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We start today with a look at a truce in the U.S.-China trade war, the life of George Bush and the continuing protests in France. We’d also like to wish a happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate. Last, please let us know what you think about our new format.
Qatar to withdraw from OPEC: The tiny, wealthy country announced today that it would leave the global oil cartel in January, a move that will allow it to increase production. The energy minister said the decision wasn’t related to a Saudi-led boycott on Qatar.
A temporary truce in the trade war
An agreement this weekend between President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China will give the two leaders some political breathing room as their trade dispute begins to take a toll.
Mr. Trump agreed to hold off on imposing additional tariffs on Chinese goods, and Mr. Xi pledged to import more American products. But the deal, reached at the Group of 20 meeting in Argentina, does little to resolve the deep differences between the world’s two largest economies.
Reaction: Markets in Asia and Europe jumped today, but the rise was tempered by a consensus that the truce might not last.
Related: Mr. Trump also announced his intention to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement. The move is intended to force House Democrats to approve a revised version of the pact, despite concerns that it fails to protect American workers.
Remembering the life of George Bush
The former president will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington beginning this afternoon, and a state funeral will be held at the National Cathedral on Wednesday. Mr. Bush will be laid to rest on the grounds of his presidential library at Texas A&M University.
Obituary: Mr. Bush, the 41st president and the father of the 43rd, died Friday at his home in Houston. He was 94.
Looking back: Mr. Bush led the country through the end of the Cold War and the beginning of its long entanglement in Iraq, helping to build a global framework that President Trump is dismantling. Read more about Mr. Bush’s legacy.
The Daily: Today’s episode is about Mr. Bush and why he didn’t get a second term.
In Congress: Washington had been planning to work this week to avert a partial government shutdown. Lawmakers are now considering a one- or two-week spending bill to set aside negotiations until after Mr. Bush’s funeral.
French government plans to meet with protesters
President Emmanuel Macron returned from the Group of 20 summit meeting to a country in turmoil after a third weekend of nationwide protests by the “Yellow Vests” movement, which began in response to rising gas taxes.
He ordered Prime Minister Édouard Philippe to meet with representatives of the movement starting today. The Yellow Vests take their name from the high-visibility safety vests that motorists carry.
Background: The protests have largely focused on Paris, but they are rooted in rural France, where ordinary workers are angry about economic inequality.
Watch: Video of the violence this weekend in Paris.
Washington hopes to open up drilling in Alaska
The Trump administration, working with Republicans in Congress and an influential Alaska Native corporation, is quickly clearing the way for oil exploration in the federally protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The biggest untapped onshore trove of oil in North America is believed to lie beneath the refuge’s coastal plain. The Times examined how, in the space of about a year, the area went from off limits to open for business. Here are six takeaways from our report.
The impact: Actual oil production is at least a decade away, but the turnaround is a breakthrough in the administration’s campaign to ease environmental policies.
How we know: This article is based on interviews with more than three dozen people and a review of internal government deliberations and federal documents.
If you have 14 minutes, this is worth it
Housing migrant children — and profiting
Southwest Key Programs now houses more migrant children than any other organization in the nation. A charity on paper, it has collected $1.7 billion in federal grants in the past decade, including $626 million in the past year.
But it has left a record of sloppy management and possible financial improprieties, according to dozens of interviews and an examination of documents. And no one has benefited more than Juan Sanchez, the 71-year-old Texan who founded it.
Here’s what else is happening
New trouble for Israeli leader: The police recommended that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted on bribery, fraud and other charges. It is the third time this year they have made such a recommendation.
Google on Capitol Hill: The company’s chief executive, Sundar Pichai, is to testify on Wednesday in Congress, where he’s likely to hear accusations that his company suppresses conservative-leaning news. It’s one of the business headlines to watch.
Snapshot: Above, a family exploring earthquake damage in Wasilla, Alaska. The marvel of the magnitude 7 quake that jolted Anchorage on Friday is that it didn’t cause more destruction.
College football playoffs: The semifinal matchups on Dec. 29 are set: Clemson will play Notre Dame at the Cotton Bowl, and Alabama will play Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.
Good news: A couple from England got engaged in New York this weekend, then the ring fell through a grate in Times Square. The police came to the rescue.
What we’re reading: This brief but pointed essay from BuzzFeed News. Andrea Kannapell, our briefings editor, observes: “Reporters who write about, or carefully monitor, news of the Mueller investigation appear to be the biggest fans of this look at how it’s playing out on Twitter — as ‘the biggest internet fandom there’s ever been.’”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: Serve a comforting stew of spiced chickpeas crisped in olive oil, then simmered in a garlicky coconut milk.
Read: In the throes of the#MeToo movement, Manohla Dargis re-examined what she learned — and had to unlearn — from the big screen.
Listen: “We Appreciate Power,” Grimes’s new track. “Her voice is high and girlish but not at all naïve,” our critic Jon Pareles writes.
Smarter Living: Try writing down everything you spend for one month. Maybe you’ll notice how fast purchases add up, how easy it is to blow $20, or how tempting it is to solve a problem by throwing money at it. Tracking expenditures will help you think before you buy.
And now for the Back Story on …
A celebrity wedding venue in India
The actress Priyanka Chopra and the singer Nick Jonas tied the knot this weekend in the northern Indian city of Jodhpur (where your Back Story writer was born).
Among the many dazzling details of the closely watched wedding was the venue: the Umaid Bhawan Palace.
Named after one of Jodhpur’s kings, Maharajah Umaid Singh, the grandiose sandstone structure took 15 years to build and was completed in 1943. Peacocks strut around its surrounding manicured gardens. Intricately carved pillars hold up its dome.
But perhaps most remarkable is its noble origin story. It is said that the palace was built as a mass relief program, employing thousands of local residents when the city was hit by a crippling drought.
After the Indian government ceased to recognize Indian royalty in 1971, the palace was split into three parts: the royal residence where Mr. Singh’s grandson now lives, a luxury hotel and a museum.
That’s it for this briefing.
Are you a fan of our Back Stories? We’re always looking for ideas on what to write about next. Please email us.
See you next time.
To Eleanor Stanford for her cultural acumen and Kenneth R. Rosen and James K. Williamson for Smarter Living ideas. Alisha Haridasani Gupta, who writes the Asian and Australian briefings, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
👂We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about former President George Bush.
❓Here’s today’s mini crossword puzzle, and a clue: Slender part of a wineglass (4 letters).
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