And the Upshot team notes that the unlikely result in Alabama’s election this week has given Democrats an uphill but plausible path to take control of the Senate next year.
• The Walt Disney Company’s $52 billion deal to buy most of 21st Century Fox, the media conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch, promises to reshape Hollywood, the tech industry and the competitive world of video streaming.
If approved by regulators, the sale would give Disney the muscle to battle Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Facebook in the fast-growing realm of online video. Here’s what Disney gets in the deal. (Trivia: “The Simpsons” predicted the deal in a 1998 episode.)
At 86, Mr. Murdoch is preparing to divide up a lifetime of spoils. Call it his King Lear moment.
• Scientists analyzed 27 extreme weather events from 2016 and found that global warming was a “significant driver” for most of them. We look at five cases here, including a phytoplankton bloom so vast it was visible from space.
Researchers are hoping to refine their attribution methods, so that communities can learn much more quickly how to take steps to adapt to extreme weather. (Above, a fire in the French Riviera last summer.)
• It’s December, the month for looking back with end-of-the-year lists. Here is a list of all our lists, including our critics’ picks for the year’s best movies, recipes and travel writing.
Also, do you remember the BBC dad? The dancing hot dog? There were moments of pure joy online this year. We caught up with a few of 2017’s viral stars.
• Good news: Global inequality has stabilized after widening for decades. (Bad news: The respite probably won’t last.)
• The European Central Bank has turned its attention to how fast it should roll back stimulus.
• American and European regulators, investors and banks are growing increasingly wary of HNA, the indebted Chinese conglomerate that has been on an international buying spree.
• Lamborghini’s new S.U.V., said to be the fastest such car ever built, is the latest arrival to the automotive world’s rustic luxury party.
• Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
In the News
• Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the U.N., accused Iran of violating an international agreement to limit its arms dealing, but the evidence she presented fell short of proving her claims. [The New York Times]
• The Syrian peace talks faltered, again. The government in Damascus was not “really looking to find a way to have a dialogue,” a mediator said. [The New York Times]
• In southern France, a collision between a school bus and a regional train left four children dead and injured 20 other people. [Associated Press]
• In Australia, tens of thousands of children have been sexually abused in schools, religious organizations and other institutions since 1980, a commission found. [The New York Times]
• Across the United States, the death penalty appears to be falling out of favor — except in a few places. [The New York Times]
• Italian lawmakers passed legislation allowing adults to decide, in concordance with their doctors, their end-of-life medical care, including the terms under which they can refuse treatment. [The New York Times]
• There has been a generational shift at The New York Times: A.G. Sulzberger, 37, will take over as publisher from his father, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., on Jan. 1. [The New York Times]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• For the wine drinker in the family: five wine books to give this holiday season. (Somewhat related: A Cambridge study found that the average size of wine glasses has increased sevenfold in 300 years.)
• Here’s how you can score a seat at that new restaurant — the smart and easy way. (Pick up the phone!)
• Recipe of the day: End the week with a comforting plate of baked giant shells and ricotta.
• An Italian nonprofit organization arranges soccer matches inside prisons to foster relationships between inmates and their children. We tagged along.
• Astronomers discovered a new planet some 2,500 light-years away with the help of artificial intelligence researchers at Google.
• Oxford Dictionaries chose “youthquake” as its international Word of the Year, beating “Antifa” and “broflake.”
• Kit Harington, a.k.a. Jon Snow on “Game of Thrones,” is producing and starring in “Gunpowder,” a mini-series about Guy Fawkes’s failed scheme to blow up England’s Parliament in 1605.
• Rem Koolhaas, the Dutch architect, took a very personal interest in designing the new wing of the Stedelijk museum in Amsterdam, even rehanging the artwork himself.
The Times once noted that it may sound “as wrong as the Twelve Commandments,” but the original version of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights had a dozen amendments, not 10.
What happened to the two that got away? It’s a worthy question on this date, the anniversary of the passage of the Bill of Rights back in 1791.
One was originally the first amendment on the list. It had nothing to do with freedom of speech or religion, but instead proposed a limit to the number of people each congressional district should have. With the growth of the U.S. population, that would have resulted in about 6,000 members of Congress today — more than double the size of China’s parliament, the largest legislative body in the world.
The other came second, and dealt with congressional pay rather than the right to bear arms.
Neither was ratified by the states at the time, so they dropped off and the remaining 10 became the Bill of Rights.
However, a loophole that placed no time limit on ratification — and the work of a determined university student — led to the original Second Amendment becoming the 27th Amendment more than 200 years later.
Anna Schaverien contributed reporting.
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