Your informative session on Thursday – The New York Times

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday proposed radical constitutional changes that could extend his control over power indefinitely. That proposal led his faithful protégé, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, to resign, along with the rest of the government.

Putin, 67, has already been president or prime minister for 20 years, and the Russian Constitution requires him to resign after his current term ends in 2024. Most Russians expected Putin, a former K.G.B. spy, to stay in power anyway; The question was how to justify it.

Whats Next: Mr. Medvedev’s replacement is a practically unknown technocrat, and it is unclear whether Wednesday’s resignations indicate a break in Russia’s political elite or a coordinated plan to reshape the system. Here are six takeaways.

Quotable: “Why did all this happen in one day?” Asked a Russian journalist on Twitter. “It simply means that those in the Kremlin know the story well: the revolution must be made quickly, even if it is a revolution from above.”

While Iran is heading for a possible military escalation with the United States, the leaders of Britain, France and Germany are using risky tactics to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb, writes our chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe.

On Tuesday, the three European countries formally notified Iran for violating a 2015 nuclear agreement designed to limit uranium enrichment in Iran. They hope to induce the United States and Iran to agree on a new agreement that President Trump can call his own.

Kumquat trees, which have bright orange fruits and belong to the genre Fortunella, are widely seen as heralds of good fortune. They are often displayed in houses and office halls, such as at The Times headquarters in Asia in Hong Kong.

Seeing the Hong Kong kumquats before this year’s Lunar New Year, which is celebrated on January 25, reminded his Back Story writer who lived in Vietnam, where swarms of motorcycle drivers deliver the trees through the streets of the city.

The moving tapestry image of orange orbs resembles a citrus variation of “The Gates,” an art installation in which Central Park in New York was filled with wavy sheets of saffron cloth in 2005.

That’s all for this informative session. I wish you good fortune.

– Mike and Sofia

Thank you
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. Mike wrote the Background Story today. You can contact the team at [email protected]

• We are listening to “The Daily”. Our last episode is about Russia’s piracy efforts and the 2020 elections.
• Here is today’s Mini Crossword Puzzle, and a hint: macaroni shape (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Louis Silverstein, art director of The Times, introduced new elements of graphic design between the 60s and 80s that continue to shape our style.

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