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Sometimes you want a book that deals with the big things — love and death and meaning and worth. Sometimes you want stakes that are as high as saving the universe. Sometimes you want thoughtful digressions by learned thinkers on the state of man or the look of aspens in the snow.

You can buy a remarkable number of items on Copacabana Beach just by sitting on the sand a few yards from the Atlantic waves, and waiting.

Without leaving your beach chair, you can purchase a piece of cheese, a kiddie pool, a blanket, a skewer of shrimp, a string bikini, a selfie-stick, a tropical shirt, a pineapple or a coconut.

Be under no illusions: Copacabana is not merely a beach. It's a giant, restless market, staffed by vendors who drift around in steaming heat, flourishing their wares at the multitude of near-naked basking bodies.

During my senior year of high school, I started dreading calculus. Every time my teacher slapped our tests face-down on our desks, I would peel up the corner of the page just enough to see the score, circled in red. The numbers were dropping quickly: 79, 64, 56.

My classmates and I were not coy about our grades. After class, we would hover outside the door and compare them. But when my friends asked me what I got on tests, I said, childishly, "I'm not telling."

While Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was on lockdown, with an active shooter in the building, students were on their phones.

By the time the first week wrapped up at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, the powerful, icy winds that earlier disrupted or delayed competition had largely calmed. Norway's team led in medals, with 19, and Germany won more gold — nine medals — in the first week than any other country.

The U.S., meanwhile, earned eight medals by Friday, including five gold. Snowboarder Redmond "Red" Gerard, a 17-year-old who overslept on the day of his event and had to borrow a too-big jacket after he couldn't find his own, clinched Team USA's first gold medal last Sunday.

Native American leaders are once again pushing for a seat at the decision-making table, saying this week that tribal nations have been overlooked for "too often and too long."

Their latest concern comes with President Trump's proposed infrastructure plan. The president sent it to Congress on Monday, saying he aimed "to help build a better future for all Americans."

She went up the hill a snowboarder but came down an Olympic champion skier. That's one way to tell the story of Ester Ledecka, the Czech athlete who stunned the world — and herself — by winning the women's Super-G race at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

"How did that happen?" she asked a cameraman at the bottom of her run.

The angst of teenage life can be overwhelming. The angst of being an adult and watching teenagers — some of whom aren't old enough to vote in the U.S. — complete amazing feats of human strength and mental fortitude is ... well, also overwhelming. An impressive number of adolescents are not only competing in the 2018 Winter Games. In some cases, they're winning.

Nathan Chen rewrote the story of his Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, performing an unprecedented six quad jumps in his free skate and launching himself from 17th place and nearly winning a medal in the men's singles competition.

Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu repeated as the Olympic gold medalist in this event, on the strength of two riveting performances. Hanyu's teammate Shoma Uno won silver, and Spain's Javier Fernandez won bronze at the Gangneung Ice Arena in South Korea.

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