‘Exercise your common sense,’ U.S. senators are told
On the third day of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, House impeachment managers wrapped up their case with clips of rioters at the Capitol on Jan. 6 saying they were acting on Mr. Trump’s orders, including one who yelled at police officers, “We are listening to Trump — your boss.”
In another clip, a member of a militia group told an associate she was “awaiting direction from President Trump” about what to do. “We were invited here,” one of the rioters screamed, the clip echoing through the Senate chamber.
Democrats presenting the case argued that Mr. Trump’s “lack of remorse” suggested he would stoke fresh violence if he were allowed to hold office again.
Concluding remarks: “Let’s not get caught up in a lot of outlandish lawyers’ theories here,” said Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the lead impeachment manager. “Exercise your common sense about what just took place in our country.”
Analysis: Democrats would need at least 17 Republicans to vote to convict Mr. Trump, which is extremely unlikely. So House managers are addressing two audiences beyond the chamber, our chief White House correspondent writes: the American people, and the historians who will decide Mr. Trump’s legacy.
The future of Europe’s pandemic-stricken cities
Faced with an exodus of city dwellers, Europe’s urban planners must confront a daunting problem: how to dissuade them from decamping to the countryside for good.
That means grappling with long-established problems — housing affordability, safe transportation and access to green space — that have grown more urgent during the pandemic. More broadly, cities must address new desires about connecting with nature and “reconnecting with life,” said Philipp Rode, a researcher at the London School of Economics.
Already, Milan has designated more than 20 miles of cycling lanes as well as “parklets” in former parking lots, while London officials introduced temporary bike lanes and widened pedestrian zones as commuters shifted to avoid the dangers of crowded subways and buses. Paris and Barcelona have taken similar steps.
Quote: “There is an opportunity,” as the pandemic fades from view, to “introduce new behaviors,” said Léan Doody, an urban planner. “Perhaps city authorities, transport authorities and employers could think about policies to make a vision of the future that actually works for everyone.”
Vaccine diplomacy: China, India and other countries are using Covid-19 vaccines to gain favor or thaw relations with other nations.
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
China bans BBC programs
A week after Britain’s broadcasting regulator banned China Global Television Network, or CGTN, citing its control by the Chinese Communist Party, China’s equivalent appears to have retaliated.
China’s National Radio and Television Administration announced on Friday that the BBC would be barred from airing its programs in China. It accused the British news service of biased and inaccurate reporting.
The announcement did not specify which news stories were found to have violated Chinese rules. But for days, Chinese officials and state media have complained about BBC reports on Xinjiang, the western region of China where Muslim minorities have endured detentions and draconian controls.
Details: The ban will affect the limited number of viewers in China who had been able to access the BBC, through satellite services in international hotels and residential compounds mostly populated by foreigners.
If you have 10 minutes, this is worth it
Aging a fine whiskey — overnight
Making excellent whiskey takes time, and money. But it doesn’t have to, according to Stuart Aaron and Martin Janousek, who own Bespoken Spirits in Menlo Park, Calif., above. They say they can make whiskey in just a few days, using heat and pressure to force alcohol in and out of small pieces of wood that give the spirit its characteristic flavor and color.
Nearly a dozen companies claim that they can speed, or even bypass, the aging process without sacrificing quality. But are they right? And where does whiskey made overnight fit in a business built on tradition and prestige?
Here’s what else is happening
Fossil fuels: Royal Dutch Shell, Europe’s largest oil and gas producer, said that its “total oil production peaked in 2019” and that it expected a gradual decline of oil production of 1 to 2 percent annually going forward.
Meghan and Harry: In a victory for Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, in their feud with the British tabloids, a British judge ruled on Thursday that The Mail on Sunday had invaded Meghan’s privacy by publishing a private letter she had sent to her father.
Snapshot: Above, a Bangkok market decorated for the Lunar New Year holiday. Chinese people around the world are welcoming the Year of the Ox in more subdued ways because of coronavirus restrictions.
Lives lived: The French writer Jean-Claude Carrière, who collaborated with the director Luis Buñuel on a string of important films and worked on scores of other movies, among them Philip Kaufman’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” died at 89 on Monday.
What we’re reading: This mesmerizing Rolling Stone feature about the writer H.G. “Hache” Carrillo, who died from the coronavirus in April. Though he was known as “an emblem of Black Latinidad,” it was posthumously revealed that his Cuban identity was, in fact, a fiction.
Now, a break from the news
Watch: El Yiyo grew up in Spain’s Roma community, but he learned to dance by watching Michael Jackson videos online. Now his flamenco videos on YouTube blend genres and move beyond the classical form.
Do: Take your front-row seat: Here’s what to watch during the New York, London, Milan and Paris digital fashion weeks.
Start with the weekend with some inspiration. At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the Back Story on …
Finding romance in a year of despair
The last time anyone celebrated Valentine’s Day, most of the world was carrying on much as usual: Couples met at movie theaters, bars were full of dates, and restaurants were brimming with lovers sharing candlelit dinners. This year, that most celebrated date night looks drastically different.
Our reporter talked to couples who did fall in love this year, despite the odds. Here’s one of their stories.
A few months before cases of the novel coronavirus started to appear, Maria Saavedra, 37, a law administrator from Luxembourg, and Abdala Ahmed, 27, a businessman from Alexandria, shared a taxi cab in an Egyptian coastal town.
When they ran into each other again in the same area the next day, he asked for her contact information. “Since that day, we haven’t missed a day talking or chatting,” Mr. Ahmed said.
By September, Ms. Saavedra was able to join Mr. Ahmed in Egypt. He proposed, and they were married in Alexandria. While they currently live on separate continents, Mr. Ahmed plans to move to Luxembourg, Ms. Saavedra said, adding that they will, eventually, have a second wedding in Europe.
“I think the reason we have lasted was because we always tried to be thankful for having met, instead of questioning that we were separated,” she said.
That’s it for this briefing. Have a wonderful weekend.
Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news. You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected]
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