2020年1月16日 星期四

Your Thursday Evening Briefing

Impeachment, Ukraine, Christopher Tolkien

Your Thursday Evening Briefing

Good evening. Here’s the latest.

Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA, via Shutterstock

1. President Trump is officially on trial.

In a somber ceremony that has happened only twice before in the nation’s history, Chief Justice John Roberts was sworn in as the presiding officer over the impeachment trial. He then administered an oath to all 100 senators.

The day began when House Democrats serving as trial managers formally delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate. The two articles — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — were then read aloud into the Senate record.

The trial is expected to start in earnest on Tuesday.

Even as the antiquated ritual unfolded, a trove of new evidence trickled in from Lev Parnas, an associate of the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. And the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan federal watchdog, ruled that the Trump administration broke the law by withholding security aid to Ukraine — an issue at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.


Erin Schaff/The New York Times

2. There was also impeachment-related news out of Ukraine.

The country has opened a criminal investigation into whether allies of President Trump had the U.S. ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, under surveillance. Ms. Yovanovitch was a key witness in the House impeachment hearings, above.


It was a remarkable departure for the new Ukrainian government, which has tried to stay out of the impeachment fray.

Victoria Razo/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

3. As his impeachment trial unfolded, President Trump had another significant trade victory.

The Senate approved the president’s revised trade deal with Canada and Mexico, sending the legislation to Mr. Trump, who is expected to sign it next week. The measure will allow more goods and services to flow tariff-free across North America.

The easing of trade war tensions added to Wall Street’s strong start in 2020 as stocks rose to another record high.

Meanwhile, Germany is embroiled in a debate that could have global consequences: whether to allow Huawei to help build its 5G next generation mobile network. But many German carmakers depend on China’s car buyers and already cooperate with Huawei — a dependency Beijing is not shy to exploit.

Edu Bayer for The New York Times

4. The F.B.I. arrested three men suspected of being members of a neo-Nazi hate group ahead of a contentious pro-gun rally in Virginia.

The men had weapons and discussed traveling to the rally, which is scheduled for the State Capitol in Richmond on Monday, a federal holiday celebrating the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. They were taken into custody as part of a long-running investigation into the neo-Nazi group, known as The Base.

Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency and announced a temporary ban on weapons on the Capitol grounds to avoid the kind of violence that occurred in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, above.

 via Associated Press

5. A Mississippi prison crisis has an unusual linchpin: smuggled phones.

Inmates have used illegal cellphones, which can sell for up to $600, to capture and transmit images — inmates fighting, broken toilets, holes in prison walls, dangling wires and dead rodents caught in sticky traps — to bring attention to the prisons’ troubling conditions.

“They’re treating us like animals,” an inmate in a Mississippi prison told a reporter over a contraband phone, before passing it on to more prisoners.

Officials said the pervasiveness of cellphones threatened prison security and undermined the very notion of incarceration.

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

6. Mets Manager Carlos Beltran resigned over the sign-stealing scandal involving the Houston Astros, the team he previously played for.

The scheme is the latest in a long run of cheating episodes that has our Sports reporter asking: Will this age of sports come to be known as the “asterisk era”? The sign-stealing scandal could be the apex, he writes, or maybe that’s just the way things are now in sports.

Looking ahead, the Australian Open draws are set, and 15-year-old Coco Gauff will have a familiar first-round opponent: Venus Williams.

Daniel Leal-Olivas/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

7. Christopher Tolkien, the son of J.R.R. Tolkien who guarded the legacy of “The Lord of the Rings,” has died at 95.

After his father died in 1973, Mr. Tolkien worked to keep alive the stories and characters created in “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.” He also compiled and edited much of his father’s work, including “The Silmarillion” and the collection “The History of Middle-earth.”

We also looked at the life of Ana Orantes, whose story of abuse, and ultimately murder, led to major legal reforms to protect women from domestic violence in Spain. It’s the latest obituary from our Overlooked project, and is today’s Great Read, a new project from The Times meant to showcase some of our best writing.

Agustin Nieto for The New York Times

8. New restaurants, thrilling wine offerings, a stimulating art scene, and yes, tango in the park — this is how to see Buenos Aires in 36 hours.

When the only thing that’s consistent in Argentina is change — political about-faces happen regularly, and the economy is in flux — visiting the country’s capital is always filled with new discoveries and beloved stalwarts, says our Travel writer.

Our Travel desk also retraced the Jimi Hendrix experience in London. Thanks to surviving landmarks and an impressive museum exhibit that recreates one of his old flats, London offers a lot to Hendrix fans, 50 years since the performer last called it home.

Rahim Fortune for The New York Times

9. No comic alive travels a greater distance between confidence and vulnerability than Leslie Jones, our comedy critic says.

The star of a dynamite new special talks about leaving “Saturday Night Live,” refusing to perform at the same club as Louis C.K. and why the new “Ghostbusters” is a win for the trolls.

And can “Star Trek” boldly go where it has never gone in its 54-year history? With “Picard,” a spinoff following Patrick Stewart’s Starfleet officer, the expanding franchise is trying to rediscover its place in a universe it effectively invented.

Christina Wheat Hansen

10. And finally, go fetch.

If wolf pups can play fetch with no training, ancient dog ancestors may have had a playful side too. That was the idea behind a recent study of 13 wolf puppies, like Sting, above, who played along with scientists.

Only three of the pups showed inherent fetch instincts, but that could be enough to show that playing with humans is a very old trait, rather than one that evolved after the animals were domesticated.

Have a playful night.

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