Your Thursday Briefing

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Good morning,

We start today with a new warning on carbon emissions, the funeral for George Bush and a controversial vote in Wisconsin. We also invite you to share your thoughts about our new design.

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A coal-fired power plant in Germany. A third major scientific report in just a few months has warned about the urgent need to address climate change.CreditSascha Steinbach/EPA, via Shutterstock

Greenhouse gas emissions surge

The accelerating growth of carbon dioxide emissions is comparable to a “speeding freight train,” scientists said on Wednesday, and is putting the world on track to face the most severe consequences of global warming far sooner than expected.

Worldwide, emissions are expected to increase 2.7 percent this year, compared with 1.6 percent last year. Researchers placed part of the blame on a surge in demand for oil.

Another angle: Diplomats from nearly 200 countries are meeting in Poland to try to hammer out key rules for the Paris climate agreement, under which almost all countries agreed to submit a plan for curbing emissions. President Trump has vowed to pull the U.S. out of the deal by 2020. One of our climate reporters explained the stakes of the talks.

For you: Subscribe to the Climate Fwd: newsletter to get the latest climate-related news from The Times. Read the latest edition here.


The Trumps, Obamas, Clintons and Carters attended Wednesday’s service at Washington National Cathedral.CreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

A nation bids farewell to George Bush

The 41st president was remembered as a “kinder and gentler” leader during a funeral service in Washington on Wednesday attended by more than 3,000 mourners, including President Trump and all four living former presidents.

“To us, his was the brightest of a thousand points of light,” former President George W. Bush said in his eulogy, referring to a phrase his father had popularized.

Watch: Scenes from the funeral, including parts of Mr. Bush’s speech.

Another angle: The service was a rare reunion for the men and women who served in the first Bush administration.

What’s next: Another service will be held today in Houston. Mr. Bush will then be taken by train to College Station, Tex., to be interred at his presidential library next to his wife, Barbara, and Robin, a daughter who died of leukemia at age 3.

President Trump seeks to calm the markets

The president tried on Wednesday to ease concerns that his trade truce with China was floundering, saying that Beijing was sending “very strong signals” about the deal he reached with President Xi Jinping over the weekend.

Mr. Trump and his advisers have been talking up the trade truce, but the Chinese have mostly been silent.

Investors will be watching today for reactions from U.S. stock markets, which were closed on Wednesday in honor of former President George Bush.

Another angle: A top executive and daughter of the founder of the Chinese tech giant Huawei was arrested last weekend in Canada at Washington’s request, raising questions about the Trump administration’s overall China strategy.


People were asked to leave the public gallery of the Wisconsin State Senate during debate Tuesday night.CreditLauren Justice for The New York Times

Wisconsin Republicans limit powers of newly elected Democrats

The state’s Republican-led Legislature passed a sweeping set of bills on Wednesday to curb the power of the incoming governor and attorney general, who are both Democrats. Eight years of one-party rule in the state ended last month when Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, lost his re-election bid to Tony Evers.

Robin Vos, the Republican speaker of the Assembly, defended the legislation as a necessary check on executive power and brushed aside claims of a power grab.

The details: Among the new rules are limits on early voting, which tends to benefit Democratic candidates. And lawmakers, not the governor, would control a majority of appointments to an economic development board.

Closer look: Wisconsin Republicans followed the lead of North Carolina — and, as in North Carolina, they are likely to face major legal challenges.

The Daily: In today’s episode, Mitch Smith, who covers the Midwest for The Times, discusses the vote.

If you have 10 minutes, this is worth it

Outrunning the men, 200 miles at a time


CreditMax Whittaker for The New York Times

Courtney Dauwalter specializes in extremely long races that are growing in popularity, and she has a major one this weekend in Phoenix.

Her dominance makes this much clear: As distance lengthens, the biological advantages that men have grow smaller.

Here’s what else is happening

U.S. military aircraft accident: Five U.S. Marines are missing after two American planes were involved in an accident in Japan early today. Two other Marines have been rescued.

OPEC gathering: The oil cartel is meeting today, and analysts expect it to announce a substantial cut in production.

A warning from Vladimir Putin: The Russian president said his country would respond in kind if the U.S. develops new intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

Facebook’s business practices: The social media company used the data it collected on users to favor partners like Airbnb and Netflix and to punish rivals, internal documents show.


CreditMauricio Lima for The New York Times

Snapshot: Above, a man used a laptop to create an internet hot spot for cellphone users in Havana in 2016. Today, Cuba is to begin offering its citizens full internet access for cellphones, one of the last countries in the world to do so.

Golden Globe nominations: Nominees for the Jan. 6 awards show are to be announced at 8:15 a.m. Eastern. “A Star Is Born,” starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, is expected to feature prominently.

Einstein letter is sold: A 64-year-old message from Albert Einstein, known as the God letter because of its ruminations on formal religion, sold for almost $2.9 million in Manhattan.

Late-night comedy: Stephen Colbert ran through footage of former President George Bush’s funeral, including some awkward moments involving President Trump.

What we’re listening to: The “Queerly Beloved” podcast. Jenna Wortham, a writer for The Times Magazine, calls it “a beautiful meditation on families, the ones we’re born into and the ones we choose. The perfect balm to keep you company this upcoming holiday travel season.”

Now, a break from the news


CreditRyan Liebe for The New York Times

Cook: A well-decorated sugar cookie. We guide you through flooding techniques and the fluffiest royal icing.

Watch: The second season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” now on Amazon. Amy Sherman-Palladino’s comedy has quick-fire dialogue and great hats. Read our review.

Compare: How many of your favorite films are on the best-of-the-year lists of our critics Manohla Dargis and A. O. Scott?

Read: Jack Ryan returns in Marc Cameron’s “Tom Clancy: Oath of Office” on our hardcover fiction and combined print and e-book fiction best-seller lists. You can find all of our best-seller lists here.

Smarter Living: It can survive on surfaces for 42 days, resists being killed and is the source of most stomach bugs in America. It’s norovirus, and we’re headed into prime season. So wash your hands carefully.

And, we’d like to remind you, you’re great. Even if you do say so yourself.

And now for the Back Story on …

The Mars mission

NASA’s InSight spacecraft landed on Mars last week to study the planet’s deep interior. One way it will do that is with the planetary equivalent of a sonogram.

Seismology is a well-developed field. It’s the source of much of our knowledge about the Earth’s innards.


An artist’s rendering of the InSight lander.CreditNASA/EPA, via Shutterstock

An earthquake’s vibrations run around and through the planet, speeding up, slowing down, bending — depending on the properties of the material they pass through.

Information from seismic monitors around the world is the foundation for the understanding we have of the Earth’s structure: a solid inner core, surrounded by a liquid outer core, inside a thick viscous layer known as the mantle, under a thin rocky crust.

InSight will monitor quakes from just one location. The instrument should be able to identify a vibration that has circled Mars multiple times, and clever analysis should yield the equivalent of data from multiple stations.

That’s it for this briefing.

We’re still sorting through all of the feedback we’ve received about our new look, but we’re making one change today: You can find a link to all of our puzzles, not just the mini crossword, below.

See you next time.

— Chris

Thank you
To Chris Harcum and Eleanor Stanford for their books, movie and music recommendations, and Kenneth R. Rosen and James K. Williamson for their Smarter Living tips. Kenneth Chang, who covers space for The Times, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about Republican maneuvers in Wisconsin.
• Here’s today’s mini crossword puzzle, and a clue: Make small talk (4 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• In last week’s Times news quiz, 19 percent of readers got a perfect score. A new quiz arrives tomorrow. Are you ready?

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