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Here’s what you need to know:
• North Korea has likely been helping the Syrian government build chemical weapons, according to U.N. experts.
The New York Times reviewed an unreleased U.N. report written by a panel assessing the North’s compliance with U.N. sanctions. It cites years of North Korean shipments of necessary components to Syria and the presence of North Korean technicians at Syrian chemical weapons facilities.
Above, the Eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus last week.
Separately, President Trump said the U.S. was open to talks with Pyongyang. Within hours, his top diplomat on North Korea announced plans to retire.
• More sweeping change in Saudi Arabia.
Now it’s the leadership of the kingdom’s military and security services: Royal decrees ousted dozens of officials and elevated younger successors.
The shifts come at a time of rapid economic and social changes propelled by the ascendance of the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
• Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras culminates with a parade on Saturday.
But the corporate vibe of the festivities has revived a debate about the joining of politics and commercialism, which can shrink the roles of grass-roots activists and longtime participants.
“Netflix! How the hell did they get in? They have money,” one critic said. “They’ve never been part of the community, never.”
• China’s contracting coal sector is finding new life abroad, testing the country’s climate leadership.
A Kenyan port town that was designated a Unesco world heritage site could soon be home to the country’s first coal-fired power plant. It’s one of hundreds of that Chinese multinationals are helping to build or finance around the world.
• Weather extremes: In Italy, Romans took to the streets after snow fell on the capital, above, for the first time in six years.
The same Siberian weather front, nicknamed the Beast from the East, brought frigid temperatures across Europe and has now blanketed London.
And at the same time, record high temperatures in the Arctic are alarming scientists: “This is an anomaly among anomalies.”
Keep abreast of the latest with our “Climate Fwd:” newsletter. Sign up here.
• In the U.S., a snowballing effort to boycott the National Rifle Association had a moment of pause.
The lieutenant governor of Georgia threatened to block a proposed tax cut for Delta after the airline eliminated a discount for members of the N.R.A.
President Trump, who continues to weigh responses to the mass shooting at a high school in Florida, said he would have rushed into the school, even unarmed.
• Beijing’s takeover of Anbang Insurance Group, one of China’s biggest spenders, has regulators worldwide struggling to understand what that means for the company’s properties. The move has also raised questions about the Chinese government’s role in the country’s economy.
• Comcast, the broadcasting and cable global giant, bid $31 billion for the British satellite broadcaster Sky, potentially derailing 21st Century Fox’s efforts to acquire full control.
• An emerging field called digital phenotyping is trying to assess people’s physical and mental health based on their interactions with their devices.
• Jerome Powell, in his first public appearance as chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, told Congress he would continue to bolster strong growth but avoid “overheating” the economy.
• A new generation of cameras can understand what they see, creating intriguing and sometimes eerie possibilities, our tech columnist writes.
• U.S. stocks were down. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
• A German court has ruled that diesel vehicles can be banned from some streets as part of efforts to improve air quality in urban areas. [The New York Times]
• An Israeli court delayed a decision on whether to extradite Malka Leifer to Australia to face sex crimes charges pending a review of her mental health. [ABC]
• New Zealand’s main opposition party elected Simon Bridges, a young lawmaker billing himself as the candidate offering a “generation change,” to counter the popularity and charisma of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. [The New York Times]
• An American tourist who was arrested in Japan now faces charges of disposing of and damaging a body in connection with the murder of woman in Osaka. [The New York Times]
• Taiwanese consumers are in a near panic over a shortage of one of modern life’s basic necessities: toilet paper. [The New York Times]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• Sniffling? Learn the right way to sneeze to avoid making others sick.
• A shopping ban can help you reassess what you really need.
• Recipe of the day: Fresh paprika makes for a superlative chicken paprikash.
• The Tasmanian tiger, a doglike marsupial hunted to extinction in the early 1900s, has revealed some of its secrets. CT scans of rare baby specimens preserved in jars pinpoint exactly when their development left the marsupial inheritance to shift toward the canine.
• How do the elite live when their country is constantly on the brink of collapse? A Spanish photographer looked into the world of Lebanon’s 1 percent.
• Eido Tai Shimano, 1932-2018: He led a group in New York for his branch of Japanese Zen Buddhism, but resigned in 2010 after a sex scandal.
• It took a dance dream team to transform Jennifer Lawrence into a credible ballet dancer — a Bolshoi prima, no less — for her role in the dark spy thriller “Red Sparrow.”
Our recent obituary for the Rev. Billy Graham referred to the Scopes “monkey trial,” so we thought we’d revisit the case.
It was a turning point in the acceptance of evolution in the U.S.
In 1925, after Tennessee barred schools from teaching evolution, the American Civil Liberties Union offered to defend anyone who challenged the law. Residents of Dayton convinced a young teacher named John Scopes to do so, in a bid for publicity.
They got it. The proceedings became a nationally watched showdown between science and religion, each represented by a prominent figure: Clarence Darrow, a lawyer and agnostic, defended Scopes; William Jennings Bryan, a Christian orator, prosecuted him.
Dayton officials encouraged the spectacle. They considered moving the trial to a baseball field. A barbecue pit was dug in the courthouse’s lawn. And The Times described a display of “two chimpanzees and a strange-appearing man who is called the ‘missing link.’ ”
In the trial’s climactic moment, Darrow called Bryan as a witness, grilling him on biblical literalism. Darrow declared that he wanted to keep “bigots and ignoramuses from controlling” education. Bryan retorted that he needed to protect religion from the country’s “greatest atheist and agnostic.”
In the end, Scopes was convicted after eight minutes of jury debate and fined $100, a decision later overturned on a technicality. But it was Darrow’s impassioned critique of fundamentalism that won hearts and minds across the country.
Jillian Rayfield contributed reporting.
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