Davos, Mueller, Syria: Your Friday Evening Briefing


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Mike Blake/Reuters

3. This year’s flu season is now more intense than any since the 2009 swine flu pandemic — and it’s still getting worse.

That’s the word from federal health officials, who announced that the hospitalization rate — a predictor of the death rate — has jumped.

This year’s dominant virus, H3N2, is usually the most lethal of the seasonal strains, and vaccines don’t work that well against it. But let us repeat: It’s still worth getting a flu shot, and it’s not too late in the year. Above, a flu patient in California.

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Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

4. Our Beirut bureau helped unpack the developments in northern Syria, where Turkey, a U.S. ally, is attacking Kurdish militias backed by Washington.

Those fighters disavow nationalism and envision a stateless society without gender distinctions. And they have deep ties to a group that both Turkey and the U.S. consider a terrorist organization.

Yes, it’s complicated. Above, U.S.-backed fighters at a funeral for fallen comrades.

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Kyungnam Shinmun, via Getty Images

5. In South Korea, a fire at a hospital that doubled as a nursing home killed at least 37 people in the southern city of Miryang.

It was the latest in a string of tragedies that have heightened public concern over the country’s safety standards. South Korea also has one of the world’s fastest-aging populations.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire.

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Brendan McDermid/Reuters

6. “Over the course of the trial, we became an army determined to expose the greatest sexual assault scandal in sports history. And we succeeded.”

Rachael Denhollander, above left, the former gymnast and lawyer who was the first to go public about Lawrence Nassar’s abuse, described the ordeal in an Op-Ed for The New York Times.

Bowing to the demands of the United States Olympic Committee, U.S.A. Gymnastics confirmed Friday night that all the remaining members of its board of directors would resign.

Now that Dr. Nassar has been sentenced, the focus has also turned to Michigan State, which employed him for two decades. State and federal agencies are investigating who knew about his behavior, and the president and athletic director have resigned.

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Stefan Claes

7. Travel with us to the land of endless night.

We asked readers who live around the Arctic Circle — where in some places the sun doesn’t shine for weeks after the winter solstice — to share their stories and photos of life there. Nearly 700 responded.

“On a clear night, the number of stars is beyond understanding,” said a hotelier in Finland. “Sometimes when you stop in the forest, it is so quiet you think that there is something wrong with your hearing.”

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Kevin D. Liles for The New York Times

8. Our personal finance columnist, Ron Lieber, has been on something of a crusade against Equifax since its huge data breach in the fall.

One of the most frustrating aspects of the debacle, for Mr. Lieber and the many readers who got in touch with him, is that there’s no way to get the company to delete your personal information.

But you might be able to get your employer to do so. As a case study, he asked The Times to cancel its contract with Equifax for services like providing employment verification.

After a few days of consideration, the company said it would do so.

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Lev Radin/Pacific Press and LightRocket, via Getty Images

9. Will the Grammys have a #MeToo moment? The awards show is Sunday, and a grass-roots campaign started this week encouraging attendees to wear a white rose as a symbol of “hope, peace, sympathy and resistance.” Above, the singer Halsey spoke out against abuse at the Women’s March in New York.

But pop music has not been rocked by the #MeToo movement the way Hollywood was, and some observers are asking why. After all, women are still woefully underrepresented in the industry: A new report found that only 9 percent of the 899 nominees in the last six Grammys were women.

Our pop music critic put together a playlist of the Grammy gems in lesser-known categories. (You probably won’t hear them during the broadcast.) You can sign up to listen to it on Spotify, too.

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Atul Loke for The New York Times

10. Finally, the Taj Mahal is getting a cleaning, architects-turned-pastry chefs are taking the dessert world by storm, and we met the Pied Piper of parrots. Here’s the week in good news.

Have a great weekend.

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Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.

And don’t miss Your Morning Briefing, posted weekdays at 6 a.m. Eastern, and Your Weekend Briefing, posted at 6 a.m. Sundays. We have four global editions, timed for the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia.

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