Trump-Biden, Botswana, World Cup: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. A “loser.” An “existential threat.”

President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden traded personal barbs as they traveled to the key early voting state of Iowa, giving the country a preview of what a general election matchup between the two men might look like.

As he left the White House for his trip, Mr. Trump waved a piece of paper that he said was part of a secret deal with Mexico, but revealed no details.

2. Moving on to state politics: It’s the first time in more than a century that all but one state legislature is dominated by a single party. And the mood is dark.

Instead of minority parties conceding that they lack the numbers to effectively fight back, tensions have grown and become more vitriolic. We took a look at state houses across the country, including Illinois, above, where battles on abortion, same-sex marriage and tax cuts are playing out.

In other state news: Alabama’s governor signed into law a so-called chemical castration bill in an effort to reduce recidivism among sex offenders. And in Missouri, the state’s last abortion clinic won a temporary reprieve to remain open.

3. Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal!

The U.S. women dominated their first World Cup game, defeating Thailand, 13-0, giving the team its biggest tournament victory ever. Samantha Mewis, above center, scored two of the points.

Just as the team defends its World Cup title in France, its members are preparing for a courtroom battle. The Times Magazine examines how the best women’s soccer team in the world is fighting for equal pay.

And back on the basketball court, the Golden State Warriors narrowly escaped elimination by the Toronto Raptors in the N.B.A. finals. But the win was overshadowed by Kevin Durant’s injury, which could keep him out through next season.

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4. Birthright trips have been a rite of passage for many Jews. Now, the trips are a target of protests.

Some young Jewish activists are protesting the free trips to Israel, saying the journeys erase the experiences of Israeli Arabs and Palestinians. The protests highlight the growing generational divide and unease among many young American Jews over Israel’s policies. Risa Nagel, above, walked off her Birthright trip last summer.

In a statement, Birthright said, “We do not shy away from open discussion of the geopolitical realities in Israel, including the conflict.”

5. T-Mobile’s proposed merger with Sprint faces a new hurdle as a group of 10 state attorneys general prepares to file a federal lawsuit to block it.

The lawsuit contends that competition will suffer and consumer prices will rise if the companies, the third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers in the U.S., combine.

Letitia James, the New York attorney general and one of the lead plaintiffs, called the deal “exactly the sort of consumer-harming, job-killing megamerger our antitrust laws were designed to prevent.”

6. “Human dignity is harmed when minority groups are marginalized.”

That was Judge Michael Leburu as he announced that Botswana’s High Court overturned colonial-era laws that criminalized gay sex. Activists hailed the decision as a significant step for gay rights on the African continent.

7. A fire destroyed master recordings by some of America’s most iconic musicians more than a decade ago. Almost nobody knew — until now.

At the time, Universal Studios Hollywood played down the blaze. But our Times Magazine writer found that it was actually the biggest disaster in the history of the music business. It was the most read article on our site today.

A master recording is the one-of-a-kind original recording of a piece of music from which all other recordings are made. Lost works included 500,000 song titles by dozens of artists, including Aretha Franklin, Louis Armstrong, above, Elton John, Sonny and Cher and Eric Clapton. And that’s just the beginning of the list. Here’s what else was lost.

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8. And now for a different kind of mystery.

It was like a plot from one of her novels: On a cold December night in 1926, the detective novelist Agatha Christie kissed her daughter, Rosalind (pictured above together), good night, went out in her beloved Morris Cowley roadster and didn’t return home for 11 days.

9. Taiwanese cooking used to exist under the vast umbrella of “Chinese food” in the U.S. A group of chefs and restaurateurs is changing that.

By making components from scratch, using top-quality ingredients, and adapting classics with modern forms and flavors, they are reframing Taiwanese food for an increasingly enthusiastic audience, our reporter writes. Above, dishes from Ho Foods in New York.

If you’re staying in for dinner, Samin Nosrat explains how to make perfect sweet potatoes every time. (Hint: Tahini butter is involved.)

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10. And finally, we have a challenge for you.

Relationship scientists have come up with a number of suggestions, based on years of studying happy couples. We’ve taken some of those ideas and created The 7-Day Love Challenge, a week’s worth of simple steps you can take to foster a deeper connection with your partner.

Everyday for a week, our Well founding editor, Tara Parker-Pope, will send an email that will link to an easy task you can complete together. The first challenge focuses on being nice to each other. And remember, it’s supposed to be fun.

Have an engaging night.

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Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.

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