Cruise Ship, Oscars, North Korea: Your Tuesday Briefing


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Good morning.

We’re covering desperation on a quarantined cruise ship, South Korea’s historic night at the Oscars, and North Korea’s internet stealth.

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ImageEmergency workers on Monday leaving the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is docked in Yokohoma, Japan, with more than 3,600 people aboard. 
Credit…Carl Court/Getty Images

Cruise ship’s coronavirus cases nearly double

More than 60 new cases of the virus have been confirmed on a ship quarantined in Japan, bringing the total to 136. A woman told us that her mother was on board and feverish — but hadn’t been seen by doctors.

Here are the latest updates and maps of where the virus has spread.

“Let’s not shake hands in this special time,” said President Xi Jinping of China as he reappeared in public in a show of leadership. Much of China remains idle, its economy frozen. Though the country faces stigma for being at the center of some of the world’s biggest viral epidemics, its health system has made strides.

Closer look: While the world’s most trafficked mammal, the pangolin, may be involved in the outbreak, the evidence is far from clear.

Quenching South Korea’s thirst for Oscar glory

The success of “Parasite” at the Academy Awards led to an outpouring of national pride in South Korea on Monday, after the comedy-thriller directed by Bong Joon Ho became the first film not in English to win the award for best picture.

The victory made front-page news. “The South Korean movie industry became 100 years old last year,” said a 50-year-old office worker in Seoul, “and this is a momentous event that makes South Koreans proud.”

“Parasite” also won awards for best director, original screenplay and international feature. Sharon Choi, an aspiring filmmaker, is the interpreter who has followed Mr. Bong and the “Parasite” team throughout their successful awards season.

Watch: Mr. Bong narrated one of the scenes from “Parasite” last year for our “Anatomy of a Scene” series.

Other Oscars: In the acting categories, Joaquin Phoenix won for “Joker”; Renée Zellweger for “Judy”; Brad Pitt for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”; and Laura Dern for “Marriage Story.” Here’s a complete list of winners.

The red carpet: View our collection of photographs from before and after the awards show.

Chinese officers charged in vast 2017 U.S. hack

The U.S. announced that it had charged four Chinese military officers with hacking Equifax, a major credit reporting agency, and making off with sensitive personal data on about 145 million Americans.

The Justice Department suggested that the hack was part of a string of major thefts organized by the People’s Liberation Army and Chinese intelligence agencies, including the hacking of the U.S. government’s personnel office in 2015.

Motive: Law enforcement officials have not yet found evidence that the Chinese government has used the data from the Equifax hacking. But the U.S. suspects Beijing of developing databases on Americans for use in espionage.

New Hampshire primary set to shake up Democrats

New Hampshire is voting Tuesday in its Democratic presidential primary, with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont leading recent polling averages and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., not far behind.

The two are trying to capitalize on their strong showings in the Iowa caucuses and zoom past rivals. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is reviving an earlier rallying cry: “Nevertheless, she persisted.” Former Vice President Joe Biden is expected to have a bad night, and the political outsider Andrew Yang faces a make-or-break moment.

Here are our live updates as candidates dash around the state.

Go deeper: The problems with the Iowa caucuses were bigger than one bad app. According to an investigation by our reporters, there was a total system failure.

If you have 6 minutes, this is worth it

How North Korea exploits the internet

“Our entire concept of how to control the North’s financial engagement with the world is based on an image of the North that is fixed in the past.”

That’s a former National Security Agency analyst whose new study says that North Korea’s internet use has surged about 300 percent since 2017 — and that the bandwidth has allowed the country to move money around the world in defiance of international sanctions, to mine and steal cryptocurrencies and to unleash its hackers.

Our national security correspondent David Sanger examines the study and the implications.

Here’s what else is happening

Thai gunman: Sgt. Jakrapanth Thomma, who killed 29 people in a devastating mass shooting over the weekend, held a grudge against his superior officer, a colonel, and the colonel’s mother-in-law, according to those who knew him. His belief that the pair cheated him highlights a transactional side of the Thai military.

Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel’s handpicked successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, bowed out of seeking the country’s top position after opposing a decision by a branch of their party, the Christian Democratic Union, to make common cause in the country’s east with the far-right Alternative for Germany.

The Philippines: The government moved to end the franchise of ABS-CBN Corp., the country’s leading broadcast network. It’s the latest push by President Rodrigo Duterte against media outlets that have been critical of his leadership.

Snapshot: Above, a lightning storm over Pretoria, South Africa. Researchers say that Africa is experiencing bigger and more frequent thunderstorms as global temperatures rise.

What we’re reading: The 10,000-Year Clock Is a Waste of Time,” in Wired. “The piece takes a look at the complicated device being built in Texas — mind-boggling not just because of its ambition, but as an emblem of the hubris of tech mega-billionaires.”

Now, a break from the news

Cook: Sesame noodles with chicken and peanuts is quick and spicy. (Our Five Weeknight Dishes newsletter has more recommendations.)

Read: The writer Matthew Lopez discusses “The Inheritance,” his two-part play about gay culture in New York and the legacy of AIDS.

Listen: The indie rock duo Best Coast has a new song, “Everything Has Changed,” and a new outlook on life.

Smarter Living: Better coffee at home is within reach. Here are five cheap(ish) things to make it happen.

And now for the Back Story on …

The New Hampshire primary

Some members of our politics team have been on the ground in New Hampshire for weeks. We talked to one of them, Matt Stevens, about the mood in the state ahead of Tuesday’s primary.

We just came off a messy run in Iowa. Are there fears that New Hampshire’s vote could also go awry?

Short answer: Yes, absolutely. There are many, many things that could go wrong. But as some of our colleagues have pointed out, New Hampshire has a history of running elections smoothly, whereas the Iowa caucuses have now encountered problems in three consecutive cycles.

How are New Hampshire voters feeling about their primary system? Perhaps because of those divergent histories, the voters I have talked to here in New Hampshire have both expressed confidence in their system and given the side-eye to Iowa. Caucuses and primaries are very different, and the folks here are pretty darn sure their system is best.

Last week, as the mess was unfolding in Iowa, a woman in Hampton, N.H., told me: “This is a national level campaign. You have all these years to get it straight and this is the embarrassment you’re causing the party?”

How is your team managing back-to-back primaries?

Some of us went to Iowa; most of the rest of us came to New Hampshire. And a handful did both. (Bless them!) The consensus among the people who have been to both places seems to be that the workroom at our hotel here in Manchester has windows, and is therefore far superior to the one in Des Moines, but the food options around our New Hampshire hotel are way more limited. I personally have already been to the Olive Garden next door twice.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Penn

Thank you
To Mark Josephson and Kathleen Massara for the break from the news. Remy Tumin, who writes our Evening Briefing, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at [email protected].

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