• It was a tumultuous day in Washington.
In the battle over filling an empty Supreme Court seat, Republicans changed rules that will fundamentally alter how the Senate handles future openings. The immediate result: Judge Neil Gorsuch is expected to be confirmed today by a simple majority vote.
And the embattled head of a congressional investigation into Trump aides’ ties to Russia and Russian election meddling, Devin Nunes, above, stepped down over reports that he “may have made unauthorized disclosures of classified information.”
• President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines appeared to abruptly abandon his policy of not antagonizing China, ordering his military to occupy all uninhabited islands, reefs and shoals his country claims in the South China Sea.
“Either he is merely playing to the gallery,” a maritime expert said, “or is about to provoke a serious crisis.”
• Our Andes bureau chief visited a Peruvian village that was nearly erased by a catastrophic mudslide. Miraculously, all 150 residents managed to escape.
Weeks of torrential rains have unleashed more lethal disasters in other parts of South America — and the rainy season doesn’t end till May.
Experts see an overlay of factors beyond weather, including migration, development and poor preparation.
• And Australia’s evolving relationship with China is the focus of the latest issue of our new Australia bureau chief’s twice-monthly newsletter.
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• A big gulp: Seven & I Holdings, the Japanese retail giant that owns 7-Eleven, agreed to buy the Sunoco chain — 1,000 outlets with gas pumps and convenience stores — for $3.3 billion, expanding its portfolio of American businesses.
• Jeff Bezos, the billionaire entrepreneur, said that he was selling about $1 billion in Amazon stock each year to finance his Blue Origin rocket company, which he who hopes to build into a commercial and tourist venture.
• Obstacles to President Trump’s economic plans haven’t broken investor confidence. Our analyst lays out a likely reason: Trump appointees can wield significant, and often unilateral, influence over how business is conducted in the country.
• U.S. beef producers say that more than six months after China promised to end a ban imposed in 2003 over an American case of mad cow disease, “The foreign market with the greatest growth potential — China — remains closed.”
• U.S. stocks were up. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
In the News
• Dutch men around the world, regardless of their sexual orientation, held hands in support of a gay couple who described being brutally beaten by a gang of young people in an eastern city in the Netherlands. [The New York Times]
• Australia warned that terrorists might seek to target the April 25 Anzac Day commemorations, on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey, which honor the World War I battlefield losses Australia and New Zealand suffered there. [The Telegraph]
• The Russian security services defused a bomb and detained three people on the outskirts of St. Petersburg, three days after a suicide attack on a subway in the city killed 13 people. [The New York Times]
• Federal agents raided sites in greater Los Angeles connected to a $50 million scheme that enabled wealthy Chinese to secure green cards. [The New York Times]
• “I think ethnic cleansing is too strong an expression to use for what is happening.” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar, said the violence against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State was sometimes perpetrated by other Muslims. [BBC]
• Reporters Without Borders, the Paris-based press freedom advocacy group, will open its first Asian bureau in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, rather than Hong Kong, citing “a lack of legal certainty for our entity and activities.” [The New York Times]
• A new survey found that 44 percent of Americans had a favorable opinion of China, up from 37 percent last year, as concerns eased over China’s economic threat. [Pew Research Center]
• Want to move faster on your morning runs? Here’s how.
• Adults who sleep less lose some of their ability to ward off ailments.
• Make some plump and juicy tavern-style hamburgers at home tonight.
• Geologists have assembled a picture of the original “Brexit” — how a cataclysmic flood hundreds of thousands years ago destroyed Britain’s last physical link with the European continent: a land bridge of which the white cliffs of Dover are a remnant.
• In Brazil, a team of nerds has become a feared force on the front lines of the struggle to stop the destruction of the Amazon.
• Finally, tiny dancers. In today’s 360 video, watch children audition for the School of American Ballet in New York City.
Today is World Health Day, an annual awareness campaign set to the founding of the World Health Organization in 1948.
One of the United Nation’s earliest agencies, the W.H.O. combats disease and health emergencies like the Ebola and Zika outbreaks.
In 1974, the organization used World Health Day to warn against “crash diet programs and fad diet schemes” when promoting the theme of “better food for a healthier world.”
This year’s theme, depression, encourages people to seek and get help. The group estimates about 300 million people worldwide are living with depression.
For decades, the W.H.O. focused on combating communicable diseases.
Against the backdrop of the Cold War, the two superpowers raced to be the best; the U.S. took the lead fighting malaria, and the Soviet Union took on smallpox.
By the 1960s, some members of the W.H.O. felt they weren’t being supported, and the organization shifted its mission to primary care and disease prevention by the 1970s.
“The thought of millions of people now listless and unambitious becoming vigorously and joyously alive,” a 1960 editorial in The Times said in praise of the W.H.O., “that is what modern medicine can mean.”
Remy Tumin contributed reporting.
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