Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Your Tuesday Briefing

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2020 | View in browser
Good morning.
We’re covering the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak, today’s New Hampshire primary, and the growing number of brain injuries found to have been suffered by U.S. troops last month in Iranian missile strikes.
By Chris Stanford
Idled high-speed trains this week in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus outbreak originated.  Getty Images

Coronavirus slows China’s economy

As it works to contain the spread of a dangerous epidemic, one of the world’s largest economies has been largely idle, threatening a sharp reduction in the production of everything from cars to smartphones.
Chinese health officials said today that the death toll from the new coronavirus had passed 1,000. In Hong Kong, two people living on different floors of an apartment building were found to be infected, raising fears about how the virus can spread. Here are the latest updates and maps of where the virus has reached.
Quotable: “Let’s not shake hands in this special time,” said China’s leader, Xi Jinping, as he toured Beijing on Monday after facing criticism for his relatively low profile.
Another angle: During an Ebola outbreak in 2014, Donald Trump, then a private citizen, called for measures like canceling flights and forcing quarantines. Public health experts are now concerned that a president who has spoken openly about his phobia of germs might overreact to the coronavirus crisis.
Perspective: In an opinion piece for The Times, an epidemiologist discusses what is known, and not known, about the virus.

What’s at stake in New Hampshire

Three precincts voted just after midnight in the state’s primaries, kicking off a day that could help narrow down a Democratic presidential field that has remained unchanged since last week’s troubled Iowa caucuses. Here’s what to expect.
Only 24 delegates are up for grabs today, but New Hampshire offers the potential for momentum going into the Nevada caucuses next week and the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29.
The details: Most polls close at 7 p.m. Eastern. We’ll have live results for the Democratic race and the Republican primary, which President Trump is expected to win handily.
Closer look: Senator Elizabeth Warren has largely avoided engaging her opponents, even as the Democratic contest has gotten fiercer. Before a primary that she had hoped to win (and probably won’t, according to polls), we examined the state of her campaign.
“The Daily”: Today’s episode discusses how the uncertain results from Iowa have affected the campaign in New Hampshire.
President Trump's budget proposal is primarily important as a reflection of the administration's spending priorities.  Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

What’s in President Trump’s budget

The record $4.8 trillion budget proposal that was released on Monday would spend more on restricting immigration and bolstering the U.S. nuclear arsenal and less on safety net programs and student loan initiatives.
Here’s a look at what’s in the plan. Like most administrations’ budget proposals, it’s unlikely to be approved in its entirety by Congress.
Closer look: Mr. Trump’s budget assumes significantly faster U.S. economic growth than most analysts predict. His last budget predicted that the economy would grow 3.2 percent in 2019; actual growth was 2.3 percent, according to the Commerce Department.

If you have 6 minutes, this is worth it

Rescuing a California community’s voice

Jenna Schoenefeld for The New York Times
At the beginning of the year, California’s oldest weekly, The Mountain Messenger, looked like it would become the latest American newspaper to go out of business and turn its rural hometown, Downieville, into a “news desert.”
In stepped Carl Butz, above, a 71-year-old retiree, who bought the paper to save what he said was “something we need in order to know ourselves.”
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Here’s what else is happening

Indictment in Equifax hack: The Justice Department charged four members of China’s military with the 2017 breach at the credit reporting agency, which exposed the personal data of about 145 million Americans.
More brain injuries: The Defense Department has again raised the number of U.S. service members it says suffered traumatic brain injuries from Iranian airstrikes last month. Of the 109 troops with diagnosed injuries, 76 have returned to duty, officials said.
T-Mobile-Sprint merger: The judge in a lawsuit that tried to stop the wireless carriers’ deal plans to rule in favor of the merger, three people briefed on the matter told The Times. The verdict is expected today.
Surprise in Germany: Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the chosen successor of Chancellor Angela Merkel, said she would step aside after party representatives in one German state defied her by voting with the far right. Her decision leaves the race to replace Ms. Merkel wide open.
Corey Rich/Novus Select
Snapshot: Above, Dane Jackson, a 26-year-old national kayaking champion from Tennessee, who recently traveled over Salto del Maule, a 134-foot waterfall in central Chile. “It’s just one of the most photogenic waterfalls I’ve ever seen,” he said. “And it’s also quite tall.” Watch video from his descent.
Late-night comedy: “That’s right, ‘Parasite’ is the first non-English speaking film to win best picture, though some Arnold Schwarzenegger movies come close,” Jimmy Fallon said.
What we’re reading: The 10,000-Year Clock Is a Waste of Time,” in Wired. Adam Pasick of the Briefings team writes: “The piece takes a look at the complicated device being built in Texas — mind-boggling not just because of its ambition, but as an emblem of the hubris of tech megabillionaires.”

Now, a break from the news

Ryan Liebe for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.
Cook: These spicy sesame noodles with peanuts can take a choice of proteins: ground chicken, pork or beef, plant-based crumbles or tofu. (Our Five Weeknight Dishes newsletter has more recommendations.)
Watch: Our critics discussed what the Oscars success for the South Korean movie “Parasite” could mean for the film industry.
Listen: Sharon Van Etten’s new single, “Beaten Down,” is all deliberation and determination, our critic writes, hovering between dirge and homily. Here are other recent releases we recommend.
Smarter Living: Better coffee at home is within reach. These five cheap(ish) things might help.

And now for the Back Story on …

The New Hampshire primary

Members of our politics team have been in New Hampshire for weeks. We talked to one, Matt Stevens, about the mood there ahead of today’s events.
We just came off a messy run in Iowa. Are there fears that New Hampshire’s vote could also go awry?
Short answer: Yes, absolutely. There are many, many things that could go wrong. But as some of our colleagues have pointed out, New Hampshire has a history of running elections smoothly, whereas the Iowa caucuses have encountered problems in three consecutive cycles.
Some of the first votes in the New Hampshire primary were cast early this morning.  Paul Hayes/Caledonian-Record, via Associated Press
How are New Hampshire voters feeling about their primary system?
Perhaps because of those divergent histories, the voters I have talked to here have both expressed confidence in their system and given the side-eye to Iowa. Caucuses and primaries are very different, and the folks here are pretty darn sure their system is best.
Last week, as the mess was unfolding in Iowa, a woman in Hampton, N.H., told me: “This is a national level campaign. You have all these years to get it straight and this is the embarrassment you’re causing the party?”
How is your team managing back-to-back votes?
Some of us went to Iowa; most of the rest of us came to New Hampshire. And a handful did both. (Bless them!) The consensus among the people who have been to both places seems to be that the workroom at our hotel here in Manchester has windows, and is therefore far superior to the one in Des Moines, but the food options around our New Hampshire hotel are way more limited. I, personally, have already been to the Olive Garden next door twice.
A correction: Monday’s briefing misstated the amount of President Trump’s budget proposal, which was released on Monday. It is $4.8 trillion, not $4.8 billion. Thanks to those readers who spotted the mistake.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
— Chris
Thank you
Mark Josephson and Kathleen Massara provided the break from the news. Remy Tumin, who writes our Evening Briefing, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is on the New Hampshire primary.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Partner of peanut butter (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• If you’re looking for a last-minute Valentine’s Day gift, The Times’s online store has a collection of items related to our Modern Love column.
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