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Here’s the biggest news you missed this weekend

U.S. warns Israel over Rafah ground offensive; Netanyahu rejects Hamas’ demands

Israel’s plans for a ground offensive in Rafah have received criticism from the international community, as displaced Palestinians sheltering in the area say they are preparing for the worst.

President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have said the U.S. can’t support a ground invasion without a plan to ensure the safety of the people sheltering there.

Smoke billows over Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, during Israeli bombardment on Feb. 18, 2024.Said Khatib / AFP via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there was no point in truce talks until Hamas changes what he described as “delusional demands.”

Israel’s war is broadly popular in the country, but there are still strong divisions over the Cabinet’s handling of the hostage crisis, and thousands gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday night to call for fresh elections as Netanyahu’s popularity continues to plummet.

Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., said on Sunday that Biden feels about the way I feel that Netanyahu’s leadership “is not good for Israel.”

Follow NBC News live coverage here.

Alexei Navalny’s family calls for the immediate return of his body

Police officers detain a man laying flowers for Alexei Navalny in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Feb. 16, 2024.AP

The death of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny was confirmed by his team on Saturday, and they have demanded his body be turned over to his family immediately.

Over 400 people were detained in Russia while paying tribute to Navalny through ad hoc memorials and floral displays. Across a dozen cities, police detained 401 people by Saturday night, according to the OVD-Info rights group that tracks political arrests and provides legal aid.

Russia, meanwhile, took control of the Ukrainian city of Avdiivka on Saturday, after Ukraine’s troops withdrew from the battered town.

The news came as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy drummed up international support at the Munich Security Conference, where Vice President Kamala Harris said at a joint press conference the U.S. will continue to stand behind Ukraine.

In an exclusive interview with NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell, Harris said this is a “moment of reckoning for the United States” and urged Congress to act.

Biden allies vouch for him amid age questions

Yuri Gripas / Abaca / Bloomberg via Getty Images

In the days since special counsel Robert Hur released a report that described Biden’s memory as “significantly limited,” presidential appointees and friendly lawmakers have been stepping forward one by one to attest to the president’s acuity.

He asks “pertinent questions” and cares about “minute details,” they’ve told news outlets. But some prominent Democrats arent persuaded that the approach will ease concerns, with one former Democratic House member saying, “The special counsel said the quiet part out loud.”

On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., responded to Hurs report by saying, “My reaction is, as someone who ran against Joe Biden, as someone who has spent significant amount of time with Joe Biden, that he is up for this job.”

Beyond Hur’s conclusions about the president’s memory, some national security experts were troubled by what his report said about Biden’s handling of classified documents.

The young adults living on a financial cliff

Justine Goode / NBC News; Getty Images

Many young adults are pulling in bigger paychecks, but their spending power is fueling short-term purchases like groceries and vacations, not savings.

The net worth of Americans ages 18-39 surged by 80% from the start of 2019 to the third quarter of last year, Federal Reserve Bank of New York research shows, blowing past the rates for older generations.

But while many millennials and Gen Zers are getting paid more, they’re still pumping that cash into pricier everyday expenses, from essentials like rent to luxuries like leisure travel.

“We’re the generations that got stuck between a rock and a hard place,” said Hala Easmael, a 32-year-old pharmacy technician in Philadelphia. After her cohort came of age between two recessions, a pandemic and crushing student loan debt, “we want to enjoy our lives, but we’re always waiting for the shoe to drop,” she said.

Meet the Press

Rep. Mike Turner said on “Meet the Press” Sunday he sounded the alarm about Russia’s plan to put nuclear weapons in space out of fear that the Biden administration was “sleepwalking into an international crisis.”

Last Wednesday, Turner put out a statement informing the public that the House Intelligence Committee has “made available to all members of Congress information concerning a serious national security threat.”

Later, NBC News confirmed that the intelligence was related to Russia developing a space-based nuclear program to attack satellites.

“My concern is that this is kind of like the Chinese spy balloon and the administration is kind of hiding perhaps, you know, some inaction,” Turner told “Meet the Press.”

You can watch the full interview here.

Politics in brief

Measles outbreaks rise around the world

There’s a massive resurgence of measles cases, attributed to pandemic-related declines in immunizations and rising rates of vaccine hesitancy, and experts warn it could lead to more serious complications and deaths.

Cases have been reported in several U.S. states, and although two doses of the measles vaccine protect 97% of children, the airborne virus spreads so quickly that 95% of children in a community need to be vaccinated in order to stop outbreaks.

And infections pose more risks than people realize. Measles also causes “immune amnesia,” in which the immune system loses its ability to fight infections that a patient was previously immune to, said Dr. James Cherry, a professor of pediatrics and an infectious disease expert at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

An NBA and WNBA faceoff

From left, Sabrina Ionescu and Steph Curry.Getty Images

Two of the best 3-point shooters in basketball history, the NBA’s Stephen Curry and the WNBA’s Sabrina Ionescu, went head-to-head during the NBA All-Star weekend in Indianapolis to determine who is really the best on the court right now.

Ionescu shot first and scored 26 points, before Curry surpassed her with 29.

“If you can shoot, you can shoot,” Ionescu said after the contest. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or boy. I think it just matters the heart that you have and wanting to be the best that you can be.”

Curry said Ionescu “set the bar” and that “it was unbelievable to watch.”

In case you missed it

Josh Feldman

Josh Feldman is a weekend platforms and social editor for NBC News.

Nick Duffy

Nick Duffy is a platforms editor for NBC News.

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