Your Thursday Briefing

Good morning,

We’re covering a dispute between the attorney general and some of Robert Mueller’s investigators, the return of measles, and a report on the gruesome state of Alabama’s prisons.

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Breaking

Ethiopian officials today called for a review of Boeing Max 8 controls and said pilots involved in a fatal crash last month had followed procedures.


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Attorney General William Barr, who took office in February, is permitted to release as much of the special counsel’s report as he deems appropriate.CreditSarah Silbiger/The New York Times

Attorney general is said to have understated report

Some members of the special counsel’s team have said that Attorney General William Barr didn’t adequately portray their findings, which they said were more troubling for President Trump than Mr. Barr has indicated, according to government officials and others familiar with the matter.

Mr. Barr has released a four-page summary of the nearly 400-page report, which he said found no conspiracy between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 election. Mr. Barr has said he will move to release the full report after scrubbing it of confidential information.

The officials and others interviewed declined to provide more detail, and it is unclear how widespread the frustration is among Robert Mueller’s team, which included 19 lawyers, about 40 F.B.I. agents and other personnel.

What’s at stake: The dispute — the first evidence of tension between Mr. Barr and the special counsel’s office — could determine who shapes the public’s initial understanding of the investigation.

The Daily: In today’s episode, two reporters discuss the revelations about the Mueller report.

Yesterday: The Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee formally requested that the I.R.S. provide six years of Mr. Trump’s personal and business tax returns.


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Children with measles in a government hospital in Manila in February.CreditFrancis R Malasig/EPA, via Shutterstock

Measles makes a comeback

Public health officials thought they had the disease under control. The United Nations intensified vaccination efforts in 2001, and cases plunged nearly 80 percent worldwide from 2000 to 2016.

But two years ago, the number of cases began rising, even in countries where it had been vanquished. The biggest factor in that increase, according to the World Health Organization, was poverty. About 95 percent of a population must be immune to stop measles from spreading, but the medical systems of many countries are too weak to vaccinate enough children every year.

Go deeper: Outbreaks in places such as Indonesia, Madagascar and Venezuela have revealed shortcomings in vaccination efforts and eroded confidence in what had been considered a public health achievement.


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At the St. Clair Correctional Facility in Springville, Ala.CreditWilliam Widmer for The New York Times

“Common, cruel” violence in Alabama prisons

The state has one of the highest incarceration rates in the U.S., and prisoners in its overcrowded and understaffed correctional system endure some of the highest rates of homicide and rape.

A report issued by the Justice Department on Wednesday described “a high level of violence that is too common, cruel, of an unusual nature, and pervasive,” and said that the state was “deliberately indifferent” and “failed to correct known systemic deficiencies.”

State officials said the report addressed issues that Alabama was aware of and already working to fix.

Closer look: The Times received more than 2,000 photographs taken in an Alabama prison. Very few were suitable for publication, but they offered a rare glimpse of life there.

For drivers, the true price of free

New York has embraced the idea of congestion pricing, in which drivers will be charged to enter the busiest parts of Manhattan. If adopted more widely, it could change the way Americans think about infrastructure.

The deeply embedded cultural idea of an open road obscures the fact that the government has heavily subsidized driving and hides the reality of who pays for it, our reporter writes.

“The roads hold such a special position in our brain that we use logic around them that we would never use around everything else,” said a professor of urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Local reaction: Various groups in New York are angling for exemptions before the policy goes into effect in 2021.

If you have 9 minutes, this is worth it

From Silk Road to total surveillance

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CreditPaul Mozur/The New York Times

Kashgar, the storied city of ancient trade routes, lies in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang. A crackdown is underway there on ethnic minority groups — Uighurs, Kazakhs, Tajiks — who outnumber the otherwise dominant Han Chinese.

The government’s cameras are everywhere, and the point is to intimidate as much as it is to monitor. Three of our reporters explored.

Here’s what else is happening

A “more mindful” Joe Biden: The former vice president said in a video released Wednesday that he would be more respectful of personal space, after four women said that how he had touched them had made them uncomfortable. Mr. Biden, who is expected to announce a presidential run, acknowledged that “social norms have begun to change” and “I get it.”

Vulnerabilities at Mar-a-Lago: The arrest of a Chinese woman carrying a malware-laced device has exposed porous security at President Trump’s Florida resort.

Punishing social media platforms: Australia passed sweeping legislation today that would, among other measures, result in jail time for executives of social media companies that fail to rapidly remove “abhorrent violent material.”

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CreditAndre Grossmann/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Snapshot: Above, a study of a project by the artist Christo, who announced on Wednesday that he had received permission to wrap the Arc de Triomphe in Paris next year. It will be the first such project since Jeanne-Claude, his wife and artistic partner, died in 2009.

52 Places traveler: In his latest dispatch, our columnist visits the city he calls home: New York.

Late-night comedy: Apologies, our roundup wasn’t ready in time for this briefing.

What we’re reading: This Medium collection of interviews with writers about how they paid the bills while they wrote. 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.”

Now, a break from the news

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CreditJulia Gartland for The New York Times

Cook: Use a pressure cooker for quick chipotle chicken pozole.

Watch: Here’s our pick of the best new titles on streaming services in the U.S. and on Netflix Canada this month.

Listen: Downhill Lullaby,” the first original song that Sky Ferreira has released since 2013, veers sharply from her first album, our critic writes.

Read: The movie has been rocking on Netflix. Now Mötley Crüe’s “The Dirt” appears on our paperback nonfiction and combined print and e-book nonfiction best-seller lists.


Smarter Living: Evidence shows that you’re better off going into a job with a realistic preview, warts and all, rather than a rosy picture of what it’s like. You might be a little less excited, but on average, you end up more productive and less likely to quit.

Also, here’s how to find a sports bra that fits.

And now for the Back Story on …

An enduring alliance

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization turns 70 today.

Having lunch in the cafeteria at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels is like attending a costume party, given the varied uniforms of the 29 members. A 30th nation, North Macedonia, is to join soon.

The appeal is a mutual defense pact that has a rejuvenated purpose: to keep Russia contained and Germany defended.

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The U.S. secretary of state, Dean Acheson, signed the treaty in Washington in 1949. President Harry Truman stood nearby.CreditAssociated Press

Tensions that had seemed to diminish with the fall of the Soviet Union are back, thanks to the 2008 Georgian war, the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea and warfare in eastern Ukraine, and Russian meddling in Greece, Montenegro and other countries.

President Trump has disparaged NATO’s new headquarters as too expensive. But for this frequent visitor, it was a needed replacement for the ramshackle old structure. I once nearly lost my foot going through a rotten floor that was thrown together when Charles de Gaulle threw NATO out of France in 1966.

(France came back to full membership 10 years ago.)


Mom was right: Eat your veggies. Poor diets were linked to one in five deaths, according to a major study released Wednesday.

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

— Chris and Inyoung


Thank you
To Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford, Chris Harcum and James K. Williamson for the break from the news. Steven Erlanger, The Times’s chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about the special counsel’s report.
• Here’s today’s mini crossword puzzle, and a clue: Where Susan Collins is senator (5 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The New York Times stylebook renders NATO, like other acronyms — abbreviations pronounced as words — without periods.

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