A Capital Under Siege

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descend on Washington to watch a newly elected president take the oath of office. A departing president signals his respect for the country by celebrating the new one, even when that departing president is disappointed by the election’s outcome — as was the case with Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and others.

“I grew up in the Washington area, and inaugurations have always been a time of hope and fresh beginnings

In Saudi Arabia, Quiet Changes May Ease Tensions With Biden

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s arrival in the White House may signal the start of a less congenial American relationship with Saudi Arabia, but the kingdom could point to recent progress on a number of issues that have caused longstanding friction with the United States.

Long one of the world’s most prodigious executioners, Saudi Arabia announced on Monday that executions declined by 85 percent in 2020 because of legal reforms. Groups that have chronicled incitement against non-Muslims in Saudi textbooks say that the most offensive examples have been excised. And the sentences for two high-profile Saudis widely seen

The Trump presidency is over, and Obamacare is still alive

Mere days before his 2016 election to the presidency, Donald Trump boldly promised his voters: “When we win on November 8th and elect a Republican Congress, we will be able to immediately repeal and replace Obamacare.”

Now Trump is on his way out of the White House, and the health care law is still standing.

Trump, who had promised on the campaign trail to deliver “great health care at a tiny fraction of the cost — and it’s going to be so easy,” quickly realized how wrong he was. Republican congressional attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act …

A seesaw for kids on the US-Mexico Border wins Beazley Design of the Year

Written by Leah Dolan, CNN

“Teeter-Totter Wall,” a temporary interactive installation designed by California-based architects Ronald Rael and Virigina San Fratello, has won the 2020 Beazley Design of the Year, an annual award and exhibition run by London’s Design Museum.

The installation, which took place in July 2019, consisted of three bright pink teeter-totters — or seesaws — slotted into the gaps of the steel border wall that separates the United States and Mexico. It allowed children from El Paso, Texas, and the Anapra community in Juárez, Mexico, to play together in spite of the 20-foot wall, which stands on

Brazil Starts Vaccinations Amid Rise in Covid Cases and New Variants

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil on Monday kicked off its nationwide coronavirus vaccination campaign, providing a glimmer of hope in a nation where political infighting, a strained health care system and lax precautions have given the virus free rein.

But the rollout is expected to be painfully slow, even as Brazil battles two worrisome new variants of the virus, at least one of which is more contagious and could be contributing to the country’s recent surge of cases.

The government is scrambling to buy more vaccine after months of taking a lackadaisical approach, as President Jair Bolsonaro argued that scientists

Most Major Economies Are Shrinking. Not China’s.

Zhang Shaobo, the owner of a Halloween mask factory in Yiwu, received word last March that one of his most consistent export customers in India was sick with the coronavirus. By May, the man was dead. New customers from Mr. Zhang’s main markets in India and South America also stopped coming to China to look at his latest products.

He laid off all but four of his 20 factory workers, and began making preparations to close his shop at Yiwu’s wholesale market. With business so weak, he said, “I am not going to keep renting it.”

China’s top leader, Xi …

Nikolai Antoshkin, Who Helped Halt Chernobyl Disaster, Dies at 78

After the firefighting and containment operations, the helicopters were so radioactive, they were abandoned at the site. Some were later buried. The bottoms of the fuselages, which had been exposed to the open reactor core, were a particular concern. After the helicopters were abandoned in fields, the grass under them turned yellow, witnesses said.

It was a harrowing experience for the pilots. In total, 28 liquidators, including members of the firefighting team on the ground, died from radiation poisoning within days or weeks of their exposure. The longer-term toll among the pilots, from cancer or other diseases, is uncertain. One …

Navalny Flies to Moscow, Despite Threat of Arrest

MOSCOW — Aleksei A. Navalny returned to his home country Sunday, five months after a near-fatal nerve-agent attack, and was arrested at the border, a show of fearlessness by Russia’s most prominent opposition leader and of anxiety by President Vladimir V. Putin.

In hours of live-streamed drama that played out in Berlin, in the air and at two Moscow airports, Mr. Navalny careened headlong into near-certain detention after deciding to leave the relative safety of Germany, where he had been recovering from last summer’s poisoning.

Hundreds of people braved the bitter cold outside Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport to greet Mr. Navalny,

Philippines Helicopter Crash Leaves 7 Soldiers Dead

MANILA — Seven Philippine soldiers, including an air force colonel, died when the helicopter they were flying in crashed in the southern Philippines during a hunt for communist rebels over the weekend.

The military said the helicopter, a refurbished UH-1H Vietnam-era craft commonly known as a Huey, was flying Saturday with another Huey on a supply run to a remote base in Pantaron, a mountainous region in Bukidnon Province, when it crashed.

“The other helicopter radioed and told them they were trailing smoke,” said Maj. Gen. Andres Centeno, the commanding general of the army’s Fourth Infantry Division. “It crashed into

Nepali Team Says It Has Reached K2 Summit in a Wintertime First

KATHMANDU, Nepal — A Nepali mountain-climbing team said Saturday that it had reached the peak of K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, a feat never before accomplished during winter.

“The impossible is made possible!” the team leader Nirmal Purja wrote on Facebook. “History made for mankind. History made for Nepal!”

Seven Summit Treks, an expedition company organizing the effort, said the 10 climbers had gotten to the peak on Saturday afternoon, conquering what it called “Savage Mountain” during the most dangerous climbing season.

Climbers say K2 is one of the toughest mountains to ascend even in more forgiving spring weather.

“Standing