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Merry Christmas. Now Who Swiped My Tree?

As the surveillance video circulated, the Whataburglar had a change of heart, much like the other Grinch. He returned the tree, surrendered to the police and agreed to perform community service as punishment.Continue reading the main storyElsewhere, trees keep disappearing. In Mobile, Ala., employees of Big City Toys arrived at work this month to find that the artificial evergreens outside their store had vanished. Rather than mope, they decided to buy more Christmas trees and give them away for free.“Some people need these trees to have a little bit of happiness in their life,” said Kristi Houseknecht, a store manager.Newsletter Sign UpContinue reading the main storyThank you for subscribing.An error has occurred. Please try again later.You are already subscribed to this email.View all New York Times newsletters.All the free trees went to new homes within two days. One was delivered to a man in hospice care. Another went to a recently released convict who could not afford a tree for her children.In the end, the missing trees that had inspired the giveaway turned out not to be stolen at all. Someone at the toy store had moved them to an indoor storage room during a rainstorm.There was no such happy ending in Minnesota, where the skunk-spray initiative came too late to spare the spruce that vanished from the university’s campus. The stolen tree — now just a sad stump in the snow — had been in a line of evergreens planted about a decade ago.Mr. Ritzer, the campus landscaping manager, said he expected the university to spend around $2,500 to dig out the stump and plant a new tree. […]

Texas, North Korea, Qualcomm: Your Tuesday Briefing

• Protections for Nicaraguans to end. Thousands who arrived illegally in the U.S., many of them decades ago, will have to leave the country, the Trump administration said. Continue reading the main story • A fight over gardening? The altercation that left Senator Rand Paul nursing bruised lungs and broken ribs was said to have begun over a landscaping dispute with a neighbor. • Partisan writing you shouldn’t miss. Writers from across the political spectrum discuss the church shooting in Texas. • A parasite problem in Norway. Fish farmers face new curbs aimed at protecting the country’s stocks of wild salmon, which have more than halved, partly because of the spread of sea lice. […]

Behind Bucks County Killings, a Young Life Skidding Off the Rails

But the signs of a volatile, bullying personality became steadily more pronounced over time, especially after an ATV accident last year. Many who knew Mr. DiNardo said that his mood became especially dark.Continue reading the main storyOn Thursday, he confessed to the Bucks County prosecutor that he and a cousin, Sean M. Kratz, also 20, were responsible for the brutal killings this month of four young men who sought Mr. DiNardo out as their marijuana connection. Mr. DiNardo and Mr […]

A Russian Developer Helps Out the Kremlin on Occasion. Was He a Conduit to Trump?

Mr. Agalarov, 61, also worked on a project with a future president, Donald J. Trump. Last week, the Russian developer and his crooner son and heir, Emin, were thrust into the swirl of speculation about whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election.Continue reading the main storyTheir names popped up in emails about arranging a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer who claimed to have incriminating information about Hillary Clinton, but the president and his son have both insisted that nothing of value was provided.“This is obviously very high-level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump — helped along by Aras and Emin,” wrote Rob Goldstone, a music producer and publicist working for Emin.While there is no indication beyond what was said in the emails that the Agalarovs were serving as a conduit between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, wealthy and well-connected businessmen are often called on to do the bidding of the Russian government.Kremlin analysts stress that its red, crenelated walls conceal not a well-oiled machine but a hornet’s nest of interests and influences competing to dominate an Erector Set of ad hoc policies and sudden opportunities, many of them highly lucrative.When it comes to exploiting those opportunities, the Kremlin often ignores its own bureaucrats, diplomats and other agents in favor of someone it thinks will get the job done — a charmed group whose members rise and fall in status along with their usefulness to Mr. Putin and his top aides.In that context, analysts find it entirely plausible that the Kremlin would tap Mr. Agalarov, a construction tycoon with a web of contacts to Mr. […]

The Hobbies of Capitol Hill: Beekeeper, Baker, Photographer … Senator?

AdvertisementPoliticsPatrick J. Toomey, Republican of PennsylvaniaBeekeeperImageCreditMark Makela for The New York TimesWhat got him startedHow it relates to his job on Capitol HillImageCreditMark Makela for The New York TimesRandom fact about beesScary moment in beekeepingAdvertisementJoni Ernst, Republican of IowaRuck MarchingImageCreditDoug Mills/The New York TimesWhat got her startedHow is ruck marching like lawmaking? Random fact about ruck marchingSusan Collins, Republican of MainePerfecting the Blueberry MuffinImageCreditYoon Byun for The New York TimesWhat got her startedMuffins in the life of a lawmaker?ImageCreditYoon Byun for The New York TimesRules and reconciliation of muffin makingAngus King, Independent of MaineAmateur PhotographerImageCreditDoug Mills/The New York TimesWhat got him startedHow it relates to his job on Capitol HillAdvertisementRandom fact about his photographyWhat he loves to shoot bestHeidi Heitkamp, Democrat of North DakotaCertified Pilates InstructorImageCreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York TimesWhat got her on the matHow it relates to her job on Capitol HillRandom fact about PilatesWhat do people think of Pilates pedagogy from a pol? Chris Coons, Democrat of DelawarePerforming Wedding CeremoniesImageCreditLove Life ImagesWhat got him startedMarriage, the ultimate scheduling conflictRites come before the presidentDebbie Stabenow, Democrat of MichiganPianistImageCreditBrittany Greeson for The New York TimesWhat got her startedPianos have precedence over partisanshipAdvertisementThe piano is also a legislative icebreaker […]

Artists tinker with grass & photosynthesis to create huge living canvases (Video)

Humble grass is transformed into living works of art with a message, using light and a lot of patience. […]

Terrace House to be tallest timber tower

Shigeru Ban mixes it up next to Arthur Erickson’s Evergreen Building on Vancouver’s Coal Harbour […]