Sessions, Election Results, Amazon: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing
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Good evening. Here’s the latest.
1. The realignment of power in Congress.
Voter fury toward President Trump lifted Democrats into control of the House of Representatives, ending two years of single-party dominance. Some districts hit by retaliatory tariffs switched to Democratic candidates from Republican incumbents. See what the blue wave looked like.
Republicans held their Senate majority and gained at least two seats. Voter turnout was unusually high — we’re still gathering the data on that.
Voters approved Medicaid expansion initiatives in Idaho, Utah and Nebraska by comfortable margins. Climate initiatives, though, earned mixed results.
Among the historic firsts: the election of Muslim and Native American women.
Catch up on the results from the House, the Senate and for governorships and other state positions.
2. The new Democratic majority in the House sets up the likelihood of two years of intense conflict with President Trump.
Our chief Washington correspondent says the big topics they are likely to wrangle over are health care, investigating Mr. Trump, bipartisan efforts on drug pricing and public infrastructure, and appealing to millennials.
For his part, Mr. Trump may have to choose between escalating the partisan warfare in Washington or trying to reach across the aisle.
Mr. Trump pledged bipartisan cooperation and even praised Nancy Pelosi, whose return as House speaker is looking increasingly likely.
But he also promised to adopt “a warlike posture” if Congress investigated his political and financial dealings, and renewed his attack on reporters. Above, a heated exchange at a news conference.
3. “Dear Mr. President, at your request I am submitting my resignation.”
With much of the country mulling over the election results, President Trump made a high-profile ouster: Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
He became a frequent and public target of the president after he recused himself from investigations into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
Matthew Whitaker, Mr. Sessions’s chief of staff and a Trump loyalist, will step into the gap, as acting attorney general — and will oversee the Russia investigation, whose scope he has questioned as verging on a “witch hunt.” Read our profile of Mr. Whitaker, written in September, when Mr. Sessions’s resignation appeared imminent.
Will Mr. Trump meet the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, at a lunch for world leaders in Paris on Sunday? The messaging has been contradictory.
4. A few details are emerging about Amazon’s near-deal to split its second headquarters between Long Island City in Queens, above, and Crystal City, Va., but there is a lot we still don’t know.
Specifics about locations and construction plans are blurry. Also unknown: how much state and local governments have offered in tax incentives and other benefits. What seems clear is this: Cities with high-skilled workers and other prosperous companies will continue to attract more of them.
A formal announcement could come shortly — if only to clear the way for the holiday season, when Amazon wants its headlines to be about shopping, not its buildings.
5. U.S. aviation regulators ordered an emergency revision in the manual for the new Boeing 737 Max 8 to help crews react if the plane nose-dives because of faulty flight sensor data — a possible contributor to the fatal crash in Indonesia last week.
Investigators looking into the deadly crash of a new Boeing 737 Max 8 jet last week have determined that its angle-of-attack sensors — instruments that gauge the degree of the plane’s ascent or descent — gave faulty readings. Above, investigating the engine.
Boeing revealed that in a statement, adding that it had issued a global alert to airlines on how pilots can reclaim manual control. Sensors on the Lion Air jet had been worked on a day before the crash, which killed all 189 people aboard.
6. The most powerful figure in Italy’s populist government, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, above, has pushed his image as a law and order tough guy, cracking down on immigration, declaring a war on drugs and creating a sense of public safety emergency.
And he’s trying to import American-style gun culture.
While campaigning earlier this year Mr. Salvini, above, signed a cooperation pledge with a group advocating looser gun laws, and in September they notched a victory when the government made it possible to own more guns, including the semiautomatic AR-15.
Italy’s gun lobby doesn’t have the clout the N.R.A. wields in the U.S., but it is growing.
7. More than 300,000 flickering clay lamps were lighted in the northern Indian city of Ayodhya for the Hindu festival of Diwali. They’re reflected in the Sarayu River, considered sacred in the Hindu religion.
The holiday, also known as the festival of light, coincides with the Hindu new year and is a celebration of new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil.
The 300,150 oil lamps broke a Guinness world record when they burned simultaneously for more than five minutes. Strong wind foiled the city’s attempt to break the record last year.
8. Beatboxers use tongue, throat, lips and breath to produce sounds that can resemble an entire band’s worth of instruments.
Scientists who study language hoped to observe how the sounds people intend to make are reflected in the way they shape their vocal tract. So they asked five beatboxers to perform in an M.R.I. scanner. Above, an image from the research.
The video is fascinating.
9. “We need more weed!”
Three weeks after Canada legalized marijuana, some dispensary shelves are empty.
The shortage is evidence of unexpectedly high demand, driven not only by novelty, experts say, but also by the desirability of government-regulated cannabis — it’s contaminant-free. Above, in Vancouver.
The shortage threatens to undermine a major aim of legalization: to tame an illegal marijuana trade estimated at 5.3 billion Canadian dollars annually. Some pot smokers say illegal dealers are seizing the moment, hawking home delivery services and lowering prices.
10. Finally, an amazing discovery in a cave in Borneo.
In a newly published paper, scientists say the image above of a four-legged animal found there was created more than 40,000 years ago, making it the earliest figurative art in the world.
The age was determined with a new technique that analyzes the radioactive decay of uranium in flowstone, a translucent mineral deposited by water trickling down cave walls.
Earlier known art is abstract, like patterns of lines. And figurative art almost as old has been found in Europe, demonstrating that humans around the world made the transition independently, and at roughly the same time.
Have a creative evening.
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