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America’s new Congress convenes, Chinese consumers tighten their belts and Turks vote with their feet. Here’s the latest:
America’s new Congress comes to order
Representative Nancy Pelosi was elected as speaker of the House, the only woman to hold the post.
Hours before the vote, Ms. Pelosi suggested in an interview that a sitting president could be indicted and left open the option of impeachment, kicking off what could shape up to be a memorable term. Follow the day’s developments live here.
What else is on the agenda in Washington: The House Democrats will vote on two bills to reopen the federal government, which has been partly shut down since late December. But their fates in the Republican-controlled Senate are uncertain.
Meet the new freshmen: The class is best described in superlatives — it is the most racially diverse group ever elected to the House, and it includes a historic number of women.
Chinese demand slows, and global markets shudder.
News that Apple was cutting its revenue forecast for the first time in 16 years because of poor iPhone sales in China rippled through stocks around the world.
Apple’s weakness follows reams of other data suggesting that worries about the trade war, personal debt and China’s own economy are persuading the country’s consumers to tighten their belts.
Why it matters: Shrinking demand would have a big impact on a world looking for engines of growth, on companies — domestic and international — that counted on China’s continuing expansion and on global investors who have long viewed China as a steady source of profits.
Another angle: What should you do about the falling stock market? Take a nap, writes our senior economics correspondent.
China’s moon landing is a big deal, except in China.
Much of the world is hailing the first landing of a space probe on the far side of the moon as a huge leap in space exploration.
Here’s the latest — including that in China, the news wasn’t even among the four top stories on the most-watched TV news program.
In interviews, several people said they paid little attention to the landing of Chang’e-4 (named for the moon goddess in Chinese mythology). Some worried about the cost.
“The economy is bad,” said one woman. “Is it really a good thing for the country to spend recklessly?”
Go deeper: Why does the far side of the moon matter so much? It could contain clues to the history of the entire solar system.
In Turkey, ‘the brain drain is real.’
After a failed coup attempt in 2016, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan set out on a sweeping crackdown, consolidating his power and steering the country toward authoritarianism.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of Turks — including entrepreneurs and wealthy individuals — have left the country. They have emigrated because of fear of political persecution, distrust of the judiciary, mismanagement of the economy and a deteriorating business climate.
Why it matters: The exodus has resulted in an alarming loss of talent and capital in Turkey, at a time when its economy is teetering — a development that some experts believe looks like a more permanent reordering of society, threatening to set the country back decades.
Here’s what else is happening
North Korea: The country’s ambassador to Italy disappeared from its embassy in Rome in November in what appeared to be a defection attempt, according to a South Korean lawmaker.
Jamal Khashoggi: Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor formally requested the death penalty for five suspects in the killing of the dissident — but didn’t provide their names, the roles they played in the crime or any other details.
Russia: Paul Whelan, an American citizen arrested last week in Moscow, has been charged with espionage and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Cathay Pacific: Hong Kong’s flagship airline said it would honor heavily discounted fares — long-distance business- and first-class round-trip tickets for as little as $674 — that it accidentally sold online this week.
CES: Ahead of that trade show next week, our consumer technology writer takes a look at what might be on deck, from A.I. refrigerators to the debut of a 5G network.
Twisted Sister: The American rock band said it was considering legal action against an Australian politician for using its song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” in an advertising campaign.
Dogman and Rabbitgirl: An Australian couple has cracked the code to winning public art commissions in New York City — with kitschy bronze statues that touch on themes from gender equality to wildlife conservation.
Michelle Yeoh: The actress, who played the formidable Eleanor Young in the wildly popular “Crazy Rich Asians,” reflects on bias against Asians and the atrocities in Myanmar.
From Opinion: In the U.S., women who lose their pregnancies — even accidentally — can face charges of manslaughter or endangering their children. The Times’s editorial board tracks cases that illuminate a shift for abortion and women’s rights in America.
Tips for a more fulfilling life.
Recipe of the day: Try a meatless Friday dinner of roasted squash with turmeric-ginger chickpeas.
How to hold a healthy grudge.
Take our 30-day Well challenge.
Some of us are still sorting through the year-end “best of” lists. Notably, many video game lists included a new release with roots in 1984: Tetris Effect.
It features a modern visual and sonic experience, including an acclaimed virtual-reality mode. But its core is the same gameplay that a Russian programmer, Alexey Pajitnov, created in his original title, Tetris.
In that version — and in more than 200 subsequent official releases — seven shapes (configurations of four squares, called “tetriminos”) stream one by one from the top of the screen. The player seeks to organize them to fill horizontal rows, which then clear from the field of play. The game ends when uncleared areas fill the playing grid. (Because of Soviet-era contracts, Mr. Pajitnov only began to get Tetris royalties in 1996.)
A report in The Times in 1988 said players found it “surprisingly addictive.”
That’s been borne out. Players report seeing the tetriminos away from the screen, including while dreaming.
The phenomenon’s name? The “Tetris Effect.”
Brian Hoerst, a devoted video gamer who does tech support in our London newsroom, wrote today's Back Story.
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