July 19, 2024

The leader of Hamas’s political wing said that the group was studying Israel’s latest proposal for a deal with a “positive spirit,” and that the group would soon attend a new round of talks in Cairo. His statement raised hope for the stalled effort.

The proposal, which the U.S. has pushed in recent days, would include a weekslong temporary truce — its exact duration is unclear — as well as the release of hostages held by Hamas and Palestinian prisoners in Israel. It would also allow civilians to return to northern Gaza, and enable increased delivery of aid to the territory.

In Israel, the war cabinet met to discuss the cease-fire negotiations and a planned invasion of Rafah, where around a million people have been sheltering, according to an Israeli official. The anticipated offensive, which the U.S. has repeatedly urged Israel to abandon, has been a seemingly intractable sticking point in the cease-fire talks. If it goes forward, Hamas has promised to end negotiations immediately.

U.S. campuses: President Biden condemned the violence unfolding at universities across the country. He said Americans have “the right to protest, but not a right to cause chaos.” He rejected the notion of sending in the National Guard, which some Republicans have suggested.

The U.S. accused Russia of using chemical weapons, including poison gas, against Ukrainian forces. That would violate the Chemical Weapons Convention, an arms control treaty ratified by more than 150 countries, including Russia.

The State Department said Russia had deployed tear gas and chloropicrin, a “choking agent” that was widely used during World War I. It added that the use of these chemical weapons was “not an isolated incident,” and was probably driven by Russian forces trying to dislodge Ukraine’s soldiers from well-fortified positions.

Ukrainian authorities have reported about 1,400 cases of suspected chemical weapons use on the battlefield by Russia since the invasion began in February 2022.

Brittney Griner: The American basketball star, who was detained in Russia for almost a year, is publishing a book about her ordeal. In an interview, Griner spoke about her time in a Russian prison. “I will never forget any of it,” she said.

Security forces and protesters clashed violently late Wednesday night in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, after Parliament approved a divisive new bill in the second of three required votes.

Critics have called it the “Russian law.” They say it could be used to curb dissent, align the country more closely with Russia and hamper its efforts to join the E.U.

The draft law resembles one the Kremlin has used against opposition groups and media organizations. It would require groups that receive significant foreign funding to register as organizations “carrying the interests of a foreign power,” among other strictures.

The U.S. and China may be at odds these days over Russia’s war in Ukraine, Taiwan, cheap Chinese exports and human rights, but at least “panda diplomacy” is back. Beijing said that it would send two giant pandas — named Yun Chuan and Xin Bao — to the San Diego Zoo.

Scientists warn that rising global temperatures could push the Amazon to collapse in the coming decades, unless deforestation is halted and an area the size of Germany is restored.

But cattle ranching, which has ruled the region for decades, is the leading cause of deforestation. So, some companies are trying to make planting trees more lucrative than beef by monetizing their ability to lock away planet-warming carbon.

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