Meanwhile the Philippines declared an end to months of warfare against Islamic State-inspired militants in the city of Marawi, but fears linger that remaining groups of militants will strike again.
• Most European Union member countries backed a French proposal to overhaul temporary labor migration rules that have pitted Western members against Central and Eastern peers. (Above, Emmanuel Macron, the French president.)
Labor ministers debated a compromise that would set a time limit for E.U. citizens working in other member countries before they fall under the host country’s labor laws. Poland and Hungary are among the countries opposed to new restrictions.
Meanwhile, Victor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, used his speech commemorating the 61st anniversary of the 1956 anti-Soviet uprising to rail against migration from outside the bloc.
• In South Africa, apartheid persists economically. That reality, our correspondent writes, is palpable in Cape Town’s townships.
Protesters demand the ouster of President Jacob Zuma over disclosures of corruption so high-level that it is often described as state capture. The economy keels in recession, worsening an official unemployment rate reaching nearly 28 percent.
“The patterns of enrichment and impoverishment are still the same,” a radio host said.
• Finally, a startling experimental medical procedure: Doctors lifted a woman’s womb above her body to mend a child’s birth defect — before birth.
Our reporter witnessed the three-hour surgery in Texas. Doctors are hopeful. The mother’s due date is Jan. 14.
• E.U. antitrust investigators searched the offices of Daimler and Volkswagen as part of an inquiry into allegations of illegal collusion by Germany’s car giants. BMW headquarters were searched last week.
• China’s antipollution effort has grown so intense that it could dampen global economic recovery.
• “Davos in the Desert:” Executives are making their pitches in Saudi Arabia this week to diversify the kingdom’s oil-based economy.
• Many American manufacturing jobs are gone, but some U.S. cities have replaced them with new ones at vast warehouses used by online retailers.
• Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
In the News
• Catalonia’s regional government warned that its civil servants would defy orders from the Spanish government if Madrid decided later this week to enforce direct rule. Above, the room where Spanish senators are set to deliberate over suspending Catalan autonomy. [Reuters]
• In Moscow, a knife-wielding man broke into the studio of Echo of Moscow, a prominent talk-radio station, and stabbed a journalist, Tatyana Felgenhauer, in the throat. The station said her injuries were not life-threatening. [The New York Times]
• In Turkey, the longtime mayor of Ankara, Melih Gokcek, said that he would step down amid a purge of local government leaders by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. [Reuters]
• Our most-read story in Europe today: Mothers defend their sons who had been accused at college of sexual assault in the United States. [The New York Times]
• It will now cost more than £20 to drive older, diesel-powered vehicles in central London, as the mayor cites “a health crisis” caused by poor-quality air. [The New York Times]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• Recipe of the day: How to make the perfect bowl of soup.
• There are a few simple ways to be better at remembering.
• Five ways to protect yourself against wedding catastrophes.
• The many priceless artifacts stored in Italy’s 60,000 churches have long been easy prey for thieves. Our correspondent followed the recovery of one stolen 16th-century statue and its triumphant return to its small hometown in southern Italy.
• FIFA Awards: Lieke Martens, the Dutch forward for Barcelona, was named best female soccer player of the year. Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese forward for Real Madrid, won his fifth men’s award. Here are the full results.
• Krtek, a cartoon mole equivalent to Mickey Mouse behind the Iron Curtain, is at the center of a bitter copyright squabble in the Czech courts, as a venerable icon of Communism adapts to 21st-century capitalism.
• As the winter approaches, tiny mole-like creatures known as red-toothed shrews shrink their own skulls and brains by as much as 20 percent, a new study suggests. Exactly how remains a head-scratcher.
• Finally, have you thought about working for The New York Times? We are looking to hire at least one ambitious traveling correspondent to turn our annual 52 Places to Go wish list into an itinerary. Here’s how to apply.
The Olympic torch is scheduled to be lit today in Greece, beginning the countdown to the next Winter Games.
The flame will travel more than 5,000 miles east to South Korea, arriving Nov. 1 — 100 days before the 2018 Olympics begin.
Starting in the city of Incheon, the torch will cross South Korea, with stops in nine provinces and eight major cities before arriving in Pyeongchang for the opening ceremony on Feb. 9.
The torch lighting goes back to the ancient games, but the Olympic flame made its first modern appearance at the 1928 Games in Amsterdam. The relay began with the 1936 Games in Berlin.
The torch itself is designed by the host country. The Times noted in 2010: “The modern Olympic Games have become as much a global contest among designers and architects as among athletes. Each Olympics is expected to produce a logo, a signature building — and a characteristic torch that symbolizes local tradition and national character.”
The torch for the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul featured a bright metal body and Korean graphic elements. The five-pronged shape of the 2018 torch represents the Korean symbol for Pyeongchang.
Inyoung Kang contributed reporting.
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