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Monday, May 27, 2024

Friday Briefing: U.S. General Visits Israel Amid Fears of Iranian Attack

WorldAsiaFriday Briefing: U.S. General Visits Israel Amid Fears of Iranian Attack

A senior U.S. military commander traveled to Israel yesterday to coordinate with top officials there on what is expected to be imminent retaliatory action by Iran, as well as to discuss the war in Gaza, officials said.

Iran’s leaders have repeatedly vowed to punish Israel for an April 1 strike in Syria that killed several senior Iranian commanders. U.S. officials have said they are bracing for a possible Iranian response, and Israel has put its military on alert.

The general’s visit came a day after President Biden said that Iran was threatening a “significant” attack. Biden stated that despite recent friction, U.S. support for Israel “is ironclad” in the event of an attack by Iran.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that, amid the war in Gaza, Israel was “prepared for scenarios involving challenges in other sectors.” He added, “We have determined a simple rule: Whoever harms us, we will harm them.”

Hostages: A top Hamas official said that it did not have 40 living hostages who met the criteria for an exchange under the proposed cease-fire agreement with Israel, raising fears that more might be dead than previously thought.

Hunger crisis: Samantha Power, the head of U.S. Agency for International Development, told lawmakers this week that a famine was underway in northern Gaza.

O.J. Simpson, the football star and actor who was acquitted in a 1995 trial of killing his former wife and her friend, died Wednesday at 76.

Simpson’s trial for the deaths of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman — a nine-month courtroom drama in Los Angeles — became a national sensation and an inflection point on race in America. It was called “The Trial of the Century” by some news outlets, and Simpson’s acquittal left many Black people jubilant and many white people aghast. (Read our 1995 coverage of the verdict.) In the aftermath, the case became the grist for television specials, films and more than 30 books.

In 1997, a civil suit held Simpson liable for the deaths and ordered him to pay $33.5 million in damages. It was a vindication of sorts for the families of the victims and a blow to Simpson, who said he could not pay.

Career: Simpson won the Heisman Trophy as the nation’s best college football player in 1968, and some magazines called him the greatest running back in the history of the college game. Here’s a timeline of his life.

Ukraine’s Parliament passed a mobilization law, an effort to replenish its exhausted and depleted fighting forces, which are struggling to hold back Russia. Earlier this month, Kyiv lowered the draft age to 25, unsettling many young men and their families.

The bill has incentives for volunteers and benefits for the families of those who die in battle — as well as new penalties for evading conscription. Importantly, it does not have a timeline for demobilization, something soldiers and their families had been demanding. Many young Ukrainian men are waiting in fear to be called for service.

Population: Ukraine’s search for new soldiers has another critical problem — a lack of young men. These charts explain the century-old dilemma, but the main question is whether the country can replenish its ranks without decimating a generation.

For restaurant owners, using virtual hosts could cut down on rising costs. But others see a model rife for abuse: The remote workers are paid $3 an hour, their management company said. The minimum wage in New York City is $16 an hour.

  • Deserted island rescue: Three men who were stranded on a remote Pacific island for more than a week were saved by the U.S. Coast Guard after spelling out “HELP” on a beach using palm leaves.

  • Art Deco renaissance: Celebrities and designers have contributed to a surging interest in the work of the painter Tamara de Lempicka.

  • Trauma and psychedelics: Hamas’s attack on a music festival in Israel has given researchers a rare opportunity to study the relationship between mind-altering substances and extreme trauma.

Taro Akebono, a Hawaii-born wrestler who became sumo’s first foreign-born yokozuna, or grand champion sumo wrestler, died this month at 54.

When he became Japan’s 64th yokozuna in 1993, he shattered a cultural ceiling: The council that awards the title had previously maintained that no foreigner could possess the requisite dignity to hold it. Akebono would go on to gain acceptance and popularity in part because people appreciated his devotion to the sport.

Akebono won a total of 11 grand championships. His success drove a resurgence in sumo’s popularity, and set the stage for an era during which foreign-born wrestlers dominated its top levels.

That’s it for this week. We hope you have an exciting, restful weekend. — Amelia

Email us at briefing@nytimes.com.

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