The Year in People: Our 12 Favorite Saturday Profiles of 2023
World

The Year in People: Our 12 Favorite Saturday Profiles of 2023

A teenager jailed in Egypt, determined to bear witness to the abuses he suffered during years of detention. A proponent of peace in Colombia, shadowed by death threats. A father in India, fighting his own patriarchal impulses to give his two daughters a better life.With reports from six continents and 34 countries, the Saturday Profile in 2023 revealed people making a difference, mostly under the radar. Every week, our correspondents often sought out not the famous nor the powerful, but the unheralded with stories worth hearing.A Muslim cleric in Ukraine, now a medic on the front lines of the war. An anticorruption whistle-blower in Bangkok, with (he’d be the first to admit) a disreputable past. A scientist and hair salon owner in Paris, dedicated to styling curly hair.Some of our subjects...
Covid Variant JN.1 Now Accounts for Nearly Half of U.S. Cases
Health

Covid Variant JN.1 Now Accounts for Nearly Half of U.S. Cases

As the holiday season winds down and Covid-19 cases start to pick up, a variant called JN.1 has now become the most common strain of the virus spreading across the United States.JN.1, which emerged from the variant BA.2.86 and was first detected in the United States in September, accounted for 44 percent of Covid cases nationwide by mid-December, up from about 7 percent in late November, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To some extent, this jump is to be expected. “Variants take some time to get going,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “Then they speed up, they spread widely, and just when they’re doing that, after several months, a new variant crops up.”JN.1’s momentum this month sug...
NFL playoff picture after Week 16: Ravens close in on AFC’s top seed; NFC up for grabs
Sports

NFL playoff picture after Week 16: Ravens close in on AFC’s top seed; NFC up for grabs

The Baltimore Ravens scored their most impressive victory of the season Monday night, defeating the San Francisco 49ers 33-19. Along with making them look like worthy Super Bowl contenders, the victory puts them in a fantastic position in the AFC. At 12-3, they’re a game ahead of Miami and have a chance to clinch the top spot next week in a game against those very Dolphins.Meanwhile, the 49ers’ loss sends them to 11-4 and a three-way tie atop the NFC with the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions. The 49ers own the tiebreaker over both, but with two games to go, there’s still time for the Eagles or Lions to make a move.As for the rest of the NFL, Week 16 saw plenty of movement in the playoff picture. Let’s take a look at where things stand as we enter Week 17.Listed odds to make the playof...
Chinese Spy Agency Rising to Challenge the C.I.A.
Technology

Chinese Spy Agency Rising to Challenge the C.I.A.

The Chinese spies wanted more. In meetings during the pandemic with Chinese technology contractors, they complained that surveillance cameras tracking foreign diplomats, military officers and intelligence operatives in Beijing’s embassy district fell short of their needs.The spies asked for an artificial intelligence program that would create instant dossiers on every person of interest in the area and analyze their behavior patterns. They proposed feeding the A.I. program information from databases and scores of cameras that would include car license plates, cellphone data, contacts and more.The A.I.-generated profiles would allow the Chinese spies to select targets and pinpoint their networks and vulnerabilities, according to internal meeting memos obtained by The New York Times.The spie...
New York Times Sues OpenAI and Microsoft Over Use of Copyrighted Work
Business

New York Times Sues OpenAI and Microsoft Over Use of Copyrighted Work

The New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement on Wednesday, opening a new front in the increasingly intense legal battle over the unauthorized use of published work to train artificial intelligence technologies.The Times is the first major American media organization to sue the companies, the creators of ChatGPT and other popular A.I. platforms, over copyright issues associated with its written works. The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, contends that millions of articles published by The Times were used to train automated chatbots that now compete with the news outlet as a source of reliable information.The suit does not include an exact monetary demand. But it says the defendants should be held responsible for “billions of dollars in statut...
Shakira Honored With a Statue in Her Hometown in Colombia
World

Shakira Honored With a Statue in Her Hometown in Colombia

The Colombian coastal city of Barranquilla this week revealed a 21-foot-tall tribute to one of the country’s most famous cultural exports: Shakira.“A heart that composes, hips that don’t lie, an unmatched talent, a voice that moves the masses and bare feet that march for the good of children and humanity,” reads the plaque below the statue.“I am honored and moved by this incredible recognition in my Barranquilla, the city where I was born,” Shakira said in a statement. “Every barranquillero and barranquillera are my brothers and sisters and the inspiration of my life since my childhood.”The statue’s sculptor, Yino Márquez, said he was delighted by the way the sculpture had been received by the public and by Shakira and her family after it was unveiled on Tuesday. The singer’s mother, he sa...
Your Top Health Questions of 2023, Answered
Health

Your Top Health Questions of 2023, Answered

One thing I love about editing the Ask Well column is the camaraderie of it. Every week we answer a health question: Why am I so congested all the time? (I’ve wondered that, too!) Why does my sleep get worse as I age? (I’m right there with you.) Is my coffee habit in need of an intervention? (Pour me another while we figure it out.)When I survey our inbox, I’m amazed at what comes in — questions that cover the joys, agonies, confusions and vulnerabilities of being a person. And luckily for us all, we get to seek out the answers.Here are 10 of the most popular health questions of 2023.1. Is it bad to wash your hair every day?The answer depends on your hair texture, how oily it is, whether it’s color-treated and more.“While it may seem that getting the scalp squeaky clean and without any oil...
Dunking hurts: Why players hate — and love — the NBA’s greatest feat
Sports

Dunking hurts: Why players hate — and love — the NBA’s greatest feat

The dunk is basketball’s most lionized play. The most iconic ones are canonized, referenced fondly and often, debated for their merits and significance. The sport’s language has created so many names for it: jam, yam, slam, poster, stuff, hammer. It’s a unique club that only few on this world can join. It’s marvelous.And it hurts like hell.“Can you think of any other concept where your hand swings at something metal?” 11-year NBA veteran Austin Rivers asks. “It’ll probably hurt, yeah?”When asked, players catalog the pain dunking has caused: broken nails; bent fingers; recent bruises; lasting scars; midair collisions; twisted necks; dangerous landings. Injuries that cost them games or even seasons.Derrick Jones Jr., a former NBA All-Star Weekend dunk contest winner now with the Dallas Maver...
Apple’s Newest Headache: An App That Upended Its Control Over Messaging
Technology

Apple’s Newest Headache: An App That Upended Its Control Over Messaging

For years, Ben Black’s phone annoyed his family. It was the only Android device in a family message group with eight iPhones. Because of him, videos and photos would arrive in low resolution and there would be green bubbles of text amid bubbles of blue.But a new app called Beeper Mini gave him the ability to change that.Mr. Black, 25, used the app to create an account for Apple’s messaging service, iMessage, with his Google Pixel phone number. For the first time, every message the family exchanged had a blue bubble and members were able to use perks like emojis and animations.Since it was introduced on Dec. 5, Beeper Mini has quickly become a headache and potential antitrust problem for Apple. It has poked a hole in Apple’s messaging system, while critics say it has demonstrated how Apple ...
Under Argentina’s New President, Fuel Is Up 60%, and Diaper Prices Have Doubled
Business

Under Argentina’s New President, Fuel Is Up 60%, and Diaper Prices Have Doubled

Over the past two weeks, the owner of a hip wine bar in Buenos Aires saw the price of beef soar 73 percent, while the zucchini he puts in salads rose 140 percent. An Uber driver paid 60 percent more to fill her tank. And a father said he spent twice as much on diapers for his toddler than he did last month.In Argentina, a country synonymous with galloping inflation, people are used to paying more for just about everything. But under the country’s new president, life is quickly becoming even more painful.When Javier Milei was elected president on Nov. 19, the country was already suffering under the world’s third-highest rate of inflation, with prices up 160 percent from a year before.But since Mr. Milei took office on Dec. 10 and quickly devalued the Argentine currency, prices have soared a...