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Joe Biden, Uber, Alanis Morissette: Your Friday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering Pete Buttigieg’s work with the consulting company McKinsey, and a scandal involving Spain’s version of “Big Brother.”

Having said nine months ago that she opposed the “divisive” idea of impeaching President Trump, the speaker has announced a timetable that could lead to a vote in the House before Christmas.

She was swayed, our congressional correspondent writes, by the news of Mr. Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. Her shift was “in part the story of her sense of timing, her methodical approach to decision making and her ability to read the sensibilities and political needs of her fractious and often unruly caucus.”

After her address on Thursday, Ms. Pelosi warned a reporter who asked whether she hated Mr. Trump: “Don’t mess with me.”

What’s next: The White House faces a deadline today to notify the House Judiciary Committee whether it intends to present a defense or put forward witnesses. The panel has scheduled its next impeachment hearing for Monday.

Another angle: Administration officials disputed details in the House Intelligence Committee’s report about calls between Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, and White House aides.

Closer look: Some congressional aides who have appeared in the background of photographs during the impeachment hearings have found momentary fame.


Before becoming mayor of South Bend, Ind., Mr. Buttigieg spent nearly three years working at McKinsey & Company, the prestigious management consultancy.

The Democratic presidential candidate hasn’t much discussed his time with the company, citing a nondisclosure agreement. But The Times spoke to six people who were involved in projects he worked on, including in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Another angle: After starting out with a diverse field of presidential candidates, the Democratic Party risks presenting an all-white lineup at its debate this month.

Yesterday: Joe Biden received the endorsement of former Secretary of State John Kerry. Mr. Biden also called a voter in Iowa who questioned his son’s business dealings a “damn liar.”

Transportation was severely disrupted across the country today as angry railway employees participated in the demonstrations against the government’s plan to overhaul the generous pension system.

The disruption comes after a nationwide strike on Thursday that the authorities said involved at least 800,000 people.

The protests are partly a response to President Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker whose sometimes imperious style has made him broadly unpopular.

The details: Mr. Macron isn’t proposing to spend less on pensions or to make people retire later, but his efforts to combine 42 pension schemes have raised fears that he will reshuffle the system’s winners and losers.

Go deeper: Unlike last year’s “Yellow Vest” demonstrations, which were led by the marginally employed, this strike includes many unionized workers such as teachers, hospital workers and some civil servants.

Belgium, where more than 2,300 patients died by euthanasia last year, has liberal laws for doctor-assisted death.

But when Marieke Vervoort, above, a champion Paralympian, obtained preliminary approval to end her life, her parents were uncomfortable with the idea. Even her doctor said that Ms. Vervoort didn’t seem ready to follow through — and she agreed.

Two Times journalists spent three years reporting on Ms. Vervoort as she wrestled with an agonizing decision. “We cry a lot,” she said of her family. “It’s not natural for parents to give their daughter away first.”

November employment report: The U.S. economy added 266,000 jobs last month, helped by the return of workers after the end of a strike at General Motors. The unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, down from 3.6 percent the month before.

South Florida shootout: Four people were killed in a police chase involving a stolen U.P.S. truck outside Miami.

Uber’s safety record: The company said it had reports of 3,045 sexual assaults during its 1.3 billion rides in the U.S. last year, with nine people murdered and 58 killed in crashes.

Snapshot: Above, a sad-looking Christmas tree in London’s Trafalgar Square. The 79-foot fir, a gift from Norway, is the talk of the town — and not in a good way.

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

Modern Love: In this week’s column, a woman writes about celebrating her 52nd wedding anniversary and then filing for divorce.

Late-night comedy: James Corden asked: “The House will now file articles of impeachment, then it will go to a full vote, then it could go to the Senate. I mean, how many steps are there in this? Are we impeaching a president or assembling a futon from Ikea?”

What we’re looking at: These novel gingerbread houses collected by Dwell. “They’re real architectural lookers,” writes Lynda Richardson, a Travel editor, “from midcentury modern creations and an Airstream to Philip Johnson’s Glass House.”

Cook: We have 12 stunning cookie recipes for Christmas, including these peppermint stripes. (If you’re as enchanted by the videos as we are, read about how they came together. It involved five months of work and the “Babe Ruth of cookies.”)

Go: “Jagged Little Pill,” the Broadway musical based on Alanis Morissette’s 1995 megahit album, is “rousing and real,” our critic writes. It’s at the Broadhurst Theater in Manhattan.

Read: Spiritually minded books are among the 11 titles we recommend this week.

Smarter Living: One thing you can do for the environment is to use smarter holiday lights.

The Trump administration recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital two years ago today. We asked our Jerusalem bureau chief, David M. Halbfinger, how that has played out.

Little has changed as a direct result; other countries have hardly lined up to follow suit. But the announcement now almost seems quaint.

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