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We start with the fallout from the Brexit deal’s defeat in Parliament, the shutdown’s effect on federal workers’ finances, and an update from El Chapo’s trial.
Brexit deal’s failure adds to uncertainty in Britain
Parliament will debate a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Theresa May today, after lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected her plan to withdraw the country from the European Union. The no-confidence measure is expected to fail, but it doesn’t help a growing sense of political chaos 10 weeks before the country is scheduled to leave the bloc.
The 432-to-202 vote on Tuesday was the biggest defeat in the House of Commons for a prime minister in modern history. Here are the key takeaways.
What’s next: Mrs. May has until Monday to present a backup plan, but European Union officials had said the deal that Parliament rejected was the only one they would accept. We outline the possible outcomes, including a second referendum or a chaotic “no-deal” exit.
News analysis: Much of Mrs. May’s Conservative Party voted against the deal. Her struggle may signal the end of Britain’s “elective dictatorship” and the start of a gridlock-prone system.
Catch up: What is Brexit, and what does it all mean?
Shutdown’s toll grows
The Trump administration said it would summon tens of thousands of federal employees back to work without pay, the latest sign that officials don’t expect the partial government shutdown to end anytime soon.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, have refused to negotiate over border security until the government reopens, but President Trump has ruled out separating the issues.
The impact: The economic damage from the shutdown is far greater than what had been estimated, the White House said on Tuesday. Mr. Trump’s economists have doubled projections of how much growth is being lost each week.
By the numbers: Federal workers have missed, on average, more than $5,000 in wages so far. With 800,000 employees currently furloughed or working without pay, that’s more than $200 million every workday.
William Barr makes a promise to senators
The attorney general nominee said at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday that he would permit the special counsel to complete the Russia investigation. He also said he was determined to resist any pressure from President Trump to use law enforcement for political purposes.
Mr. Trump repeatedly excoriated Jeff Sessions, the former attorney general, for recusing himself from the Russia investigation.
Hearings for Mr. Barr, whose confirmation seems virtually assured, resume this morning.
The Daily: In today’s episode, we discuss Tuesday’s hearing.
Another angle: The unusually secretive way Mr. Trump has handled his meetings with the Russian president has left even members of his administration guessing what happened.
A stunning accusation at El Chapo’s trial
The former president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, once accepted a $100 million bribe from Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the drug lord known as El Chapo, a witness at Mr. Guzman’s trial said on Tuesday.
The witness, Alex Cifuentes Villa, is a Colombian drug lord who worked closely with Mr. Guzmán from 2007 to 2013. If true, his testimony would suggest that corruption by drug cartels reached the highest level of Mexico’s government. Mr. Peña Nieto could not be reached for comment.
What’s next: Mr. Guzmán’s name has been submitted as a potential witness for the defense, meaning he could testify at his own trial.
Background: Mr. Guzmán, a longtime leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, is accused of shipping more than 200 tons of heroin, cocaine and marijuana into the U.S. from the 1980s to 2016.
If you have 12 minutes, this is worth it
When a glacier melts
The Tuyuksu glacier in the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan has been studied for decades by scientists who are trying to gauge the impact of climate change on the world’s ice. Last summer, our reporters saw it “melting like mad,” but the accumulating snow in winter hasn’t made up the difference.
The repercussions are wide-ranging, and what’s happening in the mountains of Kazakhstan is occurring all over the world.
Here’s what else is happening
Citizenship question is rejected: A federal judge on Tuesday blocked the Trump administration from adding a question on American citizenship to the 2020 census. The case will most likely reach the Supreme Court.
Deadly attack in Nairobi: The death toll rose to 14 in a terrorist attack by Shabab militants who stormed a hotel and office complex in Kenya’s capital on Tuesday.
More pressure on Iowa congressman: The House voted to reject white nationalism and white supremacy as “hateful expressions of intolerance,” in a measure aimed at Representative Steve King. His fellow Republicans have faced pressure for not censuring him sooner.
Growing 2020 field: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York became the latest Democrat to enter the presidential race.
Snapshot: Above, two male penguins in Australia are raising a chick together, capturing the hearts of a nation where same-sex marriage became legal barely a year ago. “Love is love,” said a manager at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium.
In memoriam: Carol Channing, a Broadway star known for her performances in “Hello, Dolly!” and “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” died on Tuesday at 97. Read her obituary and an appraisal by one of our theater critics, who says Ms. Channing was one of the reasons he was drawn to New York.
Late-night comedy: “Hamberders” at the White House? The comedy hosts were ready.
What we’re reading: “The Real Roots of American Rage” in The Atlantic. “Drawing on history, current events and social science, Charles Duhigg makes the case that anger is innate and can at times actually be useful,” writes David Gelles, our Corner Office columnist. “What’s worrisome, however, is that today anger is being monetized by the media, and weaponized by political parties.”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: Kimchi and mozzarella offer a spicy twist on the classic grilled cheese.
Go: New York City Ballet’s winter season opens Tuesday with new leads in George Balanchine’s “Apollo.” Our critic explores the title role, widely interpreted as the choreographer’s most autobiographical.
Watch: “The Heiresses,” the debut feature by the director Marcelo Martinessi, is a Times Critic’s Pick for its “clearsighted sensitivity.”
Listen: Want to feel old? On the track “22,” the trio Pottymouth bemoans with a galloping punk-rock beat moving through their early 20s.
Smarter Living: Driving on snow should be like walking on ice: slow and careful. Don’t mash the pedals, even if you have all-season tires. And keep in mind that the warmer the air, the slicker the snow. When air temperatures hit 30 degrees Fahrenheit, packed snow is about five times more slick than it is at zero degrees.
We also have ideas for the gear you’ll need in 2019.
And now for the Back Story on …
Cultivating a taste for potatoes
By some estimates, China’s population of 1.4 billion is nearing its peak. To feed that many people, while trying to use less land and water, the government is appealing to taste buds.
For several years, official policy has aimed to make potatoes a culinary staple, alongside rice, wheat and corn.
Potatoes can tolerate cold, drought and poor soil, and they need less water, fertilizer, pesticide and labor than other staples. Since the 1990s, China has outstripped all other countries in production.
Potatoes are hardly new to China. They were introduced about 400 years ago, and feature in beloved regional dishes like the shredded Sichuan specialty tudousi.
But for starch, the Chinese prefer rice and noodles.
One workaround is to process the tubers into potato flour, which is then mixed with wheat flour to make steamed bread, noodles or cakes. The government also promotes regional potato dishes, and supports the production of fries and potato chips.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Inyoung Kang, who helped compile today’s briefing, to Eleanor Stanford for the cultural ideas, and to James K. Williamson for the Smarter Living tips. Claire Fu (付欣怡), a news researcher in our Beijing bureau, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at [email protected]
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about William Barr’s confirmation hearing.
• Here’s today’s mini crossword puzzle, and a clue: Short greeting (2 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• NYT Cooking, a subscription service of The New York Times, has more than 18,000 recipes, about 2,000 of which call for potatoes.
Chris Stanford is based in London and writes the U.S. version of the Morning Briefing. He also compiles a weekly news quiz. He was previously a producer for the desktop home page and mobile site, helping to present The New York Times’s news report to readers. Before joining The Times in 2013, he was an editor and designer at The Washington Post and other news organizations. @stanfordc
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