Trade, Colorado, Mother’s Day: Your Weekend Briefing

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Here are the week’s top stories, and a look ahead.

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CreditAleksandar Plavevski/EPA, via Shutterstock

1. “We’ve got decades of painful negotiating with China ahead.”

That was the assessment of a China scholar at Stanford after a yearlong trade war between the U.S. and China ended without a deal. Above, a factory in Dongguan, China.

But even if the countries reach a deal, it may do little to resolve tensions between the world’s largest economies. The U.S. is wary of China’s growing role in the global economy and its tactics for getting ahead.

President Trump now sees his hard line on trade through a new prism: the 2020 election.

Have you been keeping up with the headlines? Test your knowledge with our news quiz. And here’s the front page of our Sunday paper, the Sunday Review from Opinion and our crossword puzzles.

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CreditAl Drago/Associated Press

2. The Mueller report continued to be a flash point between the White House and Congress.

Days after the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt after he refused to hand over the full special counsel’s report, the chairman of that committee said Robert Mueller would not testify this coming week as lawmakers had hoped. A new date has not been set. Above, Mr. Mueller recently in Washington.

As the constitutional showdown continues, President Trump and his team are essentially trying to call what they see as the Democrats’ bluff. The message: Impeach or move on.

Separately, the White House is said to have asked a key witness in the Mueller report, former White House counsel Donald McGahn , to declare that the president never obstructed justice. He declined. At least twice.

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CreditAhn Young-Joon/Associated Press

3. President Trump said he would tame rogue nations. Now, they’re challenging him.

In the course of a week, North Korea launched short-range ballistic missiles; a standoff with Iran continued to brew; and in Venezuela, President Nicolás Maduro remains in power, despite American efforts to lure military officers to the opposition.

Each country presents a drastically different challenge to a president with little experience in handling international crises, our reporters write in an analysis.

Coming up this week: The prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, visits the White House, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo heads to Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin, to discuss concerns of meddling ahead of European elections this month.

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CreditCommission for International Justice and Accountability

4. Torture is routine. There are far more victims than ISIS. A United Nations panel said conditions amounted to “extermination.”

And top officials knew about it.

This is life inside Syria’s system of secret prisons, which have been pivotal for the country’s president in a crushing eight-year revolt. Thousands have been tortured to death, and nearly 128,000 people are missing. Above, memos sent to Syria’s head of military intelligence reporting the deaths of detainees in custody.

The report is a culmination of seven years of reporting. Here are key takeaways.

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CreditJeenah Moon for The New York Times

5. Uber’s dismal debut was a rare event on Wall Street.

After the ride-sharing app sank more than 7 percent in its trading debut on Friday, it immediately raised questions about investor appetite for other money-losing tech start-ups that are poised to list their shares.

“This is going to cause some more caution in the I.P.O. market,” a market strategist said. “Silicon Valley’s mantra of growth at all costs just does not fly on Wall Street.”

Here are some other companies that didn’t live up to the early hype.

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6. 111, and counting.

A Times analysis found there have been at least that many school shootings in the country since 1970. A total of 202 people were killed in these attacks and 454 were injured.

The deadly shooting at a Colorado school this week, which left one student dead and eight injured, drew comparisons to the 1999 attack on nearby Columbine High School and the dozens of shootings like it since.

One thing may be changing: Some students seem to have learned to act — by instinct or intention — as law enforcement would in the face of deadly tragedy.

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CreditMickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser, via Associated Press

7. States across the country are moving fast on restrictive abortion laws aimed at reaching the Supreme Court, buoyed by the arrival of conservative justices.

On Tuesday, Alabama lawmakers will take up a bill that bans most abortions completely and criminalizes the procedure. The vote, a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, was delayed after chaos erupted on the Senate floor.

Georgia became the fourth state to adopt a “heartbeat” bill, which prohibits the procedure as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected, banning abortion before many women even know that they’re pregnant. Here’s what that means for women.

Our In Her Words newsletter this week breakdowns some of the measures taken so far this year.

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CreditNoma Bar

8. It was a heavy news week. How about a good book?

Here are nine new books our editors liked and 14 to watch for this month.

Rick Atkinson, best known for his trilogy on World War II, has completed his first volume on a projected trilogy of the American Revolution. “The British Are Coming” is a vivid, down-to-earth rendering of a conflict too often seen through rose-colored glasses, our reviewer writes.

Separately, is Reese Witherspoon the new Oprah? Some people think so. Her popular online book club is nudging both fiction and nonfiction onto the best-seller list these days. And she’s not the only the celebrity vocal about reading.

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CreditErin Schaff for The New York Times

9. “If I can do it, you can do it.”

That’s Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, above, Republican of Washington and mother of three. There are less than 30 moms with school-aged children in the House and only two in the Senate. Three of them let our reporter and photographer get a rare glimpse of what life is like for them.

We also have an essay and photographs about the complicated realities of working motherhood.

Don’t make her go out. Stay in and make her something delicious. Here are our best Mother’s Day recipes.

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CreditRyan Pfluger for The New York Times

10. And finally, dig into one of our Best Weekend Reads.

This week we talked to Bjork, above, about how she brought her most recent show, a sci-fi feminist fairy tale to life; Howard Stern about his transformation and refined conversational style; and Tony Award nominees about why they act.

For more suggestions on what to watch and listen to, may we suggest a glance at the latest small-screen recommendations from Watching and our music critics’ latest playlist. Also not to miss: one of our most read (and debated) stories this week was on the merits of the Aperol Spritz.

Have a bright week.

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