Your Evening Briefing

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The U.S. military has begun conducting exercises across the country (above, in Fort Bragg, N.C.) — preparations for a war that military leaders hope never comes.

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Credit Saul Martinez for The New York Times

3. On Martin Luther King’s Birthday, Americans reflected on the legacy of the civil rights leader.

In interviews on Sunday, black Americans described how they’ve struggled to comprehend what is happening in a country that was so recently led by an African-American president. “I’ve been involved in the civil rights movement since my college days, and I’m not sure I’ve ever been more confused than I am right now,” said one 94-year-old activist.

Separately, a year after the huge mobilization for the Women’s March event in Washington, the group behind it has encouraged more protests, often at the grass-roots level. But a division over priorities and tactics has led to a split, and a new group, calling itself March On, is focused on winning elections, especially in red states.

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Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

4. “Clearly, nothing of this magnitude was imagined.”

Devastating mudslides have left at least 20 dead in Montecito, Calif., a wealthy coastal enclave near Santa Barbara that is home to celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and Jeff Bridges.

As search-and-rescue efforts continue, residents are starting to reckon with their loss — and weigh the risks of staying.

Recent wildfires denuded much of the landscape, leaving the terrain vulnerable to erosion, and unfortunately for Montecito, California’s rainy season is just beginning.

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Credit Reuters

5. In Iran, people are not buying the official account of three protesters’ deaths. Officials say that two killed themselves in government custody, and that a third man was a terrorist who died in a clash with security forces.

But in a striking show of defiance, many Iranians are pointing to what they call glaring contradictions in the official account, and demanding further investigation into the prison deaths.

Perhaps most meaningfully, President Hassan Rouhani, above center, who has defended the right of peaceful protest, appeared to offer his support to those skeptical of the government’s claims.

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Photo
Credit Ferran Paredes/Reuters

6. Dolores O’Riordan, the lead singer of the Irish alternative rock group the Cranberries, has died in London at age 46.

Ms. O’Riordan’s vocal stylings, which showed a clear Celtic influence, were central to the appeal of the group, which had hits like “Zombie” and “Dreams.”

Fans offered tributes on social media. “She was part of my DNA, the soundtrack to my life,” one wrote.

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Photo
Credit Robert Beatty

7. The long shadow cast by Intel has made it difficult for computer chip start-ups to scrounge up the investment capital needed to break into the industry.

But budding interest in artificial intelligence is providing a foothold for 45 new companies that are dedicated to building processors exclusively for A.I.

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At least five of them have raised more than $100 million from investors, as venture capitalists seem to have forgotten all about those forbidding roadblocks to a young company’s success.

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Photo
Credit Gem Diamonds, via Reuters

8. Nine-hundred-ten carats.

That’s how much a diamond discovered in Lesotho weighs. (At about 6.4 ounces, it’s heavier than a billiard ball.) The stone, the world’s fifth-largest gem-quality diamond to be found, is estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars.

Unsurprisingly, shares of the London-based company that owns a majority stake in the African mine jumped sharply on news of the discovery.

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Photo
Credit Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

9. American tennis fans were dealt three major disappointments in quick succession, with the top U.S. players Sloane Stephens, Venus Williams and CoCo Vandeweghe all falling in the first round of the Australian Open.

Of the four American women to reach the semifinals at the U.S. Open in September, only Madison Keys is still in the singles tournament. You can catch her first match tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern.

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10. Finally, it can sometimes feel as if the news alerts that are delivered straight to our phone have accelerated life itself.

In 1968, the world was also in tumult and seemed at a crossroads, too. Our interactive looks back on that fraught year, and imagines, if there had been smartphones, the flurry of notifications that would have accompanied each twist and turn.

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    Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/15/briefing/trump-north-korea-martin-luther-king.html

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