Your Monday Briefing

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North Korea, Turkey, ‘Girls’
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Monday, April 17, 2017

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Your Monday Briefing
Supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan celebrating in Istanbul on Sunday. He narrowly won a referendum on greater presidential powers.
Supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan celebrating in Istanbul on Sunday. He narrowly won a referendum on greater presidential powers. Petros Karadjias/Associated Press
Good morning.
Here’s what you need to know:
• A “Cuban missile crisis in slow motion.”
Tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program grew over the weekend. A missile blew up almost immediately after launch on Sunday, and President Trump and his aides warned that the U.S. was losing patience.
A combination of national ambitions, personal ego and deadly weapons is creating opportunities for miscalculation, our writers say.
Pyongyang is also thought to be preparing to conduct its sixth nuclear test.
• Tighter grip in Turkey.
A slim majority of voters agreed on Sunday to grant sweeping powers to the office of president, a move that the opposition fears may cement authoritarian rule by the incumbent, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey, a crucial partner of the U.S., is one of the leading external players in the Syrian civil war and a major way station along migration routes to Europe.
• Failures in transparency.
President Trump is populating the government with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who, in many cases, are helping to craft policies for the same industries in which they recently earned a paycheck, an investigation by The Times and ProPublica has found.
The appointments may have already led to violations of the administration’s own ethics rules.
The White House also announced on Friday that it would cut off public access to visitor logs revealing who enters the complex and with whom they meet.
And ahead of Tuesday’s tax deadline, protesters across the country called for the president to release his tax returns.
• Where justice seems out of reach.
More than 400,000 people have been killed in the Syrian war. Half the country’s population has been displaced. Tens of thousands languish in government custody in circumstances the U.N. considers a crime against humanity.
But so far, there is only one war-crimes case against Syrian officials.
• “The Daily,” your audio news report.
Today’s show examines the two ways the U.S. is dealing with North Korea’s nuclear threat.
Listen on a computer, an iOS device or an Android device.
• The shift from traditional retailers to e-commerce in the U.S. has sped up in recent months, economists and others say.
The transformation is hollowing out suburban shopping malls, bankrupting established brands and leading to staggering job losses.
• Two of Wall Street’s top investment banks are scheduled to release first-quarter earnings this week.
The reports, and the release of a new Samsung smartphone, are among the main business headlines to watch.
• Markets have stalled. Now what? In our latest report on mutual funds and exchange traded funds, we look at the prospects for stocks, and the success of the index fund giant Vanguard.
• U.S. markets were closed for Good Friday. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
Smarter Living
• A provocative study found that some of the benefits of exercise for brain health may evaporate if we take to the couch, even just for a week or so.
• Recipe of the day: Use your leftover lamb in these Greek-style nachos.
Over the weekend
• “Girls” has ended its six-season run. Our critic reviewed the finale of the famously frank HBO show that was the (or maybe just a) voice of a generation.
We also spoke with Lena Dunham, the show’s creator and star.
• Emma Morano, who was thought to have been the last surviving person born in the 1800s, died on Saturday. We wrote about her 117th birthday party last year.
• “The Fate of the Furious,” the latest in the car-racing movie franchise, disappointed domestically but earned more than $430 million overseas.
• And finally, April the giraffe gave birth on Saturday. She became an internet sensation after her pregnancy was live-streamed from an animal park in rural New York.
• In Arkansas, the exonerated speak up.
Today’s 360 video visits an anti-death penalty rally in Little Rock, Ark., where people freed from death row delivered a petition to the governor’s office.
On Saturday, a federal judge halted the state’s plans to execute eight convicted murderers over less than two weeks.
• Girl Scouts without a home.
Troop 6000 is the first in New York City composed solely of homeless girls. A reflection of the state of homelessness in the city, it is also a source of pride for its members.
• Joy and jabs from Kendrick Lamar.
The rapper is tart and punchy as he reflects on interior concerns on his fourth studio album, “DAMN.,” our critic writes.
• Sheryl Crow to perform at The Times.
The singer will be at our headquarters today at 4:15 p.m. Eastern for a live concert. Our chief pop music critic will be there to ask her your questions.
Back Story
Justice Neil Gorsuch sits on the Supreme Court bench today for the first time, but he probably won’t have to think too hard about what to wear.
Supreme Court justices in the U.S. have worn black robes by convention since the 1800s.
The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010.
The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010.
Doug Mills/The New York Times
After the American Revolution, there was a push to move away from the court regalia of Britain, wigs and all. Simplicity ruled by the time of Thomas Jefferson’s presidency.
High-court garb remains more archaic in many countries, though.
Judges on Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court wear black robes belted with a thick metal buckle, and floor-length capes. Top court judges in Portugal wear large medallions around their necks. In some former British colonies, wigs still prevail. And in Canada, Supreme Court justices wear bright red robes trimmed with fur.
Back in the U.S., personal embellishment is not unknown. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has a jabot for every occasion. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor recalled that the former Chief Justice William Rehnquist was inspired by a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta to add gold stripes to one sleeve.
As for herself, she said: “People often ask me if, as the first woman on the Supreme Court, I had any special preferences for my robe. But honestly, I took whatever was available and put it on.”
Remy Tumin contributed reporting.
Your Morning Briefing is published weekdays at 6 a.m. Eastern and updated on the web all morning.
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