Wednesday Briefing: Updates on Gaza’s Main Hospital

Al-Shifa, Gaza’s main hospital complex, has been cut off from electricity for days. Hospital officials warn that the lives of roughly three dozen premature babies are under threat now that the incubators needed to keep them alive are without power.

As the fighting drew closer to Al-Shifa last week, many of the more than 60,000 people sheltering at the hospital complex have fled, according to the Gaza health ministry. But the babies’ fragile health makes moving them difficult, complicating Israel’s stated goal of emptying the complex of civilians before its troops try to enter. Israeli and U.S. officials say the hospital hosts an underground Hamas command center, a claim that Hamas and hospital officials reject.

The Israeli military said late Monday that it was working to deliver mobile incubators and respirators to help evacuate the babies. The Times was unable to reach the hospital director or the Gaza health ministry to ask about Israel’s offer, the details of which remained unclear.

Here’s the latest.

Persuading a watching world: Israel released videos from inside Gaza’s main children’s hospital that it claimed showed weapons and explosives found in the medical center, and a basement room where the military said hostages were kept. The assertions could not be independently verified, and the Gazan health ministry said the basement rooms shown were used as shelters “for those fleeing airstrikes.”

Countries are taking only “baby steps” to rein in greenhouse gas emissions, a senior U.N. official said, summarizing a new report on promises made by the world’s governments so far.

If every country were to do what it had promised to curb global warming — a big if — emissions would grow by 9 percent between now and 2030, compared with 2010 levels, the report said. The figure was slightly better than where things stood last year, but findings like that are likely to be central to the debate in Dubai this month at the annual U.N. global climate negotiations.

Related: A separate study from researchers in Saudi Arabia found that the country could face an “existential crisis” — threatening food and water supplies, along with the health of religious pilgrims during the Hajj — if warming were to occur at the level that is projected if every country meets its climate goals.

Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, pardoned Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, who was convicted of organizing the murder of a journalist, in return for his service in Ukraine, his lawyer said yesterday. It was the latest in a series of such reprieves for high-profile criminals in Russia.

The journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, had become one of the most acclaimed in Russia for her reports of human rights abuses during the country’s wars in Chechnya in the 1990s. She was shot dead in 2006 in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building, causing shock waves in Russia and abroad and highlighting the growing dangers of reporting in the country.

Lost: One tool bag. Where: Some 250 miles above the Earth.

Two astronauts forgot the bag this month after they completed their first spacewalk to perform maintenance at the International Space Station.

It won’t be alone. The European Space Agency said in September that there were more than 35,000 pieces of debris, including tools like grease guns and bolts, floating over our heads. They’re tracked so they don’t damage satellites.

Thirty years ago, Neil Sunderland began collecting maps, amassing more than 130 from as far back as the 15th century. Now that multimillion-dollar trove has been digitized as Oculi Mundi (the Eyes of the World), an online archive overseen by his daughter Helen Sunderland-Cohen.

“There is an incredibly broad range of people around the world who are interested in maps because they’re such extraordinary objects,” Sunderland-Cohen said. “Some people just like to admire them. And they trigger all sorts of imaginative stories, like ‘Treasure Island’ or the map at the beginning of ‘The Lord of the Rings.’”

The maps are artifacts of people’s efforts to pinpoint where they were and where they were going next in the age before the emergence of GPS and phones that could tell us exactly where we are. Each map often has its own story. Perhaps it was made by a now-famous artist like Albrecht Dürer, represents the first known map of a certain area or was created using technology that was new for that time.

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

P.S. Do you know the fictional places in these popular novels? Take our quiz.

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