Wednesday Briefing: Hunter Biden found guilty

Also, pressure on Israel and Hamas to reach a deal.
Morning Briefing: Asia Pacific Edition

June 12, 2024

Good morning. We’re covering a guilty verdict for President Biden’s son and the latest on the Gaza cease-fire proposal.

Plus, a family of mountain climbers in Nepal.

A man in a dark blue suit holds hands with two women, both in blazers and pants with white shirts.
Hunter Biden with Jill Biden, the first lady, and his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden. Haiyun Jiang for The New York Times

Hunter Biden was found guilty on gun charges

Hunter Biden, the president’s son, was found guilty on three felony counts of lying on a federal firearms application. The verdict is a personal blow to President Biden as he enters the final months of his re-election campaign.

The maximum possible sentence could be up to 25 years in prison and $750,000 in fines. But sentencing guidelines call for a fraction of that penalty, and first-time offenders who did not use their weapons to commit a violent crime typically receive no jail time. No sentencing date was set. Here’s some background on the charges.

Biden’s gun case is widely regarded as the least serious of the two federal indictments brought against him last year. He still faces serious tax charges stemming from his yearslong crack, alcohol and spending binge.

Context: The trial made public Biden’s crack cocaine addiction, reckless behavior and ruinous spending — narrated by three former romantic partners, including the widow of his brother, Beau Biden.

The president’s reaction: Biden said he and the first lady, Jill Biden, were proud to see Hunter Biden be “so strong and resilient in recovery.” The president has said that he will not grant a pardon to his son.

People walking along a narrow street past destroyed buildings.
Destroyed buildings in southern Gaza. Eyad Baba/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Hamas and Israel face pressure to accept cease-fire deal

A day after the U.N. Security Council endorsed a U.S.-backed cease-fire plan for Gaza, it remained unclear whether Israel and Hamas would formally embrace it. Here’s how it would work.

An Israeli official said that the proposal “enables Israel to achieve” its war goals, including destroying Hamas’s capabilities and freeing all the hostages in Gaza, but stopped short of saying whether Israel would accept the agreement. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly declined to take a firm stand on the plan.

A senior Hamas official said the group had “dealt positively” with the proposal. Earlier yesterday, the U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said that the fate of the deal rested with Hamas’s top leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, who has not said whether he supports it.

Hostage rescue: Israel’s military said that when a truck carrying some of the hostages broke down and was surrounded by militants, Israel ordered an airstrike that killed many Palestinians. Read the full story of the raid.

Rafah: The Israeli military said four of its soldiers were killed and several more were wounded after militants blew up a building where the troops were operating.

A man carries a heavy-looking sack past a petty trader’s stall with baby clothes and toys.
Most Nigerians work in the informal sector, with no salaries, unions, or safety net. Taiwo Aina for The New York Times

Nigeria’s spiraling economic crisis

Millions in Nigeria are struggling to buy food, fuel and medicine as the country faces its worst economic crisis in a generation. It’s a sharp fall: Two years ago, Nigeria was Africa’s biggest economy, and this year, it is set to fall to fourth place.

The crisis is believed to be rooted in the removal of some fuel subsidies and the devaluation of the currency — two changes set down by a president elected 15 months ago. Punishing inflation means poverty rates are expected to rise still further.


A man in a suit and tie holds a folder as he walks out of a door.
Éric Ciotti, the leader of the conservative party. Sarah Meyssonnier/Reuters


A framed photograph of a man, sitting on a table on a fancy piece of embroidered cloth with a small bouquet next to it.
A photograph of Tenjen Lama Sherpa at his home in Kathmandu. Atul Loke for The New York Times

Tenjen Lama Sherpa, one of Nepal’s most storied mountain guides of his generation, was killed by an avalanche last year while trying to help an American climber set a record. An elder brother also died last year, on a Mount Everest rescue expedition.

Their last brother wants to quit mountaineering. But he will go again this season, to make a living and to try to recover Lama’s body.


A well-stocked shelf of various brands of instant noodles and ramen at H Mart.
A wall of ramen in H Mart. Tommy Kha for The New York Times


  • Soccer: Arsenal Women’s first-ever preseason tour will take place in the U.S. this summer.
  • Free agents: Which Premier League players are available this summer?
  • Canadian Grand Prix: The key takeaways from a weekend of racing.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this newsletter, which is made possible through subscriber support. Subscribe to The New York Times.


A woman in a black embroidered outfit sitting in a chair talking to another person who is off camera.
Mariam Naiem recording her podcast in Kyiv last month. Brendan Hoffman for The New York Times

Seeing Russia’s invasion through a colonization lens

Young Ukrainians are trying to rebuild their identity free of Russian influence. Often, that means re-examining Russia’s history in Ukraine and highlighting its colonial imprint.

Mariam Naiem, a researcher and podcaster, has emerged as a leading voice in those efforts. Calling Russia a colonial empire challenges decades of scholarship, but Naiem and others point to Russia’s long efforts to impose its language on Ukraine, occupy its territory and rewrite its history.

She said it took the war for Ukrainians to begin to “decolonize” themselves, pointing to those who switched from speaking Russian to Ukrainian. “This is exactly a decolonial act,” she said.


A bowl of salad with lettuce, olives, chickpeas and herbs.
Linda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Monica Pierini.

Mix: Creamy feta and avocado round out this chopped salad with chickpeas.

Read: Rachel Cusk’s new novel, “Parade,” considers the strangeness of the artist’s life.

Travel: There are more than 6,000 Greek islands. Serifos may be the perfect one.

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

That’s it for today. See you tomorrow. — Amelia

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