January 16, 2019

Government Shutdown, Mike Pompeo, Jayme Closs:Your Friday Briefing


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Good morning,

We start today with breaking news from Syria, as well as the latest from the government shutdown, which is now tied for the longest in history. And it’s Friday, so there’s a new news quiz.

The oceans have been absorbing most of the heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions, offering a buffer against climate change. The escalating temperatures are already killing off marine ecosystems, raising sea levels and making hurricanes more destructive.

The background: Historically, understanding ocean temperatures has been difficult. A 2014 U.N. report presented five estimates, all showing less ocean warming than the levels projected by computer climate models. The new analysis incorporates more recent data, and its results are more in line with the models.


The secretary of state told an audience in Cairo on Thursday that “the age of self-inflicted American shame is over” and that the U.S. would pursue a more activist policy in the Middle East, despite President Trump’s move to withdraw troops from Syria.

Mr. Pompeo sharply criticized former President Barack Obama, saying he had “fundamental misunderstandings” about the region that “underestimated the tenacity and viciousness of radical Islamism.” In a speech in 2009, also in Cairo, Mr. Obama made an effort to reset relations with the Muslim world in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks and the Iraq war.

Closer look: Mr. Pompeo’s speech contrasted starkly with Mr. Obama’s. We compared the two.

News analysis: The Trump administration on Thursday “explicitly favored foreign autocrats over elected American leaders,” one of our White House correspondents writes. Mr. Pompeo praised Egypt’s repressive president, and Mr. Trump later said that the Chinese were “far more honorable” than Democratic congressional leaders.

Founded in 1934, the Irregulars are named for a group of street urchins who assist Holmes in some of Arthur Conan Doyle’s 60 stories about the fictional detective.

A costume party for Sherlock Holmes fans during last year’s celebration.CreditAdrienne Grunwald for The New York Times

The group, which is invitation only, has about 300 members around the world and publishes a quarterly journal of Sherlockian scholarship.

The Irregulars’ dinner tonight is part of a five-day celebration in Manhattan featuring a lecture, a memorabilia sale and parties with other groups of Sherlock Holmes fans, including the Baker Street Babes. (The first female members of the Irregulars weren’t admitted until the early 1990s.)

The event is timed to coincide with Holmes’s birthday, which enthusiasts have generally agreed is Jan. 6 — although the reasoning is far from elementary.


That’s it for this briefing. Have a good weekend.

— Chris


Thank you
To Eleanor Stanford for marshaling the cultural guidance and James K. Williamson for his swinging Smarter Living tips. Chris himself 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 a sheriff in Arizona who supports President Trump’s plans for a border wall.
• Here’s today’s mini crossword puzzle, and a clue: Number between dos and cuatro (4 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Randy Archibold, a 20-year veteran of The Times, was named the new Sports editor on Thursday. He was raised as a fan of the Jets and the Yankees.



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