Ryan Adams, Mars Rover, Valentine’s Day: Your Thursday Briefing



From The New York Times:

 

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Good morning,

We start today with a vote on the bipartisan border deal, accusations against the musician Ryan Adams, and the end of a Mars rover mission.

The Senate and the House are set to vote today on a bipartisan spending measure that would allocate $1.38 billion for fencing along the southwestern border — less than what they offered last year and far short of the $5.7 billion President Trump had requested.

It is perhaps the most punishing defeat Mr. Trump has experienced as president, especially in light of the negotiating prowess he touted while campaigning, our correspondents wrote in a news analysis: “In pursuit of a wall, President Trump ran into one.”

The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Voices: “We shut down the government for 35 days, we put America through this crisis, we jeopardized our economy — for what?” said Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, a Democrat, who was part of the committee that negotiated the budget deal. “Totally unnecessary.”

President Trump’s former campaign chairman breached a plea agreement by lying multiple times to prosecutors, a federal judge decided on Wednesday. Mr. Manafort pledged in September to cooperate with the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The judge said Mr. Manafort had lied about his contacts with a Russian associate during the campaign and after the election.

What’s next: The decision could lead to a harsher punishment for Mr. Manafort when he is sentenced next month on two counts of conspiracy. He also awaits sentencing for eight other counts in a related fraud case.

Government officials called the Air Force counterintelligence agent “Wayward Storm,” but her real name was Monica Elfriede Witt. In an indictment made public on Wednesday, she was charged with two counts of espionage and other crimes after prosecutors said she had defected to Iran to help target her former American colleagues.

The case is among several in recent years in which foreign countries tried to recruit former American military or intelligence officials.

Background: Why Ms. Witt became disillusioned with the U.S. government remains a mystery. She entered the Air Force in 1997 but left active duty in 2008. At some point, she converted to Islam, and she is believed to remain in Iran.

Related: The Trump administration has revived a secret program to sabotage Iran’s missiles and rockets.

Climate change has accelerated melting in the Alps, which has increased stream flows and filled reservoirs in the region. For Switzerland — where hydropower plants provide more than half the country’s electricity — that can be a good thing in the short term.

“Today, we benefit from glacial melting,” one Swiss executive said.

Looking ahead: In the longer term, the effect will require adaptations. When ice retreats to the point that stream flows decline and power production drops, the valleys carved by glaciers will be exposed. But those may become ideal sites to collect and store water, serving as a source for backup power.

In interviews, seven women and more than a dozen associates described a pattern of manipulative behavior in which Mr. Adams, a prolific singer-songwriter, dangled career opportunities while simultaneously pursuing female artists for sex.

Some say he turned vengeful when they declined. He denied the allegations.

School shooting anniversary: One year after 17 people were killed at a high school in Parkland, Fla., we looked at how some of the survivors became a force for gun-control legislation.

Mars mission ends: Opportunity, the rover that explored the red planet for more than 14 years, is dead, NASA announced. We traced the robot’s 28-mile journey there.

Aid for Venezuela stalls: The country’s opposition, led by Juan Guaidó, had hoped to force a confrontation with President Nicolás Maduro by bringing food and medical donations into the country. But the government has blocked the aid at the border with Colombia.

A rebuke to Trump: The House has voted to end military support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, a rare move to limit presidential war powers. A similar resolution that the Senate passed in December died in the last Congress after the Republican House leadership blocked a vote.

FEMA resignation: Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has resigned after two years. During his tenure, the agency was praised for its response to Hurricane Harvey but sharply criticized for its handling of Hurricane Maria’s devastation in Puerto Rico.

Philippine journalist’s arrest: Maria Ressa, the co-founder of an online news site critical of President Rodrigo Duterte, was released on bail today after being arrested in a libel case she said was politically motivated.

Snapshot: Above, a young female black panther in the Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya, the first documented sighting of such an animal in Africa in about 100 years.

In memoriam: Lyndon LaRouche, a political cult figure, ran for president eight times, including once from a prison cell. He died on Tuesday at 96.

Overlooked obituaries: For Black History Month, our Overlooked series is focusing on prominent black men and women who didn’t receive obituaries in The Times when they died. The latest is Dudley Randall, a librarian who started the Broadside Press out of his home in Detroit in the 1960s, giving voice to nearly 200 black poets.

Late-night comedy: Stephen Colbert was unhappy with Washington and the deal to prevent a government shutdown: “Where’s the infrastructure bill? Where’s the immigration bill? Where’s the fix on health care? We are celebrating — or supposed to be celebrating — that they’re close to a deal to achieve the absolute minimum: having a government!”

What we’re reading: This essay by a veteran BBC reporter. Steven Erlanger, The Times’s chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe, writes: “Nick Bryant argues cogently that the impeachment of President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair made it easier for Donald Trump to become president and much harder for his wife, Hillary.”

Cook: Make Valentine’s Day special with a chocolate lava cake for two.

Listen: The track “Gun Powder” provides more cheerily melodic tragedy from the Savannah, Ga., rapper Quando Rondo, Jon Caramanica writes.

See: In the Met Opera’s production of “La Fille du Régiment,” Javier Camarena sings a string of nine high C’s as part of a joyous aria. There’s a chance the audience will burst into spontaneous applause.

Read: “On the Come Up,” the latest from Angie Thomas, debuts at No. 1 on our young adult hardcover best-seller list. Her book “The Hate U Give” has spent 102 weeks on the list and is currently ranked No. 2.

Smarter Living: Should you take that promotion? Don’t automatically say yes. Take a step back to analyze the offer and the doors it could open. But also review if you have the skills to do the job well, whether the timing is right and whether you’ll be hit with increased pressure, longer work hours or travel commitments. You might be better off saying no.

We also explain the benefits of winter tires.

For Valentine’s Day, we have a special display of affection.

Julia Child and her husband, Paul, sent Valentine’s Day cards to their friends every year. Your Back Story writer’s grandparents were the recipients of some of those handmade notes.

But one encounter with the couple left much to be desired.

My grandfather was on a Fulbright scholarship in Oslo in 1960 when he met Mr. Child, who was stationed there. One night, he returned from the Childs’ home raving about an extraordinary dish — quiche.

My grandmother waited impatiently for a chance to try a bite. But when an invitation finally came, Mrs. Child served a tray of reindeer salami, not quiche. My grandmother still feels the letdown.

Mrs. Child went on to publish “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and corresponded with my grandparents occasionally, most notably on Valentine’s Day. (Here are two of their Valentines.)

As for the salami? “I do not recommend it,” my grandmother said.

That’s it for this briefing.

Need the perfect Valentine? Nothing says “I love you” like (x²+((1+b)y)²+z²-1)³-x²z³-ay²z³=0.

See you next time.

— Inyoung and Chris

Thank you
To Eleanor Stanford, Chris Harcum and James K. Williamson for the break from the news. Remy Tumin, on the briefings team, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach us at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about the anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
• Here’s today’s mini crossword puzzle, and a clue: Green sauce (5 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times wants to hear from women who have served in the military, and those who know them.

 

 

The original content can be found here: Ryan Adams, Mars Rover, Valentine’s Day: Your Thursday Briefing

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