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We return from the holiday with a look at the government shutdown that’s entering its second month, a new warning about Greenland’s melting ice, and a preview of today’s Academy Award nominations.
The tightening pinch of the shutdown
The partial government shutdown is now in its fifth week, and some of the 800,000 federal workers who’ve been affected are turning to jobs like driving for Uber or substitute teaching.
“It’s almost as if I’m starting over again from a teenager,” said a woman who began delivering takeout dinners and groceries after being furloughed at the Department of Agriculture.
The shutdown is also hurting some of the most vulnerable, including the homeless and those who depend on federal rent subsidies.
Catch up: Over the weekend, President Trump proposed restoring temporary protections for the undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers in exchange for $5.7 billion for a border wall, an offer Speaker Nancy Pelosi immediately rejected. Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, could propose legislation as early as today that would wrap Mr. Trump’s proposal into a package to reopen the government.
News analysis: People who have done business with Mr. Trump say his current stance is consistent with negotiating tactics he used in the private sector: focusing foremost on claiming victory.
Russian mogul could benefit from a sanctions deal
The Trump administration announced last month that it was lifting sanctions against several companies controlled by an influential oligarch, Oleg Deripaska. The government characterized the move as tough on both him and Russia.
But a confidential document signed by both sides suggests that the agreement is less punishing than advertised, freeing Mr. Deripaska from hundreds of millions of dollars in debt.
How we know: The Treasury Department described the agreement in a letter to Congress that was released publicly. But the confidential document, which was reviewed by The Times, includes greater detail.
Background: Sanctions were announced in April against Mr. Deripaska, six other Russian oligarchs and their companies in retaliation for “a range of malign activity around the globe.”
Greenland’s ice is at a “tipping point”
The island’s enormous ice sheet is melting so quickly that it could become a major factor in rising sea levels within two decades, scientists said on Monday.
The research found that ice loss in 2012 was nearly four times as much as in 2003 and that, after a lull in 2013-14, losses have resumed.
The impact: The study is the latest suggesting that estimates of the effects of a warming planet have been too conservative and highlighting what scientists say is the need for a sharp reduction in emissions of planet-warming gases.
Go deeper: Times journalists traveled to Greenland’s ice sheet in 2015 to find out more about the effects of climate change.
Taliban stage an attack and then join peace talks
Hours after the militant group killed dozens at a base in Afghanistan on Monday, the Taliban said they had resumed talks with American diplomats in Qatar.
An Afghan official said the attack had targeted a center where pro-government fighters were receiving training from the country’s intelligence agency.
Background: Last month, President Trump ordered the U.S. military to begin plans to withdraw about 7,000 troops from Afghanistan. But the violence there shows no sign of abating.
If you have 5 minutes, this is worth it
N.F.L. fans can see every angle. Referees can’t.
Video replay was supposed to fix mistakes by officials on the field, but a blown call in the Saints-Rams game on Sunday exposed a weakness in the rule book.
At stake was a trip to the Super Bowl. When officials most needed a replay, the rules for what is subject to review prohibited them from watching one.
Here’s what else is happening
The 2020 election: Senator Kamala Harris of California is the latest Democrat to declare her candidacy for president. Ms. Harris, a former state attorney general, is the second black woman to serve in the U.S. Senate. Here’s who else is running.
China’s slowdown: The country’s economy grew 6.6 percent in 2018, the weakest pace in nearly 30 years.
Penalty for Google: France fined the company $57 million for not properly disclosing to users how their data is collected.
New Brexit plan: After the British Parliament rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposal for withdrawing from the European Union, she returned with a Plan B. It looked a lot like Plan A.
Warning at Davos: The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum began in Switzerland this morning, and one talking point is a letter saying investors should pay closer attention to global social tensions, rising debt and weaker American leadership.
Snapshot: Above, President Trump made a brief visit to the memorial to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington on Monday, the federal holiday that honors the slain civil rights leader.
Oscar nominations: “A Star Is Born” is expected to lead the field when Academy Award nominations are announced today at 8:20 a.m. Eastern. Here’s what else to expect.
Late-night comedy: Jimmy Kimmel celebrated the midpoint of the president’s term with a special edition of his show, “Intermission Accomplished: A Halftime Tribute to Trump.”
What we’re reading: This report from CityLab/The Atlantic. “It’s the story of a tent city for migrant children, the community that wishes it were known for something — anything — other than the camp, and how quickly the camp vanished once it became clear what was going on there,” writes Alan Henry, a Smarter Living editor.
Now, a break from the news
Watch: “Glass,” M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film, offers an enjoyable, somewhat bonkers experience, our critic says.
See: More than 100 Ansel Adams photographs are on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, highlighting the wilderness of America’s national parks.
Smarter Living: Have you ever accidentally hit Reply All? David Pogue, the tech savant who’s back at The Times with a new column, asked readers for their stories — and ways to cope. One approach: Swiftly follow up with several corrected versions of the same message, to minimize the attention paid to the first. Or hit Reply All again, saying something like, “Well, that was awkward.”
Also, we checked out luxury versions of the rocking chair, a time-tested antidote to anxiety.
And now for the Back Story on …
The Australian Open
The tournament now underway in Melbourne, once the least grand of tennis’s four Grand Slam events, has caught up.
When the event began in the early 20th century, travel time for Americans and Europeans could be more than a month, so play was largely limited to Australians and New Zealanders.
Jet travel made the trip easier. But for decades, low prize money and dates around the Christmas holidays kept many players away. Chris Evert played the Australian Open just six times; John McEnroe five; Bjorn Borg once.
Over time, the prize money and ranking points increased, and the tournament shifted to the third and fourth weeks of January. In 1988, it moved to the brand-new Melbourne Park. Today, the “Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific” lures business support and fans from across the region.
And now the stars line up. Serena Williams is seeking her eighth title, and Novak Djokovic is vying for his seventh. Catch up with our latest coverage here.
That’s it for this briefing. Stay warm.
To Eleanor Stanford and James K. Williamson for helping us take a break from the news. Ben Rothenberg, who’s covering the Australian Open for The Times, 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 Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
• Here’s today’s mini crossword puzzle, and a clue: Three for a tricycle (5 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times uses courtesy titles — Ms., Mrs., Mr. and the like — in news coverage, but not in sports reports, some cultural coverage or historical references. (Mr. Galileo?)