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Europe’s big freeze, new Russian nuclear weapons and a guide to cooking rice. Here’s the news:
• The North Pole has been warmer than parts of Europe this week.
A growing body of research suggests that, because of climate change, the warming Arctic is weakening the polar vortex, allowing cold air to escape, much like when you leave your refrigerator door open.
Snow, freezing rain and brutal winds paralyzed cities across Europe. Expect road, rail and air traffic to continue to be disrupted, although temperatures could rise slightly on some parts of the Continent.
But it’s not over yet: A storm that is moving north from the Iberian Peninsula is expected to worsen conditions in Britain and Ireland.
• Major stock markets in the U.S. and Asia fell after President Trump announced stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum.
The European Union, Canada and others threatened to retaliate. The stability of the global trade system is at risk, our senior economics correspondent writes.
Mr. Trump’s announcement highlighted the dysfunction in the White House, which has not completed a legal review of the measures. The president’s chief economic adviser, who lobbied fiercely against the measures, threatened to quit.
Separately, tweets from Mr. Trump and the N.R.A.’s top lobbyist hint that the White House may be backing off earlier support for gun control.
• Call it Vladimir Putin’s guns-and-butter program.
The Russian president used an annual speech to threaten the West with new nuclear weapons, including an “invincible” intercontinental cruise missile. It remains unclear whether it actually exists.
His speech was long on economic promises for a domestic audience that is expected to extend his mandate in an election on March 18.
But experts were dubious that his proposal could be financed absent another surge in oil prices. Restructuring the economy would also entail unpopular measures such as laying off workers at state-protected firms in the oil and gas sectors.
• The big winner in Italy’s election on Sunday could be Russia.
Most of the possible outcomes will lead to a government in Rome that is willing to oppose its Western partners on Russia policy, including sanctions.
Separately, Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament, said he agreed to be Silvio Berlusconi’s prime ministerial candidate. (Above, Mr. Berlusconi at an event in Rome on Thursday.)
Misinformation has thrived on social media ahead of the vote. We looked at recent instances during other campaigns across Europe.
• The Academy Awards turn 90 on Sunday. Our veteran observer shared her forecast on the Oscars’ most likely winners.
One of her favorites is “Faces Places,” an idiosyncratic and bittersweet film co-directed by Agnès Varda, above right, the filmmaker nicknamed the grandmother of the French new wave. (We have been covering her work since 1958.)
And here’s our challenging Oscar quiz.
• Facebook is ending an experiment in six countries including Slovakia and Serbia in how users are shown news articles on its platform, after it led to a rise in misinformation.
• Daimler, the German carmaker, will buy Europcar’s 25 percent stake in Car2Go, paving the way for Mercedes and BMW to develop driverless taxis and take on the ride-hailing services Uber and Didi Chuxing.
• Cellphones on the moon? Vodafone and Nokia plan to build a cellular network in space to support what would be the first privately funded moon landing, planned for next year.
• An American seed company has turned to the marketing muscle of celebrity chefs to build an audience for new vegetables like sweeter peppers and milder beets.
• Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
• Carles Puigdemont, the ousted and self-exiled separatist leader of Catalonia, gave up his campaign to be reappointed as the region’s president. He called on lawmakers to instead appoint Jordi Sanchez, who is in prison in Madrid awaiting trial on charges of sedition. [The New York Times]
• We’ll be watching Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech on Brexit today. Meanwhile, we caught up with Nigel Farage in Washington. The politician said that he had taken several Hollywood meetings amid talk of “Brexit: The Movie.” [The New York Times]
• Hackers who targeted the German government’s data network appear to have been seeking specific information. Officials would not comment on reports of Russian involvement. [The New York Times]
• Slovakia’s prime minister has defied calls to fire the interior minister and the police chief in the aftermath of a journalist’s murder. [Bloomberg]
• An exposé in a Vatican magazine highlighted how nuns are exploited by the leaders and institutions of the Roman Catholic Church. [The New York Times]
• China’s lawmakers and top policy advisers convene for an annual gathering. The wealth of the richest among them rose to $650 billion last year — just below Switzerland’s annual economic output. [The New York Times]
• Seventeen volunteers in the Netherlands have agreed to host parasitic worms in their bodies to help advance research toward a vaccine for a deadly disease, schistosomiasis. [The New York Times]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• Learn how to make flawless rice, every time.
• Is that bump a spider bite? Probably not — most spiders only bite defensively.
• Natural cleaning can go beyond baking soda and vinegar. Ketchup, vodka and other household items can help with stains and spills.
• With 500 rooms, one guest (our correspondent), pigeons on the top floors and many cockroaches, the Grand Hotel in Kosovo reflects the travails of a new nation.
• Many designers, regardless of their industry, treat Pantone’s color books like some sacred text of a secret society. The company’s color forecasting is big business, and a mysterious art.
• A Dutch supermarket’s new plastic-free aisle offers lessons, and perhaps a model, for how to curb waste.
• Tennis moves toward taking the human element out of line calls, and maybe cutting out tantrums, too.
• Three plays in Munich and Berlin explore revolutionary ideas and utopian dreams.
He’s 13.5 inches tall and weighs a (relatively) hefty 8.5 pounds. He’s been handed out more than 3,000 times since 1929. And he’s one of the world’s most famous statuettes. You’ll probably know him as Oscar.
The winners of Sunday’s 90th Academy Awards will proudly take home the bronze, 24-karat gold-plated figure of a knight holding a crusader’s sword, which is officially called the Academy Award of Merit. (Bone up on the Best Picture nominees here. And here’s how to watch around the world.)
So where did the name Oscar come from?
One explanation is that Margaret Herrick, the librarian for the Academy who would later become its executive director, saw the statue in 1931 and said it reminded her of her uncle Oscar.
Others say the nickname came from the actress Bette Davis, who said the statue reminded her of her first husband, Harmon Oscar Nelson Jr.
A third version has it that the Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky coined the term when he referred to an old vaudeville joke “Will you have a cigar, Oscar?” in a 1934 column.
No matter who was responsible, it clearly stuck. In 1939, the Academy officially adopted the name.
Claire Moses contributed reporting.
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