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President Trump heads to the border to argue for a wall, young South Koreans try to climb out of mountains of debt and A.I. holds promise for healthcare. Here’s the latest:
A tale of two rallies
President Trump is headed to the border city of El Paso — a Democratic stronghold in Texas — to again argue for his wall. In his State of the Union address last week, he claimed a wall in El Paso lowered crime rates there.
Not far from Mr. Trump’s rally, Beto O’Rourke, a former Democratic congressman from the city and a potential presidential candidate, will hold a major counterrally. He has pointed out that El Paso boasted one of the lowest crime rates in the country before any kind of barrier was built there.
On the ground: Ahead of the events, people cross the political spectrum in El Paso had a message for Mr. Trump: Don’t speak for us.
Looking ahead: The dueling events come as congressional efforts to reach a deal over border security faltered, bringing the government perilously close to yet another partial shutdown on Friday.
Could a robot diagnose your illness?
In a new study, researchers from universities in the U.S. and China built a highly accurate system that could automatically diagnose common childhood conditions — from influenza to meningitis — after analyzing the patient’s symptoms, medical records, lab results and other clinical data.
Details: The system used a neural network, a breed of artificial intelligence, to digest the electronic health records from more than 1.3 million patient visits at a pediatric hospital in China. In some of the cases, the system’s analysis rivaled the performance of experienced physicians.
Why it matters: Able to recognize patterns in data that humans could never identify on their own, the system suggests that A.I. could assist doctors in diagnosing complex conditions, potentially transforming the health care industry and reducing the chances of incorrect diagnoses.
Caution: Even experts have difficulty understanding why neural networks make particular decisions, so extensive testing is needed to make sure that they are reliable.
Thailand bends to international pressure
Prosecutors dropped an extradition case against a soccer player from Bahrain, Hakeem al-Araibi, who said he would be tortured if he were returned. He is expected to head to Australia soon, where he has refugee status.
Background: Mr. al-Araibi fled Bahrain in 2011 during a crackdown on Arab Spring protesters. He was arrested in Bangkok in November and quickly became the focus of an unusual lobbying effort by diplomats and prominent sports figures, as well as a social media campaign.
This is the second case in the last few months in which Thailand has swerved away from its traditional tendency to return people fleeing political persecution. Last month, a Saudi woman who said she was being abused by her family barricaded herself in a Bangkok airport hotel room and was eventually allowed to leave the airport for Canada, where she was granted asylum.
In other Thai news: The country’s election commission officially barred the king’s sister from running for prime minister after he publicly denounced her political ambitions.
A bad end for South Korea’s cryptocurrency obsession
A generation of young South Koreans escaped dead-end prospects when cryptocurrencies were ascending, only to come under mountains of debt when values collapsed last year. Now, some are going back for more, hoping to use digital currencies to climb back into the black.
By the numbers: The country remains the third-largest market for virtual currencies, behind the U.S. and Japan, with an estimated $6.8 billion in cryptocurrencies changing hands in January. It has become such a cultural phenomenon that coffee shops print their own digital coins.
Why? Income inequality in South Korea is the worst in Asia, with youth unemployment stuck at around 10.5 percent. Digital money seemed like a ladder out.
Here’s what else is happening
India: As many as 100 people have died in the past few days after consuming cheap, illegal homemade alcohol, rattling the country and prompting the authorities to crack down on bootleggers.
Brexit: As Britain’s economy worsens — it expanded just 1.4 percent last year, the slowest pace since 2012 — Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt and other cities in the E.U. have started to capitalize on the growing opportunities presented by the looming withdrawal.
Grammys: The music award ceremony put women front and center, with performances from Lady Gaga, Dolly Parton and Jennifer Lopez, and big wins for the rapper Cardi B and the country singer Kacey Musgraves. Here’s the full list of winners, the best and worst moments from the night and all the bold red carpet looks.
Spain: A Supreme Court trial of the Catalan independence movement leaders, who face criminal charges including rebellion and violating court orders, begins today, and other European countries are watching closely. Here’s what to expect.
Iran: Droves took to the streets in the capital, Tehran, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, while President Hassan Rouhani blamed “cruel enemies” — the U.S. — for a slowing economy. Our Tehran bureau chief reflects on the country’s evolution from a theocracy to what most outsiders would consider “normal.”
#MeToo: At least nine women have now accused Óscar Arias Sánchez, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former president of Costa Rica, of sexual assault or misconduct. The case is emerging as the most significant of the #MeToo era in Latin America, but also reveals the social and political obstacles women in the region face in acting against powerful men.
Northern Lights: The colorful aurora borealis has turned into an international tourist attraction for thousands of camera-toting travelers, supporting small remote towns and local businesses from Alaska to Greenland to Scandinavia.
Tips for a more fulfilling life.
Recipe of the day: Any long noodle works for pasta with brown butter and Parmesan.
Everyone has regrets. You can use yours for motivation.
Some travel agencies will take fitness enthusiasts anywhere they want to go — and provide fun workouts when they get there.
Born on this day in 1809, Abraham Lincoln had a mythic impact far beyond the U.S.
With his craggy face, his eloquence about democracy, his freeing of the slaves and his martyr’s death as U.S. president, he has been embraced by fledgling republics, antislavery societies worldwide and countries trying to recover from civil war.
His famous definition of democracy — “government of the people, by the people, for the people” — was invoked in the first Czechoslovak Republic after World War I, in Hungary in 1956, Tehran in 1979, and Tiananmen Square in 1989.
The Abraham Lincoln Brigade, a volunteer effort to fight fascism in the Spanish Civil War in the mid-1930s, was the first racially integrated U.S. military force.
After World War II, He was an inspiration for many decolonization movements in Africa and Asia. Jawaharlal Nehru, considered the architect of modern India, even owned a bronze cast of Lincoln’s right hand. (For more, listen to a historian discuss Lincoln’s international impact.)
Steven Erlanger, The Times’s chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe, wrote today’s Back Story.
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