US briefing: New Hampshire, Roger Stone and Trump's drilling plan

Tim Walker
Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Good morning, I’m Tim Walker with today’s essential stories.

Klobuchar surges to third as Democratic race takes shape

With most of the votes counted in New Hampshire, there is at last a clear shape to the Democratic presidential race, and it’s a battle between the new frontrunner Bernie Sanders and any other candidate who can halt his momentum. That seems unlikely to be Joe Biden, who fled the state after a fifth-place finish to try to revive his flagging campaign in South Carolina, while Elizabeth Warren dropped to fourth behind a surging Amy Klobuchar.

Yang drops out, while Bloomberg faces fresh scrutiny

Yang’s fresh ideas struck a chord among some Democratic voters. Photograph: Matt Rourke/AP

The entrepreneur Andrew Yang, whose fresh ideas about automation and universal basic income sparked genuine enthusiasm among some Democratic voters, has ended his outsider campaign for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination after failing to win even 3% of the vote in New Hampshire. “I am the math guy,” he told supporters in Manchester on Tuesday night, “and it’s clear from the numbers we’re not going to win this campaign.”

Roger Stone prosecutors quit after DoJ slashes sentencing

Four lawyers who prosecuted the political “dirty trickster” Roger Stone over crimes uncovered by Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation have resigned en masse after the justice department overruled their sentencing recommendations, apparently at the urging of Donald Trump. Stone was found guilty of seven crimes including obstruction of justice, but Trump tweeted that his seven-to-nine-year recommended sentence represented a “miscarriage of justice”.

  • Alexander Vindman. The former National Security Council official who testified in the impeachment trial could face military disciplinary action, Trump has said, after Vindman was unceremoniously sacked from his White House role last week.

Trump’s catastrophic drilling plan for public lands

The administration has proposed leasing places like Slickrock Bike Trail in Utah, where visitors pedal through petrified sand dunes and ancient seabeds. Photograph: Kerrick James/Getty Images

The Trump administration has put up an unprecedented 461m acres of public land for rent by energy companies, a slab of the American west four times the size of California. So far 9.9m of those acres have been leased, according to a report by the Wilderness Society, which says the president’s legacy could be to entrench the fossil fuel industry and lock in enough emissions to undermine global climate policy.

  • Pollution deaths. Air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels is responsible for more than 4m premature deaths globally every year – more than three times as many as are caused by road traffic accidents – a study has found.

  • Loss of nature. Damage to the environment could wipe $478bn a year off global economic growth by 2050, with the US being the world’s worst affected nation, the World Wildlife Fund has predicted.

Cheat sheet

  • China’s Hubei province, at the heart of the coronavirus outbreak, has reported its lowest daily increase in cases of the disease since January, suggesting Beijing’s containment strategy may at last be working.

  • A study by Doctors Without Borders has found that more than two-thirds of the migrants and refugees fleeing Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador had experienced the murder, disappearance or kidnapping of a relative before their departure.

  • The Swiss government has ordered an inquiry after it emerged that Crypto AG, an encryption firm based in Switzerland, was controlled for decades by the CIA and German intelligence, and its products used to eavesdrop on rivals and allies.

  • A family-owned potato chip business from the small Spanish town of Arteixo is experiencing a boom in sales from South Korea after the Oscar-winning film Parasite featured its distinctive tinned snack in a key scene.


How Little Women lost the Oscars – but won fashion

Greta Gerwig’s acclaimed adaptation of Little Women ended up with just one Oscar, for its costume design. But its unexpectedly appealing style – crisp collars, sturdy boots, drummer-boy jackets – is a winner at New York fashion week, writes Jess Cartner-Morley.

Venezuela’s infant mortality crisis

Infant mortality rates had been falling almost continuously in Venezuela since the 1940s until the country fell into a crushing depression, now in its seventh year, which has left countless young children deprived and many fatally malnourished, as Tom Phillips and Clavel Rangel report.

Can you really make a vagina-scented perfume?

First it was Gwyneth Paltrow, who started selling $75 candles that allegedly smelled like her vagina. Now Erykah Badu has announced the release of her own vagina-scented incense. Poppy Noor asked a perfume expert what exactly is going on in the world of fragrances.

The mattress landfill crisis

Thanks to the booming online mattress market, millions of people have been getting a better night’s rest. But perhaps they shouldn’t be sleeping so soundly: the so-called sleep economy is creating a an impossible waste mountain, as Sirin Kale discovered.


Last year, Netflix’s global energy consumption was 451,000 megawatt hours – enough to power 40,000 US homes for a year. It may seem as if we’re consuming less thanks to the internet, writes Arwa Mahdawi, but we should pay more attention to our digital footprint.

Digital technology has ushered in an age of inconspicuous consumption. It is easy to understand the environmental impact of buying “stuff” or flying across the Atlantic. It is harder to wrap your head around how much energy it takes to fly data across the web.


A standard poodle named Siba is America’s top dog after winning the title of best in show at the 144th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York on Tuesday.

David Beckham’s new MLS club Inter Miami is facing the prospect of being forced to change its name after Inter Milan won the first round of a legal trademark battle over whether the term “Inter” is synonymous with the Serie A club.

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