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We start today with the pending release of the Mueller report, North Korea’s weapons test and the climate protests in London.
The Mueller report is due today
For nearly two years, questions have swirled around the role Russia played in the 2016 U.S. election and whether President Trump obstructed justice during the ensuing investigation. On Thursday morning in Washington, a redacted version of the special counsel’s nearly 400-page report will finally be made public.
The New York Times will be offering live updates and analysis of the key findings. Here’s what to expect.
Congressional Democrats, reporters and many Americans will make a beeline to the section that addresses why the special counsel, Robert Mueller, decided not to draw a conclusion about whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice — a gap Attorney General William Barr filled with his own determination that the president had not.
In the White House: Justice Department officials had numerous conversations with White House lawyers about the report’s conclusions, our reporters were told, allowing Mr. Trump’s advisers to prepare rebuttals. The disclosure raises more questions about the propriety of Mr. Barr’s actions.
Some of Mr. Trump’s advisers are concerned about whether he will retaliate against them if the report reveals them to be sources of damaging details.
Read for yourself: The redacted report is to be posted on the special counsel’s website.
Donations for Notre-Dame surge, and anger follows
Individuals, companies and institutions have already given or pledged 850 million euros, or about $960 million, to the reconstruction of the fire-ravaged cathedral, and Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced plans for an international competition to design a new spire.
But the spectacle of French billionaires trying to outdo one another with gifts that may win them tax breaks quickly intensified resentments over inequality that have flared during the Yellow Vest movement.
Saving the treasures: The Paris Fire Department’s chaplain, the Rev. Jean-Marc Fournier, has emerged as a central figure in the mission to rescue artworks, artifacts and relics from the blaze. He described to our reporter how he and 100 firefighters carried the precious pieces to safety as molten debris showered down.
Detailing the fire: Our interactive graphic takes you inside Notre-Dame’s attic, where the blaze started.
Climate protests disrupt London
They’ve glued themselves to the top of a London commuter train, staged a group yoga class on a major bridge and occupied major landmarks.
And hundreds have been arrested since Monday, in a civil disobedience campaign demanding immediate government action on climate change.
“We’re not trying to be a nuisance and bother commuters,” said Luis Silva, a member of Extinction Rebellion, the activist group that organized the protests, “but we need to shake people for them to understand that this is a global emergency and we all have to participate to avert the impending disaster.”
Validation: The protesters’ cause was bolstered — whether intentionally or not — by Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, who warned the financial sector that it faced an existential threat from climate change and urged international banks to take immediate steps to prepare.
International plan: Extinction Rebellion says it has organized demonstrations in more than 80 cities across 33 countries, to be held in the next few days.
North Korea claims test of new weapon
North Korea said today that it had test-fired a new type of “tactical guided weapon.” There was no evidence the test involved a nuclear detonation or an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Experts said it was likely that the test was a demonstration of a conventional weapons system, perhaps artillery or an antiaircraft system, and amounted to signal-sending by the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.
Analysis: Mr. Kim has held off on nuclear and long-range missile tests, meeting twice with President Trump in hopes of persuading the U.S. to lift crippling sanctions. Mr. Kim may be raising the stakes by suggesting that the moratorium — Mr. Trump’s signature foreign policy initiative — could collapse before the 2020 elections.
If you have 18 minutes, this is worth it
Calmly running the most chaotic place on the internet
During Susan Wojcicki’s tenure as chief executive of YouTube, she has had to contend with uploads of pedophilia and mass murder. Yet she has largely kept a low profile and escaped the public scrutiny that her peers on other platforms have faced.
To get a sense of what she was like as a leader, our reporter spoke to more than a dozen current and former employees, and Ms. Wojcicki herself — three times.
Here’s what else is happening
Science: In a study that raises profound questions about the line between life and death, researchers restored some cellular activity to brains removed from slaughtered pigs. A bioethicist called the brains “partly alive.”
Venezuela: The first airlift of a large-scale relief campaign landed on Tuesday, and relief workers are grappling with how to deliver aid in a crumbling, divided, violent country.
Sudan: Former President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has not been seen publicly since he was deposed last week, has been moved to a prison in Khartoum, the capital.
Snapshot: Above, the video board announced that a Manchester City goal had been disallowed in the final moments of its second-leg quarterfinal match against Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League. The Spurs won.
Lionel Messi: Barcelona’s triumph on Tuesday over Manchester United reveals a genius in full bloom, our soccer reporter writes.
Beyoncé: The singer released “Homecoming,” a previously unannounced live-album version of her performance last year at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, just as Netflix began streaming a documentary about the career-defining set.
What we’re reading: This piece from The Bulwark. “It’s a compelling counterpoint to the idea that being gay and running for president isn’t a big deal in 2019,” says Jeremy Peters, our national political reporter. “Tim Miller’s reaction to Pete Buttigieg kissing his husband onstage at a rally is a reminder that this is still very new.”
Now, a break from the news
And now for the Back Story on …
Thailand’s king is Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun. That is not his entire name. But that is all we publish in The Times.
Family names — a 20th-century innovation in Thailand — are constructed to be distinct, and that often means extra syllables.
If foreigners find Thai names to be a mouthful, so, apparently, do Thais, who use nicknames in everyday life. Many people are called Lek (Thai for small), Nok (bird) and Poo (crab and, please, it’s pronounced closer to “boo”).
This writer’s younger son has played soccer against an Ice, a Python and a Barcode. A girl in our building is called DTAC, which is the name of my cellphone operator.
But the length of people’s names is nothing compared with the full name for Bangkok, the Thai capital. It starts with Krungthep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya and continues for 45 more syllables.
That’s it for this briefing. See you on the other side of the Mueller report. — Andrea
Katie Van Syckle helped compile today’s briefing. Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford, Chris Harcum and Kenneth R. Rosen provided the break from the news. Hannah Beech, our Southeast Asia bureau chief, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
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