Russia, Iran, McDonald’s: Your Thursday Briefing

Russia, Iran, McDonald’s: Your Thursday Briefing

(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the , are widely seen as harbingers of good fortune. They are often displayed in homes and office lobbies, such as at The Times’s Asia headquarters in Hong Kong.

Seeing Hong Kong’s kumquats before this year’s Lunar New Year, which falls on Jan. 25, reminded your Back Story writer of living in Vietnam, where swarms of motorbike drivers deliver the trees through city streets.

The visual of moving tapestries of orange orbs resembles a citrusy variation on “The Gates,” an art installation in which Central Park in New York was filled with undulating sheets of saffron-colored fabric in 2005.

That’s it for this briefing. Wishing you good fortune.

— Mike and Sofia

Thank you
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. Mike wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about Russian hacking efforts and the 2020 election.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: Macaroni shape (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Louis Silverstein, an art director for The Times, introduced new graphic design elements between the 1960s and ’80s that continue to shape our style.

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