Tuesday Briefing: Houthis Attack a U.S. Ship


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Houthi fighters fired a missile yesterday that caused limited damage to a U.S.-owned cargo vessel off the coast of Yemen, the U.S. military said.

The missile attack came a day after the Iranian-backed Houthis tried to hit a U.S. Navy ship in the Red Sea. The Houthis, who say they are acting in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza, have launched four anti-ship cruise or ballistic missiles in four separate attacks since the U.S.-led strikes began last week.

U.S. forces are bracing for much larger retaliatory attacks from the Houthi militants, and are preparing a set of escalating responses, senior U.S. military officials said. The escalation has stirred fears that the Israel-Hamas war will spread further into the Middle East. But for now, it seems that the U.S. and Iran are trying not to put their forces in direct combat.

Details: The missile fired yesterday hit the Gibraltar Eagle, a bulk carrier owned by a U.S. company and flagged to the Marshall Islands, that had been sailing in the Gulf of Aden, south of Yemen.

Other news from the Israel-Hamas war:

  • Hamas released a video of three hostages and said it would announce their fate, an apparent effort to pressure Israel to secure their release.

  • A car-ramming attack near Tel Aviv yesterday killed one person and injured 17 others. Two Palestinian men were arrested, the Israeli police said.

  • An Israeli soccer player in Turkey was briefly detained and suspended from the soccer club after showing his support for Israel during a game.

As we send this newsletter, a group of Americans is gathering in Iowa to vote for the Republican presidential nominee, with opinion polls showing Donald Trump as the dominant front-runner.

Who will finish second in the Iowa caucuses is the lingering question. Polls show it will be either Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, or Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador under Trump.

Trump’s detractors hope that one of them emerges as a clear alternative to the former president, who is facing 91 felony charges in four criminal cases that are scheduled to go to trial before the November election.

Caucusing begins at 7 p.m. local time in school gymnasiums, community centers and churches as brutal cold and snow in Iowa could affect turnout.

You can follow our live updates here.

For more: What are the Iowa caucuses, and how do they work?

Taiwan just lost a diplomatic ally in its rivalry with China: Nauru severed its diplomatic relations with the self-governed island just two days after voters in Taiwan chose Lai Ching-te — whom Beijing sees as a staunch separatist — to be their next president. He takes office in May.

Nauru is one of a growing number of Pacific island nations that China has aggressively courted in its bid to dominate the region. The move leaves Taiwan with just 12 diplomatic relationships, mostly with smaller nations such as Eswatini, Guatemala, the Marshall Islands, Palau and Paraguay. At the start of 2017, it had ties with 21 states.

The Crochet Coral Reef is a long-running craft-science collaborative artwork: Nearly 25,000 crocheters (“reefers”) have created a worldwide archipelago of more than 50 reefs.

The project, now on show at the Schlossmuseum in Linz, Austria, and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, is sometimes called the environmental version of the AIDS quilt: A celebration of, and a plea for, ecosystems threatened by climate change.

Around the globe, travelers are looking to get beyond superficial interactions with Native cultures and are opting for more in-depth experiences, like tours led by Indigenous guides and stays at Native-owned lodges.

In New Zealand, travelers have long wanted to witness the haka, the ceremonial Maori dance. But now, a manager of the country’s tourism marketing agency said, “it’s not just about witnessing a haka; it’s about understanding the meaning and stories behind it.” That shift is happening around the world, particularly as more travelers want to experience natural wonders by way of the people and traditions indigenous to those places.

Indigenous-owned and -led tourism experiences are forecast to grow to $65 billion by 2032, up from $40 billion in 2022.

Tuesday Briefing: Houthis Attack a U.S. Ship

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