Separately, our video team looked at four men from West London who became known as “the Beatles” of the Islamic State — both for their British accents and their brutality.
• More than 100 gold medals will be awarded in 15 different sports at the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The first one went to Charlotte Kalla of Sweden, above, for the skiathlon.
(You can also sign up for our Sports newsletter to get the latest in your inbox.)
Gold in geopolitics went to North Korea. The visiting sister of Kim Jong-un outflanked President Trump’s envoy, Vice President Mike Pence, in the game of diplomatic image-making.
• Mary Lou McDonald, above, is Sinn Fein’s first female leader. She succeeds Gerry Adams, who led the Irish party for 34 years.
Her ascendance could swing the party’s political center of gravity back to the south, where it has a strong chance of entering a coalition government for the first time after the next election.
“The truth is, my friends, I won’t fill Gerry’s shoes,” she said. “But the news is that I brought my own.”
Separately, ahead of March 4 elections in Italy, we profiled the country’s most popular female politician: Emma Bonino. (Her slogan is “Love Me Less, Vote Me More.”)
• American and European intelligence officials revealed a tale worthy of a John le Carré novel.
At a Berlin hotel, U.S. spies paid $100,000 to a Russian who had promised information on stolen cyberweapons and kompromat on President Trump. What he provided was unverified and possibly fabricated.
Separately in the U.S., Republican operatives are alarmed about Mr. Trump’s fixation on the Russia inquiry and unwillingness to stay on message ahead of midterm elections. (Over the weekend, he also expressed doubts about the #MeToo movement.)
• The thing you’re doing now, reading text on a screen, is going out of fashion.
We have only just begun to glimpse the deeper, more kinetic possibilities of an online culture in which text recedes to the background, and sounds and images become the universal language.
• Stock markets: Funds that track financial indexes have become a dominant force. They can act as accelerants, adding momentum to the current turmoil.
• The Greek Parliament is set to debate the creation of a committee to investigate prosecutors’ assertion that Novartis, the Swiss drug maker, bribed top politicians.
• Iceland is expected to use more electricity on virtual currencies than to power homes this year.
• The Weinstein Company sale has hit a snag. A lawsuit in New York says it should benefit harassment victims, not executives.
In the News
• A Russian plane carrying 71 people crashed shortly after takeoff from Moscow, killing all on board. [The New York Times]
• In Gaza, a standoff between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority is ravaging the economy. Some predict a total collapse, or a desperate war to break Israel’s blockade. [The New York Times]
• In Britain, calls for another Brexit referendum are gaining momentum amid political infighting and dire warnings by business leaders. [The New York Times]
• Salah Abdeslam’s defiance at his terrorism trial in Brussels reflects many Muslims’ sense that European judicial systems are stacked against them. [The New York Times]
• In South Africa, pressure mounts on President Jacob Zuma to resign. The leadership of his party, the African National Congress, meets today to discuss a transition. [Times Live]
• In memoriam: Asma Jahangir, a fearless Pakistani rights activist, died at 66. [The New York Times]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• Wednesday is Valentine’s Day. Spend it at home with these recipes.
• Here’s what to do if you have a bad iPhone battery.
• Go meatless with creamy polenta and mushrooms cooked in soy sauce and butter.
• Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther shook the Roman Catholic Church and the world. An Op-Ed video explores the intellectual transformation that he set off.
• The French hit television show “Baron Noir” shows politics as dark and gritty under a female president whose style has similarities with Emmanuel Macron. (The series finale airs tonight.)
• The quality of synthetic diamonds has increased to the point where they have made their way into jewelry stores.
• Is your dog ready for Instagram? The breed counts, but so does cuteness.
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show opens in New York today, an event that bills itself as the World’s Greatest Dog Show. The competition has cultivated a strong following since it opened in 1877 at Gilmore’s Garden, a venue that later became known as Madison Square Garden.
So where did the “Westminster” come from?
In the 1870s, a group of men met regularly at the Westminster Hotel near Union Square. They had an extraordinary affinity for the bar, as well as for dogs, and they decided to put on a dog show.
William F. Stifel’s book “The Dog Show, 125 Years of Westminster” details what happened next.
… They couldn’t agree on the name for their new club. But finally someone suggested that they name it after their favorite bar. The idea was unanimously selected, we imagine, with the hoisting of a dozen drinking arms.
After the Kentucky Derby, the Westminster Dog Show is the second-oldest continuously run sporting event in American history.
The first show had over 1,200 entries, and the judging took several days to choose a winner. (Here’s our 1877 report on the preparations.)
Last year, the show had close to 3,000 dogs from all 50 states. Judges hold themselves to two days.
Here’s our collection of stories on the show, and we’ll be adding live coverage beginning Tuesday.
Claudio E. Cabrera contributed reporting.
Your Morning Briefing is published weekday mornings and updated online.
Sign up here to get it by email in the Australian, Asian, European or American morning, or to receive an Evening Briefing on U.S. weeknights.
Browse our full range of Times newsletters here.
What would you like to see here? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.