Government Shutdown, Davos, Syria: Your Monday Briefing

Government Shutdown, Davos, Syria: Your Monday Briefing

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the forces intended to create a security zone some 30 kilometers deep inside Syria. By nightfall troops appeared to have advanced only a few kilometers.

There are reports of Syrian fighters massing to join the fight on both sides.



Khalil Mazraawi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

• “We agreed to disagree.”

That was Vice President Mike Pence speaking to reporters after a “very frank discussion” with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Amman about U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The Trump administration’s hard-line position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, our foreign policy columnist writes, has shifted America’s culture war to the global stage.

Mr. Pence continues his Middle East trip in Israel today. Meanwhile, E.U. foreign ministers are to meet Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president.



Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters

• In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel inched a step closer to forming a new government after the Social Democrats narrowly voted in favor of entering coalition talks with her conservative camp.

Social Democrats opposed to another grand coalition warn that it would make the far-right Alternative for Germany the biggest opposition party in Parliament.

The final coalition agreement will also need the approval of a majority of party members.



Kyle Johnson for The New York Times

• In the name of journalism, our reporter tried to shoplift from Amazon Go, the company’s convenience store of the future that opens to the public today in Seattle. (He failed.)

• Many at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week will be asking how long the current uptick in global growth will last. (Today, France is hosting a summit meeting pre-Davos in Versailles. )

• Our deep dive into Iran’s banking system traces how cronyism in the industry has fueled broad discontent.

• Mining a single Bitcoin requires as much electricity as the average American household goes through in two years.

Here’s a snapshot of global markets and a look at what could move them this week, including today’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers and bank earnings.

In the News


Erin Clare Brown for The New York Times

France is struggling to keep up with the constant stream of new migrants, leaving hundreds homeless on the icy streets of Paris. Some of them, including Jibran from Afghanistan, above, shared their stories. [The New York Times]

• Spanish prosecutors will ask the Danish authorities to arrest Carles Puigdemont, the former Catalan leader, if he travels to Copenhagen for a debate he is billed to host. [Reuters]

• In Afghanistan, at least 18 people were found dead after a siege at a hotel in Kabul. [The New York Times]

• There were large rallies in Bucharest and other Romanian cities against a proposed revision of corruption laws. [The New York Times]

• Tens of thousands of Greeks protested in Thessaloniki against talks with Macedonia aimed at ending a dispute with the neighboring former Yugoslav republic over its name. [The New York Times]

• President Aleksander Vucic of Serbia made a hastily arranged visit to Kosovo to ease the fears of ethnic Serbs — fears that critics say he has stoked. [The New York Times]

• A generational shift at Sinn Fein, the Irish nationalist party: Mary Lou McDonald will succeed Gerry Adams as its leader. [Reuters]

• Óscar Pérez, Venezuela’s most-wanted rebel, spoke to our correspondent in the hours before he was killed. [The New York Times]

Vietnam sentenced a businessman, whom Germany said agents kidnapped in Berlin, to life in prison. [Deutsche Welle]

Observers are watching whether Zimbabwe’s new leaders are willing to resolve land ownership disputes, a crucial condition for Western assistance. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.


Danny Ghitis for The New York Times

• Recipe of the day: Begin the week with Katharine Hepburn’s recipe for brownies.

• Ice and snow? Here’s how to avoid falling.

• Plan a last-minute trip to the Winter Olympics.



Jeff Pachoud/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

• Paul Bocuse, the most celebrated French chef of the postwar era, died at 91. He was a leading figure in the pathbreaking culinary movement known as nouvelle cuisine.

• Berlin’s classical music landscape is thriving, in part thanks to these new arrivals.

• In sports news: Tom Brady and the Patriots will defend their title against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4. And here’s the latest from the Australian Open.

• Finally, in science news: Some marmots, unlike most mammals, live longer if they keep to themselves, a study suggests.

Back Story


George Brich/Associated Press

Today marks a big step for equality in the entertainment industry.

Minnie Mouse is set to finally receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 90 years after she was introduced and nearly 40 years after her longtime love interest, Mickey, received one in 1978, above.

First voiced by Walt Disney himself, the characters made their debut in the 1928 animated short “Steamboat Willie.”

Minnie went on to appear in more than 60 cartoon shorts, primarily in the 1930s, before becoming a perennial presence on television and at Disney’s theme parks around the world.

Originally drawn wearing a pillbox hat, Minnie later sported a polka-dot bow on her head that matched her dress. “Minnie: Style Icon,” an exhibition at London Fashion Week in 2015, traced her influence over the decades.

But she has always dwelt in Mickey’s shadow, the damsel to his leading man. In a 1934 essay titled “Mickey and Minnie,” the British novelist E. M. Forster lamented: “About Minnie too little has been said, and her name at the top of this article is an act of homage which ought to have been paid long ago.”

Another act of homage will come today in Hollywood, when she is honored with the 2,627th star on the Walk of Fame.

Chris Stanford contributed reporting.


This briefing was prepared for the European morning and is updated online. Browse past briefings here.

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