Thursday Briefing: A Special Report from Sudan

My colleague Declan Walsh and photographer Ivor Prickett spent three weeks in Sudan, where few foreign journalists had access over the past year. Since conflict broke out there in April 2023, millions of people have been displaced and imminent famine threatens the lives of hundreds of thousands of children.

Khartoum, the capital and one of the largest cities in Africa, has been reduced to a charred battlefield. A dispute between two generals has dragged Sudan into civil war and turned the city into ground zero for one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.

According to US estimates, some 150,000 people have died since the fighting began. Nine million people have been forced to leave their homes, making Sudan home to the world’s largest displacement crisis, the UN says. Another genocide now threatens Darfur, the region that became synonymous with war crimes two decades ago.

The UN warns that famine could kill more than 220,000 children in the coming months. If left unchecked, it could rival the Ethiopian famine of the 1980s.

On the floor: In a silent famine ward, starving babies fight for life. Every few days, one of them dies. Artillery shells fly over the Nile and destroy hospitals and houses. The state television station was used as a torture chamber.

Whats Next: US-led peace talks have stalled. The Sudanese state is collapsing and threatens to take a fragile region with it. Experts say it is a matter of time before one of its neighbors, such as Chad, Eritrea or South Sudan, is absorbed.

Israel organized and paid for a campaign last year that used fake social media accounts and news sites to urge U.S. lawmakers to support the war in Gaza, a Times investigation found. The secret effort indicates the lengths to which Israel was willing to go to influence American opinion.

The campaign began in October and remains active on X. At its peak, it used hundreds of fake accounts posing as real Americans to post pro-Israel comments. Although the United States has long been one of Israel’s staunchest allies, the war in Gaza has been unpopular with many Americans, who have called on President Biden to withdraw support for Israel as civilian deaths rise.

Details: The campaign did not have widespread impact, Meta and OpenAI said last week. X did not respond to a request for comment.

Loop: The CIA director held talks in Qatar, but Israel and Hamas appeared to remain far apart over the latest ceasefire proposal.

The Earth is already experiencing some of its highest temperatures in 100,000 years. However, the UN meteorological agency announced today that there is almost a 90 percent chance that the planet will set another record for warmest year by 2028.

The chances are almost as good that, between now and then, the average global temperature will be 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, higher than at the dawn of the industrial age, the level countries set out to avoid. under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Today marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied forces invaded Normandy. Many of the remaining veterans are making what will likely be their last visit to the beaches of northern France. There are less than 200 of them. Their average age is about 100 years.

One of them is 98-year-old Bill Becker, who was an American top turret gunner. “I made it,” he said with a tired smile.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia’s royal family has spent lavishly to improve the country’s reputation abroad and reduce its economic dependence on oil. That has included an $800 billion investment in tourism.

But what is it like to travel through a country that was long out of reach for most Westerners? Can the Saudi government persuade potential visitors to set aside – or reconsider – their long-standing associations with religious extremism, ultra-conservatism and human rights abuses?

To see the changes for yourself, our Travel reporter Stephen Hiltner photographed his month-long trip around the kingdom. Read about his trip and see his photos.

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