Coronavirus shuts borders and fuels xenophobia
Russia closed off part of its 2,600-mile eastern border to China as the number of confirmed cases worldwide surpassed 7,700, by far the most still in China. Here are the latest updates.
More than a dozen countries, including the U.S., are isolating patients and screening travelers from China. No deaths from the respiratory disease have been recorded outside mainland China, where the toll rose to 170.
Fears that a sick passenger had the coronavirus led the Italian authorities to block more than 1,000 people from disembarking a cruise ship in a port town, until the passenger and her husband could be tested. And from Asia to Canada, the panic has unleashed anti-Chinese sentiment.
In the U.S.: The first person-to-person transmission, the husband of a woman who recently returned from Wuhan, was documented in Illinois.
World Health Organization: Officials declared the outbreak a global health emergency. The declaration has no force of law or practical effect, but it adds urgency to any W.H.O. appeal for money to fight it.
Who gets to claim Gandhi?
The Indian icon is being pulled into the growing tension between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and protesters challenging his Hindu-centric vision for India.
Mr. Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party have invoked Gandhi in speeches and pamphlets, saying he would have supported a contentious citizenship law.
The protesters — who see the law as discriminatory, with the potential to strip Muslims of citizenship — point out that Gandhi sought protections for Muslims.
Where Gandhi stood: He envisioned the peaceful coexistence of Muslims and Hindus under a secular government. He was killed 72 years ago by a Hindu nationalist nurtured by the same hard-line group that shaped Mr. Modi.
Quotable: “You can’t have Einstein without relativity,” said a biographer of Gandhi. “You can’t have Darwin without evolution. And you can’t have Gandhi without Hindu-Muslim harmony.”
Brexit is here (a headline years in the making)
Britain is scheduled to formally withdraw from the European Union on Friday, after more than three years of confusion, political division and missed deadlines.
At 11 p.m. local time, the end of that chapter will arrive, a relief to many Brexiteers.
But a potentially volatile new chapter — in which London and Brussels try to hash out a trade deal by the end of the year — is just beginning as Britain enters a transition phase.
Fun detail: The E.U.gave a last seal of approval to the withdrawal agreement on Thursday. The end was undramatic and bureaucratic (that is, quintessentially Brussels): Four dry, procedural questions were emailed to the 27 nations in the European Council with instructions to respond with “yes,” “no” or “abstain.” You can expect a lot of steps in the process to be this muted.
Brad Pitt and the beauty trap
William Bradley Pitt was born in 1963. But Brad Pitt, our co-chief film critic writes, sprang forth in a 13-second scene in the 1991 film “Thelma & Louise” in which the camera panned from his chest to his face in an “ode to eroticized masculine beauty.”
Ever since, his life has been closely watched and his acting skills undervalued — by the academy, fans, journalists and casting directors alike. But what he’s really done is create complex and understated portrayals of masculinity.
Carlos Ghosn: Japan issued arrest warrants for three Americans in connection with the escape of the former Nissan chairman, who fled the country while awaiting trial on charges of financial wrongdoing.
Get crackin’: A sculpture outside C.I.A. headquarters contains an encrypted message that hasn’t been fully decoded for almost 30 years. Its creator has offered a new clue.
The Guardian: The British newspaper said it was no longer accepting advertisements from oil and gas companies, making it one of the latest institutions to limit financial ties to fossil fuel businesses.
Snapshot: Above, the surface of the sun in a high-resolution image captured by a new telescope in Hawaii. The cell-like “kernels,” each about the size of Texas, carry heat from inside the sun to the outside.
Australian Open: Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer on Thursday, putting his eighth Australian single’s title in reach. He will face the winner of today’s match between Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev in Sunday’s final.
What we’re reading: This essay in Cleveland Magazine. Stephen Hiltner, an editor on the Travel desk, writes: “Dave Lucas, Ohio’s poet laureate, ruminates on the beauty and the mystery of Lake Erie’s annual freeze.”