FROM Graham Bowley
The Power Brokers of Art Basel The rich and their representatives are descending on Basel, Switzerland this week for Art Basel, the world’s most prestigious art fair. It opens to the public tomorrow. For three days, billions of dollars will be spent on the work of famous and about-to-be famous artists. Three New York art auctions set records last month, setting the stage for record sales in Basel. Millions have already changed hands in today’s private pre-fair sales. And only six powerful people determine who gets to show at the fair. Who are they and why do they have so much power?
US Generals Meet on Afghan Attacks The chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, is in Kabul for private talks about NATO's mission in Afghanistan. In the past two weeks, ten American service members have been killed by Afghans they were supposed to be training. That raises disturbing questions about the American strategy for withdrawal. Graham Bowley is in Afghanistan for the New York Times .
Afghan Hostility to US Presence Endangers Mission Green berets reportedly are talking to Afghan villagers after the alleged killings of at least 16 people, including nine children, by an American soldier. The Taliban has threatened reprisals, and tensions are very high, with President Karzai calling the incident "unforgiveable." In the US, a recent poll shows 60 percent find the war no longer worth fighting, but political leaders are divided. We hear from Kabul and Washington. Can trust be restored? Is the withdrawal strategy likely to change?
The 'deconstruction' of the administrative state President Trump has failed to fill high-level positions in important agencies — and some people he has named want to phase out the agencies they're supposed to lead. We look at the possible consequences for delivering services and providing security — and at top aide Steve Bannon's plans for "deconstructing the administrative state."
House Republicans release their Obamacare replacement As two House committees take up "repeal and replacement" of "Obamacare," there may be life left in the Affordable Care Act after all. Even Republicans are divided, and proposed changes won't make good on President Trump's promise to provide "health insurance for everybody."
Getting answers on phone taps, Russia and leaking The Directors of the FBI and the NSA testified on Capitol Hill today there's no evidence for President Trump's claim he was wire-tapped by former President Obama. We'll hear about that and the investigation into Russian tampering with last year's presidential campaign.
Cover-up or witch hunt?: The latest on the WH ties to Russia Less than two months into his Presidency, Donald Trump is struggling to get his agenda under way, making it harder himself with tweets that dominate public attention. Meanwhile, important questions are going unanswered: why have staff members and the Attorney General lied about contacts with Russian officials?