Monday Briefing – The New York Times


Brett McGurk, President Biden’s Middle East coordinator at the White House, departed for Cairo yesterday for talks aimed at the release of more hostages held by Hamas in exchange for a pause in Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip, U.S. officials said.

Egypt and Qatar helped broker a cease-fire in November during which Hamas released more than 100 people from captivity. The hope is that another such deal can be arranged. But U.S. officials have said that a new hostage release has been complicated by Hamas’s evident desire for a permanent cease-fire.

The trip comes as Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, reiterated that he would not withdraw Israeli forces and remained opposed to the two-state solution backed by the U.S. and other allies. Divisions have emerged in Israel over the path forward, including over whether military action can achieve the hostages’ safe return.

In other news from the war:

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida suspended his campaign for U.S. president and endorsed Donald Trump, less than 48 hours before the primary race in New Hampshire. The move cements the Republican contest as a two-person race between the former president and Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina.

The Trump campaign said in a statement that it was “honored” by DeSantis’s endorsement and once again criticized Haley, who served as U.N. ambassador during the Trump presidency, as being too liberal to win the Republican nomination. It remains to be seen whether DeSantis’s departure will help her, or whether more of his supporters will migrate to Trump.

Even before DeSantis dropped out, Haley and Trump were locked in an increasingly intense and personal battle in New Hampshire, where Trump has a significant lead in polls.

At least 70 people across the U.S. have died from weather-related causes after more than a week of frigid winter storms and brutally cold temperatures. That number is likely to grow.

Traffic accidents — often caused by cars spinning out of control on icy, snowy roads — are among the most common causes of death during cold snaps. Hypothermia is another threat, especially for people who do not have access to shelter or heat, and downed power lines can raise the risk of fire or electrocution.

In the latest commercial for Calvin Klein’s men’s underwear, Jeremy Allen White rolls down a Manhattan street, pops up to a rooftop and strips down, muscles bulging, before lolling on an ugly orange couch.

More than 25 years after her death, Princess Diana is ever-present in our culture, appearing in numerous movies, television shows and even a Broadway musical. The former Princess of Wales is entertainment gold, Times critic Jesse Green writes,: “The perfect combo of stardom, tragedy and unanswerability.”

A woman whose bereaved children are still living is not primarily an artistic, let alone a financial, opportunity, Jesse argues, and she deserves more time to rest in peace. “She is still too blazingly alive to be dragooned into trauma porn,” he writes, “mauled with the excuse of reincarnating her.”

Read his essay.

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