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F.B.I., Mark Zuckerberg, ‘The Simpsons’: Your Monday Evening Briefing

April 9, 2018

He also seemed to imply that he could take action against Syria’s patrons, Russia and Iran. Russia’s stock markets and the ruble slumped sharply.

Fighters from Iran were among the 14 killed in an airstrike on a Syrian military base that Russia and Syria attributed to Israel. Above, Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations.

On our podcast “The Daily,” Ben Hubbard offers a Middle East correspondent’s perspective on the Syrian war.

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Credit Andrea Bruce for The New York Times

3. The Congressional Budget Office released a sobering projection: The government’s annual budget deficit will top $1 trillion in 2020, and the national debt will near the gross domestic product by 2028.

Democrats jumped on the report to castigate the president’s economic record.

And as trading tensions between the United States and China escalate, Europe is caught in the middle.

Financial experts are wondering whether the White House economic adviser or the Federal Reserve chairman might help ward off a trade war.

Market Snapshot View Full Overview

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    Credit Michael Reynolds/EPA, via Shutterstock

    4. “We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake.”

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    That’s Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, in prepared remarks ahead of his testimony to Congress this week. His company is at the center of a firestorm for its use as a conduit for fake news, election meddling, hate speech and privacy abuses. Here’s what he’ll be grilled on.

    Facebook has already started to notify up to 87 million people whose information was swept up by the data firm Cambridge Analytica. We reached out to some of them for their reaction, which ranged from angry to unsurprised.

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    Credit John Raoux/Associated Press

    5. “This is going to be a lot of fun”: Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, announced a run for Senate that will put his state at the center of the Republicans’ fight to keep control of Congress in November’s midterm elections. Above, Mr. Scott with his wife, Ann.

    His opponent will be the incumbent Democrat, Bill Nelson.

    One midterm tactic Republicans are exploring: firing up conservative voters by warning that a Democratic-controlled House could impeach President Trump.

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    Credit Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

    6. Scott Pruitt can’t shake the gaze of ethics watchdogs.

    The Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator was the subject of an unusual letter from the federal government’s top ethics official.

    It questioned actions like his $50-a-night rental of a condominium linked to an energy lobbyist, his government-funded flights home to Oklahoma, and reporting in The New York Times that agency staff members who raised questions about his actions found themselves transferred or demoted. Above, posters in Washington poked fun at Mr. Pruitt.

    “The American public needs to have confidence that ethics violations, as well as the appearance of ethics violations, are investigated and appropriately addressed,” the letter said.

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    Credit Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

    7. The man who died in the fire at Trump Tower on Saturday had been trying in vain to sell his apartment since the 2016 election.

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    Todd Brassner was an art dealer who loved electric guitars and had a 1975 portrait of himself painted by Andy Warhol.

    His apartment did not have sprinklers; they weren’t required at the time the tower was built.

    New York City later moved to require sprinkler systems in most new residential buildings — legislation that Donald Trump and other real estate developers opposed.

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    8. Long before the #MeToo movement, there was Antioch College.

    In the 1990s, young women at the school created the country’s first affirmative consent policy for sex, earning publicly mockery. Our video team asked them what they think now. (Here’s one Times video journalist on how the project came to be.) Above, one of the women, Christelle Evans.

    #MeToo, of course, has no shortage of detractors. One of them, the life coach Tony Robbins, apologized for suggesting that women were using the movement “to try to get significance.”

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    Credit Fox, via Associated Press

    9. Taking another approach to criticism for insensitivity: “The Simpsons.”

    On Sunday’s episode, the show dismissed criticism that Apu, above, a character with a thick Indian accent, is an offensive stereotype.

    The writers disparaged political correctness through lines like “Don’t have a cow” — which some viewers saw as a jab at Apu’s Hinduism.

    A number of fans called the response tone deaf and questioned why Lisa, often the show’s moral center, voiced it.

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    Credit Ian Cartwright/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    10. Finally, let’s take it back a few years — 85,000, in fact.

    That’s the age of a newly discovered finger bone that archaeologists say is the earliest human fossil found on the Arabian Peninsula. It’s further evidence that humans spread out of Africa much earlier and farther than previously thought.

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    The land they found looked much different than it does today: It was a lush grassland awash in lakes and rivers and teeming with ostriches, gazelles and hippos.

    Have a great evening.

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