This is what the news should sound like. The biggest stories of our time, told by the best journalists in the world. Hosted by Michael Barbaro. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, ready by 6 a.m.
The Story of Simone Biles
This episode contains mentions of sexual abuse.
Simone Biles, 24, showed up on the national stage at 16, when she competed in and won the national championships. She equally impressed at her first Olympics, in 2016 in Rio.
Going into the Tokyo Games this year, Ms. Biles — who is considered one of the greatest gymnasts of all time — was expected to win the all-around. So she shocked many this week when she pulled out of the competition.
What prompted her decision?
Guest: Juliet Macur, a sports reporter for The New York Times.
Why Is China Expanding Its Nuclear Arsenal?
For decades, nuclear weapons did not figure prominently in China’s military planning. However, recent satellite images suggest that the country may be looking to quintuple its nuclear arsenal.
Why is China changing strategy now?
Guest: David E. Sanger, a White House and national security correspondent for The New York Times.
The Saga of Congress’s Jan. 6 Investigation
This episode contains strong language.
The first hearing of the special congressional committee on the Jan. 6 riots was an emotional affair, but it was not quite the investigation that was originally envisaged.
In January, lawmakers on both sides spoke of putting aside partisanship and organizing an investigation akin to the 9/11 commission, considered the gold standard of nonpartisan fact-finding.
Why did the commission fail and what is taking place instead?
Guest: Luke Broadwater, a congressional reporter for The New York Times.
The Vaccine Mandate Conundrum
In the effort to raise America’s vaccination rate, some agencies and private organizations have turned to the last, and most controversial, weapon in the public health arsenal: vaccine mandates.
How have the federal government and the White House approached the issue?
Guest: Jennifer Steinhauer, a Washington reporter for The New York Times.
Breakthrough Infections, Explained
For the past couple of weeks, some Americans have reported a curious phenomenon: They have caught the coronavirus despite being vaccinated.
Vaccines are still doing their job by protecting against serious illness and hospitalization, but the frequency of so-called breakthrough infections has surprised experts.
How do such cases happen, and what risks do they pose?
Guest: Apoorva Mandavilli, a science and global health reporter for The New York Times.
The Sunday Read: ‘The Little Hedge Fund Taking Down Big Oil’
An activist investment firm won a shocking victory at Exxon Mobil. But can new directors really put the oil giant on a cleaner path?