2019年12月19日 星期四

Impeachment Delay, Samoa’s Measles, ‘Star Wars’: Your Friday Briefing

Friday, Dec 20, 2019 | View in browser
Good morning.
First, apologies — technical problems delayed the delivery of the newsletter. (Crossing fingers — we think it’s fixed.)
Back to the news: We’re covering an abrupt twist in impeachment, what led to Samoa’s measles epidemic and a hospital for falcons in Qatar.
By Melina Delkic
Speaker Nancy Pelosi ahead of the House's vote on the articles of impeachment on Wednesday.    Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Trump impeachment trial is suddenly in limbo

After the Democratic-controlled House voted on Wednesday night to impeach President Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would delay sending the charges to the Senate over concerns that its Republican majority would thwart a fair trial.
By postponing a trial that Republicans had anticipated making into a rapid public exoneration, Ms. Pelosi may be looking for leverage in negotiating the trial process. But some leading Democrats are advocating that the charges be withheld altogether.
Timing of the trial could remain unresolved until the new year, when lawmakers return from recess. Here’s what we know.
Recap: Mr. Trump became only the third president in American history to be impeached, as the House charged him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The votes were largely along party lines.
Response: Mr. Trump was at a campaign rally in Michigan when the House voted. He portrayed the move as fabrication by those who couldn’t tolerate his presidency. President Vladimir Putin echoed Mr. Trump’s criticisms during a news conference on Thursday in Moscow.
Perspective: We talked to Americans across the country, and many seemed to want to think and talk about anything but politics.
2020 campaign: Seven Democratic presidential candidates will take the debate stage in a few hours in Los Angeles, just weeks before the Iowa caucuses, the first major step in the process to whittle down the field to one nominee. Here’s what to watch for.
Workers at a funeral home in Apia, Samoa, sort through child-size caskets. Many funeral homes are offering services free of charge to families of the children.  Matthew Abbott for The New York Times

‘Why my baby?’: Samoa devastated by measles

The Pacific island nation was grievously unprepared for a measles outbreak that has killed dozens of children in the past two months and infected thousands more.
The door to contagion was wide open. The government had let the vaccination rate fall to a staggeringly low level — suspending a vaccination program after a medical scare — and put thousands of children at risk.
And anti-vaccine activists and traditional healers amplified the country’s skepticism about immunization, making matters worse.
Relevance: The country is an example of how complacency, unfounded mistrust of vaccines and gaps in routine health care led to a resurgence of measles. New outbreaks have hit every region of the planet, with reported cases jumping 300 percent in the first three months of this year compared to last.
Rukhsana, who works at a textile mill in Faisalabad, Pakistan.  Saiyna Bashir for The New York Times

Who makes our clothes?

Rukhsana, 48, works seven days a week in a textile mill in Faisalabad, Pakistan. She is often totally cut off from the world for the duration of her shift. When her nephew died, her company didn’t convey the message until the funeral was over.
In the wake of the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh in 2013, when a factory collapse killed more than 1,000 workers, many Western retailers grappled with the realization that they had no idea where the clothes they sold were sourced from or what working conditions were like.
Our reporter talked to 16 garment workers around the world. Some had better conditions than others, but most spoke of long hours, low pay and difficult work conditions, like skipping lunch to try to meet quotas or having to take on second jobs to make ends meet.
Quotable: “It’s not just difficult, it’s impossible to survive on the salary the textile mills pay,” Rukhsana said. “Are we supposed to choose between buying food and roti or paying for clothes and medicine?”

If you have some time, this is worth it

The decade in pictures

Chris Hondros/Getty Images
Photo editors at The Times have pored over images of moments both fresh and faded to tell the story of the 2010s, a decade of seemingly ceaseless upheaval.
Above, a rebel fighter during the Arab Spring celebrating as a rocket was fired toward troops loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan leader who was ousted and killed. The photographer, Chris Hondros, was fatally wounded the following week in a mortar attack by government forces in Misrata, Libya.
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Here’s what else is happening

Moscow shooting: Up to three people were killed after a gunman opened fire near the fortresslike headquarters of Russia’s spy agency on Thursday, according to Russian news reports. It was highly unusual for one of the most secure parts of the city.
Vladimir Putin: In his annual televised news conference, the Russian president defended President Trump, echoing Republican talking points on his impeachment and mocking Democrats.
Bank of England: The British central bank and regulators are investigating after learning that audio feeds from the bank’s news conferences this year were made available to some investors several seconds before others had access, giving them a leg up in today’s high-speed trading.
1MDB scandal: Goldman Sachs is in talks to pay a fine of as much as $2 billion, and have a subsidiary plead guilty, to settle claims about its role in a scheme to loot billions from the sovereign wealth fund in Malaysia.
The Philippines: A court found the leaders of a powerful local dynasty guilty in one of the country’s worst political massacres, in which dozens of members of a rival politician’s convoy, journalists and media workers were gunned down more than 10 years ago.
Indonesia: The government is allowing the illegal burning of plastic for fuel to continue while it challenges a report that the practice is poisoning residents in an East Java village.
Olya Morvan for The New York Times
Snapshot: Above, at a falcon hospital in Doha, Qatar, a country that reveres the birds. The state-of-the-art facility offers scans, surgeries and a link to the region’s centuries-old Bedouin culture. (And members of the royal family get to cut the line.)
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”: We rounded up reviews of the franchise’s latest film, four decades in the making. (Don’t worry — they’re spoiler-free.)
What we’re reading: New York Magazine’s examination of this year’s internet archetypes (VSCO girl, wife guy…). Katie Rosman, a Styles reporter says she loves the story “even if I don’t understand many of its sentences.”

Now, a break from the news

Con Poulos for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Susan Spungen. Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks.
Cook: Embrace your inner artist with these impressively marbled tahini cookies. (And here are 11 more stunning cookies that will impress everyone you know.)
Read: Michael Greger, the author of “How Not to Die,” returns to our advice, how-to and miscellaneous best-seller list with “How Not to Diet.”
Smarter Living: If you’re one of those last-minute holiday gift shoppers, we’ve got ideas. (And there’s always a gift subscription to The Times.)

And now for the Back Story on …

The solstice

Saturday is the Northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice, also known as the day that gets the least sunlight.
Some of us earthlings may grumble about the darkness (which hits the Southern Hemisphere in six months). But without it, we might not be alive.
People gather at Stonehenge to take part in a winter solstice ceremony last year.   Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Seasons occur because Earth, like most planets, does not spin perfectly upright. Our “axial tilt” is a jaunty 23.5 degrees, for example, while Uranus spins at 98 degrees.
Earth’s tilt helps to moderate our sun exposure. Our four seasons are comparatively mild and, thanks to our proximity to the sun, fairly brief.
Much of Uranus, by contrast, spends winters in permanent darkness and summers under constant sunlight. And those seasons last decades in Earth years.
“If there were creatures on Uranus — and I don’t think there are — seasonal affective disorder would be a lifetime thing,” the planetary scientist Heidi Hammel told The Times.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
— Melina
Thank you To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. Mike Ives, on the Briefings team, wrote the Back Story we used today for last year’s winter solstice. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about how the Democratic Party united over impeachment.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Sound from a pig (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• To create an authentic, respectful portrait of a gritty, bygone part of New York, our photographer used a laborious 19th-century technique called tintype.
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