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We’re covering questions about how Boeing’s 737 Max won regulatory approval, the devastation after a cyclone in Africa, and a new drug to treat postpartum depression.
U.S. to investigate Boeing jet approval
The transportation secretary, Elaine Chao, on Tuesday ordered an inquiry into how the Federal Aviation Administration certified the Boeing 737 Max 8 for flight.
A software system intended to prevent stalls is suspected of playing a role in two deadly crashes involving the Max 8 in five months. But the system didn’t raise red flags during the approval process, which relied heavily on Boeing employees to certify the plane’s safety.
A spokesman for Boeing said the manufacturer would cooperate with the audit.
Another angle: In Ethiopia, Boeing is so revered that its name is synonymous with airplanes. The crash this month may test that loyalty.
Related: President Trump named Stephen Dickson, a former Delta Air Lines executive, as his choice to become the permanent head of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Rescuers in Africa confront “an inland ocean”
Emergency workers struggled on Tuesday to reach areas devastated by a cyclone, which aid agencies called the worst natural disaster in southern Africa in two decades.
The port city of Beira, Mozambique, home to half a million people, was virtually destroyed by the storm. At least 84 people have been killed in Mozambique and 98 in Zimbabwe, though officials said the death toll could climb past 1,000.
Map: Here’s a look at the extent of the destruction, which has affected more than 1.5 million people across three countries.
Moves by the Fed prompt optimism in the markets
Stocks have soared more than 15 percent since the Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell, announced in January that the central bank would be patient in its push to increase interest rates.
The Fed could add more fuel to the rally today, when the central bank is expected to leave interest rates unchanged and say that it’s in no hurry to raise them.
What’s next: The Fed releases its updated economic projections for this year at 2 p.m. Eastern. Here’s what to watch for.
Yesterday: White House officials said that the $1.5 trillion tax cut pushed through in 2017 would not be enough to deliver the 3 percent annual growth President Trump promised over the long term.
Depression drug is approved for new mothers
The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved the first drug to treat postpartum depression. As many as one in seven American women experience depression during or after pregnancy.
The medication, brexanolone, works within 48 hours. But the infusion is expensive — averaging $34,000 per patient before discounts — and requires a stay in a medical center.
Tell us: The Times is starting a section devoted to parents, and we’d like to hear from readers about small moments of triumph.
Effort to isolate Iran divides the Trump administration
Washington has been pushing Iraq to confront and sideline Iran, a move that has increased tensions not just between Washington and Baghdad but also within the Trump administration. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been leading the effort, arrived in the Middle East on Tuesday.
Mr. Pompeo has proposed that the State Department designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization. Such a move, which is opposed by officials at the Pentagon and the C.I.A., would be the first time that the U.S. had designated a unit of another government’s military as a terrorist group.
How we know: The proposal was described to The Times on the condition of anonymity by American and Iraqi officials and experts familiar with the plans but not authorized to discuss them.
If you have 13 minutes, this is worth it
The lives lost in New Zealand
Snapshot: Above, a school parade in Jerusalem on Tuesday to celebrate Purim, the 48-hour Jewish holiday that begins tonight.
Play ball!: The Major League Baseball season began today … in Japan. The game between the Oakland Athletics and the Seattle Mariners is the fifth time that a season has started at the Tokyo Dome, where 12 tons of dirt was shipped from the U.S.
Late-night comedy: President Trump said this week that he had donated part of his salary to the Department of Homeland Security. Seth Meyers responded, “Of course, if you want to give part of your salary to the government, you could just pay your taxes.”
What we’re reading: This piece in New York Magazine. Lynda Richardson, an editor in Travel, writes, “A compelling headline, ‘Ta-Nehisi Coates Is an Optimist Now,’ led me to this insightful piece about the public intellectual’s thoughts on politics, reparations and pop culture.”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: A yellow sheet cake with chocolate frosting helps beat the midweek blues.
Watch: “Buddy,” a documentary following six people and their service dogs, is one of our Critic’s Picks.
Read: If you watched “The Inventor” on HBO and want to know more about Elizabeth Holmes and her blood testing company, Theranos, here’s where to look.
Smarter Living: Asking a superstar in your field out for coffee? There’s a right way to ask. Know what you want. Be polite. And be prepared: Have targeted, thoughtful questions in mind or written down. There’s nothing worse than wasting a potential mentor’s time.
Also, after the recent college admissions scandal, here’s how you can get admissions advice with your integrity intact.
And now for the Back Story on …
An inspiration for the Guggenheim
We recently asked readers to send us their favorite odd facts. Mark Stewart, from Maryland, mentioned that the distinctive shape of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City could be seen in an earlier design for a Maryland tourist attraction.
When the Guggenheim, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opened in 1959, it was both praised (“Mr. Wright’s greatest building. New York’s greatest building”) and scorned (an “inverted oatmeal dish”).
The museum took its cues from a design Wright had experimented with before, initially for a project that was never built.
In 1924, at the dawn of America’s love affair with automobiles, a businessman named Gordon Strong worked with Wright on an attraction at the top of Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland that would “serve as an objective for short motor trips” from nearby Washington and Baltimore.
Wright designed a circular building with drivable ramps that wound around the outside like a ribbon. Strong hated it, likening the design to the Tower of Babel, and the project was abandoned.
But Wright believed in his vision enough to return to it, in an inverted form, when the Guggenheim asked him to design a “temple of the spirit, a monument.”
Yearning for freedom? A calf has become the latest farm animal to be found wandering the streets of New York City in recent days.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and James K. Williamson for the break from the news. Karen Thorne, a content strategist, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro.
• Here’s today’s mini crossword puzzle, and a clue: One gathering enemy intel (3 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times called the Guggenheim Museum the “most controversial building ever to rise in New York” in a front-page article on Oct. 21, 1959, the day it opened to the public.