Good morning.

We’re covering last night’s Democratic presidential debate and the expected sentencing today of the actress Felicity Huffman in the college admissions scandal. It’s also Friday, and the news quiz has returned.


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CreditRuth Fremson/The New York Times

Once again this debate season, Joe Biden came under the fiercest attack as the leading Democratic presidential candidates were onstage together on Thursday for the first time.

The former vice president repeatedly invoked the Obama administration during an uneven performance in which he was confronted by his more progressive challengers. Here are six highlights from the debate and a look at how long each candidate spoke.

The details: The debate in Houston highlighted the central divide in the Democratic race: whether Mr. Biden and his incrementalism are more appealing than the structural overhaul promised by candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Reaction: Experts on the left and the right weighed in. We also fact-checked the candidates’ claims.

From Opinion: Our columnists and contributors ranked each candidate’s performance.

The Daily: Today’s episode is about the debate.


The Trump administration on Thursday announced the repeal of an Obama-era regulation that had limited the chemicals that could be used near bodies of water.

The change, expected to take effect in a matter of weeks, would mean polluters no longer need a permit to release potentially harmful substances into streams and wetlands.

President Trump promised to repeal the rule during his campaign, saying it impinged on the rights of farmers, landowners and real estate developers.

Closer look: The administration has moved to eliminate more than 80 environmental rules and regulations.

Related: Beekeepers have sued the Environmental Protection Agency over a chemical they say harms their hives.


Many economists expect growth to weaken over the next couple of years. Historically, the effects of a slowdown have differed sharply from the fallout caused by an all-out recession.

Here’s a comparison, explaining how your job and bank account could be affected.

Related: A trade deal is not imminent, but China said it was moving to buy U.S. agricultural products after President Trump agreed to delay his next round of tariffs. More negotiations begin next month.

Yesterday: The European Central Bank took unexpectedly aggressive steps to head off an economic downturn — cutting a key interest rate and reviving a money-printing program — but later said it was reaching the limits of its stimulus powers.


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CreditPaulo Nunes dos Santos for The New York Times

One crucial question bedevils Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union: how to preserve the open border between Ireland, a member of the bloc, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom?

Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, has ruled out leaving Northern Ireland under European Union regulations, but he is said to be considering putting parts of the territory’s economy into an “all-Ireland” zone that would presumably preserve the open border with the south.

Another angle: Food and medicine shortages, dayslong waits at the border and civil unrest are among the potential consequences of a no-deal Brexit. The “reasonable worst case planning assumptions” are outlined in a policy paper that lawmakers forced the government to release.

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CreditThomas Coex/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A planned cable-car project in Jerusalem would shuttle visitors to the Western Wall, the holiest site in the Jewish world, by 2021. The plan would bypass a Palestinian district of East Jerusalem and has horrified Israeli preservationists.

The network also illustrates how Israel uses architecture and urban planning to extend its authority in the occupied territories, our architecture critic writes.

New threat to Bahamas: Another potential tropical storm — this one would be called Humberto — is expected to affect the area that was recently devastated by Hurricane Dorian, forecasters warned.

Felicity Huffman sentencing: The actress is today expected to become the first parent to be sentenced for her role in the nation’s largest college admissions cheating scandal. Prosecutors have asked that she serve one month in jail.

Horse trainer on defense: A lawyer for Bob Baffert, who trained the 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify, said environmental contamination, not doping, was the cause of the racehorse’s failed drug test.

Ben Carson is cleared: Investigators found no evidence that the housing secretary had acted improperly when he tried to buy $31,000 in office furniture in 2017, according to an inspector general’s report.

Sex, death and labor law: A court in France has ruled that a man who died from a heart attack after having sex during a business trip had suffered a work-related accident and that his employer was liable.

From The Times: Our Opinion section has started an email newsletter, Debatable, that provides a range of perspectives about the most talked-about disagreements. Today’s topic: universal basic income.

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CreditGuerin Blask for The New York Times

Snapshot: Above, Jane Goodall, the celebrated primatologist, is 85 and still passionately preaching environmentalism. Working with chimpanzees taught her a lot about humans: “We’re not, after all, separate from the animal kingdom,” she said. “We’re part of it.”

News quiz: Did you follow the headlines this week? Test yourself.

Modern Love: In this week’s column, a queer woman who fought for the right to be married finds herself fighting for the space to be human.

Late-night comedy: The hosts were watching the Democrats. “I don’t know who won the debate,” Jimmy Kimmel said, “but watching candidates discuss the issues intelligently, using real facts, I’d forgotten what it was like.”

What we’re reading: This confession of a kitchen pest in The Guardian. Mike Wolgelenter, an editor based in London, connected with the part about “trying to edit” a colleague’s sandwich. “Been there. Done that. Not proud.”

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CreditDavid Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Vivian Lui.

Cook: This Kentucky butter cake is a knockout.

Watch: Here’s the trailer for the Amazon series “Modern Love,” inspired by the Times column, which has run reader-submitted personal essays about relationships since 2004.

Listen: The singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston, who was acclaimed as one of America’s most gifted outsider voices, died this week at 58. Here’s a playlist of 12 essential songs.

Read: “Permanent Record” is a memoir by Edward Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who leaked government secrets. It’s riveting and personal, our critic writes.


Smarter Living: If you’re thinking of installing solar panels, now might be the time: In the U.S., a generous federal tax credit expires soon. It’s not just about the money: One expert estimates that installing a residential solar panel system is equivalent to planting hundreds of trees.

And readers who are caring for elderly parents shared their stories.

The U.S. government said this week that it would ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes out of concern that they appealed to young people and might be linked to lung illness. For the same reason, it outlawed the sale of flavored cigarettes in 2009 — except for menthol.

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CreditBryan Thomas for The New York Times

Menthol cigarettes are particularly popular among black smokers, and black leaders have accused the tobacco industry of targeting African-Americans in marketing campaigns. Antismoking groups say menthol makes cigarettes easier to smoke and harder to quit.

Canada banned menthol cigarettes in 2017, and a European Union prohibition goes into effect next year. A U.S. proposal, announced last year, is in limbo.

When Juul Labs faced pressure last year over its products’ appeal to young people, the company pulled e-cigarettes with fruity or dessert flavors. But many vapers simply switched to Juul’s mint version.

One Juul official said the company was considering challenging the proposed restrictions, specifically on mint and menthol. And stock of the tobacco giant Altria held firm on the belief among some investors that the two flavors would not be banned, according to an analyst at CFRA Research.


That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Chris


Thank you
Melina Delkic helped compile today’s briefing. Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford provided the break from the news, and Victoria Shannon wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about the Democratic debate.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Unit of bananas (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Nick Casey, our Andes bureau chief since 2016, and Sarah Lyall, who wrote the Abroad in America newsletter during the 2018 midterm elections, will join the politics desk to cover the 2020 campaign.

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