Investors are trying to figure out whether the global economy can keep growing at its current pace if interest rates rise. There are also fears that the U.S. economy is beginning to overheat (here’s how the logic goes).
One of our senior economics correspondents examines whether investors are right to be so worried about inflation.
• There’s a common misperception that the Syrian war is ending because of the defeat of the Islamic State. Instead, our Beirut bureau chief writes, “the carnage is reaching a new peak.”
The Syrian government and Russia are stepping up their attacks on rebel-held areas. Turkey has invaded a Kurdish area. And the celebrations of the Islamic State’s demise may have been premature. These maps help clarify the multifront war.
Syrian Kurdish fighters have detained two British extremists, who were part of an Islamic State group known as “the Beatles” because of their British accents. They were infamous for their role in the torture and killing of hostages.
• In Washington, government funding expired as Congress failed to agree on a budget deal that would have averted it. The Senate bargain would have added hundreds of billions of dollars to federal deficits.
Separately, President Trump delivered an unusually subdued message of faith and nationalist values at a gathering of religious leaders. (Many in the audience have hailed Mr. Trump’s agenda as their own.)
• These days, the escapist fantasy is “digital nomadism.”
We caught up with the entrepreneur behind Roam, which is seeking to become the “Uber for international housing” with a network of co-working and living spaces in Miami, London, Bali and Tokyo for high earners who work remotely.
It’s not much of a solution to the predations of capitalism: You can go anywhere, as long as you never stop working.
• Samsung’s chairman lobbied for years to attract the Winter Olympic Games to South Korea. His efforts preceded a time of reckoning for the chaebol, family-run business empires.
• Pepsi hopes to capitalize on the growing popularity of sparkling water, long a European staple, across broader sections of the United States.
• Twitter reported its first quarterly profit as a public company.
• Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
In the News
• Only Russia, the U.S., China, Britain and France can hit any place on earth with a missile. For now. We took a visual look at who else can strike whom. [The New York Times]
• In Cameroon, a violent crackdown on a secessionist movement in its Anglophone region is said to increase local armed groups’ support. [Reuters]
• In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unleashed an extraordinary attack on the national police chief as investigators were about to finalize corruption inquiries. [The New York Times]
• France’s environment minister is the second current cabinet member to face, and vigorously deny, allegations of sexual misconduct. [Associated Press]
• A court in Portugal sentenced a former intelligence official to seven years in prison for selling classified information on the E.U. and NATO to Russia. [Reuters]
• In the U.S., the anonymous winner of a $560 million jackpot is going to court to guarantee her right to anonymity. [The New York Times]
• Yolks on them. Chefs for Norway’s Olympic team mistakenly ordered 15,000 eggs for their kitchen in Pyeongchang. They had meant to say 1,500. [The Guardian]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• Our guide to Snapchat (for people who don’t really get the whole Snapchat thing).
• Looking to gain strength and stay healthy? Lift weights and eat more protein, a new review of research says, especially if you’re over 40.
• Use these recipes to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
• Our latest 36 Hours guide takes you to Johannesburg. Beneath the grit of South Africa’s biggest city, there’s a kinetic urban energy that can be savored in its street art, restaurants, music clubs and markets.
• London’s Peckham neighborhood has become the place Britons go to for counterculture art, with artists, makers and galleries lured to the area by (relatively) cheap rents.
• A fourth volume of Foucault’s “History of Sexuality” has been published in France, against the deceased philosopher’s wishes.
• Not everyone in Spain is thrilled about a soccer marketing deal by La Liga with Saudi Arabia.
• An exhibition in Vienna explores shifting attitudes toward beauty as populations grow older.
Old age, our critic writes, “can also be a third act of life, permitting new identities and greater social independence.”
“Alligator Found in Uptown Sewer.” It’s a story that would have gone viral, had there been an internet at the time.
On this day in 1935, as recorded in The Times, a teenager named Salvatore Condulucci looked down a manhole while shoveling snow in East Harlem and saw an 8-foot alligator, thrashing in the icy water.
The story ignited the public’s imagination and spawned what Anna Quindlen, the author who was then a Times reporter, called “the most durable urban myth in the history of cities, reptiles or waste disposal.”
A Manhattan historian became so entranced with the idea that he has long observed Feb. 9 as Alligators in the Sewers Day. “I want it to be true,” he told us last year.
Big beasts have been found in sewers around the world. In Sydney, it took six people to drag a 55-pound snapping turtle from a drain in 2000, and in China, a full-grown cow was pulled from a sewer pipe in rural Guangxi Province.
The New York alligator is still a puzzle. The theory at the time was that it had fallen off a boat in the Harlem River.
John T. Flaherty, the former chief of design in the Bureau of Sewers, had a trademark reply to constant questions:
“No, Virginia, there are no alligators in the New York City sewer system.”
Charles McDermid contributed reporting.
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