Wuhan coronavirus in Europe, election in Italy, Kobe Bryant's death




A hospital in Wuhan, China, over the weekend. The city’s mayor said on Sunday that it may have about 1,000 more confirmed cases of the mysterious coronavirus.  Hector Retamal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images



We bring you the first cases of the Wuhan coronavirus in Europe, the results of a key election in Italy and the death of the retired basketball star Kobe Bryant.


Coronavirus outbreak intensifies and spreads to France

As of this morning, the outbreak of a mysterious coronavirus has killed at least 80 people in China, sickened thousands and spread to at least 10 countries. That includes three confirmed cases in France, the first European country on that growing international roster. Here’s the latest.

Almost all of the worldwide infections involve people who traveled from China. A top health official in Beijing warned on Sunday that the spread of the disease was accelerating, partly because it was being carried and transmitted by seemingly healthy people.

Yesterday: Five million people left Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus originated, before travel was restricted, the city’s mayor said — a stunning disclosure that intensified questions about the government’s delayed response.

Related: China’s flawed response to the outbreak may be another sign of how President Xi Jinping’s political dominance hampers internal debate over key policy decisions, analysts tell our correspondents based in Beijing.

What’s next: The Chinese government has extended the end of the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday by three days, to next Sunday, in an effort to to temporarily limit travel.

Matteo Salvini, the leader of the far-right League party, on the campaign trail in early January.  Gianni Cipriano for The New York Times




Italy’s League party loses a key election

The party of the nationalist leader Matteo Salvini lost a regional election on Sunday that he had hoped would set the stage for his return to power — a prospect that once thrilled Europe’s populists and menaced its establishment.

Mr. Salvini had campaigned feverishly before the vote, in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna, in the hope that a victory would provide ammunition in his calls for early national elections. But voters there, who have typically supported communist and leftist parties, rejected his anti-migrant League party’s candidate by a margin of around five percentage points.

Go deeper: Five Star, an anti-establishment party in Italy’s governing coalition, was humiliated in the election, raising more questions about its viability in the wake of its leader’s resignation last week.


First responders collected bodies after a Ukrainian jetliner with 176 people on board was shot down over Tehran this month.  Arash Khamooshi for The New York Times





How Iran covered up its deadly mistake

Come clean or I’ll resign. That’s what President Hassan Rouhani of Iran told top commanders who had been covering up the accidental downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet over Tehran.

It was only then — three days after the plane crashed in early January — that the country’s supreme leader ordered the government to acknowledge its fatal mistake.

We have an in-depth report on the cover-up and its political implications. Key takeaway: The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, an elite force charged with defending Iran’s clerical rule at home and abroad, effectively sidelined the elected government in a moment of national crisis.

How we know: Our reporter interviewed current and former Iranian officials, ranking members of the Revolutionary Guards and people close to the supreme leader’s inner circle.

In Baghdad: In a protest organized by an anti-American Shiite cleric and armed groups with ties to Iran, an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 Iraqis gathered on Friday to protest the United States military presence in the country. (An American drone strike that killed a top Iranian commander in the Iraqi capital on Jan. 3 has prompted widespread public anger.)


Jona Laks, a Holocaust survivor, visited the Auschwitz death camp on Sunday.  Nir Elias/Reuters





How solid are Europe’s post-Holocaust values?

World leaders and dignitaries will gather today for a solemn ceremony at Auschwitz in Poland to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the former Nazi death camp.

But these days, our Warsaw bureau chief writes, some worry that Europe’s post-Holocaust values are being eroded amid a surge of anti-Semitism and dehumanizing political rhetoric on the Continent and in the United States.

Even the memory of Auschwitz — where 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were murdered — has been weaponized. Case in point: A ceremony at a Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem last week was clouded by a bitter dispute over World War II history between Poland and Russia.

Yesterday: Mark Rutte of the Netherlands became the first Dutch prime minister to apologize for his country’s role during the Holocaust and its lack of action against the persecution of Jews.

Related: In the first installment of “Beyond the World War II We Know,” a new Times series, a United States Navy veteran looks at how her family fled Nazi Germany weeks before Hitler invaded Poland.

If you have 8 minutes, this is worth it


Laura Boushnak for The New York Times



The risky journey to Europe

After the great migration of 2015 — in which more than a million undocumented people landed in Europe — the authorities in Turkey, Greece and Hungary responded by reducing undocumented migration by more than 90 percent.

Now, migrants who risk the journey to Europe travel up and over the icy hills and mountains that line Bosnia’s border with Croatia.

The terrain, pictured above, contains land mines from the Balkan wars. And the Croatian authorities typically force all who cross safely to turn around, without letting them apply for asylum.

Here’s what else is happening

Impeachment: John Bolton, the former U.S. national security adviser, writes in a book draft that President Trump wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there investigated his political rivals. The revelation could complicate the case that Mr. Trump’s lawyers plan to make at his impeachment trial.

Israeli politics: Middle East experts see the Trump administration’s long-awaited peace plan for the region — which the president is expected to lay out when he meets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in Washington today — mainly as a “booster shot” for Mr. Netanyahu’s desperate campaign to stay in power.

Retired basketball star dies: Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter were among the nine people killed in a helicopter crash outside Los Angeles on Sunday. His death generated an outpouring of grief across the United States and beyond.

Surveillance in London: Privacy groups criticized a decision by the city’s Police Department to begin using facial recognition technology that identifies people on a police watch list as soon as they are filmed on a video camera.


Tom Jamieson for The New York Times



Snapshot: Above, an archipelago off England’s southwestern coast that is part of Prince Charles’s Duchy of Cornwall. The private estate behaves like a corporation, but uses its royal status to skirt corporate and capital gains taxes.

Grammy Awards: Billie Eilish won record, album and song of the year, but Kobe Bryant’s death overshadowed the ceremony.


This briefing was put together by Mike Ives for The New York Times


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