(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)
We’re covering the latest in the coronavirus outbreak, the growing scrutiny of Michael Bloomberg, and President Trump’s trip to the Daytona 500.
Americans carry virus from ship to plane
Fourteen Americans who were evacuated from a cruise ship in Japan today were found to have the new coronavirus shortly before they boarded a chartered flight to the U.S.
American officials had initially said they wouldn’t allow infected people to board evacuation flights from the ship, the Diamond Princess, which has been quarantined in Yokohama for more than 10 days. The infected passengers were placed in a specialized isolation area of the plane, and all passengers will be quarantined upon reaching the U.S.
Here are the latest updates and maps of where the virus has spread.
Related: More than 1,000 passengers left another cruise ship in Cambodia over the weekend after assurances that the vessel was disease free. One of them later tested positive for the virus, leaving health officials scrambling to assess the scale of the problem.
Quotable: Amid the outbreak, some Asian-Americans have felt suspicion just for sneezing. “Instead of ‘Bless you’ or ‘Are you OK?,’ their reaction is an instant state of panic,” said Aretha Deng, a university student in Arizona.
Another angle: Toilet paper has been sold out across Hong Kong for weeks after rumors that manufacturers in mainland China would cease production amid the outbreak. A deliveryman was robbed today at knifepoint of more than $100 worth of toilet paper.
Excavating Michael Bloomberg’s past
He is skipping the first four nominating contests in the Democratic primary, but the former mayor of New York is increasingly becoming a target as his rivals focus on his wealth and his record on race and inequality.
“Sixty billion dollars can buy you a lot of advertising, but it can’t erase your record,” Joe Biden said on Sunday.
Among other instances, a recording from 2015 surfaced last week in which Mr. Bloomberg defended New York’s stop-and-frisk police searches: “We put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. Yes. That’s true. Why do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is.”
Mr. Bloomberg later apologized for the practice.
Another angle: Bernie Sanders is a longtime supporter of “Medicare for all,” but that signature policy is a liability with the largest labor union in Nevada, whose caucuses are Saturday.
Tech companies push back on China limits
The Trump administration says it wants to protect national security by restricting the flow of technology to China. American tech companies say they support such efforts, but they also worry that new rules from Washington could undermine them instead.
The Commerce Department is considering a sweeping proposal that would allow the U.S. to block transactions between American companies and their Chinese counterparts. Companies that specialize in microchips, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and other advanced technologies say such plans could siphon away expertise, research and revenue.
Another angle: Executives from Alphabet and Facebook are among those meeting with European officials as the E.U. debates digital policy, including rules on how companies can use artificial intelligence. A first draft of the A.I. policy is set to be released this week.
Chicago’s exodus of black families
More than 200,000 black residents have left Chicago in the past two decades, driven out by segregation, gun violence and rising rents, among other factors. At the same time, white, Latino and Asian residents have flowed in.
Lori Lightfoot, the city’s first black mayor in decades, has vowed to stem the loss of longtime residents, many of whom arrived during the Great Migration, when millions of African-Americans moved north during the mid-20th century.
Our reporter met one black family whose three generations are a living symbol of what the nation’s third-largest city has kept and lost.
Quotable: “It’s an American tragedy,” said the Rev. Marshall Hatch, a pastor whose congregants have been leaving. “Look at the legacy that the African-American community had in national politics, in culture, with blues and gospel and jazz, and sports, from Michael Jordan to Ernie Banks. African-American Chicago is being destroyed.”
If you have 5 minutes, this is worth it
Too much of a cute thing?
Adorable characters like Hello Kitty are used to sell everything in Japan, and fading towns have long used mascots to lure visitors and investment. Above, Sanomaru, a dog with a bowl of ramen on its head, represents the city of Sano.
But as their tax bases dwindle along with their populations, communities are increasingly questioning whether the whimsy is worth the expense.
Here’s what else is happening
Call for Barr to resign: More than 1,100 former federal prosecutors and Justice Department officials urged Attorney General William Barr to step down after he intervened in a criminal case involving Roger Stone, a longtime friend of President Trump.
Rising waters in Mississippi: Officials warned that the worst was still to come after heavy rains swamped a reservoir and pushed the Pearl River over its banks.
Perspective: It’s Presidents’ Day in the U.S. In a piece for our Opinion section, a historian says there are new ways to look at “our founding-est founding father,” George Washington.
Snapshot: Above, President Trump took a lap around the track at the Daytona 500 on Sunday, kicking off the NASCAR season and a race for Florida’s votes.
Stephen Miller’s wedding: The senior White House adviser married Katie Waldman, the press secretary to Vice President Mike Pence, on Sunday at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.
Metropolitan Diary: In this week’s column, stargazing in Fort Tryon Park, leading a tour group and more reader tales of New York City.
What we’re reading: This essay by Paraic O’Donnell in The Irish Times. Steven Erlanger, our chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe, calls it a “moving, sometimes angry contemplation of a life slowly destroyed by M.S.”
Now, a break from the news
Go: A show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York confirms Dorothea Lange’s place in the pantheon of American photographers, our critic writes.
Smarter Living: We have guidance on how to be a supportive partner during pregnancy and beyond.
And now for the Back Story on …
Russia’s radio reach
Last week we reported that Radio Sputnik, a propaganda arm of the Russian government, is broadcasting on three Kansas City-area radio stations. It focuses on sowing doubt about Western governments and institutions.
Neil MacFarquhar, our national correspondent who wrote the article, was previously The Times’s bureau chief in Moscow. The following conversation with him has been condensed and edited for clarity.
You wrote that one Sputnik station shares a frequency with a smaller jazz station in Kansas City. What’s it like to be listening to Charlie Parker one minute and propaganda the next?
You get roughly, “This is Radio Sputnik, broadcasting live from Washington, D.C., the capital of the divided states of America.”
The station that has the Sputnik frequency is fairly strong, while the station broadcasting jazz is relatively weak. If you’re by the more powerful transmitter, you get Radio Sputnik.
Is this kind of propaganda relatively unprecedented in U.S.-Russian relations?
It depends on your interpretation of “propaganda.” There have previously been radio broadcasts of foreign owned and financed radio stations into the United States.
But part of the change is the more sour mood between the two capitals. Under Vladimir Putin, there has been a much more concerted effort to undermine Western institutions.
The Facebook campaigns focused on the 2016 election and other things we’ve heard about were direct attempts to influence specific groups of people, so it was more manipulative. This is much more subtle.
It’s not old-school propaganda. It’s American hosts — before they got to Sputnik, they were fairly down on the United States from the left or right — trying to paint the U.S. as damaged goods.
Is it jarring compared to other radio stations on the dial?
It’s talk radio, so they’re riffing off headlines about impeachment, Kobe Bryant, coronavirus, that kind of thing. The bureau chief in Washington says they’d like to have a station in New York, but the cost is bigger than their budget allows.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
• “The Daily” is off today for the Presidents’ Day holiday. There will be a new episode tomorrow.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Part of a navy (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• A. G. Sulzberger, the Times’s publisher, recently received an award from the New England First Amendment Coalition. Read his remarks.