By Mike Ives
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We’re covering explosive document leaks from Iran and China, a reversal on proposed e-cigarette restrictions, and the latest N.F.L. results
Secret cables show Iran’s role in Iraq
A leak of hundreds of secret Iranian intelligence reports reveals the country’s shadow war for influence in Iraq — and the battle within its own spy divisions.
Working with The Intercept, The Times reviewed hundreds of reports and cables sent by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, Iran’s version of the C.I.A., from 2014 to 2015 that detail work by Iranian spies to co-opt Iraq’s leaders, pay Iraqi agents working for the U.S. to switch sides and infiltrate every aspect of political, economic and religious life.
Closer look: Read the main takeaways from the report.
Another angle: The Iranian government, which has faced protests in Iraq and Lebanon over its outsize influence, is now being challenged domestically over gasoline price increases. It has blocked nearly all internet access.
China defends its Xinjiang detentions
Beijing today criticized a New York Times investigation that exposed how China forced as many as a million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and others into internment camps and prisons over the past three years.
More than 400 pages of internal papers obtained by The Times reveal how top-level policy led to the creation of the camps in western China where inmates sometimes undergo years of indoctrination and interrogation.
The documents, leaked by a Chinese official concerned about the policies behind the crackdown, showed the direct involvement of senior officials in conceiving and ordering it — including President Xi Jinping.
The basics: Here are five takeaways from our report.
Response: A Foreign Ministry spokesman said that “preventive” measures in Xinjiang had helped to prevent terrorist attacks. But he did not dispute the authenticity of the documents.
Numbed to political news
With impeachment proceedings underway and an election less than a year away, information is crucial. Yet many Americans say they feel disoriented by the rise of social media, the proliferation of online material and a flood of news.
“Now more than ever, the lines between fact-based reporting and opinionated commentary seem blurred for people,” said Evette Alexander, research director at a journalism foundation. “That means they trust what they are seeing less. They are feeling less informed.”
Details: According to one recent poll, 47 percent of Americans believe it’s difficult to know whether the information they encounter is true. About 60 percent say they regularly see conflicting reports about the same set of facts from different sources.
Moderates sense a political opening
With new entrants into the Democratic race and centrist victories in recent governor’s contests, moderates in the party have found encouragement to fight for control in the 2020 campaign.
Poll: Pete Buttigieg jumped out to a robust lead among likely Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa. Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders were effectively tied for second.
Related: Ms. Warren’s embrace of Medicare for all may be the riskiest political bet of her presidential campaign. We analyzed how she built her health care policy.
If you have 10 minutes, this is worth it
Hollywood’s next seismic shift
The long-promised streaming revolution is here, and the three biggest old-line media companies — Disney, NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia — are charging into the fray to challenge streaming services like Netflix.
Snapshot: Ford’s new S.U.V. is electric. The Mustang Mach E, above, which was introduced on Sunday, is Detroit’s biggest bet yet on battery-powered cars.
In memoriam: Bogaletch Gebre, an Ethiopian activist and scientist who helped lead a successful campaign against female genital mutilation, died this month in Los Angeles. She was said to be 66.
Opinion: Fertility rates have been dropping precipitously around the world for decades, most markedly in rich countries. A writer considered the case of Denmark.
N.F.L. results: The Vikings, the 49ers and the Patriots all overcame double-digit point deficits. Here’s what we learned in Week 11.
Metropolitan Diary: In this week’s column, reporting the smell of gas, getting a private bus ride and more reader tales of New York City.
What we’re reading: This essay in The Atlantic. “Tom Junod’s remembrance of his friend and subject Mister Rogers was filled with all kinds of revelations that brought me to my knees a little,” writes Taffy Brodesser-Akner.
Now, a break from the news
The liquor sank with a Swedish steamship that was attacked by a German submarine in 1917, during World War I. The haul included 50 cases of cognac and 15 cases of Benedictine, a herbal liqueur.
Amanda Schuster, a cocktail expert, said it would be unlikely that the spirits would be safe to drink.
But David Wondrich, senior drinks columnist at The Daily Beast, said the cold water might have preserved them. Spirits, he said, “tend to keep far better than most wines over very long periods. I’ve tasted numerous not just drinkable, but delicious bottles from the 1910s and before.”
The world’s oldest known booze is in the Speyer wine bottle, which dates back nearly 1,700 years. Scientists say drinking it probably wouldn’t kill you — but it would taste terrible.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
Melina Delkic and Andrea Kannapell helped compile today’s briefing. Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford provided the break from the news. The Back Story is based on a report by Mihir Zaveri. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is on the rise and fall of WeWork.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Moray or conger (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times’s wine critic recently reflected on his series examining climate change through the lens of wine and agriculture.
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