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Michael Flynn, Shutdown, China Trade: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing


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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

Image Credit Tom Brenner for The New York Times 1. “Arguably, you sold your country out.”

With a scathing rebuke, a federal judge postponed the sentencing of Michael Flynn , President Trump’s former national security adviser.

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Calling Mr. Flynn’s crimes “a very serious offense,” the judge warned that he could face prison for lying to federal investigators about his conversations with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition and hiding his role lobbying for Turkey.

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“I cannot assure that if you proceed today you will not receive a sentence of incarceration,” the judge said. He gave Mr. Flynn, above, the option of delaying the sentencing until he had completed his cooperation agreement with federal prosecutors.

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After a short recess, Mr. Flynn returned to the courtroom and took the judge up on his offer.

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Separately, the Donald J. Trump Foundation will close in response to a lawsuit filed by the New York attorney general’s office, which has accused the Trump family of using the charity for self-dealing and political gain.

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Image Credit Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters 2. It was an indelible image: A Honduran woman clutching her two children at the U.S. border with Mexico, fleeing tear gas fired by American officers

The woman, Maria Meza, above, was part of a migrant caravan seeking refuge from violence and poverty in Central America. She waited for weeks in Tijuana for a chance to apply for asylum, citing gang violence at home

This week, a group of congressmen escorted her and others to the port of entry, and Ms. Meza and her children are now in the U.S. awaiting action on their asylum petitions

Separately, the White House signaled that President Trump might be backing down on his demand for $5 billion from Congress for a wall on the border with Mexico , easing fears of a government shutdown that would begin at midnight Friday


Image Credit Tom Brenner for The New York Times 3. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube withheld crucial information about Russian activity on their sites from investigators, according to two new reports to the Senate.

The reports, by two cybersecurity firms hired to trace Russian influence, said the companies “evaded” and “misrepresented” the extent of the Russian activity, and when they did hand over data, they often did so in formats that made them difficult to analyze. Above, in Washington

“Everyone wants to qualify the impact of the 2016 presidential election,” one researcher said. “None of the data sets we were given gives us that answer.”

The reports are the most detailed accounts yet of how Russian agents have manipulated social media against Americans in recent years. They also shined a light on Russian campaigns on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. Here’s a look at posts that exemplify Russia’s tactics


Image Credit Michelle Gustafson for The New York Times 4. Women in Delaware now have one-stop shopping for birth control

Under a new program, doctors in the state ask women of childbearing age whether they want to become pregnant in the next year. If the answer is no, women can leave the clinic with a prescription for contraception or a long-acting implant, no return visit required

Doctors and health officials say they emphasize that patients can choose any contraceptive — or reject them all. Above, learning to insert an IUD

It’s part of an effort to reduce unintended pregnancies and help women escape poverty. It could also reduce the abortion rate and state spending on Medicaid. Similar programs are being considered in several other states

“Set it and forget it,” said a trainer with an organization supporting the program. “We call it the Crock-Pot method.”


Image Credit Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press 5. In a speech on the 40th anniversary of China’s economic liberalization efforts , President Xi Jinping delivered a powerful defense of his economic policies

The Communist Party has been solely responsible for the country’s stunning growth, he argued, and its policies of control have been “totally correct.”

He only obliquely referred to the elephant in the room: the trade war with the U.S. “No one is in a position to dictate to the Chinese people what should not be done,” he said

The speech extinguished hopes that Mr. Xi, above, was ready to announce reforms that would point to potential compromises with the U.S. Our reporters recount the key points from the speech


Image Credit Steven Senne/Associated Press 6. Public health experts are struggling to address a surging new problem: how to help teenagers quit vaping.

A recent survey of teenage drug use found the rise in nicotine vaping was the largest spike for any substance recorded by the study in 44 years. About 21 percent of high school seniors had vaped within the previous 30 days, researchers found, compared with about 11 percent a year ago

The pervasiveness of nicotine addiction among teenagers who use vaping devices is now sinking in — and there is no clear path to helping them stop

“We are using our best judgment but we don’t know exactly what to do,” one pediatrician told us. “There’s no sound science yet.”

But there are some ways parents can help , our reporter found


Image Credit Library of Congress 7. “Walt Whitman Has a Bad Cold.”

On this day 127 years ago, Walt Whitman fell ill. It was front-page news for The Times, and updates appeared frequently over the next three months, our archives reveal

No detail about the poet’s failing health was too small to cover: how many sips of milk punch he drank or pieces of toast he managed to consume, whether he had the strength to sit up in bed, what he said to his doctor

The Times kept a diligent bedside vigil until Mr. Whitman’s death on March 26, 1892. Several days later, we revealed the results of an autopsy: “His brain was found to be abnormally large.”


Image Credit John Francis Peters for The New York Times 8. How did Octomom do it?

Almost 10 years ago, Nadya Suleman gave birth to eight babies at once, earning her nickname and plenty of media scrutiny and public criticism

She has 14 children in all, so many that they eat in shifts. Some sleep on the couch. Above, surrounded by the octuplets: Noah, Jonah, Josiah, Makai, Nariyah, Maliyah, Jeremiah and Isaiah

We paid a visit and found that the octuplets are polite, they cook, they’re vegan, they read two books a month and they do their homework without being prompted. In spite of all of the tabloid drama, they’re model fourth graders


Image Credit Kim Hee-Chul/EPA, via Shutterstock 9. Frenzied K-pop fans, above, have found a new way to get a little closer to their favorite stars: They book first-class seats, board planes to get a selfie or an autograph — and then disembark and cancel their tickets just before the gates close

The behavior has angered passengers and airline officials because their departures activate regulations that require passengers to leave the plane and undergo another security check

Korean Air announced increased financial penalties in an effort to crack down on the chaos

Separately, a state-run newspaper in North Korea cited K-pop music as one of the disruptive influences of smartphones that have started to trickle into that country, along with cheating on exams and pornography


Image Credit Anjelica Roselyn 10. Finally, time for a zhuzh

Some wedding organizers are suggesting a “glam bar” for the ladies’ room at the reception, equipped with stylists, lipsticks, curling irons, hair spray and other necessities for fixing guests’ beauty malfunctions

“People value looking nice, not shiny, in photos,” one organizer told us

Have a chic evening

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