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Good morning and welcome to the last briefing of this year.
We are covering a turn in the case of former Nissan president Carlos Ghosn, the population growth slowdown in the United States, and an argument in favor why 2019 was the best year ever.
Facing trial, former Nissan boss flees from Japan
Carlos Ghosn, the president of the company that was expelled after being accused of financial irregularities in Japan, He has taken refuge unexpectedly in Lebanon. He said he was escaping "injustice and political persecution."
Mr. Ghosn, 65, is a citizen of Lebanon, where he is legally protected from extradition, as well as from France and Brazil.
It was not clear how he left Japan: he had paid a bail of $ 9 million and was destined to be under close surveillance. One of his lawyers in Japan said today that Mr. Ghosn's legal team still had his three passports and did not know his plans.
Background: Mr. Ghosn, once one of the most prominent executives in the automotive industry, has firmly maintained his innocence. He was scheduled to be tried in 2020 on charges that he did not report his compensation and transferred personal losses to Nissan. Read our profile last year about its rise and fall.
The stabbing suspect wrote about Hitler and the Nazis
Man accused of injuring five people at a rabbi's house in the suburbs of New York He was charged with federal hate crimes on Monday, as prosecutors said he had searched online "why Hitler hated Jews,quot; and "prominent companies founded by Jews in the United States."
In New York City, the number of anti-Semitic hate crimes has increased 23 percent this year, according to police. The authorities have increased police patrols in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods and reinforced security in synagogues and yeshivas.
Quotable: "We have no answers," said Rabbi David Niederman, who runs a social services organization based in Brooklyn. "How can I tell a family, my children or my grandchildren,‘ go to school, go to pray, go to school, go to work, no problem, will you be safe coming home? "
Texas church shooting revives gun debate
Do more weapons create a safer or more dangerous environment?
The deadly attack near Fort Worth over the weekend, which stopped when a member of the congregation fatally shot the gunman, was stopped by some lawmakers in Texas as an example of how gun-friendly laws can help save lives
Arms control advocates argue that removing weapons from dangerous people can save even more lives. The gunman who killed two people in the Church of Christ West Freeway on Sunday had been arrested several times on charges that included aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
The details: The gunman was shot dead by Jack Wilson, a firearms instructor and owner of a shooting range that is part of the church's volunteer security team. It is one of several measures that houses of worship have taken as they increasingly become targets of mass shootings.
China's impulse for an army of workers
Labor programs, along with indoctrination camps that have a million or more Uighurs and Kazakhs, are part of an effort by China's leader, Xi Jinping, to strengthen control over Xinjiang, where Muslim minorities account for approximately half of the population.
As we know: The government says that constant work will help villagers get out of poverty and reduce the spread of religious extremism. But official documents, interviews and visits by The Times to Xinjiang show that local plans uproot villagers, restrict their movements and pressure them to remain in their jobs.
Watch: The Times obtained a rare video of the labor program, where the movements and even meals of uniformed workers are closely controlled.
If you have some time, it's worth it
Tales from around the world.
This year, the Times reporters presented 125 "offices,quot;, our characteristics that offer unconventional cultural perceptions of 44 countries on six continents.
This is what else is happening.
New demand for testimony of political trial: Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, said that President Trump's trial must include witnesses and documents that answer new questions about the roles played by the main assistants of the White House in blocking military aid for Ukraine.
Decrease population growth: The natural increase in the US population. UU., Which takes into account the number of births and deaths, was less than one million this year, according to estimates from the Census Bureau, the lowest figure in decades.
Australian forest fires: Record temperatures, strong winds and prolonged drought have caused a devastating fire season in the country. He still has months left.
California Independent Professionals Act: Uber and Postmates, the beginning of the delivery, filed a lawsuit to block a historic law that will take effect tomorrow and that would provide greater protection for workers.
New year, new laws: Hundreds of measures go into effect overnight, including the ban on state-funded human cloning in Arkansas and the legalization of marijuana in Illinois. Here is a summary.
Moscow snows: During the warmest month of December, the Russian capital transported artificial snow in trucks that it bought on the skating rinks. Then it hit a snowstorm.
Snapshot: Above, Gilbert, Arizona, in 2013, left, and this year. Using satellite images, The Times worked with a geospatial analysis company to examine dramatic changes in the American landscape in the last 10 years.
A decade-long debate: For some people, the next decade will begin at midnight. For others, it will not begin until January 1, 2021. We break it down.
Last look at 2019: "If you are depressed by the state of the world, let me rule out an idea," writes our opinion columnist Nicholas Kristof. "In the long arc of human history, 2019 has been the best year ever."
What we are reading: This essay of a Navy SEAL, through Medium. Steven Erlanger, our chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe, recommends the "slightly embarrassed testimony of a 52-year-old Purple Heart, now a freshman at Yale, about the respect he discovered for young university students he might have rejected once like "snowflakes. "
Now, a break from the news
Read: An exclusive interview with Rihanna and a deep immersion in the lasting popularity of Japanese cherry blossom are among the best long readings of the year of the magazine T.
Watch: Is the theater ridiculous? Recent works in the cinema, in prose fiction or on television portray the theater as "a sad sack art form: a focus of psychological deterioration and one of its main causes for life," writes one of our critics.
Smarter life: When you start the new year, remember to take more time for yourself; Being alone can improve your creativity and your relationships.
And now for the backstory in …
A New Year's Eve tradition
The Waterford crystal ball is now about 500 feet above Times Square in New York, and we all know what it is for, but why?
Since the beginning of the 19th century, the so-called time balls were used in the ports, falling every day so that sailors could see them through telescopes and configure the watches of their ships.
But the idea of the fall of the New Year's ball came from former Times editor Adolph S. Ochs. First, he persuaded the city in 1904 to change the name of Longacre Square to The Times, as the newspaper moved to the area.
Then, on December 31, 1904, about 200,000 people celebrated New Year's Eve with a fireworks display in the 24-story Times Tower.
But Mr. Ochs wanted to overcome that. Then, the Times chief electrician made a giant ball of wood and iron and equipped it with 100 25-watt bulbs. He got off the flagpole of 70 feet above the building in late 1907.
Since then, the Times has relocated twice, but the Christmas tradition has remained.
That's all for this informative session.
We are leaving tomorrow for New Year's Day, but we will return on Thursday.
Mark Josephson provided the break from the news. Today's backstory comes from Adeel Hassan's reports. You can contact the team at [email protected]
• We are listening to "The Daily,quot;. Today we visit Ella Maners again, a 9-year-old girl who was the subject of our children's special episode on how to face fears.
• Here is today's Mini Crossword Puzzle, and a hint: the fictional lawyer Atticus (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Burger King Whopper buns, President Trump's wives and confusing measures were the subject of some of the most memorable corrections of the 2019 Times.