Your Tuesday Briefing – The New York Times

A day after the U.S. homeland security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, resigned, the departures of the director of the Secret Service, the head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the department’s general counsel were expected.

The exodus appeared to be part of an effort by President Trump to clear out the department and steer it in a “tougher” direction.

Many immigration policy changes require congressional approval, however.

Visas: The federal government wants to issue more visas for foreign workers to take temporary jobs in housekeeping, landscaping and other fields, even as Mr. Trump threatens to seal the border with Mexico, where most of those workers come from.

In court: A California judge on Monday blocked the president’s efforts to force asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are adjudicated by the immigration courts.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s government continued meeting with officials from the opposition Labour Party to discuss a compromise plan for Britain’s withdrawal from the E.U., which is currently scheduled for Friday.

Over the weekend, Mrs. May suggested that a compromise could be worked out around immigration from the E.U., which could pave the way for maintaining close economic ties with the bloc.

What’s next: The Conservative government and Labour resume talks today, and European leaders are expected to meet and consider Mrs. May’s request for another Brexit extension on Wednesday.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, faces a decision after years of ambiguity regarding his stance on Brexit. Having accepted Mrs. May’s offer to negotiate, he will most likely face uncomfortable choices if she softens her stance and tries to tempt him with a credible compromise.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators in Sudan are demanding the ouster of an autocratic ruler. In Algeria, millions of protesters forced out their own octogenarian leader last week. And in Libya, an aging general is battling to establish himself as a new strongman.

The hopes inspired in 2011 by the Arab Spring uprising, or the waves of anti-government protests in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen, are reverberating across the region, shaking autocratic governments and posing questions about the future.

Protesters are seeking an end to closed and corrupt economies and authoritarian governments that are unresponsive to the public. “History repeats itself,” said one leader of the Egyptian uprising of 2011.

What’s next: President Trump is expected to host President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt at the White House today. Some scholars say the upheaval is a warning of the risks of embracing such autocratic allies too closely.

History lesson: Even the meaning of the Arab Spring remains contested. For authoritarian governments, it’s that popular revolutions lead to bedlam. For young people in Algeria and Sudan, it’s that nonviolent protests can oust even the most deeply entrenched dictator.

The country heads into a parliamentary election today with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one of Israel’s longest-serving leaders, facing stiff competition from a new rival, Benny Gantz, a former army chief.

Mr. Netanyahu has overseen healthy economic growth, but charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust have loomed over his campaign.

Political bombshell: Over the weekend, Mr. Netanyahu pledged that, if re-elected, he would extend Israel’s sovereignty over the West Bank, an apparent last-ditch attempt to woo right-wing voters.

The West Bank is home to 2.6 million Palestinians. If Mr. Netanyahu carried out his promise, it could end any possibility of a two-state solution.

Iran: In a move that could give Mr. Netanyahu a boost, President Trump designated an arm of the Iranian military — the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps — as a foreign terrorist organization, the first time the U.S. has made such a declaration about part of a government.

Our reporter got aboard a new train service from Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, to the Djibouti coast, part of a planned network that, with China’s help, is meant to eventually cover 3,000 miles.

But even the existing segment offers a voyage of many discoveries.

Boeing: The company’s troubled 737 Max was built on a 1960s design, and it lacked notable safety features that have been offered for years on other planes. Our reporters look at the history behind the patchwork plane grounded after two crashes in five months.

Britain: The government has proposed sweeping powers to fight the online spread of violent and extremist content, false information and harmful material aimed at children in one of the world’s most aggressive plans to regulate the internet.

Italy: Matteo Salvini, the most powerful figure in Italy’s government, announced the formation of a new European alliance of populist and far-right parties ahead of critical European Parliament elections in May.

France: Citizens want lower taxes and no reduction in public services, according to a three-month national consultation in which some 1.5 million French citizens let the government know what they wanted. It was President Emmanuel Macron’s strategy for sucking the wind out of the Yellow Vest protest movement.

Snapshot: Poland’s governing party has made gay people its top enemy. Maciej Gosniowski, above left, one of Poland’s few drag performers, said that while the vitriol directed at gays was alarming, he noticed an outpouring of support at the same time. “The two wings of society seem to be spreading apart,” he said.

What we’re reading: This Medium collection of interviews with writers about how they paid the bills while they wrote their books. Concepción de León, a staff writer for our Books section, recommends it, saying, “Reading about the jobs these writers worked — librarian, paramedic, apartment building superintendent — lifts the veil on the labor that made possible our favorite stories, aside from the labor of writing them.”

Listen: “Old Town Road,” the viral hit by the rapper Lil Nas X that set off a debate about what is, isn’t or might be country music, is the focus of our pop music podcast.

Smarter Living: The kitchen-wear entrepreneur Ellen Bennett organizes her kitchen like a professional chef, to keep from having to hunt around for ingredients and tools. Her method can work for you. Separate cookware by four main functions: prep, cook, serve, store. Date and label spices and store them in transparent containers. And good knife skills can replace any number of gadgets.

We also have guidance on how to securely mount your flat-screen TV.

Lately, leggings have become a cultural lightning rod. But a new retrospective of the British designer Mary Quant reminds us of an earlier fashion flash point: the miniskirt revolution.

Ms. Quant, a trailblazer of Swinging Sixties fashion, famously said she “didn’t have time to wait for women’s lib.” Her higher-than-high hemlines insisted on young women’s right to bare their legs.

She named her trademark skirt after her favorite car, the original Mini Cooper.

Pieces of clothing resembling miniskirts have been identified by archaeologists as far back as the 1300s B.C., but it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that the mini really took off. Staying true to the Hemline Index (whereby skirt hemlines rise along with stock prices), the miniskirt perfectly captured 1960s London. The trend has followed a boom-and-bust cycle ever since.

Bans on short skirts are enforced in several African countries, however, and wearing a mini can prompt outrage — and even criminal arrest — in parts of the Middle East.

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

— Melina

Thank you
To Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and James K. Williamson for the break from the news. Elizabeth Paton, our Europe-based Styles reporter, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about Russia’s campaign of state-sponsored assassinations.
• Here’s today’s mini crossword puzzle, and a clue: Something built in a gym (4 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times’s article about the controversy over leggings drew more than 1,800 comments from readers.

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