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We’re covering more testimony in the impeachment inquiry, an eccentric jungle prince in India, and the enduring stardom of Dolly Parton.
Democrats gamble on impeachment tactics
At the end of two weeks of public hearings, it appears all but certain that the House will soon vote to impeach President Trump, probably along party lines.
During the inquiry, the Democratic strategy has emerged: move quickly and keep the argument simple. That’s a “calculated gamble,” according to our chief White House correspondent, because it could leave the case open to criticism that it’s incomplete.
To maintain momentum, Democrats decided to forgo hearing from key figures — including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Rudy Giuliani — to avoid waiting for courts to rule on whether they should testify.
Reaction: Republican lawmakers are divided over whether a drawn-out impeachment trial in the Senate would help or hurt the party’s chances in 2020.
Yesterday: Fiona Hill, a Russia expert and former top White House aide, told lawmakers that Mr. Trump’s demands on Ukraine to announce investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden amounted to a “domestic political errand.” Here’s what we learned from Thursday’s testimony.
Another angle: The career professionals testifying before the House Intelligence Committee this month “have put faces on a Washington bureaucracy often dismissed and disparaged,” our reporter writes.
Israel’s leader is indicted
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted on Thursday on bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges, throwing his political future into doubt and deepening the country’s governmental paralysis.
Mr. Netanyahu, who has twice failed to form a new government this year, has denied allegations that he gave or offered lucrative official favors to several news media tycoons in exchange for favorable coverage or expensive gifts.
Closer look: The long-running corruption cases against Mr. Netanyahu have created a legal quandary. A prime minister can remain under indictment and even stand trial while in office.
What’s next: Will Mr. Netanyahu remain in power? Request immunity? Is a third election looming? Here are some possible scenarios.
Ground zero in Ohio’s opioid crisis
Scioto County has Ohio’s highest rate of babies born with an opioid withdrawal condition. Nearly everyone there seems to know someone who has struggled with drug dependency.
The recent death of a child highlights lapses in a patchwork system of child welfare agencies and underscores the devastating consequences of the nationwide epidemic, our reporter writes.
Voices: “The system has been broken on many levels,” said Bryan Davis, a county commissioner.
Go deeper: As the crisis rages, children across the United States are growing up in families trapped in a relentless grip of addiction, rehab and prison.
The jungle prince of Delhi
Tales of the royal family of Oudh have circulated for years among tea sellers and rickshaw drivers in India’s capital. It was said that a prince, a princess and a queen — the last of a storied Shiite Muslim royal line — lived in a ruined palace cut off from the city of 20 million people.
The Oudhs didn’t want company: Their 14th-century hunting lodge was surrounded by thick woods and protected with razor wire, dogs and signs warning, “INTRUDERS SHALL BE GUNDOWN.”
But the Times reporter Ellen Barry met the prince and spent years tracing the family’s story across continents — eventually finding the secret that they had tried so hard to keep. Here’s her captivating dispatch.
If you have time, this is worth it
The Dolly Parton paradox
Five decades into her career, the 73-year-old country star has “ascended to a rarefied level of intergenerational celebrity: a saucy grandmother of social media,” our profiler writes.
Among other projects, the singer is the subject of a celebrity-studded podcast, “Dolly Parton’s America,” and stars in “Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings,” a Netflix anthology series that premiers today.
But in some ways, our writer notes, it’s an odd time for a “Dolly renaissance” because she has remained reluctant to make the slightest hint of a political statement, even in these divided times.
Here’s what else is happening
Politics on Facebook: The social network’s position — that it will run all political ads in the interest of free speech — is under fire.
Candidates face protesters at rallies: Joe Biden sparred with an activist over the Obama administration’s immigration policy, and Elizabeth Warren was criticized over her plan to end federal funding for new charter schools.
No news quiz: The quiz will return next Friday.
Modern Love: In this week’s column, a writer with an incurable illness takes aim at her parents’ unbridled optimism.
Late-night comedy: Stephen Colbert joked that Rudy Giuliani “seems more like a Molotov cocktail — used by Russians and full of alcohol.”
New political book: “Triggered,” by Donald Trump Jr., topped the best-seller list thanks partly to a $94,800 order from the Republican National Committee.
Toni Morrison memorial: A celebration in Manhattan of the writer’s life drew Oprah Winfrey, Angela Davis, Fran Lebowitz, Edwidge Danticat and Ta-Nehisi Coates, among other luminaries.
What we’re reading: This article in The Atlantic about the stutter that still shapes Joe Biden’s delivery. Our reporter Matt Flegenheimer says it’s “a fantastic, affecting, deeply revealing piece. Make the time.”
Now, a break from the news
Read: We’ll announce the best books of year at 11 a.m. Eastern. Meanwhile, here are 12 titles that we recommend.
Smarter Living: Our guide to surviving the holiday season can help with managing time, planning for parties and choosing gifts.
And now for the Back Story on …
How would you spell ‘Київ’?
This week, The Times adopted a new spelling for Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, the Romanization of the Ukrainian Київ.
The previous version, Kiev, is a transliteration from the Russian: Киев.
The Times is rarely an early adopter in altering place names, waiting until there is a sense that most readers would be familiar with the new word. For instance, the paper quit using Bombay only in 2004, almost a decade after the Indian authorities officially recognized the city as Mumbai.
Craig Whitney, a former foreign correspondent who went on to become our standards editor, recalled that airline flight information had been listed as Mumbai for years. “Clearly,” he said, “we waited long enough to see if it was sticking.”
Most Americans were introduced to Ukraine’s capital during the Soviet era, so they’ve seen “Kiev” for decades. But the U.S. Board on Geographic Names switched to Kyiv in June, and U.S. diplomats have been widely heard in the impeachment hearings in Washington using the Ukrainian pronunciation (or at least coming close with “Keev”).
Chicken kiev, however, will probably stay the same.
That’s it for this briefing. Have a good weekend.
Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford provided the break from the news. Will Dudding and Rogene Jacquette, from the standards department, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
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