Impeachment, Hong Kong, Tom Hanks: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

Jillian RayfieldMarcus Payadue

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.


Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

1. In the first televised hearings of the impeachment inquiry, the top American diplomat in Ukraine brought to life Democrats’ allegations that President Trump had abused his office by trying to enlist a foreign power to help him in an election.

William Taylor, appearing before the House Intelligence Committee with another veteran diplomat, George Kent, said that an aide had overheard a call in which the president and Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the E.U., discussed “the investigations” in Ukraine.

When the aide followed up, asking about Mr. Trump’s attitude toward Ukraine, Mr. Sondland told him that the president cared more about “investigations of Biden.”

Here are key moments from the open session — just the third time in modern times that Congress has held presidential impeachment hearings, which were predictably partisan.

The Daily team is launching a new evening podcast, “The Latest,” to catch you up on impeachment news. Subscribe here.

Mr. Patrick, above last year, faces long odds in the race, but he is aiming his candidacy at bridging some of the party’s ideological divides.

And six weeks after he had a heart attack, Bernie Sanders is facing a different set of challenges: persuading voters that he is healthy enough to be president. He’s been adhering to a more wholesome regimen that includes lots of salads and long walks. He’s even wearing more stylish sweaters.

3. Hong Kong protests are escalating to new levels, forcing schools and universities to close.

The territory’s government closed down kindergartens, primary schools and secondary schools. The Chinese University of Hong Kong, which suffered serious damage this week amid fires and gasoline bombs thrown by protesters, also said on-campus classes would be canceled for the rest of the term.

During the six months of antigovernment protests, Hong Kong’s universities had been largely excluded from the turmoil of the rest of the city, and had served as sanctuaries for the students at the movement’s core. This week marks a turning point.

4. “We need to reconstruct democracy.”

Bolivia’s interim president, Jeanine Añez Chavez, attempted to restore normalcy to the country after weeks of violence. In a televised speech, she urged people to return to work.

But even as Ms. Añez met with advisers to appoint a cabinet, a different scenario played out on the streets of La Paz. After police officers used tear gas to break up a peaceful protest by supporters of the former president, Evo Morales, they blocked about a dozen senators affiliated with Mr. Morales from entering the legislature.

Mr. Morales called Ms. Añez’s government unconstitutional and said he would return to the country “if the people ask me.”

5. The C.D.C. found that 35,000 Americans have been dying each year from drug-resistant infections, double its previous estimate, according to a new report.

Overall about 2.8 million people are sickened each year from the infections, which amounts to one person every 11 seconds, one official said.

The report came on the same day that New York became the first state to release the names of hospitals and nursing homes that have treated patients with Candida auris, a deadly and mysterious drug-resistant fungus, lifting a cloak of secrecy.

6. WeWork — more like WeLost.

The co-working space company lost a stunning $1.25 billion in the third quarter, according to a WeWork presentation reviewed by The Times. The company’s losses increased sharply as it expanded ahead of a failed initial public offering.

In other business news, Dean Foods, the largest milk company in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy protection. It is in talks to sell itself to Dairy Farmers of America.

7. Is it news or “trauma porn?”

Backlash against a student newspaper at Northwestern University, above, has sparked a national debate about media ethics and the demands of campus culture.

It began when students protesting a speech by the former attorney general Jeff Sessions were confronted by the campus police. A student journalist snapped photos of the conflict, prompting outrage on campus. When the newspaper’s editors publicly apologized, prominent professional journalists publicly criticized the apology, saying the student journalists had been doing their jobs.

“Everybody’s trying to figure out a solution and still be good journalists along the way,” said one student journalist.

8. Wormholes have long been science fiction’s preferred way of traveling through space and time. Theoretically, the universe could be riddled with these tunnels, but in reality no one knows if they actually exist.

Recently, two physicists suggested that they’ve devised a way to predict if there’s a wormhole at our galaxy’s center, where a supermassive black hole lurks. Most scientists think that even if wormholes do exist, the laws of physics would prevent us from traveling through them.

Closer to home, there is one mystery that we can solve: What would it feel like to touch the moon? It would be hot to the point of discomfort, maybe sharp, and you’d be exposed to a vacuum. But you would survive.

9. They travel in groups. They ignore car horns. They take over backyards. Wild turkeys in a New Jersey town have become stubborn and bold, and some people there say they’re a menace.

In the town, Toms River, the birds have become entrenched, and some locals have complained that their numbers have jumped this fall. “They peck your cars,” said one resident. “They go to your window and they bother your animals.”

Officials say the wild turkeys are not typically aggressive toward humans. And the birds have their defenders: One local says he sees them as “part of the neighborhood charm.”

In other animal news: Three cows believed to have been swept out to sea during Hurricane Dorian in September have been spotted hanging out on the Outer Banks.

10. And finally, Tom Hanks is as nice as you think he is.

The actor is playing Mister Rogers in a new movie, a casting choice that’s almost a little too perfect: The film’s team is concerned that Hanks is so much like the children’s show host that people won’t think he’s acting. There’s a reason he’s known as Hollywood’s Everyman.

“I recognized in myself a long time ago that I don’t instill fear in anybody,” Hanks said of his reputation. “Now, that’s different than being nice, you know?”

Have a beautiful night in your neighborhood.

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