2020年1月2日 星期四

Your Thursday Evening Briefing

Iraq, Carlos Ghosn, Tumbleweeds

Your DAYDAYDAY Evening Briefing

Good evening. Here’s the latest.

Jonathan Drake/Reuters

1. “The game has changed.”

That was Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who said that U.S. forces were prepared to pre-emptively strike Iranian-backed militias in Iraq after members of one, Kataib Hezbollah, attacked the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday.

The U.S. has been escalating its threatening language and conducted airstrikes against the militia since it killed an American contractor in a strike in northern Iraq less than a week ago.

Roughly 100 troops have been sent to Baghdad to shore up the embassy’s defenses, and 700 troops from Fort Bragg, N.C., have been ordered to Kuwait, above. They’re part of a brigade of nearly 4,000 soldiers preparing to deploy if needed.


Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

2. The Trump administration announced a ban on most e-cigarette flavors. But certain kinds, including liquids popular in vape shops as well as menthol and tobacco flavors, are exempt.

The F.D.A. says the restrictions will apply to closed cartridge systems, like flavored pods, above, that are popular with teenagers. The ban goes into effect in a month.


The announcement backtracks from plans that would have banned all flavors, which vaping and tobacco industries had lobbied against furiously.

Kyodo News, via Associated Press

When the fallen former chairman of Nissan and Renault skipped bail late Sunday in Japan, a plane was waiting to whisk him away to Turkey, and another to take him on to Lebanon. There were multiple passports, rumors of shadowy forces at work and people in power denying they knew anything about it.

Above, Mr. Ghosn in April, leaving detention on bail in Tokyo.

On Thursday, Lebanon received a notice from Interpol seeking help apprehending Mr. Ghosn, Tokyo prosecutors raided his home and a French official said Mr. Ghosn, who holds French, Brazilian and Lebanese passports, would not be extradited if he traveled to France.

Peter Parks/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

4. Tens of thousands of people in southeastern Australia were forced to evacuate after the authorities warned that the huge fires headed their way might be the worst yet in an already catastrophic season.

Fleeing motorists formed long lines at gas stations in the southeastern part of New South Wales, after the state declared a state of emergency. The Australian Navy was preparing to ferry some people trapped along the coast to safety. Above, cars leaving the town of Batemans Bay, about 180 miles south of Sydney.

“It’s going to be a blast furnace” in the coming days, the transport minister of New South Wales said, adding that the relocation of people was the region’s largest in history.

Jordan Gale for The New York Times

5. A flood of money has rushed into the presidential race.

In the last three months, Senator Bernie Sanders raised $34.5 million, the largest single-quarter haul by any candidate so far in the Democratic primary race.

Pete Buttigieg’s campaign said he took in more than $24.7 million in the same period; Joe Biden raked in $22.7 million, a significant improvement from the previous three months; and Andrew Yang said he raised $16.5 million.

Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign said it had raised $46 million for the quarter, making a total of $143 million for 2019, with a staggering $102.7 million in cash on hand.

Meanwhile, the pool of candidates shrank. Julián Castro, the former housing secretary who was the only Latino candidate in the field, dropped out.

Northwestern University

6. Artificial intelligence is learning to read mammograms — and may eventually outperform humans at finding cancer, new research shows.

The study, published by Google and medical centers in the U.S. and Britain, found that an A.I. system outperformed radiologists, finding cancer, above, that humans had missed, and also reducing false positives. It is still being studied and not ready for widespread use.

And there was good news for a century-old tuberculosis vaccine. In a test on monkeys, scientists found a new injection method into a vein is far more protective than the normal route, just under the skin.

Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press

7. Our columnists reflected on the careers — and legacies — of two sports legends.

David Stern, the former N.B.A. commissioner who died on Wednesday at 77, may not have been born into the position, writes Harvey Araton, but “he was born for the challenges and crises that inevitably loomed,” especially when it came to navigating race.

Our longtime N.B.A. reporter had this to say about Stern: “You understood, most of all, that Stern wanted anyone who had anything to do with the N.B.A. to care as deeply as he did.”

And Tyler Kepner takes us back to 1956, when an ordinary Yankees pitcher named Don Larsen became “among the most hallowed in the history of the sport.” Larsen, who threw the only perfect game in World Series history, also died on Wednesday.

Philip Montgomery for The New York Times

8. Martin Scorsese wants to talk about death.

“You just have to let go, especially at this vantage point of age,” the 77-year-old filmmaker said.

In a wide-ranging interview with our culture reporter Dave Itzkoff, the director talked about his own mortality, and also the treatment of women in his movies and moviemaking in the Netflix age.

Scorsese’s “The Irishman” fits squarely into a year of movie nostalgia. Will the Oscars get as nostalgic as Hollywood did in 2019? Our critics discuss. Our Carpetbagger also made his predictions for the Golden Globes.

The New York TImes

9. New year, new books!

Members of our Book Review rounded up what they’re looking forward to reading this year. There are new books from beloved authors (Elena Ferrante and Julia Alvarez), political memoirs (John Bolton, the former national security adviser) and a few debut novels.

Looking for something to watch? Our TV critic Mike Hale selected 50 shows worth watching this winter. “The analysts say that the 10-figure budgets currently being thrown around are unsustainable,” he writes, “so enjoy the great bingeing bubble of the early 21st century while you can.”

Trooper Chris Thorson/Washington State Patrol, via Associated Press

10. And finally, tumbling into 2020.

In film, tumbleweeds usually signal abandonment, but for one stretch of highway in southeastern Washington State, it was more like a Western turned sci-fi.

On New Year’s Eve, hundreds of tumbleweeds piled as much as 30 feet high for some 300 yards along Route 240, close to the Columbia River. Some vehicles were trapped for hours.

Crews used snowplows and their bare hands (watch the video) to clear the road. The region has seen tumbleweeds mass before, but not like this. By the end of the night, the authorities were calling the event “Tumblegeddon.”

Have an unobstructed evening.

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