Friday, February 23

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The Debate Over Ethnic Studies in California
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The Debate Over Ethnic Studies in California

As an education reporter, I’m always looking for good news on my beat. So I perked up back in 2016 when sources in California started buzzing about a study out of Stanford University showing that ethnic studies classes in San Francisco had helped improve grades and attendance among teenagers who were at risk of dropping out.That research was persuasive to policymakers, and, after years of flirting with the idea, California education officials started to write a state curriculum in ethnic studies. In 2021, state lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom enacted a law requiring high schools to offer an ethnic studies course by 2025, and making the subject a requirement for graduation from high school starting with the class of 2030.Over the last month, I’ve been checking in on how that mandate is roll...
U.S. Warns Allies Russia Could Put a Nuclear Weapon Into Orbit This Year
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U.S. Warns Allies Russia Could Put a Nuclear Weapon Into Orbit This Year

American intelligence agencies have told their closest European allies that if Russia is going to launch a nuclear weapon into orbit, it will probably do so this year — but that it might instead launch a harmless “dummy” warhead into orbit to leave the West guessing about its capabilities.The assessment came as American intelligence officials conducted a series of rushed, classified briefings for their NATO and Asian allies, as details of the American assessment of Russia’s intentions began to leak out.The American intelligence agencies are sharply divided in their opinion about what President Vladimir V. Putin is planning, and on Tuesday Mr. Putin rejected the accusation that he intended to place a nuclear weapon in orbit and his defense minister said the intelligence warning was manufact...
At Harvard, Some Wonder What It Will Take to Stop the Spiral
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At Harvard, Some Wonder What It Will Take to Stop the Spiral

When 70 university presidents gathered for a summit at the end of January, the topic on everyone’s mind was the crisis at Harvard.The hosts of the summit treated the university, battered by accusations of coddling antisemitism, as a business-school case study on leadership in higher education, complete with a slide presentation on its plummeting reputation.The killer slide: “Boeing & Tesla Have Similar Levels of Negative Buzz as Harvard.”In other words, Harvard, a centuries-old symbol of academic excellence, was generating as much negative attention as an airplane manufacturer that had a door panel drop from the sky and a car company with a mercurial chief executive and multiple recalls.Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor at Yale’s School of Management, organized the summit. “Despite near ...
Middle East Crisis: U.S. Vetoes U.N. Resolution Calling for a Cease-Fire in Gaza
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Middle East Crisis: U.S. Vetoes U.N. Resolution Calling for a Cease-Fire in Gaza

At a hearing before the U.N.’s highest court, South Africa on Tuesday called Israel’s policies toward Palestinians an “extreme form of apartheid” and argued that its occupation of territory sought for an eventual Palestinian state was “fundamentally illegal.”The hearing at the International Court of Justice in The Hague is one of two matters being heard about Israel, part of a concerted effort to leverage the authority of the court and the global reach of the U.N. to stop the war in Gaza and examine the legality of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.Starting this week and lasting six days, the court is hearing arguments on Israel’s conduct, following a request by the United Nations General Assembly more than a year ago. In the other matter, a case, which began in January, South Afri...
He Wanted to Play Basketball. He Finally Got the Chance.
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He Wanted to Play Basketball. He Finally Got the Chance.

Good morning. Today we’ll find out about the improbable story of how someone went from playing pickup basketball to being a star at LaGuardia Community College in Queens. We’ll also look at former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s effort to torpedo a state ethics commission.Last week, Arthur Dukes Jr., a 26-year-old student at LaGuardia Community College, was named player of the year by the City University of New York Athletic Conference. It was a remarkable capstone to a year that had begun with Dukes working as a security guard at a Foot Locker store and playing a pickup game at a Harlem public school. It ended with him reigning as the captain of LaGuardia’s team and as the leading scorer among all players in Division III of the National Junior College Athletic Association.I asked Katherine Rosman, wh...
Why South Korean Doctors Have Walked Off the Job
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Why South Korean Doctors Have Walked Off the Job

More than 1,500 medical interns and residents in South Korea walked off the job on Tuesday, disrupting an essential service to protest the government’s plan to address a shortage of doctors by admitting more students to medical school. While South Korea takes pride in its affordable health care system, it has among the fewest physicians per capita in the developed world. Its rapidly aging population underscores the acute need for more doctors, according to the government, especially in rural parts of the country and in areas like emergency medicine.The protesters, who are doctors in training and crucial for keeping hospitals running, say the shortage of doctors is not industrywide but confined to particular specialties, like emergency care. They say the government is ignoring the issues th...
Wife of Investor Who Pushed for Harvard President’s Exit Is Accused of Plagiarism
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Wife of Investor Who Pushed for Harvard President’s Exit Is Accused of Plagiarism

Accusations of plagiarism appear to be the newest weapon in the raging battle over the leadership and direction of elite universities.For weeks, William Ackman, the billionaire hedge fund manager, has campaigned on social media against Claudine Gay, who resigned as Harvard’s president amid accusations of plagiarizing other scholars and of not taking a strong enough stand against antisemitism on campus.But that battle was brought home after Business Insider, an online publication, posted similar accusations of plagiarism against Mr. Ackman’s wife, Neri Oxman, an architect and designer, who holds a Ph.D. in design computation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.Business Insider said on Friday that Dr. Oxman “stole sentences and whole paragraphs from Wikipedia, other scholars and t...
‘Shawshank’ in China, as You’ve Never Seen It Before
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‘Shawshank’ in China, as You’ve Never Seen It Before

When a stage production of “The Shawshank Redemption” opened recently in China, it was cast entirely with Western actors speaking fluent Mandarin Chinese. But that may have been the least surprising part of the show.That the show — an adaptation of the Stephen King novella that became one of the most beloved movies of all time — was staged at all seemingly flew in the face of several trends in China’s cultural sphere.Chinese audiences’ interest in Hollywood films is fading, with moviegoers turning to homegrown productions. China’s authoritarian government has stoked nationalism and cast Western influence as a political pollutant. Censorship of the arts has tightened.Yet the production reflects how some artists are trying to navigate the changing landscape of both what is permissible and wh...
Coleman Hughes, the Young Black Conservative Who Grew Up With, and Rejects, D.E.I.
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Coleman Hughes, the Young Black Conservative Who Grew Up With, and Rejects, D.E.I.

For many progressives, it was a big moment. In 2019, Congress was holding its first hearing on whether the United States should pay reparations for slavery.To support the idea, Democrats invited the influential author Ta-Nehisi Coates, who had revived the reparations issue in an article in The Atlantic, and the actor and activist Danny Glover.Republicans turned to a virtual unknown: a 23-year-old philosophy major at Columbia University, Coleman Hughes.In the hearing, Mr. Hughes, looking very much his age, testified to the House subcommittee that not paying reparations after the Civil War was “one of the greatest injustices ever perpetrated.”But, he continued, they should not be paid now. “There’s a difference between acknowledging history and allowing history to distract us from the proble...
Netanyahu Says He Won’t Bow to Pressure to Call Off Rafah Invasion
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Netanyahu Says He Won’t Bow to Pressure to Call Off Rafah Invasion

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel insisted on Saturday that Israel would not bow to international pressure to call off its plan for a ground invasion of Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza that is now packed with more than a million Palestinians.Many of the people now in Rafah are displaced and living in schools, tents or the homes of friends and relatives, part of a desperate search for any safe refuge from Israel’s military campaign, which has dragged on for more than four months. Their lives are a daily struggle to find enough food and water to survive.“Those who want to prevent us from operating in Rafah are basically telling us: Lose the war,” Mr. Netanyahu said at a news conference in Jerusalem on Saturday evening. “It’s true that there’s a lot of opposition abroad, but th...