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Good evening. Here’s the latest.
1. The U.S. transportation secretary called for an inquiry into the F.A.A.’s certification of the Boeing 737 Max 8.
Elaine Chao asked her agency’s internal watchdog to audit the approval process, which has been under scrutiny since the crash last week of an Ethiopian Airlines jet — the second deadly crash involving the aircraft in less than five months.
One concern is the role that Boeing employees played. Since 2005, the agency has allowed manufacturers to choose their own employees to act on behalf of the F.A.A. to help certify new aircraft.
Also today, the White House nominated Stephen Dickson, a former Delta Air Lines executive, to become the permanent head of the F.A.A.
Separately, Boeing is so revered in Ethiopia that planes are often referred to as “Boeings.” Now, the long love affair between a country and its airplanes is being put to the test.
2. One was a dairy farmer, another aspired to be a pilot. There was a New Zealand Football player, and a 3-year-old described as “full of energy, love and happiness.”
The 50 people killed in a terrorist attack at two New Zealand mosques last week extended across generations and nationalities. Here are some of their stories. Above, an Australian imam leading a prayer near one of the mosques.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to return to Christchurch as victims’ families prepare for funeral services there. In an impassioned speech to Parliament, she said she would do everything she could to deny the gunman attention, and instead focus on the victims.
“He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist,” she said. “But he will, when I speak, be nameless.”
3. Washington has been pushing Iraq to confront and sideline Iran, increasing tensions not just with Baghdad but also within the Trump administration.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is visiting the Middle East this week to advance the effort. Under his proposed plans, the State Department would designate Iran’s military Islamic Revolutionary Guards as a foreign terrorist organization — a first for a unit of another government’s military. Above, Iraqi Shiite militia forces, which often have ties to Iran, during a graduation ceremony last week.
American officials said that the plan would put U.S. troops and intelligence officers at risk of similar actions from foreign governments.
4. Extreme weather has devastated Southern Africa and parts of the U.S.
In Mozambique and nearby countries, a deadly cyclone nearly obliterated the worst-affected areas. Cyclone Idai has affected more than 1.5 million people, with a death toll now in the dozens but feared far higher.
A U.N. official said it could be one of the worst weather-related disasters ever in the Southern Hemisphere. Above, residents searching for bodies in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe.
And in the U.S., the record floods that pummeled the Midwest are inflicting a devastating toll on farmers and ranchers at a moment when they can least afford it. We also have a map showing how quickly the region flooded.
5. West Virginia sued a retired top bishop and the state’s only Roman Catholic diocese, saying that they “knowingly employed pedophiles.”
In an unusual approach, the civil suit claimed the diocese and the bishop violated the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act. The suit said they “failed to conduct adequate background checks” and disclose to parents “the inherent danger” of sending their children to the church’s schools and camps.
The bishop, Michael Bransfield, above, was recently restricted from ministry following allegations he had sexually harassed adults.
Separately, Pope Francis rejected the resignation of a French cardinal who was convicted of covering up sexual abuse.
6. Pacific Gas & Electric, California’s biggest utility, has repeatedly caused deadly wildfires, yet often put profits ahead of safety, a Times investigation shows.
Five of the 10 most destructive fires in the state since 2015 have been linked to the company’s electrical network. Regulators found that in many fires, the utility violated state law or could have done more to make its equipment safer. Above, the Camp Fire in Magalia, Calif., in November.
“They have simply been caught red-handed over and over again, lying, manipulating or misleading the public,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in an interview. “They cannot be trusted.”
In a statement, PG&E executives acknowledged mistakes and said they were committed to improving safety.
7. Fallout from the “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal continues.
The University of Southern California blocked students who might be associated with the scheme from registering for classes. “Following the review,” university officials posted on Twitter, “we will take the proper action related to their status, up to revoking admission or expulsion.”
And a number of other colleges have warned they might punish students connected to the federal fraud case.
The scandal is also bringing attention to athletic recruiting. The practice helps build competitive teams, but now some administrators are calling for more scrutiny of the process.
8. Levi’s is having a moment.
The maker of denim and Dockers will start publicly trading this week, a milestone for a 165-year-old company that has experienced a resurgence in the past decade. Levi’s anticipates this week’s stock offering will raise more than $100 million, with a company valuation between $5 billion and $6 billion.
We took a look at the history of the brand, from the invention of the blue jean in 1873 to Beyoncé’s cutoff shorts at Coachella in 2018.
9. “I try and make it so that if anyone’s offended, I can explain why they shouldn’t be.”
For Ricky Gervais, known for his deeply cringe-inducing comedy, the idea of being an outsider has always been important. His new Netflix show, “After Life,” is no exception: He plays a small-town journalist who abandons all social norms after being widowed.
The comedian spoke with our Talk columnist about provocation, outrage culture and how “comedy is an intellectual pursuit, not an emotional one.”
10. Finally, Puerto Rico’s local food movement is finding its footing.
For years, the island imported nearly all its food. Then two hurricanes in late 2017 slowed a budding effort to reclaim the island’s agricultural and culinary independence.
But now, even with some power shortages and food supply issues, Puerto Rico’s chefs and farmers are rebuilding and forming new connections. Pernil, above, is one of Puerto Rico’s most-loved dishes.
Our reporter visited the island and found that a dedication to local food, and the island’s traditions, was back “with a vengeance,” as one chef put it.
Have a delectable night.
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