Here are the week’s top stories, and a look ahead.
1. Tomorrow is Christmas, and people around the world will be celebrating. For many, Santa Claus will be a fixture of the holiday.
Could the red-suited home invader with a knack for gift-giving be linked to a hallucinogenic mushroom-eating shaman from the Arctic? In our opinion section, a filmmaker suggests the idea is not so far-fetched.
Traditionalists, take heart: A more familiar incarnation of Mr. Claus has taken up residence in the capital of Finnish Lapland, Rovaniemi, which bills itself as the Official Hometown of Santa Claus. Official Santa (above), Second Santa and Evil Santa are all there.
2. President Trump signed into law the biggest changes to the U.S. tax system in decades in a last-minute Oval Office ceremony before heading to Florida for the holidays.
In Congress, lawmakers passed a stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown this weekend. The legislation extends funding through Jan. 19.
3. Changes in immigration policy this year have had far-reaching consequences, both for immigrants and for America’s image in the world. Our correspondents examined President Trump’s attempt to bend the government’s immigration apparatus to his will in this detailed report. Above, border-wall prototypes in San Diego.
Border surveillance is under scrutiny. The Department of Homeland Security has received roughly 250 complaints about invasive searches of laptops and cellphones since 2011, mostly during the Obama administration.
4. One hundred twenty-eight to nine. That was how United Nations member states voted on a resolution denouncing the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Above, the Palestinian foreign minister addressing the U.N. General Assembly.
The collective act of defiance toward Washington came after the president threatened to withhold aid from countries that opposed the policy shift.
5. At Vice Media, employees as senior as the company’s current president have been accused of sexual harassment or defamation. We interviewed dozens of current and former Vice employees (including Sandra Miller, above) who described a workplace culture of male entitlement. Read the investigation.
“From the top down, we have failed as a company to create a safe and inclusive workplace where everyone, especially women, can feel respected and thrive,” two Vice founders said in a statement.
A Times investigation into two Ford plants in Chicago revealed that, decades after the automaker began trying to address sexual misconduct allegations, the problems persisted. Ford’s chief executive issued an apology.
6. The United States was successful in rallying support for its latest and toughest-ever economic sanctions against North Korea. The United Nations Security Council approved the new restrictions in a 15-to-0 vote. Above, a street in central Pyongyang.
7. Jakarta is sinking, and it may have only a decade to act.
A number of human factors and the growing effects of climate change are posing imminent threats to the city’s survival.
At a critical moment for the Earth’s climate, biologists, chemists and toxicologists are fleeing the Environmental Protection Agency. More than 700 employees have left since President Trump took office.
8. This year has been a lot to take in. Our 2017 Year in Review recaps some of what we loved — including the best in movies, songs and TV — as well as the powerful women we met, the lives we lost and the images that made us pause.
For a rosy look at the more recent past, check out the week in good news — a reminder that things aren’t always as heavy as they seem.
9. Finally, let’s talk about dessert. The Times Magazine takes a look at galette des rois, above, a flaky, double-crusted French pastry sold in January that’s as much a party game as it is a treat: The person whose slice contains a charm (called a fève) is named king or queen for the day.
In Italy, a social media campaign that asked people to eat a cake (a pandoro cake, specifically) to save a job staved off layoffs at Melegatti, the maker of traditional Christmas cakes.
We hope you have a sweet holiday season, and a great week.
Your Weekend Briefing is published Sundays at 6 a.m. Eastern.
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