Your Thursday Briefing – The New York Times

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A Manhattan federal jury has found Ghislaine Maxwell, the former companion of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, guilty of plotting with him for at least a decade to recruit, treat and sexually assault underage girls.

For the most serious of the charges she was convicted of – child sex trafficking – Maxwell could face up to 40 years in prison. Another count carries a potential sentence of 10 years, and the other three carry sentences of up to five years each. The judge did not set a sentencing date and his lawyers said they intended to appeal.

The lawsuit was widely seen as the responsibility in court that Epstein never faced after his death – by what the medical examiner ruled a suicide – in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 as he waited his own sex trafficking trial. Maxwell was arrested a year later.

Pursuit: “Ms. Maxwell was a sophisticated predator who knew exactly what she was doing,” prosecutor Alison Moe told the jury last week. “She manipulated her victims and prepared them for sexual abuse.”

Across Europe and the United States, records for new coronavirus infections are set day by day as the Omicron variant tears populations apart with a speed exceeding anything seen in the past two years. WHO has warned that with the Delta variant, Omicron could create a “tsunami” of infections that could overwhelm health systems.

Britain, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy and Spain all set records for new daily case counts this week. So far, none of these countries are reporting a sharp increase in hospitalizations, although the increase has only been in a few weeks.

For those vaccinated, Omicron may be milder than previous variants, but the wave of new infections is causing chaos in hospitals, testing centers and businesses. Tests are increasingly difficult to find, even in places like Britain where they were once in reliable supply.

Registration numbers: France set a record on Wednesday with 208,000 new daily cases, the most recorded in all European countries since the start of the pandemic. “Every second in our country, two French people are diagnosed positive”, declared the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran.

Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.

In other developments:


As the April presidential elections loom, the French left is in dire straits, with its various factions struggling to come together and unite behind a single presidential ticket. The alternative, analysts say, is being crushed by the right and the far right. Seven left-wing candidates are currently presidential candidates. All vote with a single digit.

Amid the ineffective chaos, there is now a pressure for order. Bypassing traditional party tactics, the “People’s Primary”, a growing effort led by a left-wing group exhausted by factionalism and fragmentation, will hold a vote in January for supporters to choose a single candidate before the French electorate. not be heard. in general.

The French left has long been dominated by the Socialist Party and its social democratic policies. But Emmanuel Macron’s victory in 2017 put an end to the two-party system, ushering in an unruly mix on the left, mainly divided between the Socialists, the Greens and the far left France Unbowed – as well as the other small far left parties born of the ashes of the Communist Party.

The context: In a country that veers to the right, the left has been left speechless on issues like security, immigration and national identity, and has failed to capitalize on the wave of environmental protests and social justice that should have been the opportunity to gain support.

For nearly two decades, the carcass of an unfinished hotel marred an idyllic coastline in southern Spain. The future of the hotel remains uncertain, but the lesson is clear: it is easier to degrade the environment than to fix it.

John Madden, the Hall of Fame coach who went on to become one of the world’s most recognizable football ambassadors, died Tuesday at the age of 85. Revisit our 2013 interview with him.

The best book of the last 125 years is… “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.

For its 125th anniversary, The Times Book Review invited readers to nominate the best book published during this period. Responses poured in from all 50 states and 67 countries, many of whom read this briefing. (Thank you!)

In November, publishers put the 25 most nominated works to a vote. It was a narrow victory, but around 200,000 readers chose Lee’s complex legal drama about racism, family, and the southern United States.

Of the more than 1,300 books nominated, 65% were by a single person. And only 31 percent named a book that made it to our list of 25 finalists.

Three writers – John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner – each received nominations for seven of their books. Other popular authors included James Baldwin, Margaret Atwood, and Virginia Woolf, who each had five nominated books. And readers have named four books by Joan Didion, who passed away this month.

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