• The political forecast calls for a frenetic week in Washington.
The White House, eager to project progress ahead of President Trump’s 100th day in office on Saturday, has packed his schedule. He said he would reveal a proposal for a “massive” tax cut on Wednesday.
And lawmakers must fund the government by Friday or let it go into shutdown.
Former President Barack held his first public event since leaving office, mentioning President Trump just once. [Watch video highlights.]
• President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines is stepping into an international spotlight as host of a meeting of Asean, which begins Wednesday.
In a stroke of awkward timing, a Filipino lawyer has asked the International Criminal Court to charge Mr. Duterte with crimes against humanity as the “mastermind” behind thousands of killings, starting in 1988 when he was first elected mayor of Davao City and continuing with his countrywide war on drugs.
Above, two victims of an antidrug operation in October.
• Our Australia bureau chief had some fun with the story of the 12-year-old boy who drove 800 miles in an S.U.V. — aiming for the other side of the country — before getting pulled over, safe and sound.
“Let’s step back for a minute and consider the scale of this endeavor,” he writes.
Check back for answers to lingering questions, including how he managed to pay for gas, and what compelled him to hit the road.
• Start-ups and big aerospace firms are working to address that frequent complaint of sci-fi fans: Where’s my flying car already?
• The Malaysian government agreed to make $1.2 billion in bond payments to an Abu Dhabi fund, part of an effort to clean up an embezzlement scandal swirling around Prime Minister Najib Razak.
• The head of Lafarge SA, one of France’s largest industrial companies, is stepping down after an investigation found the cement maker’s staff paid off armed groups in Syria for safe passage.
In the News
• A security shake-up: Afghanistan’s minister of defense and the army chief of staff stepped down after a devastating Taliban attack on a base last week, just before the U.S. secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, above center, arrived in Kabul. [The New York Times]
• Australia’s assistant minister for immigration defended plans for sweeping changes to the visa system and a tougher citizenship test. [ABC]
• Many Indians now see the U.S. as inhospitable because of recent attacks on people of Indian descent and the Trump administration’s reassessment of its policy on some work visas. [The New York Times]
• A restaurant owner explained to Hong Kong’s High Court that he threw entrails at the media mogul Jimmy Lai on his reflexes as a former soldier, meaning to defend the city from an instigator of pro-democracy protests. [South China Morning Post]
• Maoist rebels who have been battling the Indian government since the 1960s attacked a police patrol in the east, killing at least 24 officers. [BBC News]
• A new defamation law in the Maldives threatens an opposition television station. [The Wire]
• Exercising before breakfast might prevent weight gain. Just don’t gorge afterward.
• Sell-by dates can be seen as mostly a suggestion for food’s peak freshness. For the most part, trust your gut.
• Recipe of the day: For simplicity, you can’t beat black bean and poblano tacos.
• At least 1.7 million people died when the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. In today’s 360 video, tour a prison-turned-museum that explains the history of the Cambodian genocide.
• A cactus bloom in the California desert may be the most colorful in decades. Our science writer considers examples that range in size from grapes to five-story townhouses and can produce garlands of flowers — and warns of illegal cactus rustling, a big business in the southwest U.S.
• Orson Welles, the legendary director who died in 1985, left a revelatory trove of unpublished scripts, including an adaptation of the famously difficult “Ulysses,” as well as teenage letters, postcards, diaries and even doodles that are now headed to an archive at the University of Michigan.
Modern vanity plates have nothing on the simplicity of the original license plate.
Today in 1901, New York became the first state in the U.S. to require registration of automobiles, and with it the display of the owner’s initials. (Some countries in Europe introduced registration plates in the 1890s.)
As the number of automobiles grew at the turn of the 20th century, states needed an accountability system.
Drivers painted their initials on wood, metal or leather, but with too many overlapping names and initials, the modern license plate was born.
Massachusetts became the first state to issue plates, in 1903.
Designs have occasionally been controversial. In 1928, fishermen in Massachusetts blamed their low catch on the Registry of Motor Vehicles after the image of a codfish was added to the state’s license plates. The image was deemed too small, and the fish was swimming away from the “MASS” lettering on the plate.
It was changed to a more substantial codfish, swimming toward MASS, a year later. Its effect on the fortunes of fishermen is unknown.
Remy Tumin contributed reporting.
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