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We’re covering a momentous day in Washington, tonight’s Democratic debate, and a ruling against the Affordable Care Act. We also present the decade in pictures.
A more intimate Democratic debate
After five debates including at least 10 presidential candidates, the face-off tonight will be the primary’s smallest yet.
The seven contenders: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang. Here’s what to watch for.
The details: The event in Los Angeles begins at 8 p.m. Eastern, hosted by PBS NewsHour and Politico.
Go deeper: Mr. Yang will be the only nonwhite candidate onstage, after weeks of debate about the diversity of the Democratic field. That focus has left some Asian-Americans considering what diversity means — and how exactly they fit in.
Obamacare mandate is struck down
A federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday that the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that people have health insurance was unconstitutional.
The three-judge panel sent the case back to a judge in Texas to determine which parts of the nearly decade-old health law could survive without the mandate. Judge Reed O’Connor struck down the entire law last year, but Wednesday’s ruling asked that he “employ a finer-toothed comb.”
The details: If the law were thrown out, about 17 million Americans could lose coverage. Additionally, more than 50 million with pre-existing medical conditions could be denied health insurance, and insurers would no longer have to cover people up to age 26 under their parents’ plans.
What’s next: Given Judge O’Connor’s time-consuming assignment, the issue is unlikely to be resolved before the 2020 election. Xavier Becerra, the California attorney general who led 21 states that intervened in the case, plans to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
If you have some time, this is worth it
The decade in pictures
Photo editors at The Times have pored over images of moments both fresh and faded to tell the story of the 2010s, a decade of seemingly ceaseless upheaval.
Above, migrants arriving in Greece in 2015, when more than one million entered Europe, many fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Here’s what else is happening
Fallout for Boeing suppliers: The company’s move to halt production of the 737 Max jet could force cutbacks or layoffs for some of its 600 suppliers. President Trump called Boeing’s chief executive this week to discuss the company’s plans, people with knowledge of the matter told The Times.
Abandoned by U.N. troops: Hundreds of children were fathered by peacekeepers in Haiti and then left behind with their mothers to face poverty and social stigma, researchers found.
Snapshot: Above, an archival view of Rikers Island, New York City’s main prison complex, which is scheduled to close in 2026. Our architecture critic argues that redefining what jails look like might help heal the city’s troubled penal system.
What’s that smell?: A judge in Germany ordered a woman who lived above a cheese shop to stop posting signs warning about its stench.
Late-night comedy: “Of course, it’s a dark stain on his legacy; but on the bright side, Trump finally managed to win a popular vote,” Jimmy Fallon said.
What we’re reading: This self-elegy in The New Yorker by the art critic Peter Schjeldahl. Our obituaries editor, William McDonald, calls it “brave, accepting, self-deprecating, even good-humored,” and says, “Mr. Schjeldahl’s time is short, but remarkably, he seems at peace.”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: This cheese-filled puffy pancake goes well with a salad.
Listen: My Chemical Romance’s 2006 concept album, “The Black Parade,” combined punk, glam and Broadway. As the band ends a hiatus, we looked at the music that fueled the album, and the music that it inspired.
Read: Michael Greger, the author of “How Not to Die,” returns to our advice, how-to and miscellaneous best-seller list with “How Not to Diet.”
Smarter Living: Are you considering giving someone a pet? There are a few things to consider first.
And now for the Back Story on …
A fabled North Korean mountain
Kim Jong-un has sent repeated signals that he will abandon diplomacy unless Washington meets his Dec. 31 deadline to return to nuclear negotiations with more concessions.
Over the past few months, he has twice done something to publicize his resolve, visiting a mountain sacred to his people as their mythical birthplace. That’s Mount Baekdu, a 9,029-foot peak near the Chinese border.
In 2013, he traveled there two weeks before he executed his uncle, then No. 2 in his regime.
He returned in 2017, shortly after the successful launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile billed as “capable of striking the whole mainland of the U.S.” — and just before beginning a flurry of diplomacy that led to his summit meetings with President Trump.
This October, North Korean state media showed Mr. Kim riding a white horse to the mountain to presage “a great operation to strike the world with wonder again.”
He apparently returned a few weeks later, on a horse that galloped “through knee-high virgin snow.” Within days, North Korea had conducted two tests of what appeared to be an advanced missile engine.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and Chris Harcum provided the break from the news. Mike Ives of the briefings team wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach us at email@example.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about how the Democratic Party united over impeachment.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Sound from a pig (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Two of The Times’s Op-Docs have been shortlisted for an Academy Award in the documentary short subject category. Watch the contenders here and here.