Friday, July 19, 2024

The Israeli military yesterday signaled a heavier assault on Gaza and warned with increasing “urgency” that Palestinian civilians should move to the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

The military’s chief spokesman said Israel was “gradually expanding the ground activity and the scope of our forces,” but it was still unclear how many soldiers had been sent into Gaza since Friday, when Israel began an intensified ground operation. Videos released by the military and geolocated by The Times indicated at least three places where troops had crossed into northern Gaza.

Phone and internet service in Gaza had been knocked out on Friday, but connectivity partially returned yesterday morning, according to the head of the main Palestinian telecommunications company.

The executive said he suspected that Israel had caused the service stoppage, and two American officials told The Times that the U.S. believed Israel was responsible for it. Officials in Israel declined to comment on the matter.

With winter approaching, officials in Ukraine are desperate for more air defenses to protect power grids from Russian strikes, which could plunge the country into freezing darkness. They are so desperate, in fact, that they are willing to experiment with somewhat makeshift weapons that combine advanced, Western-caliber, surface-to-air missiles with refitted Soviet-era launchers that Ukrainian forces already have.

These so-called Franken weapons were the brainchild of Ukraine, but they are now being pursued by the Pentagon. Two variants have been tested on military bases in the U.S. and are set to be delivered to Ukraine this fall, officials said.

A monthlong meeting at the Vatican convened by Pope Francis to determine the future of the Roman Catholic Church ended this weekend with a document that said it was “urgent” that women play a larger role. But discussion of major issues, such as ordaining women as deacons, was postponed, and the document failed to address outreach to L.G.B.T.Q.+ Catholics.

The meeting, called the Synod on Synodality, was characterized by liberals and conservatives alike as a potential culmination of Francis’ pontificate and the vehicle through which he might make changes. Instead, it echoed another characteristic of Francis’ tenure: the tabling of major issues as he sought to build deeper support through the global church.

Takeaway: Progressives who had high hopes that the meeting would create real momentum for change said the final document failed to move the institution.

As richer countries reckon with their aging populations, African nations are experiencing what some experts call a “youthquake.” The median age on the continent is 19, a full 20 years younger than in China and the U.S. By the 2040s, two out of every five children globally will be born in Africa.

“Experts say this approaching tide of humanity will push Africa to the fore of the most pressing concerns of our age, like climate change, the energy transition and migration,” Declan Walsh, who covers Africa for The Times, reports. In a new Times series, Old World, Young Africa, reporters followed young people searching for jobs. They traveled with migrant workers, spoke to people who’d returned from studying in China and interviewed young people who challenged aging leaders.

“The world is changing,” Edward Paice, the author of “Youthquake: Why African Demography Should Matter to the World,” told Walsh. “And we need to start reimagining Africa’s place in it.”

Lynsey Chutel, Briefings writer based in Johannesburg

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