Tuesday briefing: Israel cuts Gaza Strip in two | ET REALITY


Israel’s military said yesterday that it had surrounded Gaza City, effectively dividing the Gaza Strip in half. Israel said the move would make it more difficult for Hamas to retain control of the area.

Israel has described Gaza City, in the northern part of the enclave, as a center of Hamas military operations. “It’s close-range urban warfare,” said Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, an Israeli military spokesman. “There are a lot of infantry working there.”

The extent of the fighting was unclear due to a communications blackout late Sunday in Gaza, but phone and internet connectivity appeared to be gradually returning yesterday. Israel said it had struck 450 targets overnight Sunday in Gaza.

As Israel’s army advanced, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Turkey on the last stop of a tour of the Middle East. Blinken told reporters that the Biden administration was working “very aggressively to bring more humanitarian assistance to Gaza,” adding, “I think you’ll see in the coming days that that assistance can be expanded significantly.”

Donald Trump took the stand in New York yesterday in a civil fraud trial in which he is accused of fraudulently inflating the value of his company’s assets to obtain favorable loans and insurance deals. In ranting and rambling testimony, Trump acknowledged that he had helped gather documents about the value of his properties and that he had reduced the value of one property because he “thought it was too high.”

While Trump’s testimony appeared to undermine his efforts to distance himself from property valuations, he also testified at times that he had not intervened. He tried to downplay the importance of the financial statements, saying that the bankers he used paid them too little attention.

Clash in the courtroom: The outcome of the trial will be decided by Judge Arthur Engoron, who yesterday rebuked Trump several times, asking him to keep his comments brief and telling him: “This is not a political rally.” Trump is the favorite for the Republican nomination to challenge President Biden in next year’s election.

What is at stake: New York Attorney General Letitia James, who brought the case, has asked that Trump pay $250 million and that he and his children be permanently banned from running a business in the state.

China’s political leaders, under pressure to support the country’s fragile recovery, are slowly putting the economy on a new course. In the past, they relied on real estate and local debt to drive growth. But now they are investing more in manufacturing, particularly in fast-growing industries such as electric cars and semiconductors, and increasing central government borrowing.

Analysis: China’s investment push could drive stronger growth in the coming months, partly offsetting problems in the real estate sector. But increased borrowing by the central government, as a replacement for local borrowing, will do little to alleviate the long-term drag on growth caused by debt accumulation.

Talks between the United States and China: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will meet with her Chinese counterpart, Vice Premier He Lifeng, in San Francisco this week. The meetings will lay the groundwork for long-awaited talks between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The James Webb Telescope is a giant step in the history of stargazing. Since transmitting its first data in late 2021, it has revealed light where we saw darkness, forever changing our view of the cosmos. In our beginner’s guide to observing the universe, we explore some of the telescope’s most impressive discoveries.

Members of the Afghanistan cricket team have emerged as unlikely heroes of the Cricket World Cup being held in India. They’ve defeated England, the defending world champions, and some of the team’s stars are so popular that entire sections of the stadium roar their names.

The team’s status contrasts with that of the nation’s government, which has become a pariah state since the Taliban took power two years ago. The Taliban regime has no international recognition, so the team plays under the flag and anthem of the republic that was overthrown in 2021. So far, the strangeness of the circumstances has been overshadowed by the team’s success.

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