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The bottom line: The forecasts for the virus and the economy have a lot in common. The country is headed into a grim period — one that will involve widespread illness, death and financial suffering (and that government policy has a chance to ameliorate). Yet the second half of 2021 promises better times.

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia held their first known meeting last night in Saudi Arabia, according to Israeli media. It could signal an acceleration of warming relations.

  • French police officers have interrogated at least 14 children and teenagers over accusations that they behaved inappropriately during a minute of silence for a teacher who was beheaded last month. Some of the children face charges of “defending terrorism.”

  • Florida officials are investigating the fatal shooting of two Black teenagers during an encounter with a sheriff’s deputy this month.

  • Guitar Center, the largest retailer of musical instruments in the U.S., has filed for bankruptcy.

  • Archaeologists found the nearly 2,000-year-old remains of two people frozen in time by the volcanic eruption that buried the ancient Roman town of Pompeii.

A Close Shave: For ski patrollers who provide emergency medical care, beards have long been the norm. But not this year: As face masks go on, the beards are coming off.

From Books: Barack Obama took nearly four years to publish his White House memoir — longer than any other president in the past century. One factor: He wrote the book himself.

From Opinion: After years of passively watching nationalist governments in Hungary and Poland undermine democracy, the European Union is finally fighting back, the Times’s editorial board writes.

Lives Lived: Pat Quinn learned he had A.L.S. a month after his 30th birthday. In 2014, he helped make the Ice Bucket Challenge a viral sensation, raising hundreds of millions to fight the disease. He died at 37.

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