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Your Monday Briefing – The New York Times


The city’s front-line protesters said they planned to disrupt roads and public transit today after a large turnout in renewed weekend demonstrations.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters poured into the city’s streets on Sunday, one of the largest marches in weeks and timed just ahead of the United Nations Human Rights Day.

Heartened by victory in local elections two weeks ago, demonstrators mostly came with drums, protest anthems and chants. But a few vandalized shops and restaurants and lit a fire outside the high court.

What’s next: The protesters are demanding amnesty for activists who’ve been arrested during months of unrest, and an independent investigation into the police force. Such concessions are unlikely, given the firm stance of Beijing, which has worked to portray demonstrators as rioters colluding with foreign governments to topple the governing Communist Party.

U.S. officials are releasing few details about the investigation into the lethal attack on a Pensacola, Fla., naval base on Friday, beyond basic IDs.

The presumption is that it was an act of terrorism, and investigators are trying to determine the motive of the gunman, Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani of the Royal Saudi Air Force, 21, and whether he acted alone. He was shot dead at the scene.

The attack killed three sailors, from Alabama, Florida and Georgia, and wounded eight other people.

Among the few revelations: Lieutenant Alshamrani had shown videos of mass shootings at a dinner party the night before the attack, and had recently taken a trip to New York City.

Context: The shooting was the seventh on a U.S. military base this year, and came just a few days after a lethal shooting at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii.

Democratic lawyers will present the case for impeaching President Trump today before the House Judiciary committee.

That will set in motion a rapid-fire set of actions likely to produce official charges against the president by week’s end, and a nearly party-line vote in the full House before Christmas to impeach him.

Lawmakers have been preparing with late-night sessions, while Mr. Trump is refusing to engage with the House process, calling it a “hoax” and a “scam” led by “crazy” and “dishonest” Democrats.

The White House is instead focusing on the trial that would follow in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Democrats would almost certainly fall short of the two-thirds vote needed to remove Mr. Trump from office.

Analysis: A process enshrined in the Constitution as a nonpartisan way to address a president’s wrongdoing has devolved into a raucous brawl.

“What they are doing here is discrediting a system,” one Columbia University law professor said of the White House strategy. “If the system is discredited, it cannot discredit me. It is brilliant in its way, but totally cynical and completely destructive of our values.”

Reminder: Democrats are arguing that Mr. Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to help him defeat political rivals in the 2020 election. Catch up on the process, find out what Republicans are arguing and read our explanation of what is constitutionally impeachable.

Their story takes a little time to tell. David Wisnia, above, and Helen Spitzer had an improbable love affair as Jewish inmates at Auschwitz in 1943. They escaped death, and separately found new lives in the U.S.

When they reunited, 72 years after their last moment together, he had one question. Was she the reason he was alive?

New Delhi: At least 43 people were killed Sunday morning when a major fire broke out in a multistory building in a cramped, commercial neighborhood in New Delhi. The building, used for manufacturing paper products and women’s purses, was packed with sleeping laborers.

North Korea: The country said it had conducted a “very important test” at its missile-engine test and satellite-launch site, another sign of its escalating pressure on the U.S. to make concessions by the end of the year. Analysts said the likely test was of a new type of engine for long-range ballistic missiles.

Uighur whistle-blower: Asiye Abdulaheb, now a Dutch citizen, said that she helped release secret Chinese government documents showing how Beijing runs mass detention camps in Xinjiang and that by admitting it publicly, she hoped to protect herself and her family from retaliation.

Australia fires: Rivers and lakes in the outback are disappearing amid drought and mismanagement, and some towns there fear they might not be able to stop blazes that ignite in the already ferocious fire season. In Sydney, firefighters took advantage of easing weather conditions on Sunday to bring bushfires under control ahead of the soaring temperatures expected this week.

British election: Young people are playing an outsize role in campaigning for Thursday’s national vote, hoping to derail Brexit. They helped upend the last election, and Labour is hoping they’ll do it again.

Art Basel Miami: A $120,000 duct-taped banana at the massive art show caused so much commotion that it had to be taken down on Sunday, after the original was eaten by a performance artist. In the note announcing the replaced banana’s removal, the gallery said Maurizio Cattelan’s work “ultimately offered a complex reflection of ourselves.”

What we’re listening to: This episode of “The Europeans” podcast, about Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission’s new president. “A host said the episode aimed to ‘explain how the E.U. actually works without boring you to death,’” says Mike Ives, on the Briefings team. “It did, and I wasn’t!”

Cook: Lemony turmeric tea cake should be called “house cake” — to keep in your house at all times for a zingy lift.

Go: “Jagged Little Pill,” the Broadway musical based on Alanis Morissette’s 1995 megahit album, is “rousing and real,” our critic writes. It’s at the Broadhurst Theater in Manhattan.

Read: Spiritually minded books are among the 11 titles we recommend this week.

Smarter Living: Our Social Q’s column offers advice to a woman wondering if she should hide her husband’s job loss from her parents.

The Golden Globes nominees will be announced today, part of the entertainment awards season that culminates with the Oscars.

Earlier this year, our Styles writer Caity Weaver took a close look at the somewhat opaque nonprofit that awards the Globes, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

It “was born of the chaos of global warfare in 1943,” she wrote, “when eight foreign-born journalists living in California banded together to, apparently, gossip privately about celebrities. (The H.F.P.A.’s website is vague: ‘At first, the members held informal gatherings in private homes.’)”

The organization says it has “about 90 members,” who are not named, and the requirements to belong are something less than rigorous, Caity found.

Members must live in the greater Southern California area, have received a paycheck for publishing something in a non-American publication four times, submit two letters of recommendation from current members, and pay a $500 initiation fee.

Perhaps that looseness explains what Variety calls the organization’s “penchant for surprise.”

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

— Melina

Thank youTo Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode includes an interview with the U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. • Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Give or take (5 letters). You can find all our puzzles here. • The Times has 21 reporters covering the 2020 U.S presidential election. Get to know them here.

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In Lebanon, Ex-Premier Hariri Re-emerges as Top Pick for Post


BEIRUT — Lebanon’s leading Sunni Muslim politician, Saad Hariri, re-emerged as a candidate for prime minister on Sunday when the businessman Samir Khatib withdrew his candidacy to lead the government.

Mr. Hariri quit as prime minister on Oct. 29 in the face of mass protests against an entire political class blamed for state corruption and for steering Lebanon into the worst economic crisis since its 1975-90 civil war.

Consultations on designating a new prime minister had been set for Monday, but on Sunday President Michel Aoun postponed those talks by one week, his office said. Mr. Aoun must designate the candidate with the greatest level of support among Lebanon’s 128 lawmakers.

Under the country’s power-sharing system, the prime minister must be a Sunni Muslim. Mr. Hariri has continued to govern in a caretaker capacity until a new prime minister is named.

After he quit, talks to settle on a new cabinet became mired in divisions between Mr. Hariri, who is aligned with Western and Gulf Arab states, and adversaries including the Shiite group Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran. Last month Mr. Hariri officially withdrew his candidacy to be prime minister.

A consensus on Mr. Khatib appeared to form last week among the main parties, including Mr. Hariri, but backing did not solidify from the Sunni Muslim establishment.

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian, Lebanon’s most senior Sunni cleric, told Mr. Khatib during a meeting on Sunday that he backed Mr. Hariri, Mr. Khatib said.

Mr. Khatib said he learned that “agreement was reached on nominating Saad al-Hariri to form the coming government.”

The two men met Sunday at Mr. Hariri’s Beirut home, where Mr. Khatib announced that he was withdrawing his candidacy. There was no immediate statement from Mr. Hariri.

In recent days, as caretaker prime minister, Mr. Hariri has appealed to friendly foreign states to help Lebanon get lines of credit for essential imports. The country is grappling with a hard-currency shortage.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters have massed in recent weeks, demanding an end to corruption and mismanagement, as well as the crony sectarianism that enables it.

Mr. Hariri has said he would return as prime minister only if he could lead a government of specialists, rather than politicians, an attempt to satisfy the protesters, deal with the economic crisis and attract foreign aid.

Hezbollah and other groups have rejected the proposal, saying the government must include politicians.

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The Interstellar Comet Has Arrived in Time for the Holidays


It came out of the Northern sky, a frozen breath of gas and dust from the genesis of some distant star, launched across the galaxy by the gravitational maelstroms that accompany the birth of worlds.

It wandered in the deep freeze of interstellar space for 100 million years or so, a locked vault of cosmo-chemical history. In Spring 2019 this ice cube began falling into our own solar system. Feeble heat from the sun, still distant, loosened carbon monoxide from its surface into a faint, glowing fog; the orphan ice cube became a new comet.

Six months later, Gennady Borisov, a Crimean astronomer, saw it drifting in front of the constellation Cancer and sounded the alarm.

On Sunday, Dec. 8 the comet that now bears his name — 2I Borisov — will make a wide turn around the sun and begin heading back out of the solar system. As it departs, it will steadily brighten and grow in size as sunlight continues to shake off the dust from a long, cold sleep. On Dec. 28 the comet will pass 180 million miles from Earth, its closest approach to our planet.

This procession is being greeted with hungry eyes by a species only just knocking on the door of interstellar exploration and eager for news from out there.

Humanity’s most distant artifacts, the two Voyager spacecraft, recently punched through the magnetic bubble that closes off the solar system from the rest of the galaxy. Meanwhile, a band of scientists and engineers are developing an extravagantly ambitious plan, called Breakthrough Starshot, to launch a fleet of butterfly-size probes all the way to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to our own.

But what’s Out There is already In Here. Nature, generous as ever, has been slinging “Scientific CARE packages,” as Gregory Laughlin, a Yale astronomer, put it, toward us in the form of interstellar comets.

Two years ago, astronomers discovered an interstellar rock called Oumuamua cruising through the solar system. It caused a sensation, exciting talk of alien probes until further study concluded that it was actually a comet with no tail — albeit a comet from reaches unknown. Now 2I Borisov has astronomers tingling again, ready to follow its outbound run with their telescopes.

“I think the sense of excitement stems in part from the timing of these discoveries,” Dr. Laughlin said. Oumuamua and Borisov, he added, augur well for a new telescope the National Science Foundation is building in Chile called the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which will sweep the entire sky every few days, producing in effect a movie of the universe.

That telescope will be superbly positioned to find more interloper comets, perhaps even in time to send probes to greet them with Deep Impact-style missions. “The situation is reminiscent of when the first exoplanets were detected,” Dr. Laughlin said.

That discovery occurred in 1995, shortly before the Spitzer Space Telescope, which was built without exoplanets in mind, was launched.

Astronomers have long suspected that if anything came calling from another star system, it would be comets. New stars and planetary systems are surrounded by vast clouds of icy leftover fragments, so the story goes. These snowballs are easily dislodged by passing stars and knocked hither and fro — many inward toward their mother star and its planets, but others outward across the galaxy.

Until now, astronomers have lacked telescopes big and sensitive enough to detect them. Now, with telescopes like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Pan-STARRS in Hawaii, which discovered Oumuamua, they do.

Thus far, the two examples of interstellar comets that humans have observed could not be more different. Oumuamua was mistaken for an asteroid at first because it had no cometary cloud of gas and dust around it, at least that could be seen. But as it was traveling out of sight, small perturbations in its motion suggested that in fact the rock was actually a comet, being pushed around by jets of gas shooting from its surface.

Estimates of the object’s shape — long and cigarlike — spurred speculation that it could be an alien probe or even a solar sail. Recent analysis by Sergey Mashchenko, an astrophysicist at McMaster University in Ontario, has concluded that Oumuamua was less a rod than a thin slab rocking back and forth as sunlight and radiation wore it away.

“It was vanishing as it went away, like a bar of soap in the shower,” Dr. Laughlin said.

Borisov, in contrast, is thriving, sprouting a typically bushy, radiant tail. As a comet, it would be utterly ordinary if not for its origin. “Nothing about Borisov is weird,” Dr. Laughlin said. “With Oumuamua, everything was weird.”

Borisov looked like a comet from the start, enveloped in a cloud of gas, which is what enabled Mr. Borisov to recognize it so quickly. And everything the visitor has done since then has suggested that at least some comets out there are more or less like our neighborhood comets.

Mr. Borisov’s comet underwent an astronomical rite of passage of sorts in October, when the Hubble Space Telescope got a good look at it: a white knuckle at the head of a bluish fan of light.

Subsequent observations by telescopes on Earth have confirmed the presence of alien water and carbon monoxide as well as a growing list of chemicals from another part of the universe. As of Nov. 24, the comet’s tail had grown to 100,000 miles long. The comet’s nucleus is only a mile across.

Early in November, the Gemini observatory spotted the wanderer passing about a billion light-years in front of a spiral galaxy “romantically known” as 2dFgrS TGN363Z174, said Travis Rector, an astronomer from the University of Alaska Anchorage who was involved in taking the photograph. As if to tease us humans with a reminder of places unknown and unvisitable, the backdrop to the portrait is speckled with faint smudges of even more distant galaxies and stars.

When December began, 2I Borisov was drifting through the constellation Crater. Its brightness in astronomical terms was magnitude 16, far too faint for the naked eye or even binoculars, but accessible to a modest telescope and a CCD camera. (You can track it in real time at SkyLive.)

The comet is expected reach a peak brightness of about magnitude 15 around Dec. 20, plus or minus a week, according Quanzhi Ye, an astronomer at the University of Maryland and another in the network of observers following the comet.

The comet came from the general direction of Cassiopeia and will exit the Solar System through the southern constellation Telescopium, Dr. Ye said.

But this is only the beginning of comet-tracking season, he added. Astronomers will be following Borisov through at least the end of next year. Anything could happen on this watch. As comets approach the sun, geysers of vaporized ice, gas and dust can spring forth. Subsurface gas can heat up and explode, ejecting huge plumes of dust, which would make the comet much brighter and more visible.

Gennady Borisov, the Crimean astronomer and discoverer of his eponymous comet.Credit…via Gennady Borisov

“Solar system comets often (but not always) display outbursts near perihelion,” Dr. Laughlin said in a recent email. “But so far Borisov has been ‘boring’ in this regard.”

One of the astronomers waiting for action is Cheng-Han Hsieh, a colleague of Dr. Laughlin at Yale, who has been monitoring the comet daily with a worldwide network of robotic telescopes called the Las Cumbres Observatory, which has its headquarters in Goleta, Calif. The network includes a set of radio antennas, at Green Bank Observatory, the Submillimeter Array on Mauna Kea in Hawaii and the ALMA array in Chile, standing by for an outburst.

Radio observations might be particularly revealing, Mr. Hsieh said. They could shed light on an age-old issue of whether this comet, as it tracks through our neighborhood, is shedding more than just dust and ice — including, for instance, complex organic molecules that optimistic astrobiologists call “prebiotic.”

The data could also reveal the signatures of the different isotopes of the atoms locked in Borisov’s ice, which in turn might say something about the origin of the comet. What kind of star formed nearby? Was a supernova involved? With luck, we might learn which of those reddish smudges in the cosmic background our visitor once called home.

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Pope Francis prays to mark start of Italy’s holiday season


ROME (AP) — Pope Francis says small gestures can improve a city’s life, as he spoke at a religious ceremony to mark the official start of Rome’s Christmas season.

Francis prayed Sunday at the foot of a towering column topped by a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Italians consider Dec. 8 — a national holiday and a religious feast day honoring Mary for the Catholic church — the start of the holiday season.

Francis says it’s in the ‘’little gestures and the big choices” that the quality of life can improve and the social climate can become ‘’more breathable.”

The annual ceremony takes place near Rome’s Spanish Steps and near its upscale shopping district and tourists and Romans flocked to see the pontiff, including the city’s mayor.

Rome’s frequent garbage pileups on the streets and its polluted air have plagued city residents, making quality-of-life discussions a key topic.

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At Least 43 Dead in New Delhi Building Fire


NEW DELHI — At least 43 people were killed Sunday morning when one of the worst fires in recent memory in New Delhi broke out in a cramped, commercial neighborhood, officials said.

The blaze erupted around 5:30 a.m. in a multistory building used for making paper products and purses. Atul Garg, New Delhi’s chief fire officer, said firefighters initially struggled to douse the flames because narrow lanes blocked access to the area, which is full of dilapidated buildings.

“This is the second-biggest fire in Delhi’s history,” he said.

The building in the Anaj Mandi neighborhood of northeastern New Delhi was packed with sleeping laborers when the fire broke out. Most of the victims were Muslim migrant workers from impoverished Bihar State in eastern India, The Associated Press reported. They earned as little as 150 rupees (about $2.10) per day making handbags, caps and other garments, it said.

Investigators blamed an electrical short-circuit for the fire, the AP reported. Safety standards are poorly enforced in India and are linked to many deaths.

Kishore Kumar, an official at Lok Nayak Hospital, where victims were taken, said most of the dead appeared to have suffocated as they slept. He said at least 20 other people were being treated for injuries.

“Their only fault was they were poor,” a man named Babar Ali, 32, told the AP. “Why else would someone work and sleep in such a congested place?” Mr. Ali, who used to work in the same building, called the workers’ difficult lives “a bigger tragedy than their death.”

In Anaj Mandi, residents climbed to the roofs of their buildings to watch the tragedy unfold as rescuers struggled to evacuate the injured. It took firefighters nearly an hour to control the fire because only one vehicle could reach the building.

Inside, rescuers found at least 50 people unconscious. When they broke gates obstructing access to the top floor, they discovered more workers sleeping.

“It was very dark inside,” said Sunil Choudhary, a fire department officer.

The chief minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, announced compensation of about $14,000 to relatives of each person who died. The government has opened a seven-day investigation into the disaster.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the blaze “extremely horrific” in a post on Twitter. “My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones,” he said.

Fires occur regularly in India, largely because of faulty electrical wiring and lax fire and building regulations.

Last year, a fire at an industrial building on the outskirts of New Delhi left at least 17 dead. And in February, at least 17 people were killed when a blaze broke out in a hotel.

Even deadlier was a blaze at a theater in June 1997, when 59 people were killed at Uphaar Cinema in one of the city’s most upscale areas.

Hari Kumar contributed reporting.

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Von Miller returns to action after ending 95-start streak


Denver star linebacker Von Miller is active in Houston on Sunday after his 95-start streak was snapped last week because of a sprained left knee.

The Texans (8-4) are missing wide receiver Will Fuller (hamstring) for their game against the Broncos (4-8).

The Jets are missing several key players against the Miami Dolphins, including running back Le’Veon Bell and safety Jamal Adams.

A sprained ankle is keeping Adams on the sideline for the first time in his three-year NFL career. He leads the team in tackles and sacks. Also out are Jets starting cornerbacks Brian Poole (concussion) and Arthur Maulet (calf).

Bell was ruled out Saturday because of an illness. He practiced fully Wednesday, but then sat out Thursday and Friday. He was listed Friday as questionable for the game after being sent home to rest. Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery are expected to share the workload out of the backfield.

The Browns are missing three starters against Cincinnati: right tackle Chris Hubbard, defensive end Olivier Vernon and tight end Demetrius Harris.

Hubbard (knee) will be replaced by Kendall Lamm. It’s Lamm’s first start for Cleveland, but he made 13 starts last season for Houston. Vernon is out again with a knee injury that sidelined him for three straight games before he returned and played 10 snaps last week against the Steelers. Harris is out with a shoulder injury.

The loss of Harris is softened by David Njoku’s return from a broken wrist suffered in Week 2.

The Bengals won’t have kick returner Brandon Wilson, who leads the NFL with a 31.3-yard average. He went on IR Friday with a broken hand.

Also, Cincinnati starting defensive end Sam Hubbard is out with a knee injury.

Ravens rookie receiver Marquise Brown is active to play against the Buffalo Bills after being listed as questionable with an ankle injury on Baltimore’s final injury report.

Brown leads NFL rookies with six TD catches and is one short of matching the team record.

Saints left tackle Terron Armstead is active against San Francisco, although it remains to be seen how is recently injured ankle holds up against a 49ers defense that has sacked quarterbacks 45 times this season and has defensive end Dee Ford back in the lineup.

Armstead sat out against Atlanta last week.

Ford is active for the first time since injuring his hamstring in Week 11 against Arizona. Left tackle Joe Staley also is playing after being listed as questionable with a finger injury.

The Niners are without receivers Marquise Goodwin (knee, foot) and Dante Pettis (knee).

In Minnesota, Matthew Stafford is inactive for the fifth straight game with a back and hip injury, with the Lions turning to undrafted rookie David Blough for the second straight week. Vikings receiver Adam Thielen is out for the fourth game in a row with a hamstring injury. Since he was hurt in the first quarter on Oct. 20 at Detroit, Thielen has played only one series in one game.

The Green Bay Packers are without cornerback Kevin King (shoulder) against Washington. Tramon Williams, a 13-year veteran, will start in King’s place.

The Panthers were missing two of their key offensive players. Tight end Greg Olsen was ruled out because of a concussion sustained in last week’s loss to Washington. He took a head shot from linebacker Ryan Anderson, who was immediately ejected from the game. O-lineman Greg Little is still dealing with the ankle injury from Week 12 against New Orleans.

The Falcons were bolstered by the return of rookie guard Chris Lindstrom, the No. 14 overall pick who returns after breaking a foot in the opener at Minnesota. He was activated from injured reserve on Saturday. Wide receiver Julio Jones and tight end Austin Hooper also returned to Atlanta’s lineup after missing time with injuries.

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BALTIMORE-BUFFALO

Ravens: QB Trace McSorley, WR Jaleel Scott, CB Anthony Averett, CB Iman Marshall, C Hroniss Grasu, DT Justin Ellis, OG Ben Powers.

Bills: RB T.J. Yeldon, S Dean Marlowe, OG Ike Boettger, RT Ty Nsekhe, WR Duke Williams, TE Tommy Sweeney, DT Vincent Taylor.

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CINCINNATI-CLEVELAND

Bengals: QB Jake Dolegala, WR A.J. Green, CB Torry McTyer, G/OT John Jerry, TE Mason Schreck, DE Sam Hubbard.

Browns: WR Taywan Taylor, S Eric Murray, Olivier Vernon, RT Chris Hubbard, TE Pharaoh Brown, TE Demetrius Harris, DT Justin Zimmer.

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MIAMI-NEW YORK JETS

Dolphins: CB Linden Stephens, G Shaq Calhoun, C/G Evan Brown, WR Trevor Davis, DT Zach Sieler, DE Taco Charlton, LB Trent Harris.

Jets: S Jamal Adams, RB Le’Veon Bell, CB Brian Poole, CB Arthur Maulet, S Matthias Farley, OL Chuma Edoga, LB Paul Worrilow.

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DENVER-HOUSTON

Broncos: WR Juwann Winfree, CB Shakial Taylor, C Patrick Morris, OLB Malik Reed, G Ron Leary, T Calvin Anderson, DL Jonathan Harris.

Texans: WR Steven Mitchell, WR Will Fuller, S Mike Adams, CB Cornell Armstrong, RB Taiwan Jones, DE Carlos Watkins, NT Eddie Vanderdoes.

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SAN FRANCISCO-NEW ORLEANS

49ers: WR Marquise Goodwin, WR Dante Pettis, S Jaquiski Tartt, RB Jeff Wilson Jr., DL Jullian Taylor, TE Levine Toilolo.

Saints: CB Patrick Robinson, DB Saquan Hampton, FB Zach Line, LB A.J. Klein, LB Kiko Alonso, OL Will Clapp, OL Andrus Peat.

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INDIANAPOLIS-TAMPA BAY

Colts: WR T.Y. Hilton, CB Kenny Moore II, K Adam Vinatieri, QB Chad Kelly, LB E.J. Speed, G/T Le’Raven Clark, DT Trevon Coley.

Buccaneers: G Alex Cappa, RB T.J. Logan, OLB Anthony Nelson, WR Scotty Miller, OLB Kazin Daniels, T Jerald Hawkins, TE Jordan Leggett.

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DETROIT-MINNESOTA

Lions: QB Matthew Stafford, CB Michael Jackson, CB Jamal Agnew, G/C Beau Benzschawel, G Oday Aboushi, DE Da’Shawn Hand, DE Austin Bryant.

Vikings: WR Adam Thielen, DT Hercules Mata’afa, LB Cameron Smith, G Dru Samia, T Oli Udoh, T Aviante Collins, DT Jalyn Holmes.

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WASHINGTON-GREEN BAY

Redskins: WR Paul Richardson Jr., QB Colt McCoy, WR Trey Quinn, LB Josh Harvey-Clemons, CB Aaron Colvin, LB Chris Odom, C Ross Pierschbacher.

Packers: WR Ryan Grant, CB Kevin King, RB Dexter Williams, CB Tony Brown, CB Ka’dar Hollman, G/T Adam Pankey, T Yosh Nijman.

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CAROLINA-ATLANTA

Panthers: DB Corn Elder, DL Christian Miller, OL Chris Reed, OL Greg Little, DL Woodrow Hamilton, TE Greg Olsen, DL Stacy McGee.

Falcons: WR Brandon Powell, S Sharrod Neasman, DE Jhn Cominsky, OG Jamon Brown, OT Ty Sambrailo, OG James Carpenter, DT Deadrin Senat.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL



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At Japan’s Most Elite University, Just 1 in 5 Students Is a Woman


[Read this article in Japanese.]

TOKYO — From a young age, Satomi Hayashi studied hard and excelled academically. It seemed only natural that she would follow in her father’s footsteps and attend the University of Tokyo, Japan’s most prestigious institution.

As soon as she was admitted, her friends warned that she was spoiling her marriage prospects. Men, they said, would be intimidated by a diploma from Todai, as the university is known in Japan. Spooked, she searched Google for “Can Todai women get married?” and discovered it was a well-trod stereotype.

The admonitions didn’t stop her. But Ms. Hayashi, 21, wondered if other women were scared off.

When she arrived three years ago, fewer than one in five undergraduates at the university were women.

The dearth of women at Todai is a byproduct of deep-seated gender inequality in Japan, where women are still not expected to achieve as much as men and sometimes hold themselves back from educational opportunities.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promoted an agenda of female empowerment, boasting that Japan’s labor force participation rate among women outranks even the United States. Yet few women make it to the executive suite or the highest levels of government.

The disconnect starts at school. Although women make up nearly half the nation’s undergraduate population, the oldest and most elite universities reflect — and magnify — a lackluster record in elevating women to the most powerful reaches of society.

For nearly two decades, enrollment of women at the University of Tokyo has hovered around 20 percent, an imparity that extends across many top colleges. Among seven publicly funded national institutions, women make up just over one quarter of undergraduates. At the exclusive private universities Keio and Waseda, women are a little over a third.

They lag other selective institutions across Asia. Women are close to half of the student body at Peking University in China, 40 percent of Seoul National in South Korea and 51 percent of the National University of Singapore.

At Todai, “you can see right away there is something completely out of balance,” said Ms. Hayashi, a literature major. “Because women are half of society, there is something strange about a university that is only 20 percent women.”

In status-conscious Japan, a diploma from Todai is the ultimate pedigree — the equivalent of Harvard, Stanford and M.I.T. all rolled into one. It opens doors in politics, business, law and science.

More prime ministers have graduated from Todai than any other universities, while more than half of the country’s Supreme Court justices are alumni. The university boasts the highest number of graduates to go on to Parliament or win Nobel Prizes.

“We have the most powerful education that we can dangle” in front of anyone, said Nobuko Kobayashi, a 1996 Todai graduate and a partner at EY Japan, where less than 10 percent of partners are women.

“We were branded with it,” she said. “We almost bask in its glory unconsciously.”

Speaking this year to freshmen at Todai, Chizuko Ueno, a retired professor of gender studies, suggested the imbalance was a symptom of inequality that extended beyond higher education.

“Even before students enter the university, there is already hidden sexism,” Ms. Ueno said. “Unfortunately,” she added, “the University of Tokyo is an example of this.”

Her sentiments touched a nerve in the audience. On Twitter, male students complained of being harangued. “Why is she not celebrating us, the male students?” one wrote. Another called it “feminist propaganda.”

In the speech, Ms. Ueno referred to a scandal exposing deliberate discrimination at Tokyo Medical University, where officials acknowledged suppressing the entrance-exam scores of female applicants for years.

Administrators wanted to limit the proportion of women to 30 percent, claiming that female doctors were likely to stop working after getting married or giving birth. A year after the scandal was revealed, women passed at a higher rate than men.

There is no evidence that the University of Tokyo manipulates exam results. Rather, officials say, women’s admissions are consistent with the applicant pool.

“We are just like stores that don’t have enough customers,” said Akiko Kumada, one of the few female engineering professors at Todai and a member of its gender equality committee.

“Right now,” she said, “we are not getting enough female customers.”

Ms. Kumada has a few theories. Young girls, she said, are repeatedly fed the idea that academic achievement is not feminine. She cited lyrics by AKB48, a female pop band, like “While I’m still in school/It’s O.K. to be stupid.”

Some women, she said, might fear that a Todai degree inevitably leads to a high-powered career in a brutal working culture. One graduate committed suicide after telling friends she had endured harassment and grueling hours at an advertising agency.

To recruit women, the university has mostly tried small-bore measures.

Todai sends female students back to their high schools to encourage younger women to take the entrance exam. In a recruitment brochure, “we try to balance the photos we run,” said Ms. Kumada, “and make sure we have women in them.”

A more substantial policy provides dormitory subsidies to women from outside Greater Tokyo, an effort to mollify parents who might worry about safety in the big city. The university pays 30,000 yen a month — roughly $275 — for about 100 female students. Critics have attacked the policy as discriminatory against men.

Outright quotas for women have been a nonstarter: Todai administrators reject affirmative action as inequitable.

“Do we really want to create a special quota for female students whose academic achievement may be much lower?” Ms. Kumada said.

Staunchly traditional, Todai draws from the same high schools year after year. More than a quarter of students who enrolled in 2019 came from just 10 high schools, seven of which are all male.

Unconsciously or not, high school and college administrators say, parents are more likely to push sons to achieve.

“With sons, parents really expect a lot and want their boys to perform to the maximum level and aim as high as they can go,” said Hiroshi Ono, principal of Tokyo Gakugei University High School, which sent 45 students to Todai this year, 11 of them women.

Parents, Mr. Ono said, “feel bad about pushing girls to work that hard — they think it would be better for them to get married and be a housewife.”

Even at Oin Girls School, which sends more women to Todai than any other high school, administrators said girls may feel ambivalent about pursuing an elite education.

“A woman’s life is much more complicated,” said Yukiko Saito, Oin’s principal. “They have to decide who to marry, whether to marry, whether to have children or not.”

For a vast majority of students, admission to Todai rests solely on one exam for which students spend years studying. High school grades and extracurriculars carry no weight.

Zkai, a cram school for university entrance exams, has a high acceptance rate to Todai. Wataru Miyahara, a director, said fewer girls study for the exam.

“It’s hard to tell which is the chicken and which is the egg,” he said. “But there are so few girls at Todai, so it’s hard for girls to look at Todai and say, ‘I want to go there.’”

Whatever the reason, he said, “They are not as ambitious as boys.”

Three years ago, Todai invited high schools to recommend one male and one female student who could forgo the exam in exchange for an essay or group interview. Fewer than 70 students a year are admitted this way, out of a freshman class of more than 3,000.

Aine Adachi, 21, who came to Todai three years ago through this system, said expanding the criteria to evaluate strengths not captured by one high-stakes test could bring more women into the university.

“Having one criteria to judge a person by doesn’t make it fair,” she said.

On campus, Ms. Adachi, who is studying law, said she feels scrutinized as a minority. Gender discrimination, she said, comes in subtle forms.

Once she and a male classmate were planning a club trip, huddled over laptops in a cafe near campus.

Another male classmate walked up and observed their conversation. “It looks like the boss and his secretary!” he quipped.

“Why do you assume I’m the secretary?” Ms. Adachi retorted. “Why can’t I be the boss?”

Women at Todai often feel isolated. When a class gathered for a graduation photo, Kiri Sugimoto, 24, a law student, was the only woman.

“What irritated me was that the men made remarks like having me in the picture would look great because it wouldn’t look like a boys prep school photo,” she said. “I was treated as the decorative rose among stones. That irritated me to be treated like that.”

Male students don’t necessarily regard the campus demography as a problem.

Hiroaki Kitamura, 19, an engineering major, said he didn’t think men would act differently with more women in class. “It’s not like we have sexual conversations just because there are so few women,” he said.

Although, he added, classes might be “more fashionable” if more women enrolled.

Some Todai men avoid socializing with female classmates, favoring activities where most of the women come from other universities.

At a Todai ballroom-dancing club, Erica Nakayama, 24, a masters student, said she and her classmates were outnumbered by women from other universities.

Todai men, she said, frequently typecast female peers as too serious. “They said we weren’t cute enough,” she said.

“A boy once said, ‘Todai girls are a little scary,’” Ms. Nakayama recalled. “I just kind of laughed and let it go. But in a way it did kind of hurt my feelings.”

Some clubs tacitly bar Todai women, although the university officially discourages outright exclusion. Of more than 30 social clubs focused on tennis, for example, only two actively recruit Todai women.

Masato Sagisaka, a 21-year-old sophomore, said a friend told him intercollegiate groups were “more fun.”

He joined a tennis club that has a longstanding partnership with a Catholic women’s college. No Todai women have joined.

Inviting female classmates, he said, might upset the group’s harmony. “Todai women really don’t get along with women from other universities,” he said. “Todai women have pride.”

Men have little incentive to change. Campus advocacy is minimal. Even an investigation by the student newspaper about clubs that exclude Todai women did not identify the exclusive groups.

Women hesitate to speak out. Ms. Nakayama said she avoided activism that might be construed as feminist.

“It might have some repercussions for me,” she said. People “might think I’m acting too manly or too strong.”

In and outside class, Ms. Hayashi said, women tolerate a culture in which men make jokes filled with sexual innuendo or comment on women’s appearances.

“You are expected to understand or communicate with these sexual jokes,” she said. “Otherwise you feel kind of left out.”

“You just have to understand,” she said, “and accept the male view.”

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Vardy double in Leicester’s 8th straight Premier League win


BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Jamie Vardy scored for an eighth straight game for Premier League high-flyer Leicester on Sunday with a double in a 4-1 dismantling of Aston Villa.

Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans also scored to help Leicester set a new club record of eight consecutive top-flight wins and take the second-place team within eight points of Liverpool.

Jack Grealish did make it 2-1 just before the break but the Foxes were rarely in danger.

Brendan Rodgers’ side are 14 points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United in the pursuit of Champions League qualification.

“We are up there, we are challenging and playing well,” Evans told broadcaster Sky Sports. “Probably now, today, I think people are starting to talk more about that.

“Coming away from Villa with a really good performance, I think that’s the best Villa team we have played against for quite a while and we had to grind it out and it shows we are capable of getting good results.”

By contrast, Villa is only out of the relegation zone on goal difference after slipping to a fifth defeat in seven games.

Villa was wide open and Leicester should have taken the lead after 10 minutes.

Caglar Soyuncu knocked James Maddison’s deep free-kick back for Evans, who could only shoot straight at goalkeeper Tom Heaton.

Immediately, Villa broke to spurn their own golden chance when Matt Targett crossed for Anwar El Ghazi to hit the bar from six yards.

With the chance went Villa’s early hopes and they swiftly lost any grip of the game when Vardy continued his scoring streak in the 20th minute.

Wesley lost the ball and the lively Iheanacho slipped the striker in to race clear and round Heaton. Vardy miscued his kick when preparing to shoot but recovered to tap in, despite Konsa’s efforts on the line.

Vardy is now just three games away from equalling his own Premier League record of scoring in 11 consecutive games.

Villa’s problems were partly of their own making with center back Tyrone Mings unable to cover having already suffered a hamstring injury and the defender was immediately replaced by Bjorn Engels.

Villa could not handle Vardy’s pace and Iheanacho’s movement.

There was a touch of fortune but Leicester deserved to double its lead in the 41st when Maddison crossed and Iheanacho diverted in at the near post.

The Foxes were cruising but Grealish pulled a goal back in first-half injury time when he curled in from 16 yards after the visitors failed to clear a corner.

Leicester, though, wasted no time in restoring their two-goal lead four minutes after the break.

Evans escaped Villa’s defence and was left unmarked to thump in a brilliant header from Maddison’s corner.

The game was won although Maddison should have made it 4-1 only to clip the post.

Harvey Barnes also fired over five minutes later and Vardy wrapped up the game when he raced onto Dennis Praet’s ball to roll under Heaton with 15 minutes left. It was Vardy’s 16th goal of the season.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



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Protesters in Belarus against deeper ties with Moscow


MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Several hundred protesters have braved the repressive climate in Belarus to hold a demonstration against deepening the country’s ties with Russia.

The Sunday protest by about 500 people in the capital of Minsk was the second consecutive day of protest in a country that usually stifles dissidents.

The demonstrations were sparked by a Saturday meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko in the Russian resort of Sochi.

Belarus relies on cheap Russian energy and loans to maintain its Soviet-style economy. Russia has been pressuring Belarus for closer integration between the two ex-Soviet neighbors.

No immediate deal was announced after Saturday’s talks but a senior Russian official said the leaders edged closer to an agreement.

The protesters fear that Russia could take over their country, much like Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

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Piero Terracina, Rome Jew who survived Nazi death camp dies


ROME (AP) — Piero Terracina, one of the last survivors of Italy’s tiny Jewish community who were deported to Nazi death camps during World War II, has died. He was 91.

Terracina died on Sunday, Rome’s Jewish Community said.

As a 15-year-old, he escaped the roundup by German occupying troops of Rome’s Jews in 1943 and went into hiding with his family.

But the next year he was arrested and deported to the complex of Auschwitz-Birkenau camps with his family, where his parents, three siblings and other relatives perished.

Terracina’s recounting of the horrors suffered there won praise by Italian leaders.

Noemi Di Segni, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, hailed Terracina as a”true light in these dark times” which she described as being marked by words of hate and denial of the Holocaust.

Terracina was described as the last Roman Jew among Italy’s Holocaust survivors at the time of his death. Even before many of them were hauled off to death camps by Nazi occupiers, the nation’s Jews were already suffering under Fascist leader Benito Mussolini, whose regime, in 1938, enacted anti-Jewish laws. Among other things, the laws banned Jews from holding public positions, including teaching, and forcing Jewish-owned stores to put signs in their windows identifying them as such.

There has been a surge in anti-Semitic incidents in Italy in recent years. Recently, a police escort was assigned to another Holocaust survivor among Italian Jews, Liliana Segre, who received death threats and hundreds of anti-Semitic insults. She was named a senator-for-life for speaking to Italian schoolchildren about the horrors of the concentration camps.