Your Monday Briefing: Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Syria
A blizzard brought up to 40 inches of snow in some parts of the U.S. Northeast. The cleanup has begun in Brooklyn. Credit Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
The Northeast is cleaning up after a weekend blizzard brought up to 40 inches of snow in some spots, causing heavy flooding along the coast and leaving at least 29 people dead.
Travel remains treacherous in many areas, and officials said it would take days to return to normal. Federal government offices in Washington are closed today.
• One week to Iowa caucuses.
The first test for the future of the Democratic Party and whether its liberal wing, led by Bernie Sanders, can become a true force in presidential politics is days away. The Democratic candidates will speak at a town-hall-style event tonight in Iowa.
Donald J. Trump appears to be making a full-fledged effort to win the Iowa caucuses. Mr. Trump, who typically flies home after campaign stops, slept at a motel in the state and attended church there on Sunday.
And Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York, is considering a third-party bid. Aides say Mr. Bloomberg is galled by the dominance of Mr. Trump and the rise of Mr. Sanders.
• Obama calls out Republicans.
President Obama said in an interview released today that American politics had become “meaner” than when he took office.
But he expressed hope that Republicans would turn away from the “expression of frustration” and anger that Mr. Trump and Ted Cruz were offering.
• Super Bowl 50 is set.
It’ll be the Carolina Panthers versus the Denver Broncos on Feb. 7.
The Panthers routed the Arizona Cardinals, 49-15, and the Broncos denied the Patriots, the defending Super Bowl champions, a tying 2-point conversion in the final seconds to win, 20-18.
• Syrian peace talks postponed.
Negotiations were scheduled to begin today in Geneva, but they have been delayed. The inability to even get to the table isn’t inspiring much confidence in the chances of diplomacy. And the battle on the ground continues.
For years, the C.I.A. has taken the lead in training Syrian rebels, but it relies heavily, and quietly, on Saudi funding.
And our magazine story explores why it’s so hard for Syrian refugees to enter the U.S., which has taken in only 2,647 Syrians.
• John Kerry visits Laos.
The secretary of state meets the country’s leaders today, and unexploded bombs are expected to be part of the agenda.
Laos is one of the most bombed countries in history, and it was targeted by the U.S. in the Vietnam War, in which Mr. Kerry served before joining the antiwar movement.
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• Search for escaped inmates.
The authorities in Southern California are looking for three inmates, described as “very dangerous,” who escaped from a maximum-security jail in Orange County.
• Workers at many U.S. companies now face stiff financial penalties for refusing to undergo health screenings.
• Traders and portfolio managers worry that institutional investors, who generally tend to take a longer-term view, are driving the recent selling.
• Wall Street stocks made their biggest gain in more than a month on Friday. Here are snapshots of the U.S. and world markets.
OVER THE WEEKEND
The final week of the Grand Slam event begins today, and with tennis already under scrutiny over possible match fixing, an obscure mixed doubles match drew unusually large interest from gamblers, leading a website to suspend bets on it.
Here are today’s matches and scores.
• What to watch.
The four-part adaptation of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” (you’ve read the book, right?) continues with the second installment at 9 p.m. Eastern on Lifetime, A&E, and History.
And our TV critic writes that “The Magicians,” a new series set on a supernatural college campus, “definitely bears the mark of the Harry Potter template” (9 p.m., SyFy).
• Where high-tech has its limits.
Secrecy and security challenges hamper President Obama’s ability to fully take part in the personal technology revolution.
The president has an iPad and a Fitbit, but some of the functions have been disabled.
The power of persuasion is the hallmark of a successful politician, and it reaches its zenith at the White House.
Fifty-five years ago today, five days after his inauguration, John F. Kennedy held the first presidential news conference to be broadcast live on television and radio.
John F. Kennedy gave the first live, televised presidential news conference 55 years ago today. Credit Associated Press
It was a far cry from, and much riskier than, Theodore Roosevelt’s one-on-one chats with reporters while he was being shaved by the White House barber.
Kennedy’s news conference was held in an auditorium at the State Department, which could hold the more than 200 reporters. He was asked 29 questions in 37 minutes. (Eerily, the final one was about vice-presidential succession.)
Some advisers thought it was unwise to hold a live news conference. But Kennedy went on to master the ritual, and he held one every 16 days, on average. To prepare, his aides would try to anticipate as many of the questions as possible and would quiz him over breakfast. It’s not very hard for the president to know the questions in advance.
The first woman assigned to the White House full time by a news service, Helen Thomas, is the only person to have covered news conferences by every president from Kennedy to Obama. Before she died, in 2013, the sessions were not considered over until she had said, “Thank you, Mr. President.”
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