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Theresa May offers to step down to save her Brexit plan, Congress grills regulators over recent Boeing crashes, and China wages a war on fun. Here’s the latest:
Gridlock in Brexit voting as May offers to step down
The British Parliament failed to reach a majority on any of the Brexit alternatives that were brought to a vote on Wednesday.
Hours before, Prime Minister Theresa May offered to step down if Parliament approved her plan. She didn’t give a date for her resignation, but told Conservative lawmakers: “I know there is a desire for a new approach, and new leadership, in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations, and I won’t stand in the way of that.”
The offer, a last-ditch effort to save her twice-rejected plan, overshadowed the failed votes on eight alternatives. Options included keeping close ties to the European Union, holding a referendum and having a no-deal Brexit.
Timing: The European Union has given Britain until April 12, which is just over two weeks away, to agree on a strategy. If Mrs. May’s plan is approved — and momentum for reconsidering it had begun to build before her announcement — the E.U. would push Brexit to May 22.
Boeing acknowledges software could have played a role in crashes
Boeing made its most overt acknowledgment that new software in its jets could have played a role in two deadly crashes in less than five months, as it tried to convince pilots, airlines and regulators around the world that a coming fix will solve the problem.
Before a meeting with more than 200 pilots and airline executives at its factory in Renton, Wash., Boeing for the first time publicly laid out its proposed updates to the software, as well as other changes to the 737 Max that it hopes will get the plane flying again.
On the same day, the company faced new scrutiny on Capitol Hill as lawmakers asked F.A.A. regulators about oversight of the aviation industry, including how the 737 Max 8 was certified — a process that regulators heavily delegated to Boeing.
“Clearly, confidence in F.A.A. as the gold standard for aviation safety has been shaken,” said Calvin Scovel, the Transportation Department’s inspector general.
Software changes: The updates would give pilots more control over the system and make it less likely to be set off by faulty data, two issues at the center of the investigations into the crashes.
India shoots down a satellite, shifting Asia’s power balance
In a rare televised speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the country had successfully shot down a satellite in a ballistic missile test. The technological leap, which was confirmed by the Pentagon, puts the country in an elite group of nations with such capability, along with the U.S., Russia and China.
“India stands tall as a space power!” Mr. Modi wrote on Twitter shortly after the announcement.
The feat — which means India could blind another country by taking out its communication and surveillance satellites — accelerates India’s space race with China and destabilizes its uneasy balance of power with Pakistan.
Political calculations: Mr. Modi’s announcement came barely two weeks before a general election, prompting critics to question whether it was a stunt to bolster his re-election chances.
China’s painful history clouds trade talks
Trade negotiations between the world’s two largest economies have dragged on for more than a year, with one particular sticking point: an enforcement mechanism that would let the U.S. unilaterally impose tariffs if China reneges on the deal.
China’s resistance is rooted in history — notably its surrender after the first Opium War in the mid-1800s, and the ensuing series of one-sided trade treaties that sapped the country’s strength.
“Every schoolchild in China and every educated Chinese person knows about the ‘century of humiliation,’” a historian said.
Next: Today, top Trump administration officials will try to make headway toward a final deal in Beijing. Next week, a delegation of Chinese officials will head to Washington for more negotiations.
In other China news: The Communist Party expelled the former chief of Interpol, Meng Hongwei, accusing him of abusing his power to finance an extravagant lifestyle and committing “serious” violations of the law.
New New World: Our columnist Li Yuan writes that China has blurred out the earrings of some young male pop stars in television and internet appearances, and that it has barred soccer players from showing their tattoos. It’s part of a broad effort to obscure anything that celebrates money worship, hedonism or individualism.
Here’s what else is happening
Facebook: The social media giant said it would ban white nationalist content on its platforms, starting next week. Users searching for that type of content will be redirected to a nonprofit that helps people leave hate groups. The new policy comes weeks after a racist gunman in New Zealand killed 50 people at two mosques and posted live video of the bloodshed on Facebook.
Austria: About a year ago, the suspect in the New Zealand attack gave money to a leader of Europe’s far-right movement. The donation to Martin Sellner, the Austrian head of Generation Identity, has spurred an investigation into whether the group is inspiring violence.
Venezuela: The U.N. appealed to President Nicolás Maduro and Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader, to end a political battle over humanitarian aid that has blocked shipments of food and medicine. As much as 94 percent of the population lives in poverty, according to a U.N. report.
France: President Emmanuel Macron said three Cabinet ministers resigned, including the European affairs minister, who plans to lead the campaign by Mr. Macron’s party for European Parliament seats.
Mueller report: It is still unclear why the special counsel’s office did not render a judgment on whether President Trump illegally obstructed the Russia inquiry. Here’s what we know and what we don’t know.
Daylight saving: The E.U. moved one step closer to ending the mandatory switch to daylight saving time. Under current law, clocks are moved ahead one hour on the last Sunday in March to create daylight saving time, and moved back to standard time on the last Sunday in October.
Artificial intelligence: The Turing Award, known as the Nobel Prize of computing, was awarded to three scientists known as pioneers in A.I., for their work on neural networks.
Talking cure: In the Opinion section, the cultural counselor of the French Embassy writes that the future of America is multilingual: “The necessity of foreign-language education could not be clearer right now.”
Tips for a more fulfilling life.
Recipe of the day: There are many ways to adjust the seasonings of the Taiwanese three-cup chicken dish to your taste.
Women shared tips on travel safety after reading a Times article about the dangers facing solo female travelers.
“Precrastination” is like procrastination, just the other way around. Knowing that you’re likely to jump the gun is a first step. Next is blocking out time for some unstructured thinking.
Batman turns 80 on Saturday. He’s had countless adventures in comics, TV and film.
In “To Kill a Legend,” written by Alan Brennert and drawn by Dick Giordano for Detective Comics No. 500, published in 1980, the story is personal.
The hero visits a parallel world and prevents the deaths of his parents, the cataclysmic event that makes Bruce Wayne become Batman. (Parallel earths were a favorite of your Back Story writer, because they imagined so many different paths for DC’s heroes.)
Batman observes a bratty other-Bruce, but he is transfixed by Thomas and Martha Wayne: “Dear lord … it’s as if they’ve come alive again! As if I could … reach out and touch them.” Later, he neutralizes their would-be killer.
The story’s epilogue is genius. The other-Bruce is changed. While our Batman was born of grief, guilt or vengeance, this one knows a tragedy was averted and is driven by awe, mystery and gratitude.
George Gene Gustines, a senior editor, has been writing about comics since 2002.
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