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Here are the week’s top stories, and a look ahead.
1. Human rights in China may offer a rare moment of bipartisanship among congressional lawmakers in 2020.
Republicans and Democrats are planning to try to force President Trump to take a more active stand on human rights by preparing veto-proof legislation that would punish China over its treatment of ethnic Uighur Muslims.
Mr. Trump has been unwilling to challenge China over human rights abuses, despite vivid reports this year outlining atrocities. This weekend, The Times detailed how China had separated nearly half a million Muslim children from their families, and had placed them in boarding schools designed to assimilate and indoctrinate them, like the one above, in Hotan.
The aim of the schools is to make the children more secular and loyal to both the Communist Party and the nation.
An examination by our Climate reporters found that political appointees had shut down government studies, had reduced the influence of scientists over regulatory decisions and, in some cases, had pressured researchers not to speak publicly.
“Regulations come and go, but the thinning out of scientific capacity in the government will take a long time to get back,” said a former top climate-policy expert at the Interior Department who quit in 2017 after being reassigned to a job collecting oil and gas royalties.
Have you been keeping up with the headlines? Test your knowledge with our year-ending news quiz. And here’s the front page of our Sunday paper, the Sunday Review from Opinion and our crossword puzzles.
3. With only two days of trading to go, the stock market is closing in on its best year in two decades.
Even with a simmering trade war, an impeached president and a tech industry under scrutiny, investors were buoyed by a mere whiff of optimism that the economy will keep chugging along.
So far this year, the S&P 500 is up 29 percent. If it ends higher than 29.6 percent on Tuesday, this will be the best year for stocks since 1997, when the gain was 31 percent. Here’s how it got there.
4. At least 79 people were killed by a truck explosion at a busy intersection in Somalia’s capital. It was the worst attack in the country in years.
A bus carrying university students to their campus was struck by the blast, which also injured 149 people.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suspicion immediately fell on the Shabab, a terrorist group linked to Al Qaeda which controls large parts of the country.
5. The Russian military said it had deployed a hypersonic weapon that could fly at superfast speeds and could easily evade American missile defense systems.
Moscow has been working on the technology for years, and American officials said they had little doubt the Russians had a working hypersonic weapon, which sits on top of a modified missile and is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
Also out of Russia: Frode Berg willingly worked for Norwegian intelligence in Russia. Then, he says, they hung him out to dry. His tale embodies the tensions emerging as Western countries intensify their hunt for the Kremlin’s secrets.
7. California’s new data privacy law is set to take effect Jan. 1. No one can agree on how to comply.
The statute, which allows people in California the right to see the information that many companies have accumulated about them, was meant to standardize how companies disclosed their consumer data-mining practices.
But the new requirements are so novel that companies like Facebook, Google, Uber, Lyft and Microsoft are interpreting the new law in different ways, especially over what it means to stop selling or sharing consumers’ personal details.
9. In Japan, the first three days of the year are spent with family eating an elaborate array of food. For one family in Washington State, that means all hands on deck — and a poignant reminder of the past.
Dishes prepared for the New Year’s tradition, called osechi ryori, are meant to be symbolic of luck and fortune in the year to come. The Washington State family, who refer to themselves as the Sasakis, have gathered to make osechi for more than a century. Their history, including internment, is the story of many Japanese in America.
If you’re looking for more cooking inspiration, we rounded up our top New Year’s recipes (cocktails included).
10. Finally, dig in to one of our Best Weekend Reads.
Among them are our latest Diary of a Song installment with Taylor Swift, a deep dive into the crisis of missing Native American women, above, and a look back at some of the artists, innovators and thinkers we lost in the past year.
For more ideas on what to read, watch and listen to, may we suggest these 10 books to watch for in January, a glance at the latest small-screen recommendations from Watching and our music critics’ latest playlist. “The Weekly” also returns to FX tonight with exclusive interviews about allegations of the war crimes against Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher.
Looking to make some resolutions? Here are 13 ways to be a better person next year.
Hope you have a great start to 2020.
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