One With Credit

MONDAY PUZZLE — Have you seen my credit card? I had it just a moment ago, and I could swear I put it back in my wallet.

We’ve all had those scares, but fortunately, Michael Black returns after a fairly long absence to help us find our cards. We just have to rifle through a few crossword entries to locate them.

Today’s Theme

Mr. Black offers us a set of three seemingly disparate theme entries and a revealer at 59A.

The revealer, CARD HOLDER (clued as “One with credit … or a literal hint to 17-, 27- and 44-Across”), hints that each of these three entries holds a credit card. I realized this at 44A, where it was easy to see the DISCOVER card in DISCO VERSION. We also have an American Express, or AMEX, card in OAXACA, MEXICO, and a Visa card in the title “ELVIS AND ME.”

This is a nice way to start our solving week, although I wonder if circling or shading the credit card name squares might have made this more of a Monday.

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How to Try and Where to Buy: Willow Baskets

This story on willow baskets is the first installment of a series for T on craft around the world. For each practice I researched, I knew I would discover more incredible resources and makers than could fit on just a few pages. While the focus of each column is the current state of a particular craft (what we are calling “universal crafts,” as nearly all cultures have created versions of them), it is worth noting that the craftspeople engaged in these centuries-old traditions are involved in a living practice. These are objects meant to be used, not simply regarded as historic artifacts or hung on a wall. These makers are not starting from scratch or reinventing the wheel, yet their work is the product of innovative new ideas, practices and modifications. And it is also a tangible link to our past.

Baskets are unique in the realm of craft in that their materials remain unchanged in finished form. For pottery, earth is turned into clay. For weaving, wool must be spun into yarn. But the willow sticks as cut are the willow sticks that form your basket. Each of the makers featured here grow their own willow. In the winter, they coppice year-old withies, or sticks, to the ground (in the spring, the willow will sprout again from the stump). Then they bundle their harvest and transport it home, where they size and rebundle the pieces. Over a period of months, the willow sticks are left somewhere covered, but well ventilated, so that they may lose their sap. Just before weaving, the now-dry willow is soaked for about to a day in a basin of water and then drained and wrapped in a towel to mellow, so that it will bend without kinking.

There are three different ways willow can be processed for making baskets: There’s unpeeled willow, called “brown,” as it’s still clad in its bark; there’s stripped willow, called “white,” which is the palest because its bark has been skinned off; and there’s the honey-hued willow, or “buff,” which is boiled in water, allowing the bark’s tannins to leach into the pith before it’s peeled.

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Opinion | Sanctuaries of Silence

The Hoh Rain Forest is one of the largest temperate rain forests in the United States. Situated within the Olympic National Park in western Washington State, the Hoh is protected from commercial logging and is a haven for old-growth Sitka spruce, western hemlock, coast Douglas fir, big-leaf maples and black cottonwoods. The isolated region is far from main roads and development, making the Hoh one of the quietest places in North America.

This virtual reality Op-Doc provides an immersive experience into the Hoh Rain Forest, told from the perspective of the acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton. For the past 35 years, Mr. Hempton has been documenting the sounds of the Hoh and its many species, including Pacific tree frogs, Roosevelt elk, northern spotted owls, the red-breasted nuthatch and Pacific wrens. He believes silence is on the verge of extinction. Planes often fly over the Hoh en route to Seattle, emitting a dull roar that punctures the silence of the landscape. The Hoh is but one of many remote corners of the world being affected by noise pollution.

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Vietnam Pulls Request for U.S. Help to Build a Coal-Fired Power Plant

HONG KONG — A Vietnamese company is no longer seeking American financial support to build a coal-fired power plant in Vietnam, bringing to an abrupt end a closely watched test of whether Washington would back international projects that could potentially contribute to climate change.

On Thursday, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, a lender run by the American government, said the Vietnamese state-controlled company, PetroVietnam, had withdrawn its application for financial support.

The lender, also known as the Ex-Im Bank, takes on the financial risk for American companies exporting high-value equipment and merchandise as a way to help companies in the United States win valuable international business.

In this case, a green light would have allowed PetroVietnam to purchase millions of dollars’ worth of turbines and other equipment from General Electric, the American manufacturer.

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Facebook Is Changing. What Does That Mean for Your News Feed?

Facebook has overhauled how it ranks the posts, videos and photos that appear in its users’ News Feeds, introducing major changes on Thursday designed to put what friends and family have to say first.

In short, you’ll see more posts from friends that have spurred lively debates in the comments. And you’ll see fewer cooking videos from brands and publications. Prioritizing what your friends and family share is part of an effort by Facebook to help people spend time on the site in what it thinks is a more meaningful way.

Facebook is making the changes by tinkering under the hood, reconfiguring its algorithms that guess what you may be most interested in. Here’s what it means for you.

Publishers and brands are the losers.

Facebook is not being coy about this: Those third-party organizations that took over large swaths of your News Feed years ago — sites that post funny pictures and memes, sell you clothing, or deliver articles about the world — will have the visibility of their posts scaled back under the new arrangement.

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When Hollywood Ageism Hits Close to Home

For years, a college friend (in her 50s) has forbidden me from telling anyone we went to school together. Since moving to Hollywood, she deducted 10 years from her age (some of it with cosmetic surgery) to preserve her writing career, she claims. She is afraid that my salt-and-pepper hair will “bust” her. Lately, she has been mostly out of touch. But the implication that I look so much older than her has rankled for years. When I confided my hurt feelings to her, she was unapologetic. Blame the industry and ageism, she said, not her. Do I have a right to feel hurt?


Age, as fantasists have long told us, is just a number. But patterns of numbers have meaning. If 50-year-old leading men routinely win the hearts of 30-year-old actresses in Hollywood films (as demonstrated by a totally nonscientific survey of movies watched on a recent cross-country flight), what happens to 50-year-old women? Who knows if this invisibility also pertains to writers? In any event, your friend is living in never-never land: It takes about three minutes to learn anyone’s age these days.

As for your hurt feelings, they seem reasonable. Personally, I would be less hurt by her assessment of my looks (until I inspected her cosmetic surgery, anyway) than by her shame at associating with me. Still, you have shared your honest feelings, and she rejected them. If you are committed to this friendship, I would never dissuade you from trying again. But as my (brutally efficient) nana used to say: “No use watering dead flowers.” And don’t out her as 50-something. Two wrongs. …

Release the Date?

I am the eldest of five adult children. While packing up the family home after our father died (our mother predeceased him), I came across a copy of my parents’ marriage certificate. They celebrated their anniversary on Jan. 12, so I was surprised to see the actual date was Jan. 6. But I was even more surprised to see the year: 1962 — after the first three children were born. I’m smiling just writing this. Good on them! Question: Should I tell my siblings?

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Listen to ‘The Daily’: Focusing on Words, not Walls

Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile device: Via Apple Podcasts | Via RadioPublic | Via Stitcher

Listen to ‘The Daily’: Focusing on Words, not WallsA Senate committee hearing on border security turned into a fight over how President Trump described some countries, and Stephen Bannon is subpoenaed in the Russia investigation.

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Lauren Ambrose Finally Gets Her Musical

When the actress Lauren Ambrose arrives in the lobby at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it takes a minute to recognize that she is indeed Lauren Ambrose. A wide-brimmed hat hides her flaring hair. A wool overcoat hides the rest of her. A girlish, clean-scrubbed face peeks out in between.

That half-hidden face will soon be more visible and a lot dirtier when “My Fair Lady,” the 1956 Lerner and Loewe musical, begins previews on March 15 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. Ms. Ambrose, who has been peripheral to the public eye for a few years now, will play Eliza Doolittle, the pert cockney flower seller who transforms her life through sheer force of will and correct vowel placement.

She had come to the Met because an art historian cousin had tipped her off to a Renoir portrait of the first Eliza, the Austrian actress Tilla Durieux who created the role in George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” Lerner and Loewe’s source text. She thought that maybe it would help her open up “this antique play, find a new way through it,” she said.

Diana Rigg, seated left, as Mrs. Higgins and Ms. Ambrose as Eliza Doolittle during a rehearsal of “My Fair Lady” in a basement room at Lincoln Center.Credit…Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

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As Bitcoin Bubble Loses Air, Frauds and Flaws Rise to Surface

SAN FRANCISCO — You did not have to be a technophobe to worry that the virtual-currency boom of the past year papered over plenty of problems.

The scale of those problems is starting to become clear as digital tokens have slid more than 50 percent in value from their peaks in early January, with steep drops on Monday pushing the value of Bitcoin specifically below $7,000.

Hackers draining funds from online exchanges. Ponzi schemes. Government regulators unable to keep up with the rise of so-called cryptocurrencies. Signs of trouble have appeared at nearly every level of the industry, from the biggest exchanges to the news sites and chat rooms where the investment frenzy has been discussed.

On Tuesday, the leaders of the two main regulatory agencies in the United States that oversee the technology, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, are to testify before the Senate banking committee about their efforts to police virtual currency markets. In the past two weeks, both have brought major cases, but people in the young industry said regulators had barely made a dent.

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Egypt’s Military Detains an Ex-General Seeking to Run for President

Egypt’s military detained a retired general for questioning on Tuesday, announcing an investigation into his bid to challenge President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in an election scheduled for March.

In a rare audio statement, the military said it was taking “necessary legal action” against the retired general, Sami Anan, who announced his candidacy on Saturday. The statement accused Mr. Anan, who was the chief of the general staff of Egypt’s armed forces between 2005 and 2012, of “violations and crimes” including document forgery and “incitement against the armed forces.”

Mr. Anan was detained as he drove through the Nasr City neighborhood of Cairo, his son Samir said by telephone. “They forced him out of his car, led him into a van and left,” Samir said.

The elder Mr. Anan, 69, was not considered a strong challenger to Mr. Sisi, a former general who has ruled Egypt with an iron grip since 2014, when he was elected with 97 percent of the vote. But his detention does suggest how far Mr. Sisi is willing to go to clear the field of challengers — even if doing so means crossing senior figures inside the military establishment that is his political bedrock.

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Opinion | Democrats, Make a Deal With Trump to Protect Dreamers

The six-month window to arrive at a permanent replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is about to close, and Congress is scrambling to reach a deal acceptable to the White House.

But the president isn’t making it easy. On last Tuesday, Mr. Trump called for “a bipartisan bill of love” and promised not to quibble about details, as long as it contained funding for “the wall.” On Thursday, he suggested that an acceptable deal will restrict immigration from “shithole countries” in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.

Democrats are piqued, but they must not let Mr. Trump’s incoherence and prejudice keep them from signing on to a deal — even one that includes wall funding. The future of nearly 800,000 Dreamers — young undocumented immigrants — is on the line. Those of us who care about our innocent friends and neighbors brought to America as children won’t gamble with their lives.

Democrats are feeling bullish. With a midterm wave, the House seems like a lock. Even a Senate majority now seems within reach. With spirits so high, some Democrats will be tempted to indulge in best-case-scenario thinking.

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Review: ‘Acts of Violence’ Delivers What Its Title Promises

At a big, rowdy Cleveland bar, soon-to-be-married Mia, who’s at her bachelorette party, takes emphatic umbrage when a couple of slimy mooks offer her and her party copious amounts of drugs. This in itself causes the slimy mooks to take umbrage, and as Mia (Melissa Bolona) is outside calling her fiancé (who is at a strip club, with Mia’s approval), they pull up in a van, pull her in, inject her with a potentially lethal drug, and take her to be prepared for human trafficking.

But as they say in countless movie tag lines, these guys messed with the wrong family. Or words to that effect. In “Acts of Violence,” directed by Brett Donowho, Cole Hauser (whose father Wings Hauser livened up many low-budget action potboilers of this ilk a generation ago) plays Deklan, an anguished war veteran who happens to be the future brother-in-law of the kidnap victim. After receiving scant satisfaction from Bruce Willis’s well-meaning cop (the law has tied his hands, you see), Deklan enlists his brothers to find Mia and seize justice.

This dopey action thriller harks back to grindhouse pictures of the ’70s and ’80s, although it’s too tasteful, if that’s the word, to consistently exploit the more lurid implications of its sensationalist scenario. Which I suppose speaks well of the filmmakers as people. But not that well. The picture moves at a brisk pace, though, and Mr. Hauser’s mostly cool and collected avenger is somewhat fun to watch.


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Women’s March 2018: Protesters Take to the Streets for the Second Straight Year

A year after millions of people turned out for the Women’s March and took to the streets en masse to protest President Trump’s inauguration, demonstrators gathered on Saturday in cities across the United States, galvanized by their disdain for Mr. Trump and his administration’s policies.

A deluge of revelations about powerful men abusing women, leading to the #MeToo moment, has pushed activists to demand deeper social and political change. Progressive women are eager to build on the movement and translate their enthusiasm into electoral victories in this year’s midterm elections.

Here are some highlights:

• More than 200,000 protesters attended the march in New York on Saturday, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio. Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles said 600,000 attended the march there, while organizers of the Chicago march said 300,000 attended that event. Thousands also turned out in Washington, Philadelphia, Austin and hundreds of other cities and towns around the country and world.

• Several speakers urged women to channel their energy into helping Democrats win races in the upcoming midterm elections. A rally called “Power to the Polls,” organized by the leaders of last year’s Women’s March in Washington, will be held on Sunday in Las Vegas.

A group of marchers crowded into a subway car in New York.Credit…Andrew Kelly/Reuters

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For the N.F.L. Playoffs, Much Has Changed. Then There Are the Patriots.

In the N.F.L.’s first game this season, the New England Patriots lost at home by 15 points. The Patriots defense gave up 42 points and 537 yards. Tom Brady did not throw a touchdown pass and was sacked three times.

Clearly, the Patriots’ dynastic romp through the N.F.L. was over. Right? It’s what everyone was saying the next morning.

That was when we should have known that the 2017 N.F.L. regular season would defy convention.

But did it?

The Patriots were 13-2 after their opening night flop. They have the home-field advantage throughout the A.F.C. half of the playoffs. They’re chugging along with boundless ease.

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Fact Check: Democratic Responses to Trump’s State of the Union

Democrats offered five separate responses to President Trump’s State of the Union address, differing in content and tone but united in their disapproval of Mr. Trump.

Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III of Massachusetts gave the official Democratic rebuttal on Tuesday night, in which he portrayed Mr. Trump as a divisive figure. Elizabeth Guzman, a delegate in Virginia’s State Assembly, delivered another Democratic Party response in Spanish.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont followed with his own response. Donna Edwards, a former congresswoman from Maryland, spoke on behalf of the Working Families Party, a minor party with several state-based chapters. And Representative Maxine Waters of California spoke on Black Entertainment Television on Wednesday night.

The New York Times fact-checked Mr. Trump’s address in real time. Now, here’s an assessment of the various Democrats’ responses.

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Katerra, a Construction Start-Up, Raises $865 Million

LONDON — Over just three years, Katerra has grown from a start-up with an unusual approach to the construction industry into a company with $1.3 billion in bookings.

Now it has drawn support from one of the biggest and most disruptive backers of start-ups around.

Katerra plans to announce on Wednesday that it has raised $865 million in a new round of financing led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund, the nearly $100 billion investment vehicle that has shaken up the world of venture capital.

It is the latest outsize bet by the Vision Fund, which has poured billions into start-ups, including WeWork, the virtual reality company Improbable and the indoor farming company Plenty.

In Katerra, the Vision Fund and other investors — they include the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Soros Fund Management — are backing a start-up that is approaching the $12 trillion construction industry in a new way. The company’s founders include Michael Marks, a former chief executive of the electronics company now known as Flex; Jim Davidson, a founder of Silver Lake, the technology investment firm; and Fritz H. Wolff, the executive chairman of the Wolff Company, the real estate private equity firm.

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A Restaurant Where the Bathroom Soap Complements the Meal

“I like to get a bit of a surprise when I go to the bathroom at a restaurant,” the Danish chef Adam Aamann explains when asked why he has taken a hands-on approach — quite literally — to the restrooms in his new restaurant. Diners freshening up at Aamanns 1921 — which opened in Copenhagen in August and offers a modern take on classic Danish cuisine — are given a choice of two liquid soaps. One smells of lemon, cedar, bergamot and thyme; the other carries notes of lemon, bergamot, orange and rosemary. Both were handmade by Aamann himself.

“I like to throw myself at things I haven’t tried before,” he says, standing in the kitchen of his three-story house in Osterbro, one of Copenhagen’s smartest neighborhoods. “I also thought it would be an extraordinary way of tickling people.”

In particular, Aamann wanted to “create the full experience” at Aamanns 1921: for diners to return to the table with — one hopes — clean hands that smell like the herbs used in the kitchen. In other words, the soap should provide a “reference” to the food. At Aamanns 1921 that means smorrebrod — Denmark’s traditional open-faced sandwich, adorned with fixings that include marinated herring, matured cheese, kohlrabi and pickled onions. Aromatic herbs adorn most dishes.

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Strike Over, Air France Resumes Flights

Thursday’s Air France strike involving the carrier’s pilots, cabin crew and ground staff has ended, and as of today, the carrier’s operations are slowly returning back to normal, according to a statement on its website.

The one-day strike disrupted the travel schedules of thousands of Air France passengers all over the world and will likely continue to do so for the next day or two, according to Michael Holtz, the owner of SmartFlyer, a global travel consultancy specializing in airlines.

“It usually takes an airline 24 to 48 hours to get back on track after a strike,” he said.

In the case of Air France, since the carrier anticipated the strike because workers had made clear that they would take action, Mr. Holtz said that the it likely held most of its planes in Paris, its home base. “Since the planes are sitting in Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, outbound flights from Paris should be up and running today or within the next day,” he said.

In-bound flights to Paris from long-haul destinations, however, could still be delayed for 48 hours, Mr. Holtz said, because the planes need to fly from Paris to reach those destinations in order to operate the routes. “Air France has a flight from Bangkok to Paris,” he said. “The plane needs to reach Bangkok from Paris, which takes more than ten hours, before it can fly the scheduled route.”

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H. Wayne Huizenga, Owner of Teams and a Business Empire, Dies at 80

H. Wayne Huizenga, the entrepreneur who expanded Blockbuster video and AutoNation into vast enterprises and owned three South Florida sports teams, died on Thursday night at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 80.

Bob Henninger, executive vice president of Huizenga Holdings, Mr. Huizenga’s investment vehicle, confirmed the death, saying Mr. Huizenga had long been treated for cancer.

Mr. Huizenga (pronounced HIGH-zing-ah) achieved his first success with the sanitation company Waste Management, which traced its origins to a garbage route he personally drove in 1962.

At the time, he would begin his days before dawn and, once he finished hauling garbage to the dump, would shower and spend the rest of the day meeting with business owners and homeowners in an effort to win contracts.

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How Truthful Was Trump in His First Year? Before His State of the Union, What Our Fact Checks Show

WASHINGTON — In his first State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Trump is expected to tick off accomplishments from his first year in office and present his policy vision going forward — and The New York Times will fact-check him as he speaks.

There is no guarantee that Mr. Trump will stick to the script. While his impromptu tweets and remarks are more prone to be inaccurate or unfounded, the president’s prepared speeches tend to be more tempered, even if they have taken facts out of context, included overstated or undue self-praise or offered bleak and exaggerated diagnoses.

Here are some lessons and themes drawn from a year of fact-checking Mr. Trump’s public remarks, interviews and social media posts as president.

Policy achievements

Mr. Trump has been unable to fulfill one of his central campaign pledges — repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act — but it hasn’t stopped him from falsely declaring otherwise. In some remarks, Mr. Trump has been accurate, describing the end of the health care law’s individual mandate as “partial repeal.” Virtually all other parts of the law remain intact.

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