Wednesday Briefing

The city of Derna, Libya, on Tuesday.Credit…Jamal Alkomaty/Associated Press

Thousands dead in flooding in Libya

More than 5,000 people were killed in Libya after torrential rain caused two dams to burst near the coastal city of Derna, destroying much of the city and carrying entire neighborhoods into the sea, local authorities said. Floodwaters also swept through other eastern settlements, including Shahhat, Al-Bayda and Marj. At least 20,000 people were displaced.

The North African nation, which has been splintered by a war, was ill-prepared for Storm Daniel to batter its coastline. The country is administered by two rival governments, complicating rescue and aid efforts, and despite its vast oil resources, its infrastructure has been poorly maintained after more than a decade of political chaos.

Context: The flooding underscored how climate change can combine with political conflict and economic failure to magnify the scale of disasters.

President Vladimir Putin of Russia said that Donald Trump was being politically persecuted.Credit…Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik

Putin wades into U.S. politics

Speaking at an economic conference in far eastern Russia yesterday, Vladimir Putin, the country’s leader, branded the criminal cases against Donald Trump as political persecution. The former U.S. president faces 91 felony counts in four jurisdictions. Putin also praised the billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk.

Putin’s remarks appeared to be aimed at lending firepower to the Republican outcry over the prosecutions of Trump, who has long expressed public admiration for the Russian leader and has helped encourage a sizable Moscow-friendly contingent within his party.

Quotable: “Given today’s conditions, what is happening is good for us, in my opinion, because it shows the rottenness of the American political system, which cannot pretend to teach democracy to others,” Putin said.

Related: A push by more than 30 allied European countries to arm themselves, precipitated in part by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has raised concerns of disorganization and supply shortages.

Kevin McCarthy, the speaker of the House.Credit…Haiyun Jiang for The New York Times

A Biden impeachment inquiry

Speaker Kevin McCarthy has unilaterally announced an impeachment inquiry into President Biden with no formal House vote, entwining a Republican investigation into Biden and his family with the funding fight that is rattling the Capitol. The move appeared to clear the way for House investigators to issue subpoenas for the bank records of Biden and his family members.

McCarthy said he would task three committees with carrying out the inquiry as Republicans hunt for evidence of financial wrongdoing or corruption. After months of digging, Republicans have found no such proof, though they argue they have enough information to warrant more investigation.


Around the World

Credit…Moroccan Royal Palace, via Associated Press
  • A devastating earthquake in Morocco has drawn focus to the elusive King Mohammed VI.

  • Starting next spring, day-trippers to Venice will be expected to pay 5 euros on the busiest days.

  • China is facing competition from India in the contest to lead what has come to be called the “global south.”

  • The family of George Lindemann, a collector and philanthropist, returned 33 statues to Cambodia after conceding that they had been looted.

  • Climate change is threatening Germany’s oldest varieties of hops.

Other Big Stories

Credit…John Taggart for The New York Times
  • In a major tech trial, U.S. government lawyers said that Google had systematically wielded its power in online search to bully and cow competitors.

  • The British chip designer Arm is preparing to go public tomorrow. Valued at $52 billion, it would be the biggest initial public offering of the year so far.

  • Maria Ressa, the journalist and Nobel laureate who has faced a barrage of charges from the Philippine government, was cleared of tax fraud.

  • A common decongestant in cold medicines doesn’t work at all, health authorities in the U.S. said.

  • Apple unveiled its iPhone 15, which has dropped the Lightning port for the USB-C ports mandated in Europe.

What Else Is Happening

  • A river of wine flowed through the streets of Levira, Portugal, last weekend after two tanks collapsed at a distillery.

  • In 1996, raging floods swept six young bull sharks into a lake on an Australian golf course. They stayed there for 17 years.

  • Meet a 25-million-year-old koala you could cuddle like a cat.

A Morning Read

Credit…Tom Sibley for The New York Times

Would a bathtub by your stove put you off? For many New Yorkers, an eccentric kitchen is not necessarily a deal-breaker — even if that means that it does not include a single full-sized appliance.

“It’s kind of luxurious, in a weird way,” one Greenwich Village resident said.


The Wrexham documentary returns: What you need to know before it streams.

Paul Pogba: A failed doping test is the latest chapter in the French soccer player’s unpredictable career.

Gold-plated villages: Where the Premier League’s elite call home.


Credit…Sam Bush for The New York Times

300 tanks and 100 million views

The Tank Museum, next to a military base in Dorset, Britain, doesn’t usually rank among the world’s great museums. But on YouTube, it’s more popular than the Louvre.

The Tank Museum’s channel posts weekly clips that include intensely detailed discussions on tank history, chatty videos of the curators’ favorite war machines and newsier items on how armored vehicles are being used in Ukraine.

In Britain, the museum world is taking note. “They’ve changed the game,” said Jack Yates, the communications manager at the Royal Armories, another military museum. The Tank Museum’s success was “not just in terms of creating content about their collection that reaches a mass audience, but commercializing it, too,” he added.


Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Cook this easy sheet-pan meal of miso-honey chicken and asparagus.

Keep your kids safe online.

Understand grief, with the help of Ancient Greek tragedies.

Watch two ambitious new series about young Black culture workers.

Play the Spelling Bee. And here are today’s Mini Crossword and Wordle. You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Natasha

P.S. Do you know the recent screen versions of popular young adult novels? Take our quiz to find out.

You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

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