2019年12月18日 星期三

Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

Impeachment, Obamacare, Tekashi69

Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

Good evening. Here’s the latest.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

1. A day of battle before a moment of history.

With a House of Representatives roll call due imminently — and a vote for impeachment considered certain — Republicans and Democrats clashed for hours in a fierce debate that reflected the deep polarization gripping American politics.

Member by member, the House debated a pair of charges that would make Donald Trump the third president in history to face removal by the Senate for “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose legacy is now tied to impeachment, appealed to every representative to uphold the oath to “protect and defend” the Constitution. Republicans accused the Democrats of manufacturing a case against a president they never viewed as legitimate.


Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

2. Who is taking the greater risk, Democrats or Republicans?

Backing the impeachment is a politically risky step for many Democrats, given that Republicans have made clear the effort will die in the Senate, our chief Washington correspondent writes in an analysis.


High-profile partisan House initiatives that go on to die in the Senate can cost lawmakers their seats. At least a few races could turn on the issue.

But Democrats say the risks rest with Senate Republicans if they fail to give serious consideration to convicting Mr. Trump. And vulnerable Democrats say that they are compelled to do what they see as the right thing.

Chris Wattie/Reuters

3. The U.S. moved to allow drug imports from Canada.

The Trump administration’s proposal, meant to lower drug prices, is a long way from being finalized, and many expensive medicines, like insulin, would be excluded.

But the administration’s decision to move forward, despite vehement opposition from the pharmaceutical industry on safety grounds, was supported by both political parties.

And Obamacare’s individual mandate was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal appeals court, leaving the fate of the law in limbo.

Nick Oxford/Reuters

4. “We are in a crisis mode.”

That’s the chief executive of a major French supplier to Boeing, one of the companies awaiting the fallout from Boeing’s suspension of 737 Max production.

Boeing’s decision creates a situation the suppliers had dreaded — a suspension of unknown length that could force them to scale back operations.

“People don’t know what staff to keep on — how many do I need to hire, do I need to think about firing people,” said an aerospace expert. Above, Max fuselages built by Spirit AeroSystems in Kansas.

In automotive industry news, Fiat Chrysler and PSA, the maker of Peugeot and Citroën cars, agreed on the terms of their merger. When the deal closes in another year to 15 months, their brands will include Alfa Romeo, Dodge, Jeep, Opel, Vauxhall and Maserati.

Ramin Rahimian/Reuters

5. This coal baron funded climate denial — and himself — as his company spiraled into bankruptcy.

New court filings show that Robert Murray paid himself $14 million, handed his successor a $4 million bonus and earmarked nearly $1 million for casting doubt on man-made climate change before his company, Ohio-based Murray Energy, filed for court protection in October.

The filings provide what one environmental campaigner called “a breakthrough” in understanding who is financing groups that deny the existence of climate change. The funds usually come via third-party organizations with nondescript names, obscuring the identity of donors.

Mr. Murray, a prominent Trump supporter, helped engineer dozens of climate change and environmental rollbacks over the past three years.

Luca Bruno/Associated Press

6. The rapper Tekashi69 was sentenced to two years in prison. The question is whether he’ll survive it.

The heavily tattooed Brooklyn-based performer, who is also known as 6ix9ine, cut a deal with prosecutors. Under his legal name, Daniel Hernandez, he gave sometimes riveting testimony a few months ago against former gang associates in the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods. Along the way, he revealed the symbiotic relationship between the rap industry and the streets.

At 23, he faces an uncertain future. His 13 months already served will count toward his sentence, but prosecutors have said he is at risk to be killed or injured in prison.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

7. A judge ordered Edward Snowden to hand over his royalties.

The former intelligence contractor must give the proceeds from his memoir to the federal government.

The reasoning: Mr. Snowden, who has been living as a fugitive in Russia, did not submit it to intelligence agencies for vetting, in violation of agreements he signed as an intelligence contractor to get security clearances.

Mr. Snowden’s book, “Permanent Record,” recounts how his alarm over the growth of the National Security Agency’s broad surveillance of Americans efforts spurred him to leak top-secret records in 2013.

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

8. Athletes hear differently.

Dr. Nina Kraus’s research found that the brains of fit, young athletes dial down extraneous noise and attend to important sounds better than those of other young people. “Basically, their brains were quieter,” she said.

That suggests playing sports may alter how well people sense the world around them.

In another health study, researchers found that being an early bird, sleeping seven to eight hours a night, having no insomnia, not snoring and not being sleepy during the day were tied to better cardiovascular health.

Among people genetically at high risk for heart disease, good sleep habits were actually protective, putting them at lower risk than poor sleepers with similarly high genetic risk.


9. Get ready to take sides.

Our reviewer A.O. Scott says “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is one of the best in the series. But then he also says that his ranking of the franchise’s films would be “a nine-way tie for fourth place.”

No spoilers, he promises, but Rey, Finn, Poe and Kylo Ren are back.

Also opening Friday is “Cats,” the film adaptation of the Broadway musical that people seem to either love or hate. We give you 10 pieces of arcana from its four-decade history.

Gordon Welters for The New York Times

10. And finally, cheese smells. Deal with it, a court ruled.

Manuela Kragler lives upstairs from a Munich cheese shop whose pungent smells permeate her home. So over three years, she picketed the shop and plastered signs on its windows protesting the odoriferous invasion.

This week, a court in Germany — which produces more cheese than even France or Italy — told her to knock it off.

While Ms. Kragler is allowed to “claim that she considers the smell to be stinky and a form of pollution,” the court said she is not allowed to post warning signs.

Have an undisturbed evening.

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