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Good evening. Here’s the latest at the end of Thursday.
1. “I’ll allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy.”
President Biden issued his strongest repudiation of Donald Trump since taking office, one year after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol to disrupt the certification of the 2020 election results. Without using Trump’s name, the president assailed the “defeated former president” for spreading “a web of lies” and threatening democracy.
Biden’s speech kicked off a daylong commemoration that underscored just how fractured the U.S. remained a year after Trump refused to accept a decisive defeat at the ballot box.
3. With a city of 13 million locked down, China continues to rely on the same authoritarian virus-fighting methods from early 2020.
Xi’an has been on lockdown for more than two weeks, the longest shutdown in China since the first one in Wuhan. China’s ability to control the virus has come a long way since the pandemic started. Yet it has continued to impose strict quarantines, border closings and lockdowns. These have led to food and medical shortages, in scenes recalling the early days of the pandemic.
4. Troops from a Russia-led military alliance arrived in Kazakhstan to try to restore order after a night of deadly protests.
The police reported dozens of deaths in the Central Asian country, where demonstrators have taken to the streets in Almaty, the largest city, over a surge in fuel prices. Overnight, protesters set government buildings on fire and overran the airport, and, by this morning, commercial banks and stores were ordered closed, causing people to rush to A.T.M.s to collect cash and line up for bread.
In addition to those who were killed, about a thousand people were injured and up to 400 were hospitalized. Around 2,000 protesters were detained.
The deployment of 2,500 troops is the first by the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a military alliance of former Soviet states, dominated by Russia. The operation was described as a temporary peacekeeping mission.
5. Canada will ban conversion therapy, making it a crime to provide or promote services intended to change or repress a person’s sexual orientation or gender expression.
The law, which goes into effect tomorrow, will put Canada in the company of more than a dozen countries that have banned the widely discredited practice. In the U.S., 20 states and Washington, D.C., have passed laws banning conversion therapy.
Earlier this week, the Canadian government pledged $31.5 billion to fix the nation’s discriminatory child welfare system and compensate the Indigenous people harmed by it.
6. “It’s shocking to know I have absolutely nothing. I just don’t. And we don’t have a home to go home to.”
Families who lived in the 991 homes that were destroyed in one of the worst wildfires in Colorado history are coming to terms with their loss. For now, many are staying in shelters, with friends or at hotels while they navigate a housing market that was already competitive before the fire.
Many details about the fire in Philadelphia yesterday, which destroyed a rowhouse and killed 12 people, including eight children, remain unclear. Here’s what we know so far.
7. Peter Bogdanovich, who directed “The Last Picture Show” and “Paper Moon” before a public fall from grace, died at 82.
As a filmmaker, he was hailed for his ability to coax nuanced performances from actors and for conjuring a bygone past. But by the end of the 1970s, Bogdanovich had become one of the most ostracized Hollywood directors after a series of critical and box-office failures and the raking of his romantic life through the press.
He enjoyed a professional renaissance, both behind the camera and in front of it, in the 21st century, including a recurring role on “The Sopranos” as the psychiatrist who treats Tony Soprano’s psychiatrist, played by Lorraine Bracco.
8. That $1,000 bottle of bourbon you bought might be a fake.
Counterfeiting — filling luxury bottles with cheap liquor — has hit American whiskey hard as sky-high prices raise the payoff for scammers. Bourbon has become a counterfeiter’s dream: The market is shaped by enormous demand, limited supply and a steady inflow of new and naïve fans ready to spend. Most distilleries are only slowly taking action, making the deception even easier for swindlers.
For aspiring wine connoisseurs or anyone who needs a refresher, our wine critic put together these best practices for enjoying a bottle. The first rule: There are no rules.
9. Awards season is coming up, and the big designer brands have some scrappy competition.
Fashion brands often pay undisclosed amounts of money for celebrities to wear their gowns and tuxedos and nail polish and shapewear. But more and more, red carpet notables are opting for vintage garments. Demand has never been higher.
“Whenever someone actually wears vintage, it’s kind of a bit of a miracle,” one vintage collector said. “These people have access to anything.”
There’s no red carpet without an event. The Grammys have been postponed because of the Omicron coronavirus variant, and there are no plans to televise the Golden Globes on Sunday. The Oscars are scheduled for March 27.
10. And finally, the secret to a full and meaningful life.
Consider the lives of these six older New Yorkers. John Leland, a Metro reporter for The Times, wrote about these six people, the last of whom died on Christmas Eve, and shared their lessons on living during the twilight of their lives over the past seven years.
At the end of life, what turns out to really matter, and what is just noise?
The answers from these elders — don’t brood about the things you can’t reach; live as if your time is limited; focus on the people you care about; enjoy the pleasures near at hand — are simple but highly useful, pillars on which to build a good life.
Have an inspiring night.
Sean Culligan compiled photos for this briefing.
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