Iran says it will abandon nuclear deal as tensions mount
Tehran said it was abandoning its “final limitations” in the 2015 nuclear deal and that it would no longer limit its enrichment of uranium in the wake of the U.S. assassination of a top commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.
The full dissolution of the deal, reached with the U.S., China, Russia and three Western European countries, came after an emergency meeting by Iran’s security council on Sunday. It was one of a host of steps taken in the chaotic aftermath of the general’s killing.
In Iraq: Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi was expected to sign a bill approved by Parliament that would to expel U.S. troops from the country, and a U.S.-led coalition said it was ending its yearslong mission attacking the Islamic State and training local forces in Syria and Iraq.
What’s next: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned on CNN that the U.S. could attack Iran within its borders if it took hostile actions, and President Trump warned that the U.S. had a list of 52 targets in Iran for possible strikes.
But Iran, our Interpreter columnist writes, will not want an all-out war, and will likely aim for limited counterattacks. Still, young people in the U.S. felt new anxiety about the prospect of conflict.
Recap: General Suleimani, Iran’s de facto No. 2 official, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a powerful Iraqi militia leader and close adviser to the general, were killed in an American drone strike early Friday at Baghdad’s airport. When military advisers gave President Trump options on responding to Iranian actions, they say, they did not expect him to pick the most extreme, assassinating the general.
Australia’s fires are like ‘an atomic bomb’
Wild fires are raging and the damage is expected to only get worse amid extremely arid conditions in the country. More than 12 million acres have burned so far — an area larger than Switzerland.
Light rain helped on Sunday, but there’s more than a month still to go in the fire season. The government announced over the weekend that it was deploying more military assets, at a scale not seen since World War II, experts say, with about 3,000 army reservists being made available to help.
Thousands of people, largely from the southeastern coast, were evacuated in anticipation of bad conditions. For wildlife, the toll has been incalculable, with most species in Australia unique to the country.
Context: While Australia has long dealt with bush fires, a yearslong drought and record temperatures have made for a more volatile fire season — which started earlier than normal and has been especially ferocious.
Quotable: “There’s nowhere safe,” said Liddy Lant, a hospital cleaner still in her uniform who had fled from her home on Saturday. “I could seriously just sit down and cry.”
Boeing’s safety risks may go beyond software
Even as the airplane manufacturer inches closer to getting the 737 Max back in the air, new problems are emerging while the company and regulators look into everything from the wiring on the plane to its engine.
Among the most pressing issues discovered were previously unreported concerns with the wiring that helps control the tail of the Max, according to a senior engineer at Boeing and three people familiar with the matter.
Regulators have suggested that the Max could be approved to fly again by the spring, a timetable that might still hold.
Details: Boeing is looking at whether two bundles of critical wiring are too close together and could cause a short circuit. A short in that area could lead to a crash if pilots did not respond correctly, the people said. Boeing says it’s trying to figure out whether that scenario could actually occur on a flight — but said the fix, if needed, is relatively simple.
If you have 7 minutes, this is worth it
Giving birth on their own terms
What we’re listening to: Terry Gross’s 2016 “Fresh Air” interview with the author Viet Thanh Nguyen, who is also a contributing opinion writer for The Times. Kevin McKenna, a deputy business editor, says, “I read his recent essay, in which he wrote that being able to show affection for his children is a luxury his refugee parents never had, and went back to this interview for more of his remarkable life story.”
Now, a break from the news
The medieval system works pretty well. But it requires every fourth year to be a leap year, and 2020 is one. We’ll get an extra day, Feb. 29, to bring the calendar back in line with the actual time it takes the earth to round the sun: 365.24 days.
To keep the calendar in balance, every century, we skip leap year, and every fourth century, we don’t. (For those of you planning way ahead, the next skip will be 2100.)
Another marker: The earth’s elliptical orbit means that there’s a point when the planet is farthest from our star, and another when it is closest.
You may not have noticed, but that closest pass happened this weekend — perihelion. The opposite, farthest point, will come in early July.
Looking for something sooner and more obvious to celebrate? Our next solar marker is an equinox. “Day” and “night” will be evenly split on March 19 or 20 (depending on your time zone).
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
And one more thing: A story about the start-up Oyo in Friday’s briefing misstated Instacart’s relationship to SoftBank. SoftBank does not invest in Instacart.
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. Andrea Kannapell, the Briefings editor, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode revisits a whistle-blower and his concerns about Boeing.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Follow, as advice (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times’s Science desk can help you sync your calendar with the solar system.