Friday, November 15, 2019

Your Friday Briefing

Friday, Nov 15, 2019 | View in browser
Good morning.
We’re covering today’s testimony in the impeachment investigation, a shooting at a high school in Southern California, and the brawl that erupted at last night’s Browns-Steelers game.
By Chris Stanford
Marie Yovanovitch after speaking privately to impeachment investigators in Washington last month.  Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Day Two of the impeachment hearings

Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, is set to testify publicly today about the campaign led by Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, that led to her abrupt ouster in May.
She will be the sole witness at a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee starting at 9 a.m. Eastern. The Times will stream her appearance live, and our reporters will provide real-time context and analysis. Here’s what to expect.
Her testimony comes a day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused Mr. Trump of bribery, which the Constitution calls an impeachable offense, in his dealings with Ukraine.
Another angle: Also on Thursday, an official at the Office of Management and Budget appeared poised to defy orders and cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. The office played a crucial role in holding up $391 million in security aid to Ukraine.
Reaction: Times reporters went to six swing states to sample opinion on impeachment after public testimony began in Washington. We found the nation’s divisions on stark display.
Perspectives: Opinion writers from across the political spectrum discussed the first hearing, on Wednesday.
Students waiting to be reunited with their parents after the shooting in Santa Clarita, Calif., on Thursday.  David Walter Banks for The New York Times

The ‘sad reality’ of another school shooting

Investigators were searching for a motive after the police said a 16-year-old boy pulled a pistol from his backpack and fatally shot two fellow students at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif., on Thursday. Three others were wounded.
The suspect shot himself and was reportedly in grave condition. Thursday was his birthday, the police said.
The details: Three off-duty law enforcement officers had just dropped off their children at the school and were effectively the first to respond. Here’s what else we know about the shooting, the gunman and the victims.
Quotable: “Kids today, they never call, so you get this call, and you automatically wonder what it’s going to be,” said a man whose son is a sophomore at Saugus.

Russia hampers U.N. inquiry in Syria

A United Nations investigation into aerial bombings of hospitals in rebel areas — possible war crimes — has accumulated evidence that the Syrian government’s Russian allies were responsible for at least some.
But the scope of the study has so far been limited to seven sites among the many targeted, according to a document seen by The Times.
And diplomats say Moscow has been pressing the U.N. secretary general, António Guterres, not to release the conclusions.
Times investigation: Our video team pored through witness accounts and videos, time-coded cockpit recordings of Russian pilots, plane spotter logs and security camera footage to show that one of the hospitals — an underground facility that The Times found had been bombed by Russian pilots at least once before — was bombed by the Russians again last week.

A weird, low-wage world, run by Amazon

Since 2005, a digital marketplace called Mechanical Turk has offered the chance to earn small amounts of money performing simple tasks, such as transcribing an invoice or labeling photographs.
A Times reporter spent several weeks as a “turker,” doing tasks on the Amazon-run site to learn more about “crowdwork.” He earned 97 cents an hour. (His article also offers the chance to try turking yourself.)
Another angle: Amazon on Thursday said it planned to challenge the Pentagon’s decision to award a $10 billion cloud-computing contract to Microsoft.

If you have time this weekend, this is worth it

The internet of our dreams

The internet was supposed to be a utopia. Instead, it’s … something else.
A special issue of The Times Magazine assesses the online world and its likely future with a guide featuring maps, graphs and cats.
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Here’s what else is happening

Michael Bloomberg’s ad blitz: The former New York mayor has yet to formally declare a run for president in 2020, but he’s spending $100 million on a digital campaign against President Trump, starting today.
Concession in Kentucky: Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, conceded defeat after a recount of last week’s election results confirmed the victory of his Democratic opponent, Andy Beshear.
A fine for Uber: New Jersey has demanded that the ride-hailing company pay $649 million for years of unpaid employment taxes, arguing that Uber drivers were really employees, not independent contractors.
Citizenship ruling: An American-born woman who joined the Islamic State in 2014 and says she wants to return to her family in Alabama is not a U.S. citizen, a judge ruled.
Doubts about ISIS receipts: The Morning Briefing on Oct. 31 referred to a discovery of documents suggesting that the Islamic State had paid members of a rival jihadist group to safeguard the hide-out in Syria of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. A researcher now suspects they were forged.
Jennifer Kingson
Snapshot: Above, llamas at a nursing home in Stockdale, Texas. The animals are becoming more common in therapeutic settings, where they help ease stress. “For some people, dogs are a little too much,” said one breeder.
N.F.L. brawl: Thursday night’s game ended with three ejections after Myles Garrett, a defensive player for the Cleveland Browns, pulled off the helmet of the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and swung it at his head.
News quiz: Did you follow the headlines this week? Test yourself.
Modern Love: In this week’s column, a woman reflects on a forgotten shirt and the everyday challenges to a marriage.
Late-night comedy: Trevor Noah questioned the need for new faces in the Democratic presidential race. “You don’t have to keep replenishing the stock when the candidates drop out,” he said. “This is an election, not sustainable fishing.”
What we’re watching: This Vice documentary about China’s vast network of Muslim detention camps, where members of the country’s Uighur minority are forced to adopt Chinese customs. Melina Delkic, on the briefings team, calls it “a powerful look at forced assimilation.”

Now, a break from the news

Julia Gartland for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.
Cook: This weekend, set up a creamy, sweet-spicy coconut curry soup.
Watch: The third season of “The Crown” arrives on Netflix on Sunday, introducing a new cast — including Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II — to bring the royals into midlife. Read our review.
Read: A layperson’s guide to the human body, by Bill Bryson, is among nine new books we recommend this week.
Smarter Living: Renewable energy can’t always meet demand during peak hours. You can help by shifting some usage — setting your washing machine to run overnight, say.

And now for the Back Story on …

How to say ‘Kiev’

The impeachment hearings this week spawned a linguistic detour: How is the name of Ukraine’s capital pronounced?
Yuri Shevchuk, a lecturer in Ukrainian at Columbia University, said Ukrainians stressed the first vowel, and pronounced it like the “i” in the word “kid.” The second vowel sounds like the “ee” sound in “keel,” and the “v” is also pronounced like the end of the word “low.” (It’s a bit hard to describe; there is an audio clip here.)
Evening can be beautiful in the Ukrainian capital, however you pronounce its name.  Lena Mucha for The New York Times
In Russian, Kiev sounds more like “KEY-ev.” But U.S. State Department employees generally try to pronounce it the Ukrainian way — though at some points on Wednesday it sounded more like “keev,” with the long “ee” pronounced as a single syllable.
There is also a debate over how to spell the city’s name in English. The official State Department biography of George Kent, who testified on Wednesday, spells it Kyiv, which reflects the transliteration from Ukrainian. (The Times still uses Kiev, the transliteration from Russian.)
Dr. Shevchuk noted that, according to legend, the city was founded by a set of siblings around the sixth century and named for the eldest brother, Kyi.
That’s it for this briefing. I’ll be away until Nov. 26, but I leave you in the capable hands of my colleague Mike Ives.
See you next time.
— Chris
Thank you
Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford provided the break from the news. Karen Zraick wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about protests in Chile.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Two-thirds of “OMG” (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times has introduced “The Latest,” a podcast following developments in the impeachment investigation.
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