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Prime Minister Theresa May promises Parliament the chance to delay Brexit, the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting begins and Michael Cohen prepares to dish dirt in Congress. Here’s the latest:
Theresa May softens promise to meet Brexit deadline
Britain’s prime minister said on Tuesday that Parliament should have a chance to delay the country’s exit from the E.U. if lawmakers reject her withdrawal plan. She was bowing to demands by pro-European rebels in her Conservative government that she reduce the risk of a chaotic “no deal” departure on March 29.
Next steps: Mrs. May plans to bring a revised deal to Parliament by March 12. If lawmakers reject it, they will then be able to vote on whether to delay an exit or opt for a “no deal” departure, which many oppose.
A postponement would require the consent of all 27 other E.U. governments and would probably not extend beyond early July.
Go deeper: Ever wonder what happens in talks between British and E.U. officials over revising the deal? According to a confidential document obtained by The Times: “nothing.”
Trump-Kim summit begins as Michael Cohen threatens to upstage it
President Trump is in Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital, to meet with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, for the second time in eight months. The two leaders, who in 2017 exchanged fiery threats, will have dinner together tonight and formal meetings tomorrow. Here’s our live briefing.
Mr. Trump might have a lot else on his mind. Michael Cohen, his former personal lawyer and fixer, will testify today before lawmakers that Mr. Trump is a “con man” and a “cheat” who knew an adviser was communicating with WikiLeaks about the release of Democratic emails that were hacked by Russia. Read Mr. Cohen’s opening statement.
What North Korea wants: Pyongyang has brought a long list of demands, including an elimination of sanctions, a formal end to the Korean War and, possibly, the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea.
What the U.S. wants: Mr. Trump has lowered expectations to an extent that even some of his aides see a significant retreat at a critical moment. On denuclearization, he said he didn’t want to “rush anybody.” He may ultimately be willing to settle for limits on the size and reach of the North’s arsenal.
Go deeper: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has his work cut out for him as the translator of Mr. Trump’s foreign policy decisions. Here’s an in-depth profile of Mr. Pompeo, a former C.I.A. director.
Pakistan says it shot down Indian aircraft
Pakistan’s military said it had shot down two Indian aircraft that had entered Pakistani airspace and captured one of the pilots, in an escalation of hostilities just a day after Indian fighter jets crossed the disputed Kashmir region to launch an airstrike within Pakistan.
The claim was not confirmed by the Indian government.
Earlier developments: Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan promised on Tuesday to retaliate for the incursion hours earlier by Indian jets, which crossed the de facto border between the Indian- and Pakistani-controlled areas of Kashmir to strike Pakistan for the first time since 1971. Analysts warn that the crisis between the two nuclear-armed countries could erupt into something more serious unless both sides show restraint.
Russia revives Cold War posturing
To the consternation of many at home, Russia appears to reprising Cold War threats to rain nuclear annihilation on the U.S. if attacked.
In a prime-time TV broadcast, Dmitri Kiselyev, the Kremlin’s top propagandist, detailed how Russia would wipe out targets including two U.S. military bases that closed many years ago. He also laid out a plan to station Russian nuclear submarines off the coast of the U.S. if it were to put nuclear missiles in Poland.
And to mark Defenders of the Fatherland Day on Saturday, a choir at a St. Petersburg cathedral performed a song about a nuclear attack on the U.S.
Context: The assertiveness seems to be related to President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which banned the placement of such weapons in Europe. President Vladimir Putin of Russia promised in his state-of-the-nation address this month to answer with the deployment of new nuclear weaponry.
Another angle: A Cold War atmosphere also prevailed at the U.N. Security Council, where the U.S. and Russia squared off over Venezuela.
Here’s what else is happening
Border wall dispute: With more than a dozen Republicans joining Democrats, the House voted to block Mr. Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to secure funding for a border wall. The measure is one supporter short of possible passage in the Senate.
Britain: Under new rules, all adults will be considered potential organ donors by 2020 unless they opt out.
Nigeria: In an election marred by pockets of violence, Muhammadu Buhari won a second term as president, defeating a corruption-stained competitor.
Climate: Britons this week experienced the highest temperatures ever recorded in the country in winter. Kew Gardens, London, reached 21.2 degrees Celsius (70.16 Fahrenheit), the hottest February day since records began in 1910.
Ireland: The head of an 800-year-old mummified Crusader was stolen from a historic Dublin church, and a crypt was damaged. The church, St. Michan’s, is working with the police to recover the head “so we can let him rest in peace,” its vicar said.
Germany: Daniel Barenboim, one of the world’s leading conductors, has been accused by current and former members of the Berlin State Opera of bullying and humiliation, adding to a larger debate about the highhanded conduct that can be typical of maestros. He contends that there is a cynical campaign to oust him.
Sex education: English schools, particularly those that receive government funds, will significantly broaden sex education to cover topics including gay relationships and transgender people.
Harvest season: In northern Germany at this time of year, kale is king. (Just don’t forget the schmaltz and bacon.)
Fashion: At Paris Fashion Week, our chief fashion critic, Vanessa Friedman, wrote about young designers generating buzz, including Marine Serre, who imagined a post-climate-change apocalyptic wardrobe for her show.
Tips for a more fulfilling life.
Recipe of the day: Make chicken piccata, and rejoice over its butter-rich pan sauce.
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Why we yawn remains a mystery, but one theory is that it cools off our brains.
This week, Vice President Mike Pence accused Uruguay of being a “bystander” in Venezuela’s crisis, calling on its center-left government to do more to end President Nicolás Maduro’s devastating reign.
A reader, Annelise Gasser of Quebec, asked how a small South American nation had acquired such diplomatic significance.
Uruguay, which has clean democratic credentials and decent relations with Mr. Maduro, maintains credibility with both Maduro supporters and opponents that makes it a natural intermediary.
Uruguay’s soft approach stems from a live-and-let-live attitude, developed over two centuries of coexistence with much bigger neighbors. The country has long led the region in progressive politics, including legalizing marijuana and gay marriage.
While hard-liners in Miami threaten military intervention to oust Mr. Maduro, on the laid-back streets of Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital, residents resolve problems over a slow barbecue and the ever-present thermos of caffeine-rich mate (pronounced MAH-tay).
Anatoly Kurmanaev, our Caracas-based reporter, wrote today’s Back Story.
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