Your Wednesday Night Briefing – The New York Times
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Good evening. Here is the last Wednesday at the end of the day.
1. A bipartisan Senate group has proposed changes to the Voter Count Act, a 135-year-old law that Donald Trump tried to abuse on January 6.
The legislation aims to ensure a peaceful transition from one president to the next, after the Capitol riot demonstrated how the current law could be manipulated to disrupt the process. The authors don’t have the minimum of 10 Republicans needed to pass a filibuster, but they hope to muster enough support for a vote later this year.
The legislation would make it harder for lawmakers to challenge a state’s electoral votes when Congress meets to certify the count and outline steps to begin a presidential transition.
Separately, a Georgia judge ordered Rudy Giuliani to testify in a criminal investigation in election interference by Trump and his allies in Georgia. He seems interesting for his participation in a program to create lists of pro-Trump presidential voters in many states, including Georgia. Sixteen Trump supporters involved in the plan could face charges.
2. The head of Russian diplomacy declared his territorial ambitions in Ukraine could widen as European leaders warn their citizens to prepare for sacrifices.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Russia’s state news agency that Moscow is now casting its gaze over part of southern Ukraine, specifically naming the Kherson and Zaporizka regions as well as “a number other territories”.
As the conflict escalates, the European Commission has proposed rationing natural gas to avert a major crisis as Russia cuts gas exports. The proposal calls for a 15% reduction in gas consumption by spring, which would put Europe’s economy on a war footing.
The war in Russia and the deadly heat have upended the global energy market, forcing some of the world’s largest economies to rush to power.
4. A new stash of documents obtained by Congress details Donald Trump’s plan to use the census to help Republicans win the election.
The documents provided the most definitive evidence yet that the Trump administration pushed to add a citizenship question to the census to exclude noncitizens from the count, which would influence the Congressional breakdown. The committee found that senior officials used a false pretense to build a legal case to ask all US residents if they were US citizens.
Separately, a Democratic super PAC has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission, seeking to force officials to take action against Trump. They say he is virtually running for president in 2024 while avoiding committee scrutiny by not running as a candidate.
5. Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak will face off to replace Boris Johnson as British Prime Minister and leader of his Conservative Party.
Sunak, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer (a position akin to the US Treasury Secretary), and Truss, the current foreign secretary, emerged as the final candidates after five ballots. The winner, announced in September, will face an electorate worn down by Johnson’s seemingly endless scandals.
6. Each of the 13 states banning abortion makes exceptions to save the mother’s life. But what defines a medical emergency?
The move has become fraught with uncertainty and legal risk, doctors in several states said. Many added that they had already been forced to drastically change care and delay treatment for women whose pregnancy complications put them at high risk.
“It’s a very dangerous way to practice,” said an obstetrician and fetal surgeon from Texas. “We all know some of them are going to die.”
Colleges are also navigating through troubled waters. Some students want better access to the abortion pill, but colleges, even in states that protect abortion rights, are proceeding with caution.
7. “Friends” instead of “amigos”. “Todxs” instead of “todos”. “Bienvenid@s” instead of “bienvendios”.
These changes had been informally adopted by teachers in schools in Buenos Aires as part of a deliberate effort to include people who do not identify as male or female in a language in which many words are classified as masculine. or feminine.
But for some Spanish speakers, including many academics and politicians, the changes have degraded the language. In response, the city government banned gender-neutral language in schools, reigniting a debate that reverberates around the world.
8. Serenity in nature can be elusive. But even America’s most popular national parks have overlooked treasures and entrances.
In 2021, 44 parks set attendance records, according to the National Park Service. This summer should follow suit. To avoid the crowds, consider the Schoodic Peninsula in Acadia National Park in Maine, a hike accessible from a lesser-known entrance in Yosemite, California, or a motorable route in Zion, Utah. Here are some hidden gems.
Closer to home: The little wonders of your garden. A horticultural expert with a master’s degree in tissue culture shows what to look for and how to photograph it.
9. Jane Austen fans would like a word.
The most recent adaptation of the author’s work, Netflix’s spicy version of “Persuasion,” sent many viewers to their couches swoon over unrecognizable characters, poor pacing and jarring drops of colloquialisms. modern in a 19th century setting. But the backlash has a lot to do with who is watching: a passionate, opinionated crowd with strong opinions about allowed freedoms, our reporter writes.
We also spoke to director Michael Mann about ‘Ferrari’, his first film since 2015, and ‘Heat 2’, his debut novel, in which he explores his recurring theme: underdogs with a brutal determination to win.
10. And finally, these fins were made for walking – then swimming.
The discovery of a 375 million year old fossil fills in some evolutionary holes. The giant fish fossil, called Qikiqtania wakei, comes from a time when our ancestors were scaly creatures vaguely resembling giant eels, walking across mudflats with four limbs. But his anatomy suggests that his ancestors stopped walking and started swimming again.
To understand Qikiqtania’s striking evolutionary change, one of the researchers pointed to tetrapods that returned to water millions of years later, adapting to aquatic animals that would eventually become whales and dolphins. Qikiqtania’s discovery suggests that some of our ancient relatives stopped walking almost as soon as walking evolved.
Have a good night.
brent lewis photos compiled for this briefing.
Correction: Yesterday’s bulletin incorrectly listed the day of the next hearing on January 6th. It’s tomorrow night, not tonight.
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