The problem is highlighted by the recent departure of Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary accused of abuse. He didn’t have permanent security clearance, a point that has renewed attention on other aides who haven’t secured top-level clearance, including Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser.
• Separately, our Washington investigations editor, Mark Mazzetti, and other Times journalists will be on a panel discussing the Russia investigation today at 7 p.m. Eastern. You can watch it here live, and find answers to readers’ questions.
A U.S. shift on North Korea?
• South Korea’s president confirmed today that Washington is open to talks, days after Vice President Mike Pence indicated that negotiations might not require preconditions on the North.
Previously, the U.S. had insisted that Pyongyang would first have to take steps to dismantle its nuclear weapons programs.
• Mr. Pence met with the South’s president, Moon Jae-in, at the Winter Olympics last week.
“Hangry” on the halfpipe
• Maybe she didn’t need that breakfast sandwich after all.
Chloe Kim, a 17-year-old American snowboarder, won the gold medal in women’s halfpipe today in Pyeongchang after lamenting on Twitter that she hadn’t finished a snack. We looked at how she achieved a nearly perfect score.
• They have been praised as human olive branches, and criticized as spearheads of a North Korean propaganda campaign. Meet the North Korean cheerleading squad.
One wall fell, but others still stand
• The Berlin Wall, which once divided Germany and the world, has now been gone for longer than the 28 years, 2 months and 26 days it stood.
Although there are few obvious signs that Berlin was once a divided city, our bureau chief reports that the walls between West and East still remain in the minds of some Germans.
• “German unity is still a work in progress,” said Thomas Krüger, who served as East Berlin’s last mayor.
Listen to ‘The Daily’: Democrats’ Identity Crisis
The House minority leader took to the floor for eight hours to protest a spending bill that she now says she wanted to pass. What’s the risk for the party?
(Monday’s Morning Briefing inadvertently included a link to an older episode of The Daily. You can find the Russia doping episode here.)
• A female executive at the investment firm run by Steven Cohen, the billionaire investor, said in a lawsuit that the company was a testosterone-fueled “boys’ club” in which women were discriminated against.
• New York’s attorney general has sued the Weinstein Company, delaying a sale, to ensure that victims of abuse are compensated. Our DealBook columnist looks at how the tactic could backfire.
• Bill and Melinda Gates published the annual update for their foundation today. They remain optimistic about the world’s progress and addressed how President Trump’s policies have affected their philanthropic work.
• China’s plan to become the world’s leader in artificial intelligence could challenge the U.S. lead in the technology.
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• Don’t work harder to get ahead: Work smarter.
• Want a more perfect union? Act (within limits) like you’re single.
• Happy Mardi Gras! Celebrate with classic recipes, like crawfish étouffée.
• Partisan writing you shouldn’t miss
Writers from across the political spectrum discuss the rising budget deficit.
• Paint and politics
The Obamas’ official portraits were unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington on Monday.
The paintings, which are a striking departure from those of the Obamas’ predecessors, address the politics of race in subtly savvy ways, our art critic writes.
• A personal memory maker?
Electric pulses to the brain help subjects store memory, scientists have found. But the road to perfecting recall remains daunting.
• One down, 51 to go
The Times’s much-envied new travel columnist, Jada Yuan, has begun a yearlong tour of every destination on our 52 Places to Go list.
Here’s her first dispatch, from New Orleans.
• Best of late-night TV
Several of the comedy hosts are taking the week off, so our roundup is, too. It will return next week.
• Quotation of the day
“Technology is not neutral. The choices that get made in building technology then have social ramifications.”
— Mehran Sahami, a professor at Stanford University who is helping to develop a course on ethics in computer science.
• The Times, in other words
As the end of a particularly bad flu season approaches in many parts of the world, you’ve probably been hearing “achoo!” a lot.
But cultures respond to sneezes differently, and there’s little consensus on how some of those norms developed.
While it’s generally 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 “cok yasa” (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 brings a “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 with the plague. But it’s probably not true.
Anna Schaverien contributed reporting.
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