(Above, U.S. Special Forces at a frontline outpost in Syria.)
Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron of France threatened the Syrian government with military action over chemical attacks on civilians.
Separately, Trump administration officials revised earlier claims that White House staff members had been unaware of F.B.I. warnings about problems in the background check of Rob Porter, the president’s staff secretary. Mr. Porter resigned in disgrace last week.
Mr. Porter never got a permanent security clearance, but he’s not alone. The president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is also operating on an interim status that gives him access to classified material.
• Can Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stay in office?
That was the question after the Israeli police said that they had gathered enough evidence for bribery and fraud charges. The attorney general must now decide whether to indict Mr. Netanyahu, a process that could take months.
The damning summary of their findings referred to a steady flow of cigars and pink champagne in Mr. Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence in quantities sufficient to stock a small cocktail lounge.
• Germans have had reason to reflect on the state of their union: Since last week, the Berlin Wall has been down longer than it stood.
The West is still richer, and has more immigrants. But they are viewed as more of a problem in the East and, crucially, Easterners increasingly control the political discourse of a countrywide shift to the extremes, our Berlin bureau chief writes.
(Above, a man hitting the wall with a sledgehammer in November 1989)
Separately, Martin Schulz, the leader of the Social Democrats, stepped down amid discord over how he negotiated the party’s coalition deal with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
• For Valentine’s Day, our reporter mined a California library’s collection of about 12,000 paper valentines from across three centuries.
Above, a cobweb valentine, probably British, circa 1830-60. (A string lifts up the castle to reveal a mouse in a trap.)
And humans aren’t the only ones with love on the brain. Songbirds, which form lifelong mating pairs, have brain systems perfectly tuned to fit together.
• Our economy columnist argues that inflated stock prices in the U.S. could discourage work and capital investments and prepare the ground for even more inequality.
• Cafe and restaurant operators are scrambling for a strategy to deal with the growing number of remote workers: Cultivate those customers or unplug the Wi-Fi.
• Uber is inching toward profitability, helping the company in its plans to list as early as next year.
• Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
In the News
• South Africa’s power struggle: The leaders of the African National Congress have openly called for President Jacob Zuma’s resignation. Notably, the reasoning is not ethical issues, but that Mr. Zuma is harming the governing party’s political prospects. [The New York Times]
• The Trump administration, outmaneuvered in South Korea, appears open to holding preliminary talks with North Korea. [The New York Times]
• At a closely watched fund-raising conference, Iraq asked affluent allies led by the United States for $88 billion to rebuild. The answer, in short: no. [The New York Times]
• In the Netherlands, the Senate narrowly voted in favor of a law that makes all Dutch adults potential organ donors unless they opt out. [Associated Press]
• In a case that has rocked English soccer, a former youth talent scout for several well-known teams has been convicted of sexually abusing players when they were children. [The New York Times]
• “Everybody has meth around here — everybody.” The drug, experts say, has never been purer, cheaper or more lethal. [The New York Times]
• A radical proposal for tackling smog: Germany is said to be considering a plan to make public transportation free in some cities to reduce traffic and emissions. [The Guardian]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• Roman egg drop soup is a simple recipe for midweek.
• Here’s how to order room service the right way.
• Sex shouldn’t be painful. Here is some advice from a gynecologist.
• The papers of Angela Davis, just acquired by Harvard, trace her evolution from obscure philosophy professor to black feminist icon and to prophetic voice on mass incarceration.
• An Iranian photographer’s work offers an alternative narrative of the country’s revolution in 1979 and its aftermath.
• Forget the Olympics: Flynn, a light-footed bichon frisé who looked like a cloud, won the Westminster Dog Show.
• Today in the Champions League, Real Madrid will face Paris St. Germain. Some of the Spanish soccer club’s socios told our correspondent that they were worried about the possible end of an era. (Here are Tuesday’s results.)
• The Swedish pop star Fever Ray explores the kinky side of her personality in her latest album. We met her ahead of her European tour, which begins next week.
Valentine’s Day is widely thought to mark a wine-fueled festival for courting couples in ancient Rome.
But in North Korea, it signifies a different kind of affection. On this day in 2012, Kim Jong-il, who led the country from 1994 until his death in 2011, was posthumously named a “generalissimo.”
The announcement came two days before what would have been Mr. Kim’s 70th birthday, which is still celebrated in the country as “The Day of the Shining Star.”
The only other North Korean generalissimo is Mr. Kim’s father, Kim Il-sung, who began ruling in 1945 and received the title in 1992, two years before his death. The term is a clear cut above the “marshal” title held by North Korea’s third and current leader, Kim Jong-un.
The younger Mr. Kim may stay in power for decades, though, and he already has several titles: “Dear respected comrade,” for one, as well as “supreme commander” of the Korean People’s Army.
Mike Ives contributed reporting.
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