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Winter Storm, Russia, N.F.L.: Your Weekend Briefing

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Here are the week’s top stories, and a look ahead.

1. The East Coast is digging out from a major winter storm.

After dropping a blanket of snow over parts of New York and New Jersey yesterday — as much as 18 inches on some parts of Long Island — the “bomb cyclone” marched northeast, bringing gusting winds, flooding and near-record snow accumulation in New England. Thousands of flights were canceled up and down the coast.

Nearly 70,000 households were without electricity in Massachusetts, especially on Cape Cod and the nearby islands, where heavy winds made restoring power difficult. As much as 30 inches of snow had fallen in some parts of Massachusetts, while Boston had about two feet. The storm drew comparisons to the nightmarish Blizzard of ’78, which buried the city under more than 27 inches of snow.

2. The most punishing sanctions that the U.S. is threatening to impose on Moscow if it invades Ukraine could upend Russia’s entire economy — but also those of other nations.

The economic measures could cause severe inflation, a stock market crash and financial panic in ways that would inevitably affect daily life in Russia. The response that U.S. officials have promised could roil major economies, particularly those in Europe, and even threaten the stability of the global financial system, analysts say.

3. For years, Democrats complained about Republicans spending millions in dark money. Then they used the same tactic to win in 2020.

A Times analysis revealed how the left outdid the right at raising and spending millions from undisclosed donors to defeat Donald Trump.

Tax filings and other data shows that 15 of the most politically active nonprofit organizations that generally align with the Democratic Party spent more than $1.5 billion in 2020 — compared with roughly $900 million spent by a comparable sample of groups aligned with the G.O.P.

Gerrymandering is another tool that political parties can wield to their advantage. We made a game to help you understand it.

4. Covid vaccination rates have stalled in a group that is crucial to ending the pandemic: kids.

According to a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 18.8 percent of children in the 5-to-11 age group are now fully vaccinated and only 28.1 percent have received one dose. The disparity among states is stark. In Vermont, 52 percent of young children are fully vaccinated; in Mississippi, it is 6 percent.

With adult vaccination hitting a ceiling, unvaccinated elementary school children remain a large, turbulent source of spread. Vaccine advocates are trying new tactics to reach hesitant parents. One principal is calling families daily.

The pandemic has changed children. Some can’t shake the feeling of instability. Others are taking on adult responsibilities. And anxiety is all around. This is what it’s like to be a student right now.

5. China introduced a wide range of high-tech controls as part of its effort to stop Covid. The consequences may endure.

Over the past two years, the Chinese government has honed its powers to track and corral people, backed by upgraded technology, armies of neighborhood workers and broad public support. A health app has been key to China’s goal of stamping out the coronavirus entirely within its borders.

Now Chinese officials are turning their sharpened surveillance against corruption and dissent. This provides Xi Jinping, China’s leader, with a potent techno-authoritarian tool.

Containing Covid will be a top priority as athletes and journalists from around the world arrive in Beijing this week for the Winter Olympics. The opening ceremony is Friday. Here’s a guide to every sport at the Games.

6. As Biden prepares to nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court, the small, elite group of Black women lawyers and judges is watching with complicated emotions.

By some estimates, they represent perhaps just 2 percent of the nation’s 1.3 million lawyers. Now, for the first time in their lives, someone who looks like them — and has likely experienced similar career challenges — could ascend to the Supreme Court. “Finally,” one lawyer said. “We now have the possibility of a Supreme Court that would look more like America.”

But along with that excitement is frustration that it has taken more than two centuries for this moment to arrive.

While Democrats have the majority they need to install a new justice entirely on their own, a battle is still likely over Biden’s choice to replace Justice Stephen Breyer.

7. Rafael Nadal broke the Grand Slam record with a 21st title by defeating Daniil Medvedev at the Australian Open.

Nadal, 35, came back from a foot injury last year to surpass his longtime rivals, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, who have 20 Grand Slam titles a piece. He won in five sets. This was Nadal’s sixth and most surprising Australian Open final. Last year, he discussed the possibility of retirement with his family.

10. And finally, a goodbye.

After three years of guiding you through the weekend news, today is my last day as your Weekend Briefing writer.

My mission through it all has been simple: to bring you a steady voice in uncertain times, a glimpse into new worlds and something to smile about. It has been a journey, and I thank you for sticking by my side (even when I decided to give up melted cheese).

Looking ahead: My colleagues at The Morning have something special in store for you starting next week. In the meantime, you can continue to follow me every weeknight on The Evening Briefing.

Have a meaningful week.

Marcus Payadue compiled photos for this briefing.

Your Weekend Briefing is published Sundays at 6:30 a.m. Eastern.

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