Good morning, I’m Tim Walker with today’s essential stories.
Fiona Hill says White House Ukraine scheme was ‘very clear’
The White House’s former top Russia expert has rebuked Republican attempts to push a “fictional narrative” that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 US presidential election, describing it as a conspiracy theory that plays into Vladimir Putin’s hands. Speaking at the impeachment hearings on Thursday, Fiona Hill, a miner’s daughter born in England, also said it was “very clear” a White House meeting between Donald Trump and the Ukrainian president was contingent on Ukraine announcing investigations into Joe Biden.
The British-born Broadway star Cynthia Erivo is well on her way to conquering Hollywood, playing the great slave-turned-emancipator Harriet Tubman in the new hit, Harriet. She tells Steve Rose how she broke America, with a little help from Aretha and Oprah.
As an emergency room doctor in Edinburgh, Gavin Francis treated his fair share of “jumpers”, who had tried to take their own lives by leaping from the nearby Forth Bridge. Now, as a family doctor, he uses that experience to try to help patients suffering suicidal thoughts.
The Chicago visual artist Theaster Gates collects neglected black cultural objects, hoping to preserve and display the complicated history of race in America. Three years ago, he acquired the gazebo under which 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot by police. Caring for it “felt like my duty as a black man,” he tells André Wheeler.
The New York MTA announced in September that it would employ 500 new police officers to curb “quality of life issues” in the transit system. Now their excessive policing is the subject of a slew of viral videos, including a recent clip of cops cuffing a churros vendor, which has racked up nearly 3m views. Lauren Aratani reports.
Pete Buttigieg may be the new frontrunner in Iowa, but he’s still polling at 0% among African Americans in South Carolina. That’s hardly surprising, says Malaika Jabali, in a Democratic primary process that privileges the concerns of white midwestern voters.
Like many in the Democratic party, Buttigieg has focused on white midwesterners stuck in economic insecurity and not the many black midwesterners facing poverty and insecurity.
José Mourinho takes the reins at Tottenham for the first time on Saturday, promising to “give absolutely everything I have” to the club as they face West Ham. Unai Emery will be hoping a win against Southampton can inject fresh optimism into his demoralised Arsenal side. Those are two of 10 things to look out for amid the weekend’s action in the Premier League.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph has denied uttering a racial slur in his confrontation with Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, which led to an all-out brawl between the two teams. The claim was reportedly made by Garrett as he appealed against his suspension at NFL headquarters on Wednesday.
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