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Friday Briefing – The New York Times

WorldEuropeFriday Briefing - The New York Times

The U.S. sent its top military commander for the Middle East to Israel to discuss a widely expected retaliatory attack from Iran, officials said.

Iran’s leaders have repeatedly vowed to punish Israel for an April 1 strike in Syria that killed several senior Iranian commanders. Israel has put its military on alert, and President Biden said that Iran was threatening a “significant” attack. Gen. Michael Kurilla, the American commander, will also discuss the war in Gaza and humanitarian aid operations there.

Biden, who has become increasingly critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conduct of the Gaza war, said that American support for Israel in the face of danger from Iran was “ironclad.”

Netanyahu said that his country was prepared for other challenges. “We have determined a simple rule: Whoever harms us, we will harm them,” he said.

Hostages: A senior Hamas official said that the group did not have 40 living hostages who met the criteria for a proposed exchange with Israel, raising fears that more hostages could be dead than previously believed.

Famine: The director of the United States Agency for International Development, Samantha Power, said this week that a famine is underway in northern Gaza.

O.J. Simpson ran to fame on the football field, made fortunes as an all-American in movies, television and advertising, and, in a 1995 trial that mesmerized the U.S., was acquitted of killing his former wife and her friend. He died yesterday at 76.

His trial, for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, lasted nine months and became an inflection point on race in America. A civil suit in 1997 found Simpson liable for the deaths and left him owing $33.5 million in damages, and he later served years in prison on charges related to the 2007 theft of a trove of sports memorabilia.

The story of O.J. Simpson generated a tide of tell-all books, movies, studies and debate over questions of justice, race relations and celebrity in a nation that adores its heroes but has never been comfortable with its deeper contradictions.

For more, here’s a critic’s notebook about Simpson’s place at the center of the American media; what his case meant for L.A.; and a timeline of his life.

The carefully crafted law imposes new penalties on men who try to evade service and offers a mix of financial incentives for those taking up arms.

But it lacks a timeline for when conscripts will be demobilized, something that soldiers and their families had been demanding after more than two brutal years of war.

Draft: Many younger Ukrainians were unsettled when President Volodymyr Zelensky lowered Ukraine’s draft age to 25 from 27.

Demographics: Ukraine needs more soliders, but it has very few young men.

Before his death in prison in February, Aleksei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, wrote a memoir about his life and activism.

“This book is a testament not only to Aleksei’s life, but to his unwavering commitment to the fight against dictatorship — a fight he gave everything for, including his life,” said his wife, Yulia Navalnaya.

That’s all for this week. Thank you for reading, and have a relaxing weekend. — Dan

You can reach Dan and the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

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