Cruise Ship, Democrats, Academy Awards: Your Monday Briefing


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Good morning.

We’re covering the latest in the coronavirus outbreak and a historic night at the Oscars. We’ve also published a deep look at what went wrong in the Iowa caucuses.

More than 60 new cases of the virus have been confirmed on a ship quarantined in Japan, bringing the total to 136, the ship’s captain told passengers today. Here are the latest updates and maps of where the virus has spread.

The news comes a day after 97 people in China died from the virus, a daily record. The country’s death toll of 908 now exceeds that of the SARS epidemic 17 years ago, although the death rate from SARS was higher.

Related: China said on Sunday that it would allow in a team from the World Health Organization, which first offered help weeks ago. Health experts say that deaths and infections are probably being undercounted because testing facilities are under severe strain.

Closer look: In Wuhan, where the outbreak originated, our reporter met a family in which three generations have been sickened.

Tips: There are more useful things to do than worry. To start, wash your hands, and get a flu shot.

It was more than just a faulty app.

A team of Times journalists in Des Moines reports: “As disastrous as the 2020 Iowa caucuses have appeared to the public, the failure runs deeper and wider than has previously been known, according to dozens of interviews with those involved. It was a total system breakdown that casts doubt on how a critical contest on the American political calendar has been managed for years.”

Related: Nearly a week after the caucuses, the Iowa Democratic Party released results on Sunday indicating that Pete Buttigieg was the winner. But errors have led several news organizations, including The Times, to refrain from calling the race. Bernie Sanders’s campaign said it would call for a partial recanvass of results.

What’s next: With the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, Mr. Buttigieg and Mr. Sanders are escalating their rivalry.

The comedy-thriller from South Korea on Sunday became the first film not in English to win the Academy Award for best picture.

“Parasite,” which has earned $35.5 million at the North American box office since its release in October, also won awards for best director, original screenplay and international feature.

The details: In the acting categories, Joaquin Phoenix won for “Joker”; Renée Zellweger for “Judy”; Brad Pitt for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”; and Laura Dern for “Marriage Story.” Here’s a complete list of winners.

QAnon, which began online more than two years ago as an intricate, if baseless, conspiracy theory, has found a foothold offline, surfacing in political campaigns, criminal cases and at least one college class.

About a dozen candidates for public office in the U.S. have promoted or dabbled in QAnon, and its adherents have been arrested in at least seven episodes, including the slaying of a New York City mob boss last year.

Background: QAnon began in 2017, when cryptic posts written under the name Q Clearance Patriot appeared on the online message board 4chan. In more than 3,500 posts, Q — whose identity has never been determined — has claimed, among other things, that President Trump was recruited by the military to run for office in order to break up a global cabal of pedophiles, and that Robert Mueller’s investigation would end with prominent Democrats being imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay.

Egyptians have controlled the river for thousands of years, but pollution, climate change and Egypt’s soaring population are taking a toll on the Nile.

Now the country is sparring with Ethiopia over the construction of a $4.5 billion hydroelectric dam. The sides are scheduled to meet this week in Washington, where the White House has been mediating a dispute that threatens to break into a wider conflict.

A $4.8 trillion budget: President Trump is expected to propose a spending plan today that will include billions of dollars for a wall along the southern border and steep cuts to safety net programs, including Medicaid.

Amazon vs. Nazis: The retailer once said that it would sell “the good, the bad and the ugly,” but it has become increasingly proactive in removing Nazi material. In a book related to Amazon’s show “The Man in the High Castle,” swastikas and other Nazi-themed imagery were digitally erased.

What we’re reading: This essay in Essence, addressing the attacks on the broadcast journalist Gayle King after she raised the question of a dropped rape accusation against Kobe Bryant. “The term misogynoir — the special type of hatred directed against women of color — says it all,” says the Briefings editor, Andrea Kannapell.

Cook: Pasta and chickpea stew cooks in just one pan and is vegan without the final dusting of pecorino.

Read: The writer Matthew Lopez discusses “The Inheritance,” his two-part play about gay culture and the legacy of AIDS.

Listen: The indie rock duo Best Coast has a new song, “Everything Has Changed,” and a new outlook on life.

Smarter Living: Our Wirecutter colleagues present hacks, tips and products in their “Five Days to Better Sleep” Challenge. (Sign up here.)

Seventeen African countries shed their colonial status in 1960. Sixty years later, our archival storytelling team, Past Tense, paired photography from collections at The Times and elsewhere with writers and thinkers of African descent for a special section, “A Continent Remade.” Veronica Chambers, the editor of Past Tense, spoke with Adriana Balsamo about the project. Here are some edited excerpts from their conversation.

Can you speak to the decision to have more youthful writers be a part of the project?

We really wanted a certain dynamism to the conversation. And we thought that it would be interesting to ask youngish people who are really connected to the continent … and who have a sense of pride about it. David Adjaye, for example, spent years cataloging the architecture of Africa in a way that had never been done before. But he grew up half his life off the continent.

There’s always a period of discovery for someone who has a foot in a country but didn’t necessarily grow up there. And especially because the countries are so young, it felt like it’d be interesting to ask these young people who in some ways really benefited from all of the good of independence — their lives were shaped by everything that came after — to look at the pictures and respond.

What is your favorite photo?

I think the mother and baby picture [with Imbolo Mbue’s essay] and the Miss Independence picture [with Luvvie Ajayi’s essay] were really important to me because those were the two I found first, in October 2018. I held on to those two pictures as a kind of proof of concept. I also love the picture at the United Nations by Sam Falk [with Mr. Adjaye’s essay]. He’s so special to the history of The Times and just to know what it must have meant for those men to be able to go and represent new nations. To say, “Our country is three months old and here we are. Let’s talk about how we fit into the rest of the world.” I think that’s pretty powerful.

What do you hope readers take away from the section?

We are really hoping that people on the continent will read the digital version, and we’ve worked really hard on the interactive. When you look at the news photographs, it was a time when very few New York Times readers would have been to Africa. And so when we look at where we are at 60 years later, there’s still a lot of people who have never been and may never go.

And I hope what readers will take from it is a sense of possibility that I believe continues to this day. A sense of beauty, a sense of community. And I hope, interest: I hope they will continue to read some of the writers we featured.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Chris

Thank you
Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected].

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about a company that has compiled a database of three billion images and the ensuing privacy concerns.
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