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We start with renewed concerns about Boeing’s 737 Max 8, a preview of today’s White House budget proposal and a look at America’s intensifying fight against extremists in Somalia.
China and Indonesia ground Boeing models
The two countries ordered their airlines today to suspend all flights involving Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, after the model was involved in two deadly crashes in the past five months. The most recent was Sunday, when an Ethiopian Airlines flight went down near Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people onboard. Here are the latest updates.
The circumstances were eerily similar to the crash of a Lion Air flight off Indonesia in October that killed 189. Early information on Sunday’s crash is incomplete and does not rule out pilot error or a different malfunction.
Background: The 737 Max 8 is an update to a model that is a linchpin for airlines around the world, particularly in China. After the crash in Indonesia, some American aviation officials said that a software update for the Max’s flight control system wasn’t adequately explained to pilots. Many airlines have since provided training, but whether Ethiopian Airlines did so was not immediately known.The passengers: The flight, which was bound for Nairobi, Kenya, had been nicknamed the “U.N. shuttle” because of how often United Nations staff members took it. At least 22 employees of U.N.-affiliated agencies were among those killed.
Basic questions: In the U.S., American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines all use the 737 Max. Here are some answers to common questions.
President Trump to renew fight over wall funding
After a spending dispute that closed parts of the government for a record 35 days, the president plans to ask for $8.6 billion for a wall on the southwestern border in the budget that he submits to Congress today, aides said.
Mr. Trump will also ask for an additional $3.6 billion to replenish military construction funds that he has diverted by declaring a national emergency.
On Sunday, the Democratic leaders, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, declared the deal dead on arrival: “Congress refused to fund his wall, and he was forced to admit defeat,” they said in a joint statement. “The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again.”
The details: Aside from the proposed wall funding, Mr. Trump will call for increased military spending and significant cuts in domestic programs, neither of which Democrats are likely to accept.
U.S. accelerates fight against the Shabab
The extremist group in Somalia that is affiliated with Al Qaeda has been the target of intensifying airstrikes by the U.S. military, even as President Trump has sought to scale back other counterinsurgency operations.
Last year, 47 disclosed attacks in Somalia killed 326 people thought to be Shabab fighters, Defense Department data show — the third record high in three years. So far this year, the intensity is on a pace to eclipse the 2018 record.
Background: The U.S. estimates that the Shabab have 5,000 to 7,000 fighters in Somalia, where the group controls about 20 percent of the country. Late last month, the group claimed responsibility for an attack on a hotel in the capital, Mogadishu, that killed at least 25.
Amazon’s deal paled beside another
New York City was riveted for weeks by a debate over whether Amazon should receive $3 billion in incentives in return for setting up a headquarters in Queens.
But for more than a decade, the city has been funneling even more aid to Hudson Yards, a 28-acre complex that’s set to open this week in Manhattan. In all, tax breaks and other government assistance for Hudson Yards have reached nearly $6 billion, according to public records and a recent analysis by the New School.
Closer look: Supporters of the project say the incentives will pay vast dividends by creating a business district, but detractors voice the kind of criticism that reverberated during the Amazon deal: Wealthy businesses should pay their own way.
Another angle: Hudson Yards includes a major dining complex with restaurants run by celebrity chefs like David Chang and Thomas Keller.
If you have 14 minutes, this is worth it
Who burned aid headed to Venezuela?
The Times reconstructed an episode last month in which an aid truck trying to cross a bridge connecting Colombia and Venezuela burst into flames. The analysis contradicts the idea promoted by the U.S. that forces loyal to President Nicolás Maduro were to blame.
The analysis, using unpublished footage along with previously released tapes, suggests that a Molotov cocktail thrown by an antigovernment protester most likely caused the blaze inadvertently.
Here’s what else is happening
Uncle Sam liked your photo: A Trump administration proposal would allow Social Security to monitor social media posts to identify people who are receiving federal disability benefits without being truly disabled.
Blackout in Venezuela: The government has declared today a public holiday after a fourth consecutive night of power failures.
Tesla’s change of plans: Days after announcing that it would close most of its stores, the electric-car maker has said that it would keep “significantly more stores open” than previously announced. The company also said it would raise most of its prices.
Ruling in “Serial” case: Adnan Syed, whose murder trial was the subject of a hit podcast, has been denied a new trial by Maryland’s highest court, reversing a decision from last year.
Jussie Smollett indictment: A grand jury indicted the “Empire” actor on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct after the authorities said he falsely reported that he had been attacked.
Featured video: Ever put a grape in a microwave? There is some real science behind the internet phenomenon.
Weekend box office: “Captain Marvel,” starring Brie Larson, earned $153 million in the U.S., the highest-earning movie premiere this year.
What we’re reading: This investigation from The Verge. Noam Scheiber, our labor and workplace reporter, writes that Casey Newton “provides the most detailed picture yet of what life is like for the moderators charged with monitoring content on Facebook. The workload and traumatizing content add up to an even grimmer reality than you suspect.”
Now, a break from the news
See: Here are nine shows in New York City this spring.
Watch: We recommend the best TV shows and movies added to streaming services this month.
Smarter Living: Frustrated at work? Perhaps that “blocked” feeling can fuel a breakthrough. Frustrated people reject the status quo and search for new and improved methods — as long as they feel committed to their team and have the support they need to pursue their ideas. We found a case study at Pixar.
We also have tips on how to fix some common household electrical problems.
And now for the Back Story on …
A mobster’s obituary
The Times published an obituary of Carmine Persico, a noted New York mobster, on Friday. In some circles, the bigger news was the byline.
“Say it with me children: Selwyn Raab,” the Times writer Dan Barry posted on Twitter.
Mr. Raab, 84, retired from The Times in 2000, after decades of reporting on the Mafia. His signature 2005 book, “Five Families,” runs roughly 800 pages.
Your Back Story writer gave Mr. Raab a call. In addition to projects for the History Channel, he’s writing a pilot for a series based on “Five Families” and working with Netflix on a series about the 1986 Mafia Commission trial.
Sadly, we didn’t have a photograph of him on hand.
“I was always very careful about showing my face,” he said. “The point is, very simply, that there was always a gentlemen’s agreement that if you wrote honestly about organized crime figures, they wouldn’t victimize you, but there are always crackpots.
“And I wasn’t that good-looking to begin with.”
In a piece for the Time’s Opinion section, Ken Jennings, who won on “Jeopardy!” a record 74 consecutive times, wrote a tribute to the show’s host, Alex Trebek, who announced last week that he has pancreatic cancer.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Eleanor Stanford, James K. Williamson and Mark Josephson for the break from the news. Andrea Kannapell, the Briefings editor, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is the second part of our report about what to expect from the special counsel’s investigation.
• Here’s today’s mini crossword puzzle, and a clue: Command-Z command (4 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• A search for “Selwyn Raab” turns up about 1,800 hits in the New York Times archives.