Syria, Facebook, Paul Ryan: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

They say they’re the lucky ones, but their celebrity has a price.

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Credit Tom Brenner/The New York Times

3. Mark Zuckerberg faced a much tougher crowd on the House side of Capitol Hill in his second day of congressional testimony. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle grilled the Facebook chief executive over the company’s handling of user data, with a focus on privacy settings.

Privacy advocates say Facebook continues to test the boundaries of what data-mining techniques are permissible. The company tracks users even after they leave Facebook and collects biometric facial data without the explicit consent of users.

On our podcast “The Daily,” we discuss a difficult question hanging over the hearings: What is Facebook, exactly?

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    Credit Tom Brenner/The New York Times

    4. Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House and a star Republican, will not seek re-election.

    The announcement blindsided many Republicans and imperils the party’s grip on the House. Republicans had expected Mr. Ryan to help them win midterm elections in November. His decision to leave Congress at age 48 sent an undeniably pessimistic message to his party.

    “This is the nightmare scenario,” said former Representative Thomas M. Davis, a Virginia Republican. “Everybody figured he’d just hang in there till after the election.”

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    Credit Ryad Kramdi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    5. It was Algeria’s worst-ever air disaster, and one of the world’s deadliest.

    Investigators are trying to learn why a Russian-built Algerian military plane crashed shortly after takeoff in Algiers, the capital, killing at least 257 people.

    Witnesses told local news media they had seen flames coming from one engine. It lurched in the sky and crashed on one wing, one said.

    A defense official said at least two people had survived. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika declared three days of mourning.

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    6. With bikini photos and “hottie alerts,” N.F.L. teams use social media to aggressively market their cheerleaders as sex objects — but restrict cheerleaders’ own use of social media.

    The women often can’t disclose their team affiliation on their own accounts, or connect with players. On the team accounts, they’re generally identified by first name only and not tagged in posts — depriving them of a branding opportunity that players receive regularly. Above, Instagram posts from the 49ers.

    Work rules for cheerleaders have been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks. Since we reported that the former Saints cheerleader Bailey Davis was fired for violating a team social media policy, dozens of current and former cheerleaders have contacted us to share their complaints.

    For more of our coverage of gender issues, check out our newest Instagram account, @nytgender.

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    Credit Josh Haner/The New York Times

    7. Polar bears have long been the poster animals for climate change. They are, after all, dependent on sea ice for their survival. And evidence that the Arctic is warming fast is overwhelming.

    But to hear climate change denialists tell it, polar bears are doing just fine. In fact, many scientists say the bears have been co-opted by those seeking to spread misinformation about climate change.

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    Credit Emon Hassan for The New York Times

    8. “With abiding faith, unflappable courage and serious sense of squad goals, she demanded the respect of the men around her, and she won it.”

    That would be Joan of Arc, who is back on Broadway in George Bernard Shaw’s “Saint Joan,” starring the three-time Tony nominee Condola Rashad, above right. (You may also recognize her from Showtime’s “Billions.”)

    Ms. Rashad is the ninth actress to step into Joan’s battle dress on Broadway. We talked to her about how she prepared for the role. Previews have begun, and the opening is April 25.

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    Credit Mohammed Kamal/Bleecker Street

    9. Our film critic says Jon Hamm is the main reason to see “Beirut,” in which he plays a former American diplomat who is swept up in the Lebanese civil war. Manohla Dargis writes that it’s a pleasure to watch Mr. Hamm nurse a drink — but that the film, written by Tony Gilroy of the “Bourne” series, mostly falls flat.

    And in reaction to Hollywood’s propensity to reduce Beirut to a backdrop for action movies, two of our Lebanese-American journalists put together a list of films, books and other artwork that offers a more nuanced depiction of the country.

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    Credit NBC

    10. Meanwhile, on the late-night shows, Seth Meyers was following another fast-paced drama: news from Washington.

    “This is like the series finale of a TV show where they try to tie all the different plot lines together,” he said of the dizzying pace of events this week, starting with the F.B.I. raid on the office of President Trump’s personal lawyer.

    “‘Oh, it’s Michael Cohen, from Season 1! What’s he doing in this episode?’”

    Have a great night.

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