Separately, the U.S. and Russia revived a Cold War tit-for-tat game: Moscow is considering renaming an alley near the U.S. Embassy as 1 North American Dead End, after Washington renamed the Russian Embassy’s block for Boris Nemtsov, the slain government critic.
• The White House’s budget request included large increases for the military, deep cuts in domestic programs such as Medicaid, and money for a return to the moon. (Here’s a detailed rundown, and reactions.)
It has little chance of being enacted but illustrates how far Republicans have strayed from their embrace of balanced budgets.
Ahead of the midterm elections, we look at where both parties stand now: The Republicans’ structural advantages in seeking control of the House are eroding. The fight remains a tossup.
• Anxiety and frustration among South Africans are deepening as they await news on when President Jacob Zuma is going to step down.
The state broadcaster said that the leaders of the African National Congress, the governing party, had directed Cecil Ramaphosa, Mr. Zuma’s probable successor, to deliver a demand that he resign within 48 hours.
• Across Europe, aging societies are posing challenges to social systems that are already straining to meet the needs of today’s older citizens.
Our correspondent in Germany explored the issue at a cafeteria in Hamburg that has been a regular venue for some older residents of the city’s poorest district. They appreciate its traditional German fare and affordable prices.
One of its regulars worried that it, and similar canteens, would soon be gone, leaving a generation with nowhere to go for a square meal.
• China’s plan to become the world’s leader in artificial intelligence comes at a time when America’s technological edge has started to recede.
• A court in Germany ruled that Facebook’s default privacy settings violated consumer law. Facebook said it would appeal.
• Universities in the U.S. are trying to bring a more medicine-like morality to computer science.
• Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
In the News
• A huge oil spill — one unlike any before — is beginning to contaminate some of the most crucial fishing grounds in Asia. [The New York Times]
• In Italy, a museum’s promotional discount for Arabic speakers has enraged some far-right politicians, who are seeking to capitalize on anti-immigrant sentiment ahead of March 4 elections. [The New York Times]
• Ukraine deported Mikheil Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia who has waged a popular anticorruption campaign in Ukraine, to Poland. [The New York Times]
• In Britain, the resignation of Oxfam’s deputy chief executive is unlikely to quell growing outrage over revelations about the misconduct of some of the charity’s aid workers. [The New York Times]
• A court in France began hearing money laundering charges against a man who admitted in a memoir to having participated in a 1976 heist. [France 24]
• Visiting Egypt, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson avoided even mild criticism of the political repression that assures President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of being re-elected next month. [The New York Times]
• Hard-liners in Iran are attacking environmental activists, arresting several and accusing them of spying. [The New York Times]
• London’s City Airport was shut down when a German bomb from World War II was found during construction work. The airport will be operating as usual today. [The New York Times]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• Want a more perfect union? Act (within limits) like you’re single.
• Studies on giving up saturated fats often failed to consider what people ate in their place.
• For Mardi Gras, you can’t go wrong with a chicken and sausage gumbo.
• For the first time since 1945, Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day fall on the same day. Some Christians face a culinary dilemma.
• Thousands of dogs have been checked into New York hotels ahead of the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Here’s our full coverage of the canine high society.
• A “cognitive prosthetic” in the brain promises to help people store some memory, scientists have found. But the road to perfecting recollections remains daunting.
• And she’s off! Our new 52 Places travel columnist — who beat out more than 13,000 other applicants for the job — has started her whirlwind world tour. She found plenty to celebrate in New Orleans.
As the end of a particularly bad flu season approaches in many parts of the world, you’re probably accustomed to hearing “achoo!”
But cultures respond to sneezes differently, and there’s little consensus on how some of those norms developed.
While it’s unnecessary in Japan and parts of China to comment, many countries use a version of “(God) bless you.”
The sneezer’s welfare is the main concern. Germans say “gesundheit” (health), while Turks say “çok yaşa” (may you live long).
Sometimes the response is dictated by the number of sneezes. In parts of Latin America, the first sneeze is met with “health,” the second with “money” and the third with “love.” The Dutch wish you “health” for your first two sneezes before the third time turns into “good weather tomorrow.”
Health-based wishes seem self-explanatory, but the origin of “God bless you” is uncertain.
The most popular theory is that Pope Gregory I started it by blessing a person infected with the plague. But it’s probably not true.
Anna Schaverien contributed reporting.
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