State of the Union, Pope Francis, Lunar New Year: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

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2. President Trump’s inaugural committee was ordered to turn over documents about its donors, finances and activities to federal prosecutors, meaning the investigations surrounding him have spread to virtually all aspects of his adult life: his business, his campaign, his inauguration (above) and his presidency.

The subpoena shows interest in possible money laundering and whether foreigners illegally donated to the inaugural committee, which would constitute election fraud. But it is possible that the prosecutors do not suspect the inaugural committee itself of such violations.

Separately, prosecutors are looking at foreign payments to three major law and lobbying firms — Mercury Public Affairs; the Podesta Group; and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom — that Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, recruited to improve the image of a Ukrainian leader.


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3. Pope Francis acknowledged for the first time that the Roman Catholic Church had a persistent problem of sexual abuse of nuns by priests and even bishops.

He spoke at the end of a 40-hour visit to the United Arab Emirates, where he celebrated Mass with about 135,000 Catholics, above, in the largest public Christian rite in the history of the U.A.E.

Nuns have accused priests in India, Africa and Italy in recent years, and a Vatican magazine recently reported that nuns were having abortions or giving birth to the children of priests. Asked about the issue on the papal plane as it returned to Rome, Francis said: “It’s true. There are priests and bishops who have done that.”

He said the Vatican had suspended some priests. “Should more be done? Yes,” he said. “Do we have the will? Yes. But it is a path that we have already begun.”


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4. Call it a relief rally: Stocks are rising on earnings, and earnings aren’t even that good.

Many companies that have reported have missed Wall Street forecasts, but over all, their stocks have risen by an average of 1.1 percent, the largest post-earnings jump in a decade. “The market is being unbelievably kind,” an equity strategist said.

Analysts say the improved mood could propel stocks yet higher. Above, traders at the New York Stock Exchange today.

Separately, Qatar and Exxon Mobil are planning a $10 billion natural gas investment in Texas, which will give Qatar greater access to Latin America. The move would also strengthen the relationship between Qatar, which is two years into a dispute with Saudi Arabia, and the Trump administration.


CreditFrederic J. Brown/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

5. Four of America’s largest cities are under the dark clouds of major federal corruption investigations: Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Atlanta.

“The investigations,” three of our national correspondents write, “raise questions not just about who else might be caught up in them, but also about whether there can be any lasting cure for the chronic corruption problems that seem to dog big cities, so often dominated by a single party or political machine.”

Based on the number of federal public corruption convictions in the last 30 years, the Chicago and Los Angeles metropolitan areas are the two most corrupt in America (above, F.B.I. agents raided the home of a Los Angeles City Council member in November). Philadelphia is eighth. Atlanta did not make the top 10, but the 2006 conviction of a former mayor still ripples.

CreditJay Reeves/Associated Press

6. The police officer who fatally shot a young black man in an Alabama shopping mall, mistaking the do-gooder for a gunman, will not be charged.

The death of Emantic Bradford Jr. incited protests and raised questions about whether police officers are too quick to assume that a nonwhite person who is armed is a wrongdoer. The state’s attorney general found that the officer had “reasonably exercised” his duties.

“Officer 1’s actions were reasonable under the circumstances and were consistent with his training and nationally accepted standards for ‘active shooter’ scenarios,” the report stated.


7. Global warming is melting glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. On Monday, a report found that one- to two-thirds of Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2100, disrupting food and water supplies for two billion people.

But ice is also vanishing a little closer to home — in lakes.

Thousands of lakes in the Northern Hemisphere that used to freeze every winter are already seeing some years without ice, a new study found. Without a winter cover, lakes begin warming earlier in the year, affecting algae blooms and putting increased stress on fish and other organisms.


CreditRyan David Brown for The New York Times

8. Our Rocky Mountains-based reporter took a photographer with her to the National Western Stock Show in Denver, a 16-day celebration of western heritage.

They came away with a powerful look at how western wear helps modern-day cowboys maintain their identity, even as economic pressures make living off the land more difficult.

“We’re not only ambassadors for the rodeo,” said one cowgirl whose parents sold most of their cattle a few months ago because of soaring business costs, “but of the western way of life.”


CreditAmanda Andrade-Rhoades for The New York Times

9. “If the hunting world wants to grow in America, it’s going to be up to the millennials.”

That’s Wade Truong, a 33-year-old chef in Virginia, who’s part of a new generation of hunters seeking a direct connection with what they eat — and helping boost the number of the country’s hunting licenses to 15.6 million last year, up from 14.4 million in 2010.

In other food news, our chief restaurant critic explains why complaining about your food to management (rather than online) is a good thing, and how to do it. “The more specific your complaint, the more likely it is to be understood,” he writes.


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10. Finally, happy Lunar New Year.

The holiday, one of the most important in many Asian countries, typically begins on the second new moon after winter solstice. But in the many countries that use the Gregorian calendar, including the U.S., the date changes every year. Above, celebrations in Hong Kong.

That’s just one example of how calendars reveal the history and cultural values of the societies that created them. Most time-keeping traditions track the movement of the sun, moon and the stars, but some consider fortune telling and seasonal events. The Trobriand Islands off New Guinea, for example, use the autumnal swarming of sea worms to orient each year.

Have a lucky night, and a great new year.


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