Aleppo, Donald Trump, ‘Brexit’: Your Thursday Briefing

Good morning.

Here’s what you need to know:

Video

Aleppo Activists Say Final Goodbyes as Assad Closes In

Syrian government forces had reclaimed most of rebel-held eastern Aleppo by Tuesday, in a fierce battle. Activists and civilians in the last opposition-controlled areas posted videos describing their fear.

By YARA BISHARA and MEGAN SPECIA on Publish DateDecember 13, 2016. Photo by George Ourfalian/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images.Watch in Times Video »

• A deal to end the brutal assaults on the Syrian city of Aleppo fell through, and artillery shelling resumed. It was the latest bitter whiplash for the thousands of civilians and medical staff members unable to flee the ruined city for territory held by the Russian-backed government.

Activists shared desperate video messages. See some in the video above. We collected the WhatsApp messages of a teacher, which offer a glimpse of the last days of rebel control.

We’ve never gotten such an intimate, minute-by-minute look at what most likely constitutes war crimes, our culture critic writes.

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Photo

CreditVictor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Yahoo disclosed that 1 billion user accounts were hacked in 2013. The admission follows a disclosure in September that 500 million user accounts were separately hacked in 2014. The two attacks are the largest known security breaches of one company’s computer network.

The newly disclosed attack involved sensitive user information, including names, telephone numbers and dates of birth.

Here’s how to protect yourself.

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Photo

CreditKevin Hagen for The New York Times

• As part of his campaign to stimulate the American economy, President-elect Donald J. Trump and three of his children met with the leaders of the world’s most successful technology companies: Apple, Alphabet, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Tesla and others.

“I’m here to help you folks do well,” he said.

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• European Union leaders gather in Brussels today, seeking common ground on their strained relations with Turkey, and a compromise on a trade and cooperation agreement with Ukraine.

Theresa May of Britain will leave before dinner, when the remaining leaders are expected to discuss her country’s departure from the bloc.

And the European Parliament is demanding a say in talks on “Brexit.”

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Photo

CreditSpencer Platt/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve, citing the steady growth of the American economy, raised its benchmark interest rate slightly, just the second increase since the global economic crisis of 2008.

U.S. stocks rose briefly and then slid as investors appeared to realize that the Fed was likely to be leaning against inflation in the future.

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Business

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CreditAngelos Tzortzinis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In Greece, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras asked Parliament to vote on new welfare benefits he announced last week, which had led the country’s surprised European creditors to suspend bailout plans.

• Amazon announced its first delivery by drone. It flew two miles from an English warehouse to a customer. Aviation rules (and weather) still hinder easy expansion.

• Tokyo replaced Zurich as the world’s costliest city for expatriates.

• The Bank of England is widely expected to keep interest rates at their lowest levels in its 322-year history.

• Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

MARKET SNAPSHOT 9:19 PMView Full Overview

  • S.& P. 500+0.41%
  • DOW+0.35%
  • NASDAQ+0.36%

In the News

Photo

CreditAlbert Gea/Reuters

• Spain’s Constitutional Court suspended plans by Catalonia’s regional parliament to hold an independence referendum in 2017 while judges studied a legal challenge by the country’s central government. [Associated Press]

• The Algerian government is coming under criticism for its treatment of a freelance British-Algerian journalist, who died after being imprisoned under a draconian new law that criminalizes offending the president. [The New York Times]

• Terrorism suspects in Strasbourg, France, were decently paid men in their 30s with no warning signs of radicalization. [The New York Times]

• In the U.S. state of North Carolina, Republican lawmakers took the highly unusual step of moving to strip some power from the incoming Democratic governor. [The New York Times]

Photo

CreditToru Hanai/Reuters

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is in Japan for two days of talks, hoping for progress in a decades-old territorial dispute. [Nikkei Asian Review]

• Hundreds of ancient Crimean treasures on loan in the Netherlands are the property of Ukraine and should not be sent to Russian-controlled Crimea, a Dutch court ruled. [The New York Times]

Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system is due to go live today. [France24]

A buoy floating between Iceland and Britain detected a wave about six stories high, one of the highest ever recorded. [BBC]

Noteworthy

Video

A ‘Stonehenge’ in Brazil’s Jungle

Visit 1,000-year-old megaliths discovered on a cattle ranch in Brazil. The site sheds new light on how indigenous people of the Amazon may have lived.

By MIGUEL GUTIÉRREZ, VEDA SHASTRI and SAMANTHA QUICK on Publish DateDecember 14, 2016. Photo by Dado Galdieri for The New York Times. Technology by Samsung.. Watch in Times Video »

• Thousand-year-old megaliths shed new light on how indigenous people of the Amazon may have lived. Our Daily 360 video, above, takes you there.

• Bayern Munich takes pride in its local roots, with even its biggest soccer stars taking time to bond with fans over beers.

• Dissidents across the world are covering their mobile phones’ camera lenses with stickers to avert government surveillance.

• Here are a few tips on how to keep your office Christmas party from going off the rails, and a reminder that our guide can help you find the perfect gift.

• An Irish lighthouse, a Greek harbor and Polish forests: Take a look at our favorite travel photography of 2016.

Back Story

Photo

CreditKo Sasaki for The New York Times

The death of John Glenn has resurfaced memories of his famous orbit of Earth in 1962. Back then, there wasn’t much debris to block his view or threaten his spacecraft.

Not so anymore.

Humans have created millions of pieces of so-called “space junk” during the past 60 years of space exploration. While most are less than 10 centimeters, or about four inches, in diameter, even tiny objects can threaten spacecraft and communications satellites.

“Going at 17,500 miles per hour, a little marble can wipe out a space station,” said John Crassidis, a University at Buffalo engineering professor.

When bits of junk collide, they often break apart, creating more debris. Adding to the clutter is the abundance of satellites that technology companies are launching.

NASA has called for stronger international regulations. “It’s a political mess,” Dr. Crassidis said.

Japan, though, is stepping forward to confront the challenge.

Last week its national space agency launched a spacecraft featuring a cable 700 meters long, or almost 2,300 feet, that can safely guide debris into Earth’s atmosphere.

If the mission works, it could lead to more innovative approaches, like one a Japanese entrepreneur, above, recently discussed with The Times. He wants his company to be the leader in extraterrestrial trash collection.

Its slogan: Space Sweepers.

Giovanni Russonello contributed reporting.

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Your Morning Briefing is published weekday mornings.

What would you like to see here? Contact us at europebriefing@nytimes.com.

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gabugo

Author, Pastor, Development and Valuation Surveyor, CEO LandAssets Consult Ltd., Publisher, The Property Gazette.

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