Altaf Qadri/Associated Press..

Epic smog in northern India is stirring dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The epic smog is also pulling down the economy and, according to a new Unicef report, might be permanently damaging children’s brains.

Environmentalists say that Mr. Modi has failed to adequately respond, and that his business-friendly policies, like loosening rules on construction sites, have made things worse.

“Green concerns are not reflected in India’s growth story,” one conservationist said. “In some cities, we draw in poison with every breath we take.”



Kemal Jufri for The New York Times

In Indonesia, activist groups are springing up to fight an “epidemic” of street harassment against women. The first step, they say, is exposing the routine instances of groping and catcalling that have long gone unreported.

And after watching the “Me, Too” campaign, some courageous women in Afghanistan are speaking out, too, in the face of a problem long accepted as commonplace and unsolvable. But the danger to their lives if they do has not diminished.



Gene Blevins/Reuters..

“This is kind of the new normal.”

That was Gov. Jerry Brown’s message after a week of fierce wildfires raced through Southern California. Mr. Brown added that extreme fire activity would occur on a regular basis for decades.

The major fires in California this year — from wine country to just shy of the Mexican border — have pushed firefighters to their limits. And our correspondent went to Ojai, a haven for nature lovers that has been caught at the center of the largest fires.



• Go-Jek, a $3 billion Indonesian start-up, lets customers call a car or motorbike for a ride — or for takeout, a shopping trip or delivering a present. Uber, U.S. investors and Chinese internet titans are taking notice.

• International trade: The World Trade Organization is holding ministerial meetings in Argentina this week. The U.S., Canada and Mexico are discussing Nafta’s future in Washington. The E.U. and Japan expect rapid ratification of their deal creating a free trade area that covers more than a quarter of the world’s economy.

Trading in bitcoin futures is kicking off on CBOE Global Markets, an exchange based in Chicago.

• The Australian stock market will become the world’s first blockchain-based stock exchange, a transition expected by the end of March.

“K-beauty,” or Korean skin care, has fascinated the world in a way one Op-Ed contributor finds comical. (You’ve been had, she says.)

Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

In the News


Odd Andersen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

• The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Norway honored the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. The group’s leader, Beatrice Fihn, above right, warned that “our mutual destruction is only one impulsive tantrum away.” [The Guardian]

Japan’s defense minister announced plans to acquire medium-range cruise missiles capable of striking North Korea, and Japan’s defense force is beginning two days of missile-tracking drills with the U.S. and South Korea. [Reuters]

• A North Korean defector has spent a decade challenging South Korea’s policy of denying citizenship to North Koreans who gained Chinese citizenship to escape their homeland. [The New York Times]

• Iraq’s prime minister declared victory over the Islamic State, announcing the end of more than three years of battles to regain control of nearly one-third of the country. [The New York Times]

• Saudi Arabia disputed that its crown prince bought a painting of Christ by Leonardo da Vinci for more than $450 million last month. American officials and Arabs familiar with the details say otherwise. [The New York Times]

• Cricket officials fear a new fixing epidemic after three international captains reported being approached by match-fixers. [The New York Times]

• Australia’s prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, is searching for the creator of a bicycle covered in rainbow-colored crochet that was left at his home. [BBC]

Smarter Living

Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.

• That run you went on this morning? Great! But you still need to watch your diet and lifestyle.

• Recipe of the day: Start the week right with a batch of homemade fried chicken.



Chris, an animator who goes by the name Happy Toast and prefrs not to use his last name, has been surprised by the attention the gif received in recent days. “The sense of sound was there from the start, but I didn’t think it was as big a deal as it’s turned out to be!”

Happy Toast

• How can you hear something with no sound? Our senses don’t operate the way we assume, neuroscientists say, as highlighted by the viral image of an electrical tower jumping rope, above.

Rising incomes have allowed some Chinese retirees to become snowbirds in the country’s south — enjoying a sunny life in ways previous generations never imagined.

• Finally, our Australia Diary explores the occasional joys of the daily commute. (Shoelaces and an onion have starring roles.)

Back Story


20th Century Fox

“Greed is good.” Today is the 30th anniversary of the release of the movie “Wall Street.”

Michael Douglas won an Oscar for his role as Gordon Gekko, the ruthless corporate raider who takes a young stockbroker named Bud Fox, played by Charlie Sheen, under his wing.

The movie was meant as a harsh critique of the excesses of 1980s capitalism — but became wildly popular with actual Wall Street types. (When it came out, our critic suggested that its moralizing was its weak point: “The movie crashes in a heap of platitudes,” Vincent Canby wrote.)

The director, Oliver Stone, said that in a twist, many young people told him it inspired them to go work on Wall Street. Even years later, brokers would tell him, “You’re the man!”

Mr. Stone discussed the film’s legacy in this 2009 Times video. He said it was “misunderstood by some, because it was about a horrible thing that was going on, about how people would worship money at all costs.”

That interview took place as he was preparing to film the sequel, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” released in 2010. Our critic called it “a corrective, a parody and a sly act of auto-homage.”

Karen Zraick contributed reporting.


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