Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times

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Investigators are looking for the cause of the fire that ravaged the 850-year-old landmark in Paris, and they are so far treating the disaster as an accident.

Fundamental fire prevention safeguards — like firewalls or a sprinkler system — were absent by choice, so as not to alter the cathedral’s design or heighten risk by introducing electrical wiring to “the forest,” as the fragile attic of the building is known.

Early estimates place the reconstruction effort at between five and 15 years, and more than $600 million has already been pledged.

What we know: The cathedral’s twin medieval towers survived, but its 300-foot spire collapsed, and two-thirds of its roof was destroyed. No one was killed, but one firefighter and two police officers were injured.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced that when their child is born, they will skip the ritual photo opportunity that takes place outside the maternity ward of a royal couple.

It did not go over well with the British press, which noted that the decision was a departure from more than 40 years of tradition. The Sun, Britain’s highest-circulation tabloid, chided the couple for infringing on “our royal rights.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex said they would instead share their own photos of the baby, who has not been born yet, after they have celebrated privately.

Why does it matter? As one senior journalist put it: “This is the shattering of a tradition that goes back for decades. There is a price to be paid for that, and that price is mockery.”

Some mainstream Democrats are increasingly worried that Senator Bernie Sanders could complicate their effort to defeat President Trump in 2020.

Critics believe Mr. Sanders, an avowed socialist, could lure a third-party centrist into the field and ensure Mr. Trump a second term. Many in the Democratic Party said the “Bernie question” came up frequently in political circles, and one organizer said he believed an anti-Sanders campaign should commence soon.

The peril, our reporter writes, is clear: Mr. Sanders would gleefully seize on any Stop Bernie effort. (He has said he would support the party’s nominee if he falls short.)

Strengths: Mr. Sanders is already raising substantially more money than his Democratic rivals. He also has a deeply loyal base of voters across many states.

The French automaker still effectively controls Nissan, but with its former leader Carlos Ghosn in a Tokyo jail, the union he stitched together seems to be teetering.

In recent weeks, Renault has scrambled to keep its Japanese partner happy. It created a new leadership board that gives Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, the third member of the alliance, equal weight, and has largely let Nissan dismantle the power structures Mr. Ghosn put in place.

But there’s still one source of tension: Renault’s outsize stake in the more successful Nissan.

Looking ahead: A Tokyo court has ruled that Mr. Ghosn — who was rearrested this month while out on bail — will remain in custody until Monday at least.

The Times ran public images of people who work near a New York City park and a day’s worth of surveillance camera footage through a commercially available facial recognition service to demonstrate how easy it is to track people without their knowledge. It cost less than $100 and was all completely legal.

We’ve deleted the data, but the experiment, part of our Privacy Project, highlights just how easy it is to secretly monitor people.

Yemen: President Trump vetoed a bipartisan resolution that would have forced an end to U.S. military involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, only the second time he has used his veto power.

Venezuela: After denying for years that Venezuelans were suffering a humanitarian crisis, the government allowed the Red Cross to send in 24 tons of medical equipment. It was the beginning of a large-scale relief campaign intended to ease malnutrition and the spread of disease.

Turkey: The party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan applied to the country’s election commission for a rerun of the Istanbul mayor’s race, after two weeks of appeals and recounting of ballots still showed the opposition candidate ahead.

2020: Senators Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris are leading in fund-raising totals among candidates for the Democratic nomination for president. We crunched the fund-raising numbers, which can be barometers of voter interest, of 16 candidates in the Democratic race.

Times Insider: Paul Mozur, who has traveled to the Xinjiang region in China to report on the detention of thousands of minority Uighurs, writes about how the authorities followed his every move.

Travel mistakes: Our 52 Places Traveler, Sebastian Modak, shared some of the lessons he’s learned in the three months of his expedition so far: Know your risk threshold, for example, and listen to your body when it’s telling you to rest.

Snapshot: Many players have gone out of their way not to wear Roberto Clemente’s No. 21 in an effort to unofficially retire it. Above, Clemente with his wife, Vera, and their three sons at Shea Stadium in New York in 1971, the year before his death in a plane crash. Only Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 has been officially retired across the majors.

Astrology: Horoscope start-ups — once seen as “shady” — are having a surge in popularity, with new companies tapping into a growing appetite for the mystical and drawing serious interest from investors.

What we’re reading: This report from our archives. “The New York Times was inside Notre-Dame in 1853 for Napoleon III’s wedding,” writes Tina Jordan, our Books columnist. “The description includes ermine, jewels, lavish drapes of gold-lace-trimmed crimson velvet, ‘festoons of flowers’ and chandeliers filled with thousands of wax tapers.”

Cook: Comfort is a bowl of gently spiced roasted cauliflower soup.

Watch: Claire Denis’s new film, “High Life,” is now in cinemas. Her fellow director Barry Jenkins chatted with her about anxiety and depicting black lives on film.

Go: For once, our critic found an opera frustratingly short. If you’re looking for a quick(ish) musical fix, check out Huang Ruo’s “Bound” at the Baruch Performing Arts Center.

Eat: Have you tried ramen without broth? At the restaurant Niche in Manhattan, it can work surprisingly well with ingredients that would not respond well to hot liquid — like noodles coated with spicy cod roe and topped with sliced smoked salmon.

Smarter Living: Kids misbehaving? If you intend to punish them, it should be consistent and in small doses. Pick your battles, because big punishments don’t always translate to better behavior. Look for ways to remove a privilege for a short time — like no screens for two days — and establish clear expectations for improved behavior.

And there’s no need to put premium gas in a car that doesn’t demand it. Check your owner’s manual.

The comedian Hannah Gadsby and the Times Op-Ed columnist David Brooks are among those taking the stage at the flagship TED Conference in Vancouver this week.

Since TED’s inception 35 years ago, it has become a household name, and TED speakers have racked up billions of views online.

But what was the first conference like?

It was 1984, in Monterey, Calif. Steve Jobs brought the first Apple Macintosh. Lucasfilm showed 3-D graphics. And a Sony executive gave a musical demonstration of the compact disc (with samples).

The designers Richard Saul Wurman and Harry Marks organized the gathering around the convergence of technology, entertainment and design — TED. Mr. Wurman welcomed attendees to “the dinner party I always wanted to have but couldn’t.

Financially, it was a flop. There wouldn’t be another for six years. But backstage, Mr. Marks recalled recently, he saw Nicholas Negroponte — a co-founder of the M.I.T. Media Lab — exchanging numbers with Herbie Hancock and thought: “This works. This is a good thing.”

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Melina

Thank you
Chris Stanford helped compile today’s briefing. Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and James K. Williamson provided the break from the news. Jake Lucas wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about Carlos Ghosn, the former head of Nissan.
• Here’s today’s mini crossword puzzle, and a clue: Ones trying to make fetch happen (4 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Images of climate change taken by Josh Haner, a photographer for The New York Times, will go on display at Photo London, an international photography fair, May 16-19.

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