missiles, known as ATACMS, American officials said. The missiles were one of the last major weapon systems that Kyiv had sought from the U.S.
The strikes come as Russia presses ahead with its largest offensive push since its failed campaign last winter.
Poland’s nationalist governing party lost power
Opponents of Poland’s right-wing Law and Justice party won a clear majority of seats in Parliament in a pivotal general election held over the weekend, according to final results released today. The victory opened the door for a potentially drastic shift away from Poland’s deeply conservative policies at home and its role abroad as a beacon for right-wing groups and politicians opposed to liberal democratic values.
More top news
India: The country’s Supreme Court rejected a plea to legalize same-sex marriage.
Policing: A man who was wrongfully imprisoned for more than 16 years before being released in 2020 was fatally shot by a sheriff’s deputy in Georgia during a traffic stop.
U.S. Supreme Court: Justice Amy Coney Barrett said that she favored an ethics code for the Supreme Court.
China: The U.S. announced additional limits on sales of advanced semiconductors by American firms, intending to restrict China’s progress on supercomputing and artificial intelligence.
Prison break: Four men, including one held on a murder charge, escaped from a jail in Georgia yesterday.
Hollywood: A grand jury will consider whether to refile a charge against Alec Baldwin in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the set of the film “Rust” in 2021.
Climate: A severe drought is pushing the Amazon rainforest to the edge.
Wildlife: Government officials say that they plan to remove 21 species from the Endangered Species Act because they are extinct.
Celebrities: Britney Spears wrote in her much-awaited memoir that she had an abortion during her relationship with Justin Timberlake, according to excerpts.
TIME TO UNWIND
Barnes & Noble sets itself free
In an effort to stage a comeback amid Amazon’s book-selling supremacy, the chief executive of Barnes & Noble has decided to break a cardinal rule of corporate branding and store design: consistency.
During a recent redesign of dozens of its nearly 600 stores, some locations were painted in sandy shades of white and pink, while others adopted polished concrete. Still others took on a different style. The result has been an idiosyncratic approach to mass retail. The goal is to act more like the indie stores the company was once notorious for displacing.
Iron deficiency is common. Here’s what to do.
Roughly 35 percent of women of reproductive age in the U.S. don’t have sufficient amounts of iron in their bodies, and the nutritional deficiency often goes undiagnosed. Low levels of iron in the body can cause fatigue, brain fog, lightheadedness, sleep disturbances and, if left untreated, anemia.
To find out if you’re deficient, experts suggest testing your iron levels, which is usually covered by insurance. If you already know that you are iron-deficient, we have some tips for improving your levels.
Dinner table topics
New York City fashion: We got dressed with the silhouette king of downtown.
Mario and mushrooms: Nintendo’s mascot is boring, so for nearly four decades, the company has fed the jumping plumber an increasingly bizarre diet of items.
The secret lives of deer: A decade-old research project is revealing new discoveries about the lives of familiar woodland mammals.
Dog germs: Can my dog make me sick? Short answer: Yes.
WHAT TO DO TONIGHT
Cook: Spicy butternut squash pasta with spinach comes together in under an hour.
Watch: Italy’s latest television export, “The Sea Beyond,” follows young inmates at a detention center in Naples.
Listen: On Bad Bunny’s new album, the Puerto Rican megastar circles back to where he started.
Read: “I Love Russia,” a collection of Elena Kostyuchenko’s reporting over the past 15 years, captures the lives of everyday Russians.
Gather: Here are the best horror-themed board games to play at home this month.
Discover: Experts wish these eight sex myths would go away.
Play: Here are today’s Spelling Bee, Wordle and Mini Crossword. Find all of our games here.
ONE LAST THING
Lowriders can roam free in California
Lowriding — the practice of modifying classic vehicles by dropping their suspension and sometimes adding hydraulics — has been part of California’s car culture since the 1940s. But for many decades, local officials, who associated the cars with crime, enacted measures that made it unlawful to cruise around in a lowrider.
Now, things have changed. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law last week repealing those bans and allowing drivers to cruise around in their lowriders without the threat of being fined or towed.
“The cars are beautiful,” one car builder said. “It’s like their Mona Lisa.”
Have a liberating evening.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Matthew
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