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The U.S. Senate is set to rebuke President Trump, a step toward a possible H.I.V. cure, and a successful return in Venezuela. Here’s the latest:
A new mood of resistance in the U.S. Congress
Senate Republicans are likely to contribute enough votes for approval of a House-passed measure that would undo President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency for allocating money to his promised border wall. Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, conceded that he could not stop it.
And Jerrold Nadler, a powerful House lawmaker, issued scores of demands for documents from Mr. Trump’s cabinet, aides, businesses and associates, revealing a broad Democratic investigation into possible obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power by Mr. Trump and his administration.
What’s next: The topics covered by the requests include the firing of James Comey as F.B.I. director and Mr. Trump’s apparent dangling of pardons and threatening of witnesses. Mr. Nadler could follow up with subpoenas to compel testimony, but those could be challenged in court.
Though a Senate vote to overturn the state of national emergency is virtually certain to meet with a presidential veto, the stunning rebuke would signal that Mr. Trump’s grip on his own party was weakening. It could also strengthen court challenges to the emergency declaration.
A milestone in the global AIDS epidemic
For just the second time since the global epidemic began, a patient appears to have been cured of infection with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS. Scientists had long tried to duplicate the procedure that led to the first long-term remission 12 years ago. And with the so-called London patient, they seem to have succeeded.
This confirms that a cure for H.I.V. infection is possible, if difficult, researchers said. Both milestones resulted from bone-marrow transplants that were given to infected patients, but for treating cancer, not H.I.V.
Prospects: Bone-marrow transplantation, a risky procedure, is unlikely to be a realistic treatment option in the near future. But researchers say they see a path opening to a possible cure.
The (restricted) life of Meng Wanzhou
Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of the company’s founder, has been staying at her luxurious six-bedroom house in Vancouver since being granted bail in December. And she has been allowed to go shopping or even travel to nearby Richmond, albeit while under surveillance.
Her conditions contrast sharply with those of two Canadian men detained in China in apparent retaliation for Ms. Meng’s arrest, a disparity that has touched on a nerve among Vancouver residents.
The Chinese authorities on Monday accused both men of espionage, ratcheting up tensions between the two countries, just days before a Canadian court is set to begin a hearing on whether Ms. Meng should be extradited to the U.S., where she is wanted on fraud charges.
In other Huawei news: The company is set to file a lawsuit against the American government for banning federal agencies from using the company’s products, according to two people familiar with the matter. The case could undermine the Trump administration’s campaign to shut out Huawei from the global market.
Guaidó returns to Venezuela after defying travel ban
Juan Guaidó, the Venezuelan opposition leader, returned to the country this week after defying a travel ban, possibly setting up a showdown with President Nicolás Maduro.
“We just got through passport control and will head where our people are!” he posted on Twitter from an airport near Caracas, the capital. Mr. Maduro’s government has said Mr. Guaidó violated restrictions on his travel and could face arrest. But it may hold back and hope that protests simply “peter out,” an analyst in Caracas said.
Response: As Mr. Guaidó flew into the country, a number of European diplomats had come to Simón Bolívar Airport to offer their support. And on Twitter, John Bolton, President Trump’s national security adviser, warned: “Any threats or acts against his safe return will be met with a strong and significant response from the United States and the international community.”
Here’s what else is happening
Surveillance: The U.S. National Security Agency has shut down a system that analyzes logs of Americans’ domestic calls and texts, according to a senior Republican congressional aide, halting a program that was exposed by Edward Snowden in 2013.
Climate change: A study found that marine heat waves — when sea temperatures are much higher than normal for at least five consecutive days — are happening more often than they did last century and threaten the framework of many underwater ecosystems.
Tornadoes: Rescue workers in the U.S. rushed to search for survivors after a cluster of storms ripped through the Southeast, from Alabama into Florida and Georgia, killing at least 23 people.
Denmark: The country has a “pervasive ‘rape culture’ and endemic impunity for rapists,” according to an Amnesty International report. Danish law defines rape as an attack based on the use of violence rather than the absence of consent, and there are urgent calls to change that definition.
Carlos Ghosn: A Tokyo court set bail at $9 million for the former auto executive, who faces charges in Japan of underreporting his income by more than $80 million. Prosecutors are expected to appeal.
Arms control: Russia formally suspended its observance of a key nuclear arms treaty that the U.S. abandoned last month, setting the stage for the return of land-based nuclear missiles with relatively short ranges of 300 to 3,400 miles.
The Vatican: Winning praise from academics and Jewish organizations, Pope Francis announced that in 2020 he would open the sealed archives from the World War II-era pontificate of Pius XII, allowing scholars to examine how the Vatican responded to Nazism and the Holocaust, a subject of deep controversy.
Ted Baker: Ray Kelvin, the founder and chief executive of the British fashion chain, resigned after current and former employees accused him of inappropriate behavior, including trying to massage people in the office and asking employees for sex.
Scotland: President Trump implied in a tweet that a golf course owned by the Trump Organization in Scotland, and that recently lost a court judgment, helps cement the U.S. relationship with Britain. His remark alarmed some legal and ethics experts.
Michael Jackson: After the debut on Sunday of the first half of the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland,” which includes allegations of sexual abuse against the pop star, Jackson’s fans came out in full force with what they viewed as evidence exonerating the singer. The director of the documentary called them “the Islamic State of fandom.” The second half covers Jackson’s legal troubles and his accusers’ decisions to come forward.
T. rex: The dinosaur has helped foster a surge in paleontology over the last 20 years. Among the discoveries about the land predator were its size range (early tyrannosaurs were as small as chickens) and its short life span.
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King cake is no ordinary cake. A Mardi Gras tradition, the circular pastry shines with stripes of sugared New Orleans Carnival colors: purple for justice, gold for power and green for faith.
It’s stuffed with fruit and pecans — and a plastic baby that brings luck to the finder (along with the responsibility of providing the next year’s cake).
The notion of embedding an object in cake dates at least to the Roman Empire. For Saturnalia, a predecessor of Christmas, it was not a plastic baby but a fava bean. Whoever received the slice containing the bean ruled the day.
But the Romans also associated fava beans with death. That might be because of a genetic disorder, most common in the Mediterranean, that creates an often lethal bean allergy.
So perhaps eating a cake with a fava bean was a morbid joke, a moment on the edge, or what could be thought of as letting the good times roll.
James K. Williamson wrote today’s Back Story.
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