Biden says Israel is losing support
A divide between Israel and the U.S. burst into the open yesterday as President Biden warned that Israel was losing the world’s support over its war in Gaza.
“They’re starting to lose that support,” Biden said. He added that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needed to make changes to his government, the most far right in Israel’s history.
Biden’s comments were the sharpest break to date in the language the U.S. has used regarding Israel since the war began after Hamas’s attack on Israel on Oct. 7. Until yesterday, the U.S. has backed Israel in action and in rhetoric — supporting the assault on Gaza, fending off calls for a cease-fire at the United Nations and authorizing the sale of thousands of tank shells to the Israelis.
At the same time, Netanyahu rejected out of hand a U.S. proposal by ruling out any role for the Palestinian Authority in Gaza after the war ends.
Zelensky pleaded for more aid in Washington
President Volodymyr Zelensky hit a brick wall of resistance from Republicans in Congress yesterday as he made an urgent plea for quick approval of more aid for Ukraine’s war against Russia.
In private meetings at the Capitol with senators and Speaker Mike Johnson, Zelensky said that more American help was critical to holding back Russian advances into Europe. But Johnson and several Senate Republicans reiterated their stance that they would not agree to any new aid unless President Biden bowed to their demands to clamp down on migration at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Johnson also accused the White House of failing to articulate a clear path to victory for Ukraine, which Republicans also have said is a necessary condition to unlock military aid.
Biden had hoped Zelensky would sway members of Congress to pass a $110.5 billion emergency spending bill that includes $50 billion more in security aid for Ukraine. But the chances of Congress passing an assistance package before the end of the year have grown bleak, after Republicans blocked the measure last week and polls showed Americans were skeptical of extending additional financial help.
What’s next: Following his meetings on Capitol Hill, Zelensky met Biden at the White House, where they are scheduled to hold a joint news conference. Follow our live coverage.
Digital warfare: The largest mobile operator in Ukraine said it had come under a powerful cyberattack yesterday that knocked out service to millions of people.
It’s Xi’s turn to court Vietnam
Just three months after President Biden visited Hanoi, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, arrived in Vietnam yesterday to try to elevate ties with an important neighbor.
Few nations now feature more centrally in the great-power competition between the U.S. and China, placing Vietnam in a high-risk, high-reward position. Keeping the two giants happy could mean an economic boost; angering one or the other could bring heavy costs.
Details: Vietnamese and Chinese leaders are expected to discuss territorial disputes in the South China Sea, where the countries’ ships have clashed repeatedly since the 1970s. The agenda is also likely to include a cargo rail project near the Chinese border, as well as the possibility of working together on rare earth minerals.
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How young Africans are changing French
More than 60 percent of people worldwide who speak French live in Africa, and demographers predict that by 2060, that number could grow to 85 percent. A growing number of words and expressions from there are now infusing the French language.
The change is being spurred by the booming populations of young people in West and Central Africa. Through social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube, they are reshaping the language from within countries that were once colonized by France.
Hip-hop, which now dominates the French music industry, is injecting new words, phrases and concepts from Africa into the suburbs and cities of France. “Countless artists have democratized French music with African slang,” said a Congolese music executive.