Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Your Tuesday Briefing

Tuesday, Jan 7, 2020 | View in browser
Good morning.
We’re covering developments in Iran, the latest earthquake in Puerto Rico, and Facebook’s plan to ban some altered videos.
By Chris Stanford
Dozens of people were killed in a stampede during a funeral procession for Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in Iran, state-run news outlets reported. Here are the latest updates.
Mourners in Iran gathered around a vehicle carrying the coffin of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in Kerman, his hometown, today.  Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Pentagon rules out strikes on Iran’s cultural sites

Defense Secretary Mark Esper acknowledged on Monday that attacking antiquities in Iran would be a war crime, after President Trump said such places would be legitimate targets if the conflict with Tehran escalated.
Mr. Trump, warning Iran against retaliating for the U.S. strike that killed a top Iranian general, said over the weekend: “They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn’t work that way.”
Mr. Trump’s advisers have denied he actually made a threat, even as his comments generated international condemnation (including from one of our art critics).
Background: The U.S. is a signatory to a 1954 international agreement to protect cultural property in armed conflict. Iran is home to 22 sites designated by the United Nations as culturally important, including the ruins of Persepolis, the capital of an ancient empire.
Explainer: Democrats in Congress could invoke a mostly untested law to try to block a war with Iran. Read more about the War Powers Resolution.
Related: Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said any retaliation for the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani must be a proportional attack on American interests, according to three Iranians familiar with his instructions. In a departure for Tehran, which has often used proxies in its attacks, Ayatollah Khamenei also said a response should be openly carried out by Iranian forces.
Another angle: The crisis has underscored Democratic differences over foreign policy, embodied by the divergent positions of Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.
The Daily: Today’s episode is about what General Suleimani meant to Iranians.

In a twist, John Bolton offers to testify

The former White House national security adviser said on Monday that he would give evidence at President Trump’s impeachment trial if subpoenaed.
Democrats insist that the Senate proceedings must include testimony that Mr. Trump has tried to block from Mr. Bolton and others, as well as new documentary evidence.
Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has refused to commit to calling witnesses, but the rules require only 51 senators to call a witness or request evidence, limiting his ability to call the shots.
What’s next: Speaker Nancy Pelosi has declined to send the Senate the charges against Mr. Trump, which would start the trial, and it’s unclear what Mr. Bolton could say. His lawyer said in November that Mr. Bolton knew about “many relevant meetings and conversations” connected to the Ukraine affair that had not been shared with investigators.
Harvey Weinstein leaving court in Manhattan on Monday, using a walker.  Hilary Swift for The New York Times

New charges for Harvey Weinstein

Jury selection is scheduled to begin today in the Hollywood producer’s rape trial in Manhattan, a day after he was charged with rape in Los Angeles.
According to prosecutors, the new allegations involve two women, one of whom said Mr. Weinstein raped her in her hotel room in 2013. He is accused of victimizing another woman the next day and faces up to 28 years in prison if convicted.
Mr. Weinstein’s lawyers declined to comment on the latest charges.
Closer look: More than 80 women, including a number of prominent actresses, have accused Mr. Weinstein of sexual misconduct, but most of those complaints have not led to criminal charges. As a result, many of his accusers are placing their hopes in the trial in New York.

If you have 6 minutes, this is worth it

Will China buy fake meat?

Yan Cong for The New York Times
Over the past few years, Impossible Foods and its main rival, Beyond Meat, have become major American food companies, striking deals with fast-food chains and earning praise for their efforts to replace animal products with plant-based substitutes.
Now they’re seeking entry into another market with a major environmental footprint: China, the world’s largest consumer of meat. We looked at the cultural and governmental hurdles. Above, dumplings made with a plant-based pork substitute from Zhenmeat, a Beijing start-up.
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Here’s what else is happening

Puerto Rico earthquake: Widespread power outages were reported today after a 6.5-magnitude tremor, the strongest yet in a week of seismic activity.
No Senate run for Mike Pompeo: The secretary of state told the Republican leadership that he does not plan to run this year in Kansas, his home state, according to four people briefed on the discussions.
Targeting truck pollution: The Environmental Protection Agency moved to curb highway truck emissions of nitrogen dioxide, a change sought by the trucking industry that could override potentially tighter state rules.
Julián Castro endorsement: The former housing secretary backed Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic presidential primary, days after ending his own campaign.
Ban on “deepfakes”: Facebook said it would remove videos that were heavily manipulated by artificial intelligence. The policy will not extend to parody or satire.
Warrant for Carlos Ghosn’s wife: The Japanese authorities said today that they were seeking the arrest of Carole Ghosn, who is believed to be in Lebanon with her husband, the former Nissan executive.
Ikea settlement: The Swedish furniture retailer agreed to pay $46 million in a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by the parents of a California toddler who was crushed by a dresser model that had been recalled after at least five other children were killed.
7-Eleven dispute: Amid complaints about harsh working conditions in the Japanese convenience store industry, the company has terminated a franchise that closed on New Year’s Day.
Antony Dubber
Snapshot: Above, a research base in Antarctica, where designers must think creatively to defy Earth’s harshest climate.
Late-night comedy: The hosts returned from a holiday break and were ready for war.
What we’re reading: This BBC article about two Jewish sisters fleeing the Nazis who were helped by a quiet doctor in Val d’Isère, France. Steven Erlanger, our European diplomatic correspondent, calls it a “moving story about heroism and survival.”

Now, a break from the news

Johnny Miller for The New York Times. Prop Stylist: Cindy DiPrima.
Cook: Alison Roman has a flexible recipe for spicy white bean stew with broccoli rabe. (Our Five Weeknight Dishes newsletter has more recommendations.)
Read: Sean Adams’s dystopian debut novel, “The Heap,” literalizes the wreckage of late capitalism.
Watch: Jeroboam Bozeman of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dances part of Jamar Roberts’s “Ode,” about the effects of gun violence.
Smarter Living: If you’re considering a job or career change, stop asking “why” questions, and start asking “what” questions.

And now for the Back Story on …

Iran’s deposed shah

When President Trump ordered an attack on Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani of Iran while at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Florida, it wasn’t the first time the Sunshine State had featured in an American-Iranian drama.
In early 1979, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi — who had stayed in power thanks partly to a C.I.A.-led coup in 1953 — fled an uprising against his autocratic government. For help relocating him to the U.S., American officials turned to David Rockefeller, a banker who considered the deposed ruler a prized client.
Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and Empress Farah leaving Iran for the last time on Jan. 16, 1979.  Associated Press
The Carter administration grew wary of the relocation plan after a mob stormed the American Embassy in Tehran. But Mr. Rockefeller persisted, and that fall, the shah was permitted to fly to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., en route to New York, where he would receive treatment for cancer.
Iranian students retaliated days later by seizing the Tehran embassy and taking 52 Americans hostage. The shah promptly left the U.S., but the hostage crisis would last 444 days and cast a pall over relations with Iran for decades.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
— Chris
Thank you
Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford provided the break from the news. Mike Ives wrote today’s Back Story, based on reporting by David D. Kirkpatrick. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode explores the background of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Saudi Arabia’s neighbor to the south (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Elle magazine profiled our investigations editor, Rebecca Corbett, who oversees some of The Times’s most ambitious work. She talked about spotting and mentoring talented reporters, guiding the Harvey Weinstein investigation and being powered by snacks.
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