Trump’s impeachment trial will proceed
The Senate yesterday voted 56 to 44, with six Republicans joining all 50 Democrats, to proceed with the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, rejecting his defense team’s claim that it would be unconstitutional to prosecute a president after he had left office.
House managers presented video footage of mayhem and violence at the Capitol siege, in which extremists stormed barricades, beat police officers, set up a gallows and yelled, “Take the building!” “Fight for Trump!” and “Pence is a traitor!” Mr. Trump’s lawyers argued that his words at the rally on Jan. 6 constituted free speech akin to typical political language and hardly incited the violence.
Even though Mr. Trump can no longer be removed from office, conviction would permit the senators to bar him from running for federal office again.
Quote: “What you experienced that day, what we experienced that day, what our country experienced that day, is the framers’ worst nightmare come to life,” Representative Joe Neguse of Colorado, a House manager, told senators. “Presidents can’t inflame insurrection in their final weeks and then walk away like nothing happened.”
Outcomes: A two-thirds vote would be required in the Senate to convict Mr. Trump, meaning that 11 more Republicans would have to abandon the former president, who still holds great sway over their party. That appears unlikely.
A W.H.O. investigation on the origins of the coronavirus
After 12 days of fieldwork, a team of World Health Organization scientists said in China on Tuesday that the coronavirus had probably first spread to humans through an animal and that it was “extremely unlikely” it had spread from a lab accident.
Dr. Peter Ben Embarek, the food safety scientist who is leading the team, dismissed the idea that the virus might have emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan, a theory that had gained momentum in the U.S. and elsewhere. “It was very unlikely that anything could escape from such a place,” he said, citing safety protocols.
This theory is different from a widely discredited one, pushed by some Republicans, that claimed a lab in China had manufactured the virus for use as a bioweapon.
Science and politics: The W.H.O. experts on Tuesday delivered praise for Chinese officials and endorsed critical parts of their narrative, including some that have been contentious, including a suggestion that the virus might have spread to humans through shipments of frozen food.
In other developments:
The Netherlands pauses international adoptions
The Netherlands has suspended international adoptions after an investigation found that the government had failed to act on known abuses, including child theft and trafficking, between 1967 and 1998.
“Adoptees deserve recognition for mistakes that were made in the past,” Sander Dekker, the minister for legal protection, said on Monday, as the results of the investigation were made public. “They have to be able to count on our help in the present. And for the future, we have to critically ask ourselves if and how to continue adoption from abroad.”
The government formed an independent commission in 2018 to look into international abuses after a lawsuit showed that the Dutch government had been involved in an illegal adoption from Brazil in 1980 and pointed to the possibility of more such cases. Experts said they knew of no other Western country that had stopped international adoptions.
Details: In its report, the independent commission said it had found systematic wrongdoing, including pressuring poor women to give up their babies, falsifying documents, fraud and corruption, and, in effect, buying and selling of children.
If you have 12 minutes, this is worth it
The threat of American ideas to French identity
Above, a Black Lives Matter-inspired demonstration against racism and police brutality in Paris last year. Politicians and prominent intellectuals in France say social theories from the United States on race, gender and postcolonialism, some of which they regard as out-of-control woke leftism, threaten French national identity and the republic.
“It’s the sign of a small, frightened republic, declining, provincializing, but which in the past and to this day believes in its universal mission and which thus seeks those responsible for its decline,” said François Cusset, an expert on American civilization at Paris Nanterre University.
Here’s what else is happening
Kobe Bryant crash: The pilot in the helicopter crash that killed the retired basketball star, his daughter and seven others flew into clouds in violation of federal rules, investigators said.
Olympics: The Tokyo 2020 chairman, Yoshiro Mori, 83, has apologized after a firestorm over his sexist remarks but has declined to resign. Since then, prominent political backers have lined up to say that Mr. Mori should remain in charge.
London real estate: England’s extended winter lockdown has shaken the usual arrangement between landlords and tenants in London ahead of a government review of leasing legislation. “Landlords are not used to being in business with one hand behind their back,” said a commercial property restructuring specialist.
Snapshot: Above, a farmer kneeling to feed a lamb on the tiny island of Fetlar. A wealth of old photograph slides depicting Scotland’s Shetland Islands in the 1960s and ’70s was saved from the trash at a recycling center in Lerwick, the capital of the archipelago.
Do goats vote?: In a word, no. While some animals that rove in groups appear to cast a form of ballot about directions, goats mostly copy one another, according to a paper published last week.
Lives lived: A founding member of the Supremes, Mary Wilson was part of one of the biggest musical acts of the 1960s, spinning up a dozen No. 1 singles on the musical charts as an instrumental part of Motown’s legendary sound. Ms. Wilson died this week at 76.
What we’re reading: The neighborhood of Karen, in the suburbs of Nairobi, serves colonial nostalgia to the upper strata of Kenya’s political class. The Kenyan writer Carey Baraka explores the story behind the name.
Now, a break from the news
Read: In “Halfway Home,” Reuben Jonathan Miller draws on years of research and personal experience to write about incarceration and what happens to people after they’ve served their time.
Watch: For some comfort viewing, revisit the short-lived comedy “Party Down,” about a Hollywood cater-waiter crew. Its most appealing idea? Maybe parties were actually bad.
We’ll help you muddle through. At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the Back Story on …
The Australian Open
Karen Crouse, a Sports reporter, is in Melbourne covering the Australian Open. Melina Delkic, who writes the Asia briefing, talked to her about the safety measures at the event and how it provides a glimpse of what sports can one day be again. (Here’s what to watch.)
What’s the feeling at the Open and in Melbourne?
People are feeling cautiously optimistic, but there is apprehension that I don’t think anyone in the U.S. could understand. There are health checks for everybody who enters the grounds. You have contact tracing.
Australians really are proud of what they collectively did to subdue the coronavirus. They don’t want a sporting event to be the cause of rolling back all of the gains they’ve made.
Is this setting a precedent in a way for other sporting events like the Tokyo Olympics?
I don’t see a way forward for the Olympics. Australia enacted stringent measures to make this happen: They chartered 17 planes, they put all of us up in hotels [for quarantine], they paid for daily tests, they provided meals. It’s a value judgment — do you value public health and safety over the prestige and the opportunity for these athletes, who have worked their entire lives for this event, to see their dreams realized?
What matchups are you looking at?
Serena won her last Grand Slam, her 23rd, here in 2017 while pregnant with her daughter. She has made it two Grand Slam finals since then but is still looking for her 24th title, which would tie her for the career best with Margaret Court, an Australian. I really like her chances.
On the men’s side, Novak Djokovic has been dominant here — he played an almost flawless opening match.
That’s it for this briefing. Have a peaceful, productive Wednesday.
Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news. You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected]
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