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The Morning

January 28, 2024

 
 

Good morning. China was once a big moneymaker for Hollywood. Last year, no American movie broke the Top 10 at the Chinese box office.

 
 
 
A person riding to the top of an escalator, looking at an electronic billboard for a movie.
A multiplex in Beijing. Gilles Sabrié for The New York Times

Changing tastes

“Barbenheimer” — the portmanteau given to the same-day release of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” last summer — was a genuine cultural phenomenon for much of the world. Cinemas were filled with outfits in various hues of pink. Social media frothed with opinions. And the films brought in a combined $2.3 billion globally.

The “Barbenheimer” story played out differently in China, though. Neither movie cracked the nation’s top 30 releases last year. In fact, as my colleagues Claire Fu, Brooks Barnes and Daisuke Wakabayashi have reported, it was a bad year for all of Hollywood at the Chinese box office, where no American movie broke the list of top 10 highest-grossing movies.

The numbers must be chastening for Hollywood studios; China has often been a salve for declining domestic revenues. In 2012, seven of the top 10 releases in China were American, and Chinese companies were soon investing billions of dollars in U.S. entertainment. Studios went out of their way to appease the Chinese market, amending scripts for censors and shoehorning in Chinese product placements.

In the past few years, though, as tensions grew between the countries’ governments, China began to look inward. It invested in domestic filmmakers and filmmaking technologies like C.G.I., Claire Fu told me. And it began the construction of thousands of new movie screens, in part to expand the reach of movies that “exhibit the Chinese national spirit,” officials said. This investment appears to be paying off — the top grossing films last year were Chinese-made productions like “The Wandering Earth II,” a sci-fi movie heavy on special effects and themes of collectivism.

Chinese audiences are shunning Hollywood for domestic film options that are improving in quality, and reflect their own societal issues and values. “Chinese films have the content that Chinese audiences can relate to, culturally and emotionally,” Claire told me. Examples include “No More Bets,” based on a real-life scam in which people were kidnapped and forced to work online fraud jobs in Southeast Asia, and “The Battle at Lake Changjin,” the country’s top-grossing movie of all time, about a Chinese triumph over the U.S. during the Korean War.

Hannah Li, a 27-year-old Marvel die-hard who grew up watching Western movies, told Claire that Hollywood needs to change its approach if it wants to succeed in China. “If you don’t want to get off your high horse to see what we like, then it’s natural that you will be washed-out,” Hannah said.

Will Hollywood studios double down in China and adapt to a new normal, or cut their losses? The change in the Chinese audience has already altered the calculus in Hollywood more broadly. Studios have decided to spend less money on the kind of franchise movies that have historically relied on the Chinese market to recoup their large budgets.

“If they want to meet the Chinese market’s requirement and make the audience feel like they can relate more,” Claire said, “then Hollywood will need to weigh up the losses and gains.”

Read the full story by Claire, Brooks Barnes and Daisuke here.

For more: After a decade collaborating with top filmmakers, the Chinese authorities have figured out how to make watchable propaganda films, The Economist reports.

Continue reading the main story

 
 

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NEWS

2024 Election

  • Nikki Haley returned to South Carolina, her home state, in search of support in high places for her flagging campaign for president. She’s finding little.
  • A coalition of Black faith leaders, partly spurred by their parishioners, is pressing the Biden administration to push for a cease-fire in Gaza.
  • Representatives from the Donald Trump and Haley campaigns are expected to make their pitches to a network of Republican megadonors.
  • The 2024 election campaign is set to be one of the longest in modern history. The Trump and Biden campaigns face unusual strategic decisions in the weeks ahead.

More on Politics

E. Jean Carroll in a high-collared dress next to a window overlooking the Hudson River.
E. Jean Carroll Sarah Blesener for The New York Times

Israel-Hamas War

  • Negotiators are closing in on a deal in which Israel would suspend fighting in Gaza for about two months in exchange for the release of more than 100 hostages.
  • Top American, Israeli and Arab officials are trying to answer the divisive question of how Gaza will be governed after the fighting stops.
  • Britain, Germany and at least four other countries said they would join the U.S. in suspending funding to a U.N. agency that aids Palestinians after Israel accused some of its employees of participating in the Oct. 7 attacks.
  • The head of the U.N. agency urged the countries to reconsider. “The lives of people in Gaza depend on this support and so does regional stability,” he said.
  • A significant number of weapons Hamas used in the Oct. 7 attacks and in the war in Gaza came from the Israeli military, according to Israeli military and intelligence officials.

War in Ukraine

More International News

The a view from the back of a man with short hair, wearing a striped shirt and a black backpack, ahead of him is the Shanghai skyline.
In Shanghai. Qilai Shen for The New York Times

Other Big Stories

  • Since a freight train carrying hazardous material derailed a year ago in East Palestine, Ohio, no legislation has passed to prevent similar disasters and accidents have increased.
  • A man in Washington State has pleaded guilty to making 20 “swatting” calls to the police in several states and Canada.
  • Aryna Sabalenka beat Zheng Qinwen to win her second straight Australian Open tennis title.
 

FROM OPINION

China should do more to protect trade routes in the Red Sea instead of criticizing the U.S. response to the evolving crisis there, Isaac Kardon and Jennifer Kavanagh write.

Here are columns by Nicholas Kristof on a war with China and Maureen Dowd on Trump.

 
 

The Sunday question: Does Gov. Greg Abbott’s border fence in Texas constitute self-defense?

Texas claims a right to defend itself against “invasion” regardless of federal policy. “When the federal government isn’t enforcing the law, and it’s quite clear they’re not, it leaves Texas with difficult choices to make,” The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Nicole Russell writes. But “if he’s right, then each state could use a finding of an ‘invasion’ as a pretext for waging war against whomever it wants to — presumably including the federal government,” Stephen Vladeck writes in The Houston Chronicle.

 
 

Discover more of the insight you value in The Morning.

The Times is filled with information and inspiration every day. So gain unlimited access to everything we offer — and save with this introductory offer.

 

MORNING READS

A group of well-dressed people seated at a long dinner table inside a dimly lit restaurant.
In Paris.  Pierre Mouton

Je suis un rock star: Maxim’s in Paris has started a new chapter after 130 years in the restaurant business. Can the forgotten hot spot reclaim its cool?

Out there: What do you call a galaxy without stars? Dark galaxies have joined dark energy and dark matter in the cosmic lexicon.

Word through The Times: Though the word “pose” is associated with the dance style voguing, it is less a part of the vocabulary and more a part of the movement.

Vows: In 1998, they fell in love fast. Once gay marriage became legal, they were too busy raising daughters and building a life to make it official.

Lives Lived: David Skal was a witty historian of horror entertainment who examined the cultural significance of movies meant to scare us. He died at 71.

Continue reading the main story

 
 

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TALK | FROM THE TIMES MAGAZINE

A portrait of John Malkovich's head and shoulders against a textured yellow background.
John Malkovich  Photo Illustration by Bráulio Amado

I spoke with the actor John Malkovich, who co-stars in the upcoming Apple TV+ series “The New Look.”

You first became known for your Steppenwolf Theater Company work: emotionally confrontational, pushing audiences. I’m curious how you think contemporary audiences are different from audiences back then. Hey, each generation is entitled to do their thing. There are things my kids like that I don’t quite grasp, but that is the natural flow of life. Things seem crazy sometimes, and unrecognizable, but I’m 70 years old. It’s perfectly natural that they seem unrecognizable because part of the thing of aging is, as Linda Loman said in “Death of a Salesman,” “Life is a casting off.”

You’ve done a lot of disparate work, and yet there’s always some Malkovich-ness that comes through. You’re not one of these actors who people talk about as subsuming themselves into the character. There is a kind of technical actor who does often fantastic and pretty purely technical things. I’m not really that, and I’m not sure how much it fascinates me. I can appreciate it, especially when somebody’s very good at it, but I don’t think there are 50 characters like that in an actor. There are, like, five.

I want to go back to the line from “Death of a Salesman”: “Life is a casting off.” What are you casting off? You have to let go of the past, of connections. At this age, there are people who are dead now that were very close to me. There are people I love to have a conversation with — who I sometimes dream of and have the conversation in dreams — that I’ll never see again. That’s a natural part of life. It’s cast off in the sense that it’s allowed to float away. It’s also not weighing you down. It’s gone.

Read more of the interview here.

More from the magazine

 

BOOKS

An illustration of Dan Jones shows a white man with brown eyes, hair and beard, wearing a blue V-neck T-shirt.
Dan Jones Rebecca Clarke

By the Book: Dan Jones, the prolific historian, British TV personality and author of the Hundred Years’ War trilogy, turned to fiction after a dinner with George R.R. Martin.

Our editors’ picks: “Not Here to Make Friends,” a full-on villain romance novel filled with lying, scheming and blazingly tumultuous sex, and eight other books.

Times best sellers: Jamie Lee Curtis’s “Just One More Sleep,” which tells the story of a young girl waiting for her next birthday, is new on the children’s picture book best-seller list.

 

THE MORNING RECOMMENDS …

Make a meal shine. Add coconut milk.

Keep your pet safe during cold weather.

Identify plants with these apps.

Level up your carry-on luggage.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

What to Watch For

  • A Hong Kong court will consider a petition tomorrow to liquidate the property developer China Evergrande, which defaulted on offshore debt in 2021.
  • A decision in Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial is expected to be reached Wednesday.

What to Cook This Week

Two plates of eggplant adobo with rice on a neutral colored surface.
Eggplant adobo Julia Gartland for The New York Times.

In this week’s Five Weeknight Dishes newsletter, Emily Weinstein suggests making a versatile dish that could work for breakfast as well as dinner: Tejal Rao’s eggs Kejriwal, a spicy egg-and-cheese on toast dish with roots in Mumbai. Other recipes featured on this week’s list include a one-skillet eggplant adobo, an easy Los Angeles-style burrito and a chicken piccata that can be made in under 30 minutes.

 

NOW TIME TO PLAY

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Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangram was cornball.

Can you put eight historical events — including the first speeding ticket, the rise of chocolate, and the creation of A.T.M.s — in chronological order? Take this week’s Flashback quiz.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku and Connections.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your weekend with The Times.

Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox. Reach our team at themorning@nytimes.com.

Continue reading the main story

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The Morning Newsletter Logo

Editor: David Leonhardt

Deputy Editor: Adam B. Kushner

News Editor: Tom Wright-Piersanti

News Staff: Desiree Ibekwe, Lauren Jackson, Sean Kawasaki-Culligan, Brent Lewis, German Lopez, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Ashley Wu

News Assistant: Lyna Bentahar

Saturday Writer: Melissa Kirsch

phkrause

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. {5T 451.1}
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The Morning

January 29, 2024

 
 

Good morning. We’re covering the hunger crisis in Gaza — as well as Evergrande, A.I. and the Super Bowl.

 
 
 
mail?url=https%3A%2F%2Fstatic01.nyt.com%
Rafah, in southern Gaza. Fatima Shbair/Associated Press

‘Almost everyone is now hungry’

Mothers in Gaza are struggling to find clean water and baby formula for their newborns. Families are selling their possessions to buy sacks of flour. Some people are eating animal feed to survive.

In the northern city of Beit Lahia, Mahmoud Shalabi said his neighbors have brought cattle feed — made of corn or oat — to a mill to grind it into flour. It is barely edible, said Shalabi, 38, whose children are 7 and 9, but is preferable to starvation. “If you find it now,” he told us, “you will be able to have something to eat and feed your kids.”

Famine has become a central concern in the humanitarian calamity in Gaza, with nearly all households regularly skipping meals, according to the U.N. On a per capita basis, Bob Kitchen of the International Rescue Committee said, “It is the most intense hunger crisis I have ever seen.” He added: “Almost everyone is now hungry.”

In today’s newsletter, we will explain the crisis in Gaza — and the concern among experts that starvation has again become a tool of war.

The siege

Gaza’s food shortage stems mostly from Israel’s blockade, which has been especially intense since October.

Gaza is an arid strip of densely populated land where the economy depends on imports to produce enough food. For years, Israel has limited the flow of goods into Gaza, largely to prevent Hamas from gaining access to military supplies. The limits also restricted the entry of food and other basic items.

After the Hamas-led Oct. 7 terrorist attacks, Israel ordered what its defense minister called a “complete siege” of Gaza. The goal was both to weaken Hamas fighters and to ensure that no military supplies could enter. Israeli officials claim that they are still allowing food and other humanitarian supplies into the enclave, but that aid groups have not distributed them efficiently. On Twitter, Israel’s government recently posted a photo of aid trucks sitting idle at Gaza’s border and wrote, “Stop spreading accusations and start doing your job.”

Israel has also accused employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the U.N. agency that aids Palestinians in Gaza, of involvement in the Oct. 7 attacks. (On Friday, the U.N. fired several employees of the agency and began investigating accusations that they had participated in the Oct. 7 attacks. Read the latest details.)

Still, many human rights experts dispute that inefficient aid distribution is the main cause of the food shortage. Israel, these experts say, has been too slow to inspect supplies and approve them for entry. Only 20 percent to 30 percent of what people need has been crossing into Gaza, according to the World Food Program. “Israel says the reason is security,” Stephanie Nolen, who covers global health for The Times, told us. “But the net result is that you can’t actually get food in.”

In a ruling on Friday, the International Court of Justice — an arbiter of international law, based in the Netherlands — found that many people in Gaza have “no access to the most basic foodstuffs, potable water, electricity, essential medicines or heating.” The court ordered Israel to allow more supplies to enter Gaza immediately, although the court has little ability to enforce the ruling.

Hamas and Egypt also bear some responsibility for the hunger crisis. Western and Arab officials have said that Hamas has kept a large stockpile of food, fuel and medicine for the group’s own members to use.

Egypt, for its part, shares a border with southern Gaza yet has blocked most Gazans from fleeing the war zone. Egypt’s actions contrast with the refugee policies of other border nations during wars, including in Ukraine and South Sudan, where neighboring countries have prioritized civilian lives.

Gaza’s food situation is dire enough to have become part of the negotiations between Israel and Hamas over the release of Israeli hostages and a possible cease-fire. Officials from the U.S., Egypt and Qatar are participating in the talks, and some have grown hopeful that they are close to a deal.

(Related: Israel yesterday stepped up efforts to prevent Israeli protesters from blocking aid into Gaza. The protesters say no aid should enter until Hamas releases hostages.)

Feckless law

Our colleague Stephanie Nolen has noted that the world seemed to be moving away from starvation as a weapon of war in the late 20th century.

The tactic was common during World War II, when a Nazi strategy called “Hungerplan” helped kill millions of Soviets and the U.S. military conducted Operation Starvation to block the delivery of food to Japan. In 1998, however, a new statute of international law criminalized the use of civilian starvation as a military tactic.

Still, several countries have evidently used the tactic over the past seven years, including Saudi Arabia against Yemen; Syria’s own government against its people; and Ethiopia, to fight rebels in its Tigray region. These governments have suffered few consequences. Palestinians accuse Israel of repeating the pattern in Gaza.

For more: Stephanie explains the dire — and sometimes lasting — effects of starvation on the human body.

News on the war

  • Three U.S. soldiers were killed in Jordan in what the U.S. said was a drone attack from an Iran-backed militia.
  • President Biden vowed to respond to the attack. “Have no doubt — we will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner our choosing,” he said.
  • Biden must decide how far he is willing to go in terms of retaliation at the risk of a wider war, Peter Baker writes.
  • Nancy Pelosi, the former House speaker, called for the F.B.I. to investigate protesters demanding a cease-fire in Gaza. She suggested without evidence that some activists may have ties to Russia.

Continue reading the main story

 
 

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THE LATEST NEWS

2024 Election

More on Politics

Europe

  • Finland’s presidential election, its first since joining NATO, is headed for a runoff after no candidate secured a majority yesterday.

More International News

Three people with their backs to the camera, look at mock-ups at a showroom.
At an Evergrande showroom.  Gilles Sabrie for The New York Times

Tech

Other Big Stories

A woman sat a table filled with clothes, hands a paper bag off to another woman standing next to her.
In Highland Park, Ill. Taylor Glascock for The New York Times

Opinions

Republicans say Haley’s gender has had no effect on their decision to vote for her. They’re giving up on an opportunity to paint her as a trailblazer, Michelle Cottle writes.

Here are columns by David French on a Southern Baptist pastor and by Lydia Polgreen on international law.

 
 

Discover more of the insight you value in The Morning.

The Times is filled with information and inspiration every day. So gain unlimited access to everything we offer — and save with this introductory offer.

 

MORNING READS

A rural gas station at dusk.
Chiappini’s service station. Kate Medley

Fill the tank, feed the family: A new photography book explores the gas stations of the South, temples of commerce and community.

Joriwons: In Seoul, new moms can enjoy three weeks of pampering and sleep in postpartum care centers.

Room 117: One man would rather live on the street than take antipsychotic medication. Should it be his decision to make?

Cannabis questions: Are edibles safer than smoking?

Metropolitan Diary: Drive-by book review.

Lives Lived: Marlena Shaw, who cultivated a sultry stage presence and husky voice from the final echoes of the big-band era, frequently performed in intimate venues, where she regaled audiences with tales of old love affairs. She died at 84.

 

SPORTS

Super Bowl: The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers will meet in the Super Bowl.

A.F.C. Championship: The Chiefs beat the Baltimore Ravens, 17-10, thanks to a strong defensive performance that slowed down the Ravens’ dynamic quarterback, Lamar Jackson.

N.F.C. Championship: The 49ers scored 27 consecutive points in the second half to defeat the Detroit Lions, 34-31, spoiling what would have been the Lions’ first Super Bowl berth.

Taylor Swift: Yes, the pop star and girlfriend of the Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce will be on tour in Japan. But she can still make the game.

Continue reading the main story

 
 

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ARTS AND IDEAS

In side-by-side images, the one on the left shows two basketball players, one of which is bending over and looking toward the camera, while the one on the right is a painting of people in a similar pose.
Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Conjurer” and an image of Nikola Jokic and Anthony Davis. Tyler Ross/NBAE, via Getty Images; Hieronymus Bosch

The art and absurdity of sports: LJ Rader is the creative force behind the Art But Make It Sports accounts on social media, where Rader — a largely self-taught art aficionado from Upper East Side — uses his gift of instant recall to pair sports photographs with works of art that mirror them.

Recently, the N.F.L. tagged him in a post asking him to turn his talents to a photograph of offensive lineman Jason Kelce screaming shirtless and clutching a can of beer at a Chiefs game. Rader’s choice: “The Feast of Bacchus” by the 17th century Dutch painter Philips Koninck.

More on culture

 

THE MORNING RECOMMENDS …

Runny eggs sprinkled with chiles on top of a piece of toast.
Ryan Liebe for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth.

Pile grated cheese, chiles, red onion and cilantro on toast to make eggs Kejriwal.

Navigate awards season with the help of podcasts.

Try one of these Stanley tumbler copycats.

Get Super Bowl ready with a new TV.

Take our news quiz.

 

GAMES

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Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangram was vulpine.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku and Connections.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David and Lauren

Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox. Reach our team at themorning@nytimes.com.

Continue reading the main story

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The Morning Newsletter Logo

Editor: David Leonhardt

Deputy Editor: Adam B. Kushner

News Editor: Tom Wright-Piersanti

News Staff: Desiree Ibekwe, Lauren Jackson, Sean Kawasaki-Culligan, Brent Lewis, German Lopez, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Ashley Wu

News Assistant: Lyna Bentahar

Saturday Writer: Melissa Kirsch

phkrause

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. {5T 451.1}
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Share on other sites

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The Morning

January 30, 2024

 
 

Iran is at the center of the current turmoil in the Middle East. To help you understand why, my colleague Alissa Rubin, who has spent years reporting from the region, takes over today’s newsletter. — David Leonhardt

 
 

Good morning. We’re also covering Israel, tech layoffs and stingless bees.

 
 
 
A landscape image of Tehran. Cars wait at a stop lights and in the background large buildings are dwarfed by a mountain range.
Tehran Arash Khamooshi for The New York Times

A more assertive Iran

Iran has emerged as the chief architect in multiple conflicts strafing the Middle East, from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf.

It trained and helped arm the Iraqi militias that killed three U.S. service members with a drone in Jordan this weekend. It supplied Hamas and Hezbollah in their clashes with Israel. It launched missiles at anti-Iranian militants inside Pakistan in response to the bombing of a local police station in December. And it has helped Houthi warriors in Yemen attack container ships in the Red Sea to protest the war in Gaza. All of which, taken together, threaten a wider war.

Why is Iran suddenly involved in so many conflicts? Today’s newsletter will try to answer that question.

Since the 1979 takeover of Iran by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the country’s Islamic revolutionary government has had one overriding ambition: to be the lead player shaping the future of the Middle East. Seen another way, it wants Israel weaker and the United States gone from the region after decades of primacy.

Like Israel, Iran sees existential threats everywhere and seeks to counter them. Iran, which has a Shiite majority, has wary, if not hostile, Sunni Arab neighbors. Its archenemy, Israel, has the reach to damage Iran. And since 2003, Iran has been surrounded by U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Persian Gulf and more recently in Syria. The troops in Afghanistan are gone now, but the rest remain, including the ones attacked by drone on Sunday.

To achieve regional hegemony and safeguard its theocracy, Iran has responded on three fronts: military, diplomatic and economic. Those efforts have become more assertive in the past year, especially since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas.

Military power

Militarily, Iran’s government wants to project strength without drawing fire on its own territory, which could jeopardize its already tenuous popular support. Its strategy has been to build up regional proxy forces so that it rarely launches attacks from its own soil.

Those forces include Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, Hamas in Gaza and a handful of Shiite militias in Iraq. Each has its own goals, but all are in agreement with Iran about combating Western troops in the region and diminishing Israel’s standing. The United States designates each of them as a foreign terrorist organization. Since the October attack on Israel, these groups have targeted Israel’s northern front, U.S. positions in Iraq and Syria, U.S. warships and international cargo ships in the Red Sea.

Israel is the region’s only nuclear-armed power. But in the past year, Tehran has accelerated its uranium enrichment efforts — bringing it close to creating a nuclear bomb if it wants. Iran insists it doesn’t want one. But it’s clear that the government sees the ability to make one as both a deterrent and a claim to pre-eminence among other Middle Eastern countries.

Diplomatic power

Iran’s foreign policy is designed to try to reverse its image as an isolated nation — particularly after the U.S. intensified sanctions in 2018. Even before Oct. 7, it was cultivating its Arab neighbors as well as Russia and China. Early in 2023, for the first time in decades, Iran normalized relations with Saudi Arabia, repairing a rift between the two countries in a deal brokered by China.

Iran is a vocal defender of the Palestinian national cause. It believes it draws legitimacy from the contrast with its neighbors, many of which have opened friendlier relations with Israel while Iran’s proxies are still fighting it. Iran has worked since late fall alongside its neighbors — including formerly hostile Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — for a U.N. cease-fire resolution for Gaza.

Economic survival

Economically, Iran has had far more limited success dodging U.S. sanctions, leaving many Iranians poorer and more resentful of the government. The regime faced widespread protests in 2022 and 2023 over hijab mandates, and the nation’s supreme leader has been urging women to vote in upcoming elections, signaling his concern that the government has antagonized them.

Still, Iran has found ways to take advantage of a rising tide of anti-U.S. feeling among many countries. Tehran joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which is led by Russia and China, and another partnership that includes Brazil and India. These deals open the door to investment and trade opportunities, although they supply few short-term economic solutions.

“There’s a good case to be made that Iran is a major winner from this conflict,” said Dalia Dassa Kaye, a political scientist at the Burkle Center for International Relations at the University of California, Los Angeles. “The war is in many ways boosting Iranians’ domestic, regional and global situation.”

She added, “So far, Iran has been able to gain all these benefits without paying direct costs.”

More on the drone attack

  • American forces spotted the Iraqi militants’ drone before the attack but mistook it for a U.S. aircraft and did not shoot it down, officials said.
  • The U.S. identified the three slain service members as Army Reservists from Georgia, part of an engineering company trained to build infrastructure for the military on short notice.
  • An Iranian official rebuffed accusations that Iran had ordered the strikes and said militias acted independently to oppose “any aggression and occupation.”

Continue reading the main story

 
 

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THE LATEST NEWS

Israel-Hamas War

  • Qatar, representing Egypt, Israel and the U.S., is expected to propose a six-week pause in fighting for Hamas to exchange Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners.
  • The U.N.’s main agency in Gaza may soon run out of money, officials said. Donors halted funding over accusations that some employees took part in the Oct. 7 attacks.
  • Communication blackouts and restrictions placed on foreign journalists make it difficult for the people outside Gaza to grasp the true scale of destruction there.

Politics

Donald J. Trump, wearing a blue suit and tie, sits at a courtroom table between two lawyers as other people sit in the gallery behind them.
Donald Trump Maansi Srivastava/The New York Times

Europe

  • The main Protestant party in Northern Ireland said it would return to government nearly two years after walking out over Brexit trade rules.
  • Rishi Sunak, the British prime minister, said he would ban disposable vapes to curb underage vaping.

More International News

Imran Khan, dressed in black, sits among a group of men who are standing, as a couple of them film him on their cellphones.
Imran Khan Arif Ali/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Business and Economy

New York City

  • The subway system is testing new fare gates to stop turnstile jumpers and metal platform barriers to improve passenger safety. They may not work.
  • Williamsburg, once a neighborhood of mills and meatpacking, is now a prime destination for developers. See a four-decade timeline of its transformation.

Other Big Stories

Someone wades through a flooded street near an overpass. Behind the person, a white van is stranded in the high waters.
Rain in Santa Barbara, Calif., last month. Eugene Garcia/Associated Press

Opinions

Biden should campaign by making a strong populist case for a future in which ordinary Americans can prosper, Chris Whipple argues.

Gail Collins and Bret Stephens discuss why they each want Nikki Haley to stay in the race.

Here are columns by Paul Krugman on conservatives’ fears and Jamelle Bouie on Jan. 6.

 
 

Discover more of the insight you value in The Morning.

The Times is filled with information and inspiration every day. So gain unlimited access to everything we offer — and save with this introductory offer.

 

MORNING READS

A pair of hands reach into a beehive full of bees.
In Marontoari. Brenda Rivas Tacury

In the Amazon: Deforestation is destroying the habitat for stingless bees. Read about the mission to save them.

Mrs. World: A Utah homemaker with a big social media following participated in a beauty pageant weeks after giving birth to her eighth child.

Downsizing: The Times’s chief fashion critic, Vanessa Friedman, on how to dress while losing weight.

Lives Lived: N. Scott Momaday’s “House Made of Dawn” portrayed a disaffected World War II veteran’s journey to spiritual renewal. It won a Pulitzer Prize, the first for a Native American novelist. Momaday died at 89.

 

SPORTS

N.F.L.: Sunday’s N.F.C. championship game was the most-watched television event since last year’s Super Bowl.

“All in good fun”: The Ravens kicker Justin Tucker downplayed a pregame spat with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, attributing it to gamesmanship.

Women’s basketball: Baylor is retiring Brittney Griner’s jersey number after a decade of tension between the school and its former player.

Continue reading the main story

 
 

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ARTS AND IDEAS

A collage of book covers in a diamond pattern.

February reads: Find your next book with the help of the Book Review, which has highlighted 17 notable titles coming out next month. Their picks include:

“Fourteen Days,” edited by Margaret Atwood and Douglas Preston: Thirty-six writers, including John Grisham and Celeste Ng, collaborated on this novel about residents of a Lower East Side building at the beginning of Covid.

“Burn Book: A Tech Love Story,” by Kara Swisher: Swisher, a tech writer, has written a memoir that also serves as a history of — and reckoning with — big tech.

“Wandering Stars,” by Tommy Orange: This novel chronicles a young survivor of a 19th-century massacre of Native Americans. It is a sequel to “There There,” a Pulitzer finalist in 2019.

More on culture

 

THE MORNING RECOMMENDS …

Top down view of spicy sesame noodles with chicken and peanuts.
Ryan Liebe for The New York Times

Pour sizzling oil over red-pepper flakes, orange peel and peanuts when making these chicken noodles.

Increase your couch’s life span by cleaning it regularly. Here’s how.

Use a screwdriver recommended by a professional carpenter.

 

GAMES

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Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangram was tailwind.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku and Connections.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow.

Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox. Reach our team at themorning@nytimes.com.

Continue reading the main story

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The Morning Newsletter Logo

Editor: David Leonhardt

Deputy Editor: Adam B. Kushner

News Editor: Tom Wright-Piersanti

News Staff: Desiree Ibekwe, Lauren Jackson, Sean Kawasaki-Culligan, Brent Lewis, German Lopez, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Ashley Wu

News Assistant: Lyna Bentahar

Saturday Writer: Melissa Kirsch

phkrause

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. {5T 451.1}
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The Morning

January 31, 2024

 
 

Good morning. We’re covering San Francisco’s addiction crisis — plus Donald Trump’s legal bills, the West Bank and Truman Capote.

 
 
 
A person wearing latex gloves holding used syringes.
Needle exchange in San Francisco. Aaron Wojack for The New York Times

Cultural shift

For some San Franciscans, a drug crisis is just part of city living. They see people shooting up in front of their homes and businesses. They often find someone dozing on a sidewalk, high. Sometimes, they check for a pulse. “That’s how I found my first dead body,” said Adam Mesnick, owner of a local deli.

But the city’s drug crisis is relatively new. In 2018, San Francisco’s overdose death rate roughly matched the national average. Last year, its death rate was more than double the national level.

A chart shows drug overdose deaths per 100,000 residents in the United States compared with San Francisco from January 2010 to June 2023.
Source: CDC WONDER | Chart shows 12-month rolling averages. Death rates for 2023 are provisional. | By The New York Times

I recently spent time in San Francisco to understand what is going on. In today’s newsletter, I want to explain one of the factors that has contributed to the city’s crisis: culture.

Culture can sound like an abstract concept, but it matters for drug policy. Consider smoking. In 1965, more than 42 percent of American adults smoked cigarettes. In 2021, less than 12 percent did. The country did not criminalize tobacco. And while policy changes like higher taxes played a role, much of the drop happened through a sustained public health campaign that led most Americans to reject smoking.

In San Francisco and other liberal cities, the opposite shift has happened with hard drug use. The culture has become more tolerant of people using drugs. When I asked people living on the streets why they are in San Francisco, the most common response was that they knew they could avoid the legal and social penalties that often follow addiction. Some came from as close as Oakland, believing that San Francisco was more permissive. As Keith Humphreys, a drug policy expert at Stanford University, told me, San Francisco “is on the extreme of a pro-drug culture.”

Destigmatizing drug use

San Francisco’s change is rooted in a broader effort to destigmatize addiction. Some experts and activists have argued that a less punitive and judgmental approach to drug use would help users get treatment — a “love the sinner, hate the sin” attitude.

Over time, though, these efforts in liberal cities have expanded from users to drug use itself. Activists in San Francisco now refer to “body autonomy” — arguing that people have the right to put whatever they choose into their veins and lungs. They no longer want to hate the sin. They say it’s no one’s business but the drug user’s.

One example of this shift: In early 2020, an advocacy group put up a billboard downtown to promote the use of naloxone, an overdose antidote. It showed happy young people seeming to enjoy a high together. “Know overdose,” the billboard said. “Use with people and take turns.” Here, drug use wasn’t dangerous as long as users had someone to check on them while high.

The shift is also present in drug-related service providers in San Francisco. Michael Discepola, director of health access at the program GLIDE, said that his organization wants people to use drugs more safely. Abstinence is not always the correct goal, he argued. When one client declared that he wanted to quit drugs, Discepola explained, GLIDE suggested “more realistic goals.”

Stigma without criminalization

Other countries’ experiences show it is possible to relax drug laws, as many liberals want to do, without relaxing attitudes. In 2000, Portugal removed the threat of prison time for drug use. But it’s still a predominantly Catholic, socially conservative country that largely looks down on the practice.

Portugal’s system reflects those attitudes by pushing people to stop using drugs. Even its harm-reduction programs, which aim to keep people alive over getting them to quit drugs, work with the country’s treatment system to help people stop using.

In San Francisco, harm-reduction programs such as GLIDE do not require staff to guide people toward treatment. They argue that such pushiness could scare away clients who are not interested in quitting drugs. They often cite the drug policies of British Columbia, a global leader in harm reduction. But British Columbia set a record for overdose death rates last year.

I go into more detail about the differences between San Francisco and Portugal in this new story for The Times’s Upshot section, including a chart that compares overdose death rates across Europe.

Related: Oregon officials declared a 90-day state of emergency over fentanyl in Portland, part of an effort to reduce public drug use.

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THE LATEST NEWS

Israel-Hamas War

A screen capture of people pointing guns in a hospital.
Israeli forces dressed in civilian clothes inside a hospital.  

More on the Middle East

International

2024 Election

More on Politics

Alejandro Mayorkas in a suit and tie speaking while seated at a table.
Alejandro Mayorkas Kenny Holston/The New York Times
  • A House committee approved articles of impeachment accusing Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden’s homeland security secretary, of refusing to enforce immigration law. There is no evidence that Mayorkas committed impeachable offenses.
  • The Justice Department is investigating whether Representative Cori Bush, a Missouri progressive, mishandled campaign funds.
  • Fair Fight, the voting rights group that Stacey Abrams founded, is laying off most of its staff after incurring debts through prolonged court battles.
  • Jean Carnahan, who in 2001 became the first woman to represent Missouri in the Senate, died at 90.

Business

Online Safety

  • The chief executives of TikTok, Meta, X and other tech companies will testify to Congress today about children’s online safety.
  • Ahead of the testimony, lawmakers released internal Meta documents that show how it rejected efforts to address the issue.
  • A tech industry group that represents Google and Meta among others is trying to block state laws that seek to protect young people online.
  • A.I. will help perpetrators create more images of children being sexually abused, law enforcement officials said.

Other Big Stories

Opinions

E. Jean Carroll’s defamation trial against Trump represents an older woman’s declaration that she still has value, Jessica Bennett argues.

Americans recovered from the pandemic’s social isolation. But they still don’t trust the institutions that abandoned them, Eric Klinenberg writes.

The U.N.’s Palestinian refugee agency perpetuates conflict and needs to be abolished, Bret Stephens argues.

Here are columns by Ross Douthat on Taylor Swift and Thomas Edsall on Biden and immigration.

 
 

Discover more of the insight you value in The Morning.

The Times is filled with information and inspiration every day. So gain unlimited access to everything we offer — and save with this introductory offer.

 

MORNING READS

A person in coveralls holds a metal mold of a hotdog.
Sunday Nobody Meron Tekie Menghistab for The New York Times

394 hot dog ice sculptures: The artist Sunday Nobody has found millions of viewers with his elaborate absurdist projects.

St. Moritz: Rich people wanted to watch polo on a frozen lake. But Switzerland was too hot for the “hottest ticket in town.”

Ask Well: Is my lip balm making things worse?

Lives Lived: Chita Rivera dazzled Broadway audiences for nearly six decades, including as Anita in “West Side Story” and Velma Kelly in “Chicago.” In 2005, Newsweek called her “the greatest musical-theater dancer ever.” She died at 91.

 

SPORTS

College football: The N.C.A.A. is investigating the University of Tennessee over claims of recruiting violations, including whether boosters funded a private jet flight.

M.L.B.: The Angelos family agreed to sell the Baltimore Orioles to two private equity billionaires, pending the league’s approval, a source told The Athletic.

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ARTS AND IDEAS

Five elegantly dressed women strick poses in a diptych black-and-white image.
The cast of Feud: Capote vs. The Swans. Thea Traff for The New York Times

Birds of a feather: The producer Ryan Murphy spent years searching for the perfect rivalry to dramatize in the second season of his TV series “Feud.” He considered Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal, and a half-dozen others. Then he discovered the story of Truman Capote and his “swans” — New York society women whom the writer befriended, then betrayed in a tell-all magazine article. “It’s very easy to do a show where people are just nasty to each other,” Murphy told The Times. “But feuds are never about hate. They’re about love.”

For more: Maureen Dowd profiled Calista Flockhart, the former “Ally McBeal” star who plays one of the swans.

More on culture

 

THE MORNING RECOMMENDS …

Four bronzed chicken breasts sit in a cast-iron skillet filled with an herb-flecked sauce.
Johnny Miller for The New York Times

Make Pierre Franey’s chicken breasts with lemon, which first appeared in The Times in 1992.

Deep clean your remote control.

Turn on a new iPhone feature that makes it harder for thieves to ruin your life.

 

GAMES

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Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangram was diffract.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku and Connections.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — German

Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox. Reach our team at themorning@nytimes.com.

Continue reading the main story

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The Morning Newsletter Logo

Editor: David Leonhardt

Deputy Editor: Adam B. Kushner

News Editor: Tom Wright-Piersanti

News Staff: Desiree Ibekwe, Lauren Jackson, Sean Kawasaki-Culligan, Brent Lewis, German Lopez, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Ashley Wu

News Assistant: Lyna Bentahar

Saturday Writer: Melissa Kirsch

phkrause

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. {5T 451.1}
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The Morning

February 1, 2024

 
 

Good morning. We’re covering Mexico’s immigration crackdown — as well as children's online safety, campaign funding and Apple’s new headset.

 
 
 
Men sit in a wood paneled room in front of microphones. A Mexican flag is in the background.
Mexico’s president meets with the U.S. secretary of state. Fernando Llano/Associated Press

Government isn’t powerless

On the Thursday before Christmas, President Biden called Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and asked for help. The number of migrants crossing into the U.S. — about 10,000 per day — had reached the highest level of Biden’s presidency. The surge was creating major problems, including lockdowns at a New Mexico high school where migrants were streaming across the grounds and the closure of a rail bridge over the Rio Grande that carried commercial goods.

López Obrador responded by telling Biden to send a delegation of top officials to visit him in Mexico City. The next week, that delegation, led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, arrived for talks. Partly in response, Mexico soon began to enforce its own immigration laws more strictly, making it harder for migrants from other countries to use Mexico as a route to the U.S. Among other things, López Obrador’s government has increased deportations of migrants to their home countries and disrupted bus networks run by cartels that funnel migrants from other countries toward the U.S. border.

The crackdown has made a noticeable difference, too.

Migration flows at the U.S.-Mexico border fell more than 50 percent in early January, according to data that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency released last week. The numbers have since risen somewhat, officials have told me, but are still well below the December levels.

Mexico’s crackdown doesn’t come close to solving the migration problem, of course. Illegal immigration remains far higher than it was in the 2010s. Many migrants now believe that they will be able to remain in the U.S. for years, so long as they reach the border — regardless of what of the law says. Voters are unhappy about the situation. So are mayors and governors from both parties who are struggling with housing and social services.

Nonetheless, Mexico’s recent efforts offer a reminder: Stricter enforcement of immigration laws really does tend to reduce migration flows.

Cost vs. benefit

That point may seem obvious, but it’s one that many politicians from both parties question. In recent days, House Republicans and Donald Trump have criticized the outlines of a bipartisan Senate deal that would significantly tighten border security. Trump suggested it was “worse than no border deal.” (The most plausible explanation for his stance is politics — namely, that continuing border chaos could increase his chances of beating Biden in November.)

Many progressive Democrats, for their part, argue that border security is ineffective at stopping illegal immigration. The way to make a difference, they say, is to reduce poverty and oppression in other countries and to make people less interested in moving to the U.S.

But the evidence belies these arguments. The security of the border both directly and indirectly affects migration flows. In the short term, a less porous border allows fewer people to enter the U.S. For example, the migrants whom Mexico recently deported — including some who had arrived by airplane from outside the Western Hemisphere — might otherwise have made it to the U.S.

Longer term, a more secure border changes the calculation for people contemplating a harrowing journey toward the U.S. If entry to the U.S. — a far richer country than most — seems likely, many more people will attempt it. If it seems unlikely, the costs of the journey will dissuade more.

Biden’s novelty

Mexico’s recent crackdown is merely the latest evidence of this pattern. Biden’s presidency is an even bigger example.

In response to Trump’s extreme opposition to immigration — including his lies and racist insults about immigrants — Biden and other Democrats moved far in the other direction. As The Economist recently wrote, Trump “radicalized” some Democrats on immigration. The party’s 2020 platform said nothing about border security and was devoted largely to making entry into the U.S. easier, mostly through legal pathways but also by going easier on illegal immigration.

I want to emphasize that most Americans have long believed, and still believe, that their country should be a haven for people fleeing political repression. The Biden administration’s approach has gone further, however. In the name of humanitarianism, it has broadened policies that were historically focused on political refugees, changing them to admit more migrants who are attracted to the U.S.’s high living standards.

“What’s novel about the Biden years has been the vastly expanded use of parole and asylum in boosting immigration by those who could not hope to get through normal legal channels,” John Judis has written for the Liberal Patriot newsletter. In response, migration jumped far above the levels during Trump’s or Barack Obama’s presidencies.

(Social media videos, showing migrants who have made it to the U.S., also play a role, my colleague Miriam Jordan points out. Her latest article focuses on migrants’ belief — often accurate — that the country’s dysfunctional asylum system will allow them to stay indefinitely.)

A new approach

In recent months, Biden has begun to change his initial approach, recognizing the problems with a more open border. Last week, he promised to “to shut down the border” if Congress passed a bill that allowed him to do so.

It remains unclear whether Republicans will agree to such a deal — or, mostly for political reasons, will choose to let the problem fester. Without a deal, Biden is likely to look for ways within current law to tighten border security. They exist but are more limited.

Either way, the Biden administration appears to be on the verge of doing the same thing that it recently urged Mexico to do: enforce existing immigration laws more tightly.

For more

  • House Republicans accuse Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden’s homeland security secretary, of breaking the law by failing to enforce immigration rules. But federal law gives the administration broad discretion over border policy.
  • Read how Biden has struggled to enact his immigration plans and failed to manage a rise in arrivals.

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THE LATEST NEWS

Online Safety Hearing

Mark Zuckerberg standing in front of people holding up images of children.
Mark Zuckerberg addresses the families of child abuse victims. Kenny Holston/The New York Times
  • In a contentious hearing, senators from both parties pressured executives from Meta, X, TikTok, Discord and Snap to apologize for their companies’ role in harming children.
  • Senators told the executives that their products were “killing people,” and that the companies had “blood on your hands.” Read takeaways from the hearing.
  • Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s chief executive, stood to address abuse victims’ families in the hearing room. “I’m sorry for everything you have all been through,” he said.
  • Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican, repeatedly pressed the C.E.O. of TikTok, Shou Chew, about his ties to the Chinese government. Chew, who is from Singapore, denied any connection.

2024 Elections

More on Politics

  • The House passed a bill that would expand the child tax credit and revive Trump-era corporate tax breaks. The bill — rare bipartisan legislation in an election year — moves to the Senate.
  • John Podesta, a longtime Democratic adviser, will replace John Kerry as Biden’s top climate envoy.
  • Tennessee and Virginia sued the N.C.A.A., saying that it has no right to block wealthy boosters from paying to attract college athletic recruits.
  • Many athletes at the New College of Florida, recruited to play sports, had no idea they were part of Ron DeSantis’s attack on “woke ideology.” Then the semester began.

Israel-Hamas War

Boys sit by a small pot above a fire surrounded by destroyed buildings.
In Khuza’a, Gaza.  Hatem Ali/Associated Press
  • See videos and photos of Israel’s controlled demolitions, which are razing entire neighborhoods in Gaza.
  • The U.N. told donors that funding for its main agency in Gaza is essential to the survival of millions of civilians. Israel has accused some of the agency’s employees of aiding Hamas.
  • “You wrote a book on genocide”: USAID staff confronted Samantha Power, the head the agency, about her stance on Gaza, The Washington Post reports.
  • Volunteers for an Israeli charity that supports Palestinians were killed on Oct. 7. The group is grappling with how to move forward.

Other Big Stories

Opinions

The trial against the parents of a Michigan school shooter has less to do with justice and more to do with finding someone to blame, Megan Stack writes.

Here are columns by Gail Collins on Dean Phillips’s presidential campaign and Thomas Friedman on the U.S. and the Middle East.

 
 

Discover more of the insight you value in The Morning.

The Times is filled with information and inspiration every day. So gain unlimited access to everything we offer — and save with this introductory offer.

 

MORNING READS

A close up of a woman’s chunky black loafer-esque shoes with heels, and sheer black socks. She wears wide leg pants and holds up a white tote bag with the words, “I love your outfit” in black lettering.
Sheer sock, chunky shoe combo. Alycee Byrd for The New York Times

Style: Millennials don’t know what to wear. Gen Z, defining cool on TikTok, has thoughts.

Finds: An exceptionally well-preserved gauntlet from the 14th century turned up in an archaeological dig near a Swiss castle.

Vision Pro: Apple’s new headset made our technology columnist feel “genuine wonder.” But at $3,500, he also wonders who’ll buy it.

Mystery: An explorer claims to have found Amelia Earhart’s lost plane.

Lives Lived: Anne Edwards published best-selling books about Katharine Hepburn, Judy Garland and Ronald Reagan, among others. Kirkus Reviews called her “the queen of biography.” Edwards died at 96.

 

SPORTS

N.F.L.: The Seattle Seahawks hired Mike Macdonald, the Ravens’ defensive coordinator, as the league’s youngest head coach.

Caitlin Clark: The Iowa superstar jumped two spots in one game to reach No. 2 on the all-time women’s college basketball scoring list with 35 points in a win. She’s projected to become No. 1 next month.

Gio Reyna: The young American soccer star is heading to the English Premier League on loan to Nottingham Forest, where he should see expanded playing time.

Continue reading the main story

 
 

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ARTS AND IDEAS

A woman stands in front of a large red installation shaped like Hello Kitty’s head.
A Hello Kitty installation at Somerset House. David Parry/Press Association for Somerset House

Kawaii: “Cute,” a new exhibition in London, has porcelain dolls and an array of Hello Kitty merchandise. But the show is more than a collection of cute commodities: It explores the power of apparently powerless things and the fantasies that cuteness enables.

More on culture

 

THE MORNING RECOMMENDS …

Top down of a bowl of tomato soup.
Craig Lee for The New York Times

Dip a grilled cheese into a simple yet satisfying tomato soup.

Prevent exercise injuries with these three tips.

Drink better-tasting water with this under-sink filter.

Try an espresso machine for beginners.

Reduce Super Bowl broadcasting delays.

 

GAMES

mail?url=https%3A%2F%2Fstatic01.nyt.com%

Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangram was ladybug.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku and Connections.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox. Reach our team at themorning@nytimes.com.

Continue reading the main story

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The Morning Newsletter Logo

Editor: David Leonhardt

Deputy Editor: Adam B. Kushner

News Editor: Tom Wright-Piersanti

News Staff: Desiree Ibekwe, Lauren Jackson, Sean Kawasaki-Culligan, Brent Lewis, German Lopez, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Ashley Wu

News Assistant: Lyna Bentahar

Saturday Writer: Melissa Kirsch

phkrause

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. {5T 451.1}
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The Morning

February 2, 2024

 
 

Good morning. We’re covering a new Times analysis of the presidential race — as well as Ukraine aid, the 2024 election and a pyramid in Egypt.

 
 
 
President Joe Biden speaks at a podium with his arms raised.
President Biden Kenny Holston/The New York Times

A turnout advantage

For the many Americans who are nervous about the polls showing that President Biden may lose to Donald Trump in November, there is one big source of comfort. Since Trump took office in 2017, Republicans have lost many more elections than they’ve won, sometimes even when the polls looked bad for Democrats.

The list of recent Democratic victories is striking: In the 2018 midterms, the party retook the House. In 2020, Biden beat Trump, and Democrats retook the Senate. In the 2022 midterms, Democrats fared better than many pundits expected. Last year, Democrats did well in Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. They have also won many special elections to fill political offices that unexpectedly came open.

Voters may express dissatisfaction with Biden in surveys. When the stakes have been real, however, a crucial slice of these voters prefers Democrats to Trump-aligned Republicans. The pattern is a legitimate reason for Democrats — and others who fear the consequences of a second Trump presidency — to be hopeful about the 2024 election. The U.S. may indeed have an “anti-MAGA majority.”

But there is also one clear reason to question this narrative. In the latest edition of his newsletter, my colleague Nate Cohn — The Times’s chief political analyst — explains why Democrats shouldn’t take too much comfort from recent results.

2024 isn’t 2022

Nate’s key insight is that the electorate in a presidential race is different from the electorate in midterms or special elections. In off-year elections, fewer people vote. Those who do are more likely to be older, highly educated and close followers of politics, as this table shows:

mail?url=https%3A%2F%2Fstatic01.nyt.com%
Source: Upshot analysis of voter files | By The New York Times

As a result, midterms and special elections often revolve around turnout, rather than persuasion. And Democrats now have a turnout advantage.

In part, this advantage stems from the class inversion in American politics — namely, the shift of college graduates toward the Democratic Party and working-class voters toward the Republican Party. But the Democrats’ new turnout edge is not only about the class inversion. More broadly, Democrats of all demographic groups have been more politically engaged than Republicans since Trump won the presidency in 2016, at least when Trump himself is not on the ballot.

“This energy among highly engaged Democrats has powered the party’s victory in special elections, and in 2022 it helped the party hold its own in the midterms,” Nate writes.

A presidential electorate, though, is much larger. It includes many more voters who don’t follow politics closely. These less engaged voters are more likely to be independents and more open to persuasion. A presidential electorate also includes more young voters, more voters of color and more voters who didn’t graduate from college. These are precisely the voters with whom Biden is struggling to match his support from 2020.

A thin margin

Here’s one way to think about the situation: Biden won the 2020 election by a very small margin. Nationally, he beat Trump by seven million votes, but the Electoral College margin was much narrower. If the right mix of about 50,000 people across a few swing states had switched their votes, Trump could have won.

By almost any measure, Biden’s standing seems to be weaker today than it was in November 2020. Only 41 percent of Americans viewed him favorably in a recent Gallup poll, down from 46 percent shortly before the election four years ago.

This deterioration is arguably more meaningful than the string of Democratic victories since 2020. In November, Biden won’t be facing the electorate that shows up for midterms and special elections. He will be facing a presidential electorate that is less favorable to his party — and less favorable to him than it was four years ago.

The big question is whether Biden can come close enough to matching his 2020 support in 2024 to win re-election.

Nate is careful to explain that the answer may well be yes. One reason is that Trump also has weaknesses he didn’t in 2020, including his role in the Jan. 6 attack on Congress and his criminal indictments. The safest conclusion, I think, is the 2024 race will be so close that the events of the next eight months are likely to determine the outcome. But Democrats shouldn’t assume recent history will repeat itself.

I encourage you to read Nate’s piece.

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THE LATEST NEWS

Middle East

  • Biden imposed sanctions on Israeli settlers accused of attacking Palestinians in the West Bank, cutting them off from the U.S. financial system.
  • Biden also lamented “the trauma, the death and destruction in Israel and Gaza,” saying he was “actively working for peace, security, dignity” for Israelis and Palestinians.
  • Social media posts with opposing views of the Israel-Hamas war cost two New York doctors their jobs. Then their fates diverged.
  • For many Palestinians in the West Bank, life is now subject to even more restrictions, like at checkpoints.
  • Iran trained and funded the militia groups targeting ships and U.S. troops in the Middle East, Biden’s defense secretary said.
  • Iran is sending more conciliatory signals, sensing a line has been crossed. Its supreme leader wants to avoid war.

Aid to Ukraine

A tank in a muddy field.
Ukrainian military training. David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

2024 Election

  • Biden is publicly urging grocery chains to lower food prices, accusing them of ripping off shoppers.
  • Allen Weisselberg, who ran the finances of Trump’s family business for years, may plead guilty to perjury. It could strengthen prosecutors’ hand in Trump’s New York criminal trial.

More on Politics

Senator Chuck Schumer at a lectern in a dark suit.
Senator Chuck Schumer Valerie Plesch for The New York Times
  • Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, promised a vote next week on a bill to secure the border and aid Ukraine. Bipartisan negotiators are yet to release text for it.
  • Twice in two decades, senators of both parties have tried together to change immigration law, and failed. Will that happen again?
  • The Biden administration made opening offers to drug companies whose products face Medicare price negotiations.
  • Impeachment was once seen as a serious check on corruption. It’s at risk of becoming another partisan weapon, The Times’s Peter Baker writes.

China

A person working on phone chargers, inside a factory.
In Sriperumbudur, India.  Atul Loke for The New York Times

Other Big Stories

  • A dire shortage of guards in Wisconsin’s prisons has left inmates with monthslong lockdowns and miserable conditions. Officials knew for years that the crisis was building.
  • Witnesses say a man executed with nitrogen gas in Alabama last week stayed conscious for minutes, jerking and gasping. State officials had sworn that wouldn’t happen.
  • After five days of freedom in the Scottish Highlands, an escaped monkey has been recaptured.
  • Elon Musk is unfathomably rich. The Washington Post explains where he holds his money.
  • An atmospheric river has drenched California.

Opinions

Three women look into a camera in a classroom.
The new “Mean Girls.”  Paramount

The latest adaptation of “Mean Girls” pretends the world has gotten nicer, Jessica Bennett writes, while failing to acknowledge the ways it has gotten nastier.

Pollution is contributing to a Black American exodus in the North, and Southern states are unprepared for the influx, Adam Mahoney argues.

Here are columns by Ezra Klein on Democrats and the working class and Paul Krugman on a “Goldilocks” economy.

 
 

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The Times is filled with information and inspiration every day. So gain unlimited access to everything we offer — and save with this introductory offer.

 

MORNING READS

The profiles of three dogs in a gif.
Photo illustration by The New York Times; Photographs by Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Dog years: All dogs go to heaven, but which live longest? See a table of breeds.

Garbage trucks: Trash in New York has been collected in much the same way for a century. That changed this week.

Try again: February might be the best month for resolutions.

Minus 35: See the northern lights in Canada.

Cholesterol: Managing your levels is critical for preventing serious health problems. Here’s how.

Flip Phone February: Read a practical guide to quitting your smartphone.

Lives Lived: Toni Stern, a sunny California poet, became a trusted lyricist for Carole King, on “It’s Too Late” and other songs during King’s chart-topping career. Stern died at 79.

 

SPORTS

N.F.L.: The Washington Commanders hired Dan Quinn, the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive coordinator, as head coach.

Mark Andrews: The Ravens’ tight end was feted as a hero for helping a woman with a medical emergency during a flight.

M.L.B.: Days after the team was sold, the Baltimore Orioles traded for the 2021 Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes.

Lindsey Horan: The U.S. women’s soccer captain said most American soccer fans “aren’t smart” and “don’t know the game” in a wide-ranging interview with The Athletic.

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ARTS AND IDEAS

Two men climbing on a pyramid in front of a blue sky.
The Pyramid of Menkaure. Khaled Elfiqi/EPA, via Shutterstock

Ancient wonders: The Egyptian authorities recently announced a plan to cover the Pyramid of Menkaure, the smallest of Giza’s three main pyramids, with granite blocks of the kind that once clad part of its exterior. It has revived what experts say is a constant debate in conservation: whether to try to return ancient structures to their earlier splendor, or minimize intervention.

More on culture

A man smiles while hugging a woman in a red sweater.
Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift.  Julio Cortez/Associated Press
 

THE MORNING RECOMMENDS …

Top down image of a bowl of Turmeric Black Pepper Chicken and Asparagus.
David Malosh for The New York Times

Serve turmeric-black pepper chicken with asparagus over a bed of rice.

Learn how alcohol affects your gut microbiome.

Wash your clothes with the best detergent.

Eat the best bowl of beans our cooking writer has ever had.

Give the most sophisticated chocolates this Valentine’s Day.

Take our news quiz.

 

GAMES

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Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangram was humbled.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku and Connections.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox. Reach our team at themorning@nytimes.com.

Continue reading the main story

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The Morning Newsletter Logo

Editor: David Leonhardt

Deputy Editor: Adam B. Kushner

News Editor: Tom Wright-Piersanti

News Staff: Desiree Ibekwe, Lauren Jackson, Sean Kawasaki-Culligan, Brent Lewis, German Lopez, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Ashley Wu

News Assistant: Lyna Bentahar

Saturday Writer: Melissa Kirsch

phkrause

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. {5T 451.1}
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The Morning

February 5, 2024

 
 

Good morning. We’re covering a policy change by Dartmouth College — as well as California weather and the Grammys.

 
 
 
A portrait of Sian Beilock, the president of Dartmouth College, standing by a window in an olive-green blazer.
Sian Beilock, the president of Dartmouth. Caleb Kenna for The New York Times

‘Convinced by the data’

Dartmouth College announced this morning that it would again require applicants to submit standardized test scores, starting next year. It’s a significant development because other selective colleges are now deciding whether to do so. In today’s newsletter, I’ll tell you the story behind Dartmouth’s decision.

Training future leaders

Last summer, Sian Beilock — a cognitive scientist who had previously run Barnard College in New York — became the president of Dartmouth. After arriving, she asked a few Dartmouth professors to do an internal study on standardized tests. Like many other colleges during the Covid pandemic, Dartmouth dropped its requirement that applicants submit an SAT or ACT score. With the pandemic over and students again able to take the tests, Dartmouth’s admissions team was thinking about reinstating the requirement. Beilock wanted to know what the evidence showed.

“Our business is looking at data and research and understanding the implications it has,” she told me.

Three Dartmouth economists and a sociologist then dug into the numbers. One of their main findings did not surprise them: Test scores were a better predictor than high school grades — or student essays and teacher recommendations — of how well students would fare at Dartmouth. The evidence of this relationship is large and growing, as I explained in a recent Times article.

A second finding was more surprising. During the pandemic, Dartmouth switched to a test-optional policy, in which applicants could choose whether to submit their SAT and ACT scores. And this policy was harming lower-income applicants in a specific way.

The researchers were able to analyze the test scores even of students who had not submitted them to Dartmouth. (Colleges can see the scores after the admissions process is finished.) Many lower-income students, it turned out, had made a strategic mistake.

The exterior of a brick building with a large clock tower. Snow covers the ground in front of the building.
Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. Caleb Kenna for The New York Times

They withheld test scores that would have helped them get into Dartmouth. They wrongly believed that their scores were too low, when in truth the admissions office would have judged the scores to be a sign that students had overcome a difficult environment and could thrive at Dartmouth.

As the four professors — Elizabeth Cascio, Bruce Sacerdote, Doug Staiger and Michele Tine — wrote in a memo, referring to the SAT’s 1,600-point scale, “There are hundreds of less-advantaged applicants with scores in the 1,400 range who should be submitting scores to identify themselves to admissions, but do not under test-optional policies.” Some of these applicants were rejected because the admissions office could not be confident about their academic qualifications. The students would have probably been accepted had they submitted their test scores, Lee Coffin, Dartmouth’s dean of admissions, told me.

That finding, as much as any other, led to Dartmouth’s announcement this morning. “Our goal at Dartmouth is academic excellence in the service of training the broadest swath of future leaders,” Beilock told me. “I’m convinced by the data that this will help us do that.”

It’s worth acknowledging a crucial part of this story. Dartmouth admits disadvantaged students who have scores that are lower on average than those of privileged students. The college doesn’t apologize for that. Students from poor neighborhoods or troubled high schools have effectively been running with wind in their face. They are not competing fairly with affluent teenagers.

A chart shows the share of students admitted to Dartmouth by SAT test scores and student advantage. Disadvantaged students with lower test scores are more likely to be admitted to Dartmouth than advantaged students with similar scores.
Source: Cascio, Sacerdote, Staiger, Tine (Dartmouth) | Disadvantaged students are low-income, first-generation college or enrolled at a challenged high school. | By The New York Times

“We’re looking for the kids who are excelling in their environment. We know society is unequal,” Beilock said. “Kids that are excelling in their environment, we think, are a good bet to excel at Dartmouth and out in the world.” The admissions office will judge an applicant’s environment partly by comparing his or her test score with the score distribution at the applicant’s high schools, Coffin said. In some cases, even an SAT score well below 1,400 can help an application.

Questions and answers

In our conversations, I asked Beilock and her colleagues about several common criticisms of standardized tests, and they said that they did not find the criticisms persuasive.

For instance, many critics on the political left argue the tests are racially or economically biased, but Beilock said the evidence didn’t support those claims. “The research suggests this tool is helpful in finding students we might otherwise miss,” she said.

I also asked whether she was worried that conservative critics of affirmative action might use test scores to accuse Dartmouth of violating the recent Supreme Court ruling barring race-conscious admissions. She was not. Dartmouth can legally admit a diverse class while using test scores as one part of its holistic admissions process, she said. I’ve heard similar sentiments from leaders at other colleges that have reinstated the test requirement, including Georgetown and M.I.T.

And I asked Beilock and her colleagues whether fewer students might now apply to Dartmouth. Coffin, the admissions dean, replied that such an outcome might be OK. He noted that the test-optional policy since 2020 had not led to a more diverse pool of applicants and that Dartmouth already received more than enough applications — 31,000 this year, for 1,200 first-year slots. “I don’t think volume is the holy grail,” he said.

Finally, I asked Beilock whether she was satisfied with Dartmouth’s level of economic diversity, which is slightly below that of most similarly elite colleges. She said no. “We have aspirations to bring it up,” she said. Reinstating the test requirement, she believes, can help Dartmouth do so.

For more: Compare economic diversity at hundreds of colleges through our College Access Index.

Continue reading the main story

 
 

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THE LATEST NEWS

California Weather

A person walks along a flooded sidewalk in calf-high water, alongside partly submerged cars and trees.
Santa Barbara, Calif., yesterday. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Middle East

Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he boards a plane.
Antony Blinken departing for Saudi Arabia.  Mark Schiefelbein/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

2024 Election

War in Ukraine

  • Senate Republicans and Democrats released a compromise border deal to unlock Ukraine aid, but it faces an uphill path to enactment.
  • Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, hinted at a government shake-up. He said “a reset” was needed to revive the war effort.

Business

Other Big Stories

Fire-damaged buildings, almost totally destroyed, seen from above.
Viña del Mar, Chile. Cristóbal Olivares for The New York Times

Opinions

A person with long red hair looks to the side.
Grace Powell Janick Gilpin for The New York Times

Pamela Paul writes about people who thought they were trans as kids — but no longer do.

Wolf repopulation efforts used to be unpopular. But as policymakers focused on building trust, public opinion shifted, Erica Berry writes.

Misinformation and fearmongering about drug use in Oregon are threatening to bring back the old-school drug war, Maia Szalavitz writes.

Choosing a woman as his vice president could help Trump win. But a V.P. pick should be someone who can win and govern, Kellyanne Conway writes.

Gail Collins and Bret Stephens discuss the 2024 election and Taylor Swift’s potential endorsement.

 
 

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MORNING READS

Two men reach poles down into a drain. One of the men is wearing an orange headband.
Cleaning a sewer drain in New Delhi. Rebecca Conway for The New York Times

India: Bezwada Wilson was born into a caste assigned to remove dried human waste from latrines by hand. Read about his life’s work to eradicate the practice.

“Dalifornia”: In a mountain town in China, young people can escape the competition of the country’s megacities.

Grieving the loss of a pet? These groups want to help.

Medical meditation and clinical yoga: Alternative therapies are becoming mainstream in the U.S.

Metropolitan Diary: They lived about 10 blocks away.

Lives Lived: Michael Watford helped birth a subgenre of club music known as gospel house. He died at 64.

 

SPORTS

N.B.A.: The Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid will undergo corrective surgery on his left knee.

N.F.L.: Kliff Kingsbury is the new offensive coordinator for the Washington Commanders, a splashy hire.

Soccer: MetLife Stadium, outside New York, will host the 2026 World Cup final, FIFA announced. Dallas will field the most matches.

Continue reading the main story

 
 

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ARTS AND IDEAS

Taylor Swift holding a Grammy onstage.
Taylor Swift Valerie Macon/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Women win: It was a big night for women at the Grammys. Taylor Swift won her fourth album of the year award, breaking the record for the category. Billie Eilish won song of the year, Miley Cyrus won record of the year and Victoria Monét was named best new artist. Tracy Chapman and Joni Mitchell performed. Here’s what else happened:

 

THE MORNING RECOMMENDS …

Top down view of French Onion soup.
Armando Rafael for The New York Times

Caramelize onions for French onion soup, a labor of love.

Watch Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” an Amazon series based on the 2005 blockbuster film of the same name.

Get silk pillowcases for Valentine’s Day.

Make perfect stovetop rice.

Take our news quiz.

 

GAMES

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Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangram was tenacity.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku and Connections.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox. Reach our team at themorning@nytimes.com.

Continue reading the main story

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The Morning Newsletter Logo

Editor: David Leonhardt

Deputy Editor: Adam B. Kushner

News Editor: Tom Wright-Piersanti

News Staff: Desiree Ibekwe, Lauren Jackson, Sean Kawasaki-Culligan, Brent Lewis, German Lopez, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Ashley Wu

News Assistant: Lyna Bentahar

Saturday Writer: Melissa Kirsch

phkrause

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. {5T 451.1}
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The Morning

February 6, 2024

 
 

With many congressional Republicans opposed to a bill that would send more aid to Ukraine, my colleague Julian Barnes uses today’s newsletter to help you understand the state of the war and what may happen next. — David Leonhardt

 
 
Author Headshot

By Julian E. Barnes

Domestic Correspondent

Good morning. We’re also covering extreme weather, King Charles III and Monster Jam.

 
 
 
A Ukrainian soldier in camouflage walks through a shoulder-deep trench in a barren forest.
The Donetsk region last month. Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Peace in Ukraine

Last year’s Ukrainian counteroffensive was a failure. Russia’s defenses in the territory it has captured look impenetrable. Republicans in Washington are blocking further Ukraine aid. President Volodymyr Zelensky is on the precipice of firing his top general — who may well become his chief political rival.

It’s a difficult moment for Ukraine. And another year of frontal assaults on the trench lines could make 2024 look like 1916, a year in World War I that brought harrowing loss of life but few battlefield gains.

The question now is what Ukraine can reasonably still hope to achieve. In today’s newsletter, I’ll explain what a negotiated settlement might look like — whenever it comes — and what a better and worse version might look like. It’s still possible that either Ukraine or Russia will mount a more successful military drive this year than experts expect. But the most likely outcome of this year’s fighting is a continued stalemate. That impasse will shape how the war ends.

A bleak picture

Ukraine wants all its territory back. That is not likely to happen.

Ukrainians believe in their ability to fight back. They defended Kyiv, retook Kherson and pushed Russia away from Kharkiv in 2022. Their military is more battle-hardened than anything else in Europe, made more sophisticated by its adoption of American and allied technology. They have avoided the worst outcome: an outright defeat, an overthrow of their democratic government, the installation of a Russian puppet. Many Ukrainians now believe concessions to Russia would mean their compatriots had died in vain.

But the situation is grim. The country has lost nearly one-fifth of its territory. In 2014, Russia took Crimea and orchestrated a separatist rebellion in parts of the Donbas. It grabbed the rest since the current phase of the war began in 2022.

A map of Ukraine shows locations of Kyiv, Kharkiv and Kherson, and the areas of the country now controlled by Russia.
Source: Institute for the Study of War | Map is as of Feb. 4, 2024. | By The New York Times

Ukraine has lost a generation of young men — killed and wounded — to the war. It is also running out of ammunition, supplies and equipment. While Europe just approved $54 billion in economic assistance, it is American money that delivers Kyiv’s military might. But most House Republicans now oppose further Ukraine aid. And even pro-Ukraine Republicans are asking Biden administration officials what strategy can break the current battlefield stalemate. Meanwhile, the funding is ensnared in a border policy debate.

If Ukraine can’t get what it needs to beat Russia, what kind of deal could it make?

Ukraine’s futures

Vladimir Putin may accept a peace deal that gives him the territory he occupies now and that forces Ukraine to stay neutral, halting its integration with Europe. Ukrainians call this bargain a capitulation. But without additional American aid, they may be forced to take it.

A better deal for Ukraine would give it back at least some of its land, plus a promise that the United States and Europe would help defend it against Russia. Perhaps then Putin would think twice about further attacks. In this scenario, Ukraine might not join NATO or the European Union immediately, the prospect of which helped drive Russia’s invasion in the first place.

But to make that deal possible, Ukraine would need a stronger military to erode Russia’s might. The Russian Army has been damaged, its most advanced weaponry lost, its modernization drive set back years. If the proposed $60 billion U.S. aid package ever comes through, it could enable more audacious Ukrainian strikes behind Russian lines — the kinds of operations that keep Moscow off balance.

The money from Congress, in short, could be the difference between a bad deal and a better one. Having it would strengthen Ukraine’s hand at the negotiating table. Without it, Putin may prove right in his theory that he can outlast the West.

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THE LATEST NEWS

Extreme Weather

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A mudslide in Ojala, Calif. Philip Cheung for The New York Times

Immigration

2024 Elections

Nikki Haley in a blue coat shakes hands with supporters.
Nikki Haley Travis Dove for The New York Times

Israel-Hamas War

International

A close up portrait of King Charles in a suit and tie.
King Charles III Hollie Adams/Reuters
  • King Charles III was diagnosed with cancer and suspended his public engagements to undergo treatment.
  • The Senegalese Parliament voted to delay this month’s elections until December. The president announced a postponement last week, in a move critics called an “institutional coup.”
  • A Haitian prosecutor recommended charges against several people for the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse — including, unexpectedly, his first lady.
  • The Chinese authorities declared an Australian writer and businessman guilty of espionage and gave him a potential death sentence.

Business

A photo of the exterior of a Google office.
Google offices in Cambridge, Mass. Sophie Park for The New York Times

Other Big Stories

A line of bookshelves in a library.
Library in Pella, Iowa. Maansi Srivastava/The New York Times

Opinions

A utility company threatened Alabama’s wetlands. Its settlement with the E.P.A. is good news, even if it’s only a start, Margaret Renkl writes.

Over 60 countries have elections this year. But voters in countries like Pakistan are asking how effective democracy really is, Bina Shah writes.

Here are columns by Paul Krugman on immigration and Michelle Goldberg on Poland.

 
 

Discover more of the insight you value in The Morning.

The Times is filled with information and inspiration every day. So gain unlimited access to everything we offer — and save with this introductory offer.

 

MORNING READS

A ferret receives medicine from a dropper that is held by a woman in a blue shirt.
A ferret receiving CBD in Mexico City. Luis Antonio Rojas for The New York Times

Mammal munchies: Medical cannabis is starting to be used in veterinary sciences.

Ecotherapy: Mental health practitioners are hiking, camping and braving the elements with clients.

Health trends: Companies are selling cow colostrum — the milk-like substance produced shortly after giving birth — as a supplement. Read about the benefits and risks.

Nursing homes: Moving your spouse into long-term care can relieve the burden of caregiving but introduce new stresses.

Infinite scroll? TikTok once seemed in tune with individual tastes. Recently, it’s felt like fumbling in the junk drawer, Jon Caramanica writes.

Lives Lived: Bob Beckwith, a retired firefighter, catapulted to fame when a photograph of him standing with President George W. Bush at ground zero after 9/11 became a symbol of the nation’s grit. He died at 91.

 

SPORTS

College sports: A federal official ruled that Dartmouth men’s basketball players are university employees and can form a union. The ruling is likely to be appealed.

M.L.B.: The Kansas City Royals signed the star shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. to an 11-year, $288 million contract extension, signaling a new direction for the small-market franchise.

N.F.L.: Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the Eagles will open next season in São Paulo, Brazil, the league’s first game in South America.

Ads: For a second year, the average cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad is $7 million. In a fragmented media landscape, it’s a rare chance to reach a mass audience.

Continue reading the main story

 
 

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ARTS AND IDEAS

A small crowd gathered in a penned-off area beside three monster trucks, one decorated to look like a zombie, with yellow eyes and arms extending from its body.
Monster Jam in Newark. Bryan Anselm for The New York Times

Big trucks: Monster Jam has grown significantly since its founding in 1995. It now runs six tours — five in the U.S. and one overseas — selling millions of tickets, by its own account. The trucking events have become faddish with Gen Z-ers and millennials whose attendance, one fan posits, began as an irony that has now tipped into genuine enthusiasm.

Read a dispatch from a recent event in New Jersey.

More on culture

 

THE MORNING RECOMMENDS …

A plate full of pasta with cheese and pancetta.
Linda Xiao for The New York Times

Swap out spaghetti for smooth, velvety orzotto alla carbonara.

Pick a good bottle of wine for Valentine’s Day.

Wear compression socks on the plane.

Use these sunscreens on your face.

 

GAMES

mail?url=https%3A%2F%2Fstatic01.nyt.com%

Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangram was bamboozle.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku and Connections.

 
 

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow.

Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox. Reach our team at themorning@nytimes.com.

Continue reading the main story

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The Morning Newsletter Logo

Editor: David Leonhardt

Deputy Editor: Adam B. Kushner

News Editor: Tom Wright-Piersanti

News Staff: Desiree Ibekwe, Lauren Jackson, Sean Kawasaki-Culligan, Brent Lewis, German Lopez, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Ashley Wu

News Assistant: Lyna Bentahar

Saturday Writer: Melissa Kirsch

phkrause

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. {5T 451.1}
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The Morning

February 7, 2024

 
 

Good morning. We’re covering Republicans and the border bill — as well as Trump, Michigan and vintage sportswear.

 
 
 
A group of people standing at the foot of a river look at a truck parked in front of a border wall.
The border in December. Paul Ratje for The New York Times

Harder to enter

The United States has had a porous border with Mexico for decades, and the situation has worsened in the past few years, with more than 10,000 people entering the U.S. on some days. Many then remain for years, even without a visa or citizenship. Mayors, governors, and immigration experts — as well as voters — have long urged Congress to fix the problem.

This week, a bipartisan group of senators released a plan for doing so. And for anybody who has grown cynical about Washington, the plan offered reasons for both surprise and further cynicism.

The surprising part is that productive bipartisanship seems to be alive, even on an issue as divisive as immigration. A wide range of experts say that the Senate plan — negotiated by James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican; Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat; and Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona independent — would strengthen border security and reduce illegal immigration.

The measure has the support of business lobbying groups as well as the organization representing the mayors of every U.S. city with a population above 30,000. The labor union for border-patrol agents, which endorsed Donald Trump in 2020, supports the plan. So do the editorial boards of The Washington Post, which leans left, and The Wall Street Journal, which is deeply conservative.

“This doesn’t fix everything,” Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, told me, “but it goes a long way to creating an institutional structure that makes sense.”

What, then, is the cause for further cynicism about Washington partisanship? Despite the bill’s bipartisan roots and all the praise it’s received, its chances of passage look slim.

Political benefits

Many Republicans, including Trump and members of Congress, have decided to oppose the plan for political reasons. They think they are likely to do better in this year’s elections if the immigration problem festers and they can blame Biden. “Let me tell you,” Troy Nehls, a House Republican from Texas, told CNN last month, “I’m not willing to do too damn much right now to help a Democrat and to help Joe Biden’s approval rating.”

Republicans justify their opposition mostly by pointing to one provision: an emergency measure that would forces the president to virtually shut the southern border when undocumented daily migrant encounters rise above 5,000. This measure, the critics say, would authorize 5,000 illegal entries every day. But that claim is misleading: By the same logic, the current system allows unlimited daily entries. Even more important, the Senate proposal includes many other measures to make entry harder.

Among them:

  • The bill would raise the standard for migrants to pass an initial asylum screening. Today, even many with weak asylum claims can remain in the country. The bill would also allow U.S. officials to deport more people who fail the screening within a week of their arrival.
  • Congress would pay to hire thousands of additional border personnel and 100 more immigration judges, who in turn could reduce the backlog of cases. Faster resolution would allow admitted migrants to get on with their lives, while the government could send others home more quickly.
  • The bill would finance the purchase of 100 new machines for detecting fentanyl at the border and increase penalties for trafficking.
  • Separately, the bill would expand legal immigration by a modest amount and allow admitted migrants to receive work permits more quickly. (Here’s a Times summary of the bill.)

Together, these measures would shift the calculus for potential migrants. Because the chances of illegal entry would fall, fewer people would likely try — and more would instead try a legal pathway.

Biden’s border

Republicans do have other legitimate reasons to criticize Democrats on immigration. Since Trump’s presidency, many Democrats have embraced the idea of a more open border. If you want to understand the extent of the shift, I recommend reading the party’s 2020 platform: It talks almost exclusively about steps to expand immigration, even outside of legal channels.

Biden, who was once a moderate on immigration, is part of the change. As a presidential candidate, he signaled that he would welcome many more arrivals. As president, he loosened the standards for asylum. Combined with political turmoil in parts of Latin America, the strong U.S. economy and other factors, Biden’s approach fed the migration surge. “There are a lot of people coming because they’re pretty sure that they can get in and stay,” Selee said.

Now, though, Biden has recognized the downsides of his initial policies. He has embraced a bipartisan immigration bill that includes many Republican priorities and few Democratic ones. (In exchange, Democrats insisted on aid for Ukraine.) As Carl Hulse, The Times’s chief Washington correspondent, put it, Democrats made “substantial — almost unheard-of — concessions on immigration policy without insisting on much in return.”

Republicans have largely won the recent debate over immigration. Polls show most voters prefer their approach. And nonpartisan experts say the Senate plan would improve the situation, using the policies Republicans have long advocated.

Yet those same Republicans are now blocking tougher border security from becoming reality.

For more

  • Biden hopes to make Republicans pay a political price for their opposition to the border bill. In a speech, he said Trump would “rather weaponize this issue than actually solve it.”
  • “America does not need a ‘border’ bill that does nothing to deter illegal immigration,” a Trump spokeswoman said. “We need a president who will use his executive authority to shut the border down.”
  • Lankford, the bill’s lead Senate Republican negotiator, has been rebutting attacks from members of his own party while trying to keep the legislation alive.
  • With the border deal collapsing, aid to Ukraine and Israel is also in jeopardy. Yesterday, the House failed to pass a bill that would have sent aid to Israel alone.
  • House Republicans’ effort to impeach Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden’s homeland security secretary, over border policy failed after a handful of Republicans opposed it.
  • New York’s governor offered $2.4 billion to help New York City care for migrants. Mayor Eric Adams says the city needs nearly twice that amount.

Continue reading the main story

 
 

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