Thursday Briefing: Blasts in Iran Kill Dozens

A photograph released by Iranian state media showed emergency personnel at the blast site in Kerman, Iran.Credit…Mehr News Agency, via Associated Press

Blasts in Iran killed at least 95 people

A pair of explosions yesterday at a commemoration for Iran’s former top military general, Qassim Suleimani, killed at least 95 people and wounded another 211, according to Iranian officials. The blasts heightened tensions in the broader region a day after an explosion killed several Hamas officials in a suburb of Beirut, Lebanon.

Iranian officials told state media that a pair of bombs exploded near a cemetery in Kerman, Iran, as a procession of people was on its way to observe the anniversary of the assassination of General Suleimani, who was killed four years ago in an American drone strike. Officials said the bombs appeared to have been detonated via remote control. Given the sheer scale of the blasts, the death toll was likely to rise.

Elsewhere in the Middle East:

  • It was unclear if the assassination of Saleh al-Arouri, a top Hamas official, in Beirut on Tuesday would be debilitating for the group, analysts said. However, the killing appeared likely to halt further talks over freeing more hostages taken in the Oct. 7 attacks, U.S. officials said.

  • U.S. spy agencies believe that Hamas used the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza as a command center, according to newly declassified American intelligence. The Israeli military stormed the complex in November.

Credit…The New York Times

Composure eased the Japanese jet evacuation

After the fiery landing of Japan Airlines Flight 516 on Tuesday in Tokyo, its attendants evacuated all 367 passengers with no major injuries. While a number of factors aided what some have called a miracle, the relative absence of panic onboard may have helped the most.

“Everyone started yelling in Japanese,” Anton Deibe, a 17-year-old passenger from Stockholm, told The Times. “I didn’t understand anything.” Still, he said, “there was a lot less commotion than I would have thought. The passengers were calm.”

What happened? Clues about what caused the collision are starting to emerge. In a transcript of communications between the air traffic control tower and both the JAL jet and the Coast Guard plane involved in the collision, it appeared that the commercial flight was given permission to land while the Coast Guard aircraft was told to “taxi to holding point” next to the runway.

China’s leader, Xi Jinping, at a military parade in 2019.Credit…Thomas Peter/Reuters

Xi shakes up China’s military

Nine high-ranking Chinese military figures were recently removed as delegates to the country’s Communist Party-run legislature. The shake-up came abruptly and without official explanation.

The figures included some of the rising stars in President Xi Jinping’s military. Experts who track China’s military said the dismissals appeared to be designed to assert Xi’s control over the arms sector. They noted that the dismissals apparently excluded his longstanding allies, at least for now.

Context: Since coming to power in 2012, Xi has initiated scorching, high-decibel crackdowns on Communist Party officials and generals. However, this latest campaign has been conducted mostly in quiet.


Around the World

A photograph released by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Service showing Ukrainian prisoners of war after a swap at an unknown location in Ukraine.Credit…Ukrainian Presidential Press Service, via Reuters
  • Russia and Ukraine announced the release of hundreds of prisoners of war, the biggest exchange since the start of the war.

  • Thousands of young doctors walked off the job in England, dealing another blow to the country’s already reeling National Health Service.

  • A knife attack on South Korea’s opposition leader this week comes amid a deepening political divide and an increasingly extreme discourse in the country.

  • Lawyers for Donald Trump appealed a ruling in Maine that would bar him from appearing on the state’s Republican primary ballot.

Other Big Stories

  • Jennifer Hermoso, who was kissed on the mouth by Spain’s former soccer boss Luis Rubiales, gave evidence at a hearing to determine whether Rubiales would be charged.

  • The massive waves that pounded California’s coast last week washed ashore a very old bomb near the city of Santa Cruz.

  • Willis Gibson, 13, a competitive Tetris player prodigy from Oklahoma, is believed to be the first person to “beat” Tetris.

A Morning Read

The Gunung Padang site in Cianjur, Indonesia.Credit…Ulet Ifansasti for The New York Times

Gunung Padang, a partly excavated site in Indonesia, has become the center of a raging debate after a geologist claimed that it was the “world’s oldest pyramid.” The geologist’s research has fueled a dispute over the age of the site and prompted warnings about the dangers of nationalist mythmaking.

Lives lived: Maureen Flavin Sweeney, whose timely weather report delayed D-Day and helped the Allies gain a foothold in France during World War II, died at 100.


Credit…Sean Dong

How to eat for better energy

My colleagues on the Well desk are kicking off the year with the 6-Day Energy Challenge, which focuses on the elements in your life that can affect how energized you feel.

In their most recent entry, they focus on food, and the day’s task is simple: Notice how the foods you eat make you feel. Two hours after you have a meal or a snack, jot down any sensations you’re experiencing and rate your energy level.

If the results have you wanting to make a change, Well has some ideas on tweaks you can make to your diet. For example: Fill your plate with foods rich in fiber, complex carbs and protein, which can slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream and help prevent fatigue.


Credit…Christopher Testani for The New York Times

Cook: This deeply satisfying one-pot mushroom and leek pasta is brimming with rich umami.

Read: This collection of books will help you get to know Utah’s complicated history.

Listen: Our critic has a playlist that she hopes will inspire you to start the year with an appropriate amount of optimism and self-forgiveness.

Declutter: Here’s how to clean up your dating life and start the new year fresh.

Game: These are the best accessories for Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite.

Play Spelling Bee, the Mini Crossword, Wordle and Sudoku. Find all of our games here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Justin

P.S. How well do you know the worlds from these popular fantasy novels? Take our quiz.

We welcome your feedback. Send us your suggestions at [email protected].

Related Articles

Back to top button