Friday, July 19, 2024

On the first day of the U.N.’s COP28 talks, diplomats from nearly 200 countries approved a draft plan for a fund to help vulnerable countries hit by climate disasters, which are made worse by pollution spewed by wealthy nations.

For more than three decades, developing nations have pressed for compensation from wealthier, more industrialized countries to help with the costs of destructive storms, heat waves and droughts fueled by global warming. The fund has been widely viewed as a positive sign for the two-week summit in Dubai, and is expected to be up and running this year.

Among the nations contributing, the United Arab Emirates and Germany each pledged $100 million, while the U.K. pledged about $76 million and Japan said it would give $10 million. The E.U. climate commissioner said the union would contribute at least around $245 million. The U.S. promised $17.5 million, an amount that some activists criticized as too low for the world’s largest economy.

While the initial pledges add up to about $549 million, climate-related damages are expected to cost developing countries between $280 billion and $580 billion per year by 2030.

Henry Kissinger, the most powerful secretary of state of the postwar era, died Wednesday at his home in Connecticut at the age of 100. Around the world, his passing elicited sharply divergent opinions: He was both celebrated and reviled.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli leaders yesterday to try to extend the fragile cease-fire between Israel and Hamas — which is set to end today — as well as to improve conditions for Gaza’s civilians and to influence what Israel vowed would be the next phase of its military offensive.

Here’s the latest.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated his country’s goal of crushing Hamas, a job that Israel, as well as U.S. officials, says remains far from complete. The new phase of the offensive is expected to focus on southern Gaza, where U.S. and Israeli officials say Hamas’s senior leaders are hunkered down.

The State Department released a statement after the meeting, saying that Blinken had “stressed the imperative of accounting for humanitarian and civilian protection needs in southern Gaza before any military operations there.”

It was a year of personal reflections rather than grand statements. It was a year when albums from all over the world expanded the idea of what pop music could be. And it was a smart, stupid and fully alive year in which music offered a much-needed escape.

Our critics Jon Pareles, Jon Caramanica and Lindsay Zoladz took stock of the albums that they felt had the greatest impact over the past year.

“For me, there was no overwhelming, year-defining album; this list could just as well be alphabetical,” Jon Pareles writes. Take a look at the full list.

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