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Feb 23, 2018


Your Friday Evening Briefing
Good evening. Here’s the latest.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
1. “Despite my initial desire to vigorously defend myself, I have had a change of heart.”
Rick Gates, the former deputy chairman of the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty to fraud and lying to investigators in the special counsel’s inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. He is cooperating with the inquiry, and may be offering incriminating information about Paul Manafort, his longtime associate and a former chairman of the Trump campaign.
In a letter to friends and family, Mr. Gates, above, wrote that the cost and the “circuslike atmosphere” of an anticipated trial spurred him to make a deal. Read our 2017 profile of Mr. Gates here.
Pete Marovich for The New York Times
2. Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland, above, President Trump announced harsh new shipping sanctions against North Korea.
It was a clear signal, near the end of an Olympic Games marked by a rapprochement between North and South Korea, that his pressure campaign against Pyongyang will not let up.
And Mr. Trump got big applause as he boasted about his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Officials told us the administration planned to officially move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in May, to mark the 70th anniversary of the country’s founding.
Audra Melton for The New York Times
3. Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, above, defied the N.R.A. and proposed raising the age limit for any gun purchases to 21.
The proposal, largely endorsed by House and Senate leaders, is the most significant move toward gun control in Florida in decades. But it fell far short of what student advocates pleaded for after the Parkland school massacre.
Erin Schaff for The New York Times
4. A woman who knew Nikolas Cruz, the school shooting suspect, told the F.B.I. last month that he had an arsenal and she worried he might be “getting into a school and just shooting the place up.”
“I know he’s going to explode,” she said in a call to the agency’s tip hotline. We obtained a transcript.
On “The Daily,” we grapple with a difficult question: How can the mental health system stop gun violence when mental illness is so rarely the cause of it?
And we collected some of the best writing from across the political spectrum about gun control. Above, a protest in Washington this week.
Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press, via Associated Press
5. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada was the subject of global ridicule for his Bollywood-worthy outfits during a weeklong trip to India.
His elaborate dress was called “too Indian even for an Indian.” Above, Mr. Trudeau and his family with the movie star Shah Rukh Khan.
Donald Trump Jr. was also in India this week, selling luxury condos for the Trump Organization. After days of controversy over the possibility of blurred lines between government and business, he abandoned plans to give a policy speech.
And Ivanka Trump is in South Korea, where she will lead the American delegation at the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics on Sunday.
Ahmad Shafie Bilal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
6. In Syria, government-allied militias swept into the northwestern town of Afrin, above, in support of Kurdish forces. It’s a setback for Turkey, which is trying to clear the Kurdish groups from the area.
And at the U.N. Security Council this week, Russia stalled plans for a cease-firethat would have allowed humanitarian aid to reach a besieged rebel-held enclave near Damascus.
Mike Segar/Reuters
7. Anbang Insurance Group burst onto the global scene in 2014, when it announced a nearly $2 billion deal to purchase the famed Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York, above, an Art Deco symbol of Champagne-soaked excess.
Few had ever heard of the company, which was founded a decade earlier in Ningbo, China, and skyrocketed to success selling insurance and wealth management products.
On Friday, it all came crashing down. The Chinese government seized Anbang, saying it broke regulations and jeopardized its ability to pay claims. Its former chairman, Wu Xiaohui, now faces criminal charges in a Shanghai court. Here’s the story of its fall.
James Hill for The New York Times
8. At the Olympics, we look at the remarkable dietary habits of cross-country skiers, like Martin Moeller of Denmark, above.
They eat more than any other type of athlete — by a lot. Men in the category need up to 8,000 calories a day. That’s more than three times the normal recommendation.
The long-distance men and women’s skiing competitions will be held this weekend. The closing ceremony is on Sunday. Here’s the full medal count and schedule.
Jeremie Souteyrat for The New York Times
9. How are you going to achieve anything if you can’t even do the splits?
That’s the question Eiko, above center, asks in her new book, “Even the Stiffest People Can Do the Splits: A Four-Week Stretching Plan to Achieve Amazing Health.”
The book is a smash hit in Japan, where Eiko says women in their 30s and 40s — and lots of senior citizens — are taking her tough-love message seriously. It was recently released in the U.S., and it left our author wondering if Eiko is the next Marie Kondo.
Comedy Central
10. Finally, Trevor Noah riffed on the CNN town hall event with survivors of the Florida school shooting. He was impressed that Senator Marco Rubio said he would reconsider his position on high-capacity magazines, which allow weapons to fire many bullets quickly.
“I’m not going to lie, I’m surprised that these heckling teenagers got Rubio to change his mind,” Mr. Noah said.
“Maybe bullying isn’t that bad after all. In fact, maybe that’s how you get the rest of America’s lawmakers to do anything: Move the floor of Congress to the middle of a coliseum.”
Have a great weekend.

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