NATO, Tariffs, Cyber Monday: Your Monday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

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Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times

2. The president expanded his global trade war.

He surprised Brazil and Argentina, tweeting that he would impose tariffs on their steel and aluminum. He said they had deliberately weakened their currencies, to the detriment of U.S. farmers and manufacturers.

The tariffs would shatter previous agreements with the two, South America’s biggest economies, at a time when Argentina is in recession and Brazil confronts high unemployment and anemic growth. Above, aluminum cable in Brazil.

Both countries have become bigger suppliers to China during the trade war, rankling American officials.

3. The Supreme Court heard arguments in its first Second Amendment case in nearly a decade.

But judging by the justices’ questions, they may not deliver a ruling of any particular consequence. Above, protesters for and against gun control outside the court.

The case challenges a New York City law — repealed after the Supreme Court granted review — that had limited residents who had “premises licenses” from transporting their guns outside their homes.

The court’s liberal side — and Chief Justice John Roberts — asked whether the law’s repeal rendered the case moot. But a lawyer for the challengers urged the justices to “send a very important signal to the lower courts” that some gun regulations are “unconstitutional, full stop.”

4. Calls for Russia to be banned from major athletic competitions are building.

The country’s manipulation of its athletes’ drug-testing data has made it impossible to know who cheated and who didn’t.

National antidoping officials argue that there is no choice but to impose a blanket ban against Russia and its athletes, which would bar them from next year’s Tokyo Olympics. Only a draconian punishment, they say, will keep the playing field even and force Russia to change its behavior.

The World Anti-Doping Agency meets next Monday.


5. Autumn’s winter storm.

A weather system that roared across the country from the Rockies through the Midwest is socking parts of the Northeast with up to 20 inches of snow. More than 600 flights had been canceled as of this afternoon, many of them at New York and Boston airports. Above, digging out in Andover, Mass.

To weather experts, it’s a winter storm — even though winter doesn’t officially start until Dec. 21.

They use the annual cycle of average temperatures, with the three coldest months of the calendar considered “meteorological winter.” That began on Sunday, Dec. 1.


6. A downside of Cyber Monday: package theft.

Every day, more than 1.7 million packages are stolen or go missing across the country — more than $25 million a day in lost goods and services.

The fight is on. Shoppers are installing video cameras or getting mailboxes that can fit large packages. More stores are acting as makeshift package holding centers. And Amazon, FedEx and UPS are using technology for safer deliveries.

State lawmakers are on it, too. Under a new law in Texas, package thieves could face up to 10 years in prison. And a South Carolina bill, called the Defense Against Porch Pirates Act, would make package theft a felony.

7. It’s not just one rotten apple.

Fire blight is wiping out thousands of apple trees, spreading from the South into places like New York’s Champlain Valley and parts of Maine.

It’s caused by native bacteria that predate the introduction of apple trees to North America. Growers have long held it at bay by trimming dead branches and, in recent decades, spraying antibiotics.

But the disease is becoming resistant, some say, and it’s threatening commercial and heirloom apple varieties.


8. In search of the real Melania Trump.

Photos released today show the festive holiday decorations at the White House: glittering greenery, the Gold Star Family tree, stars and stripes ribbons and ornaments — and the first lady hovering on the periphery.

The CNN reporter Kate Bennett, whose beat focuses on the first family, shares her theories about the mystery around Mrs. Trump in an unauthorized biography, “Free, Melania,” which comes out this week.

Among her conclusions: There are no coincidences when it comes to clothing (“each thing she does has meaning to it”), and she is not particularly close with either Ivanka Trump or Karen Pence, the vice president’s wife.


9. Exorcise those depression demons.

Walking, jogging, yoga or really any type of exercise may help ward off depression, even in those with a genetic susceptibility, a large-scale new study shows.

Physical activity “neutralized” much of the added risk for people born with a propensity for depression, it concluded.

10. “A rough way to make a living.”

That’s a New York City detective, Ronnie Morales, talking about a crew of robbers who have struck at least nine times in the last three months.

Their specialty? Stealing A.T.M.s. Whole. With a crowbar and brute force.

After six thefts and three failed attempts — at places like bodegas, laundries and a diner — the loot totaled only about $39,000.

Hope you have a more profitable evening.


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