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Home Technology Europe Edition: Russia, Syria, Serena Williams: Your Friday Briefing

Europe Edition: Russia, Syria, Serena Williams: Your Friday Briefing

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Europe Edition

Good morning.

Here’s what you need to know:

The Obama administration struck back at Russia for its efforts to influence the 2016 election, listing a sweeping set of sanctions that could box in President-elect Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Trump, who has said he doubts Russia was behind the hacking during the campaign, will now have to decide whether to lift the sanctions, effectively rejecting the findings of his intelligence agencies. He reiterated his call to “move on” but pledged to meet with intelligence officials.

For more than three years, Russia scouted civilian programmers and even criminals as it expanded its cyberwarfare abilities.

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• The Syrian government and Russia announced a cease-fire with rebel groups and with Turkey, a potential game changer in the civil war. Violations were reported within hours.

Many previous agreements have failed, but the dynamics have changed since pro-government forces fully retook Aleppo.

Here’s a look at who controls what in Syria.

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• In Iraq, the battle for Mosul doesn’t have a continuous front line, but a patchwork of battlegrounds. A long and difficult fight lies ahead for forces trying to liberate the city from the Islamic State.

Our photojournalist documented what it’s like inside the fighting zone.

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• Human behavior plays a big role in setting off avalanches, research suggests.

One surprising finding: Solo travelers in the snowy backcountry tend to make safer choices than larger groups. One reason may be the so-called expert halo, which causes people to blindly defer to the perceived authority in the group.

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• The Vienna Philharmonic’s concert on New Year’s Day, broadcast in almost 100 countries, is as much a part of the holiday as the kiss at midnight.

On Sunday, it will be conducted for the first time by Gustavo Dudamel, a Venezuela native known for his exuberant style.

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• Iron your clothes. Try Tinder. Ask the big questions.

Those are three of our 11 suggestions for being healthy and happy in the new year.

If you, like this writer, struggle to stick to your New Year’s resolutions, here are five things you can buy that might help.

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Business

• Hybrid cars could soon be having their moment in Europe. Toyota says it is on track for a 40 percent rise in sales for 2016.

• Venture capitalists are poised to invest big in start-ups and I.P.O.s in the new year.

• Technology companies are developing devices meant to be alternatives to sleeping pills, which can be addictive.

• The euro and the Swiss franc briefly surged as much as 1.6 percent against the dollar this morning. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

In the News

• In Israel, reactions to the international criticism of new settlements made clear that the country is just as polarized as America. [The New York Times]

• A Finnish court sentenced Helsinki’s former top antidrug police officer to 10 years in prison on drug trafficking charges. [Yle]

• Germany released a Tunisian man who had been suspected of being an accomplice in the attack on a Berlin Christmas market. [The New York Times]

• Prosecutors in Bulgaria are investigating whether arms were illegally exported to Syria. [Balkan Insight]

• The Turkish reporter Ahmed Sik is the latest journalist detained in Turkey over social media posts. [Hurriyet]

Facebook’s Safety Check feature, now automated, interpreted some firecrackers in Bangkok as an “explosion” this week, raising questions about its reliability. [The New York Times]

• Poland agreed to pay $105 million for a private art collection estimated to be worth more than $2 billion, including Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “Lady With an Ermine.” [The New York Times]

• In Berlin, where most landmarks of Nazi rule were demolished long ago, a replica of the bunker where Hitler committed suicide in 1945 has been built as a tourist attraction. [The New York Times]

Noteworthy

• The video above shows just how challenging the La Ruta de Los Conquistadores in Costa Rica, the world’s toughest bike race, can be.

• The sister of a notorious Dutch criminal will soon testify at his murder trial. But she has already called him a serial killer in “Judas,” a memoir that has riveted the Netherlands.

• “Down on one knee / He said 4 words / And / r/isaidyes”: With that bit of blank verse on Reddit, Serena Williams, the tennis star, announced her engagement to one of the site’s co-founders, Alexis Ohanian.

• Carlos Tevez, the Argentine striker, became the latest high-profile international player to join the Chinese Super League.

• From the summit of a slumbering Hawaiian volcano, a telescope has generated the biggest ever digital map of the cosmos.

• If you’re still using a paper calendar, you’re not an anachronism. Not only have they survived the digital revolution, sales of some kinds have increased.

Back Story

We know the drill by now — another new year, another exercise plan that fizzles before February. If you need inspiration to push yourself, take a cue from these athletes who aren’t letting anything, even age, get in the way.

Perhaps your goal is to start running. John Gilmour is a 97-year-old Australian who was captured by the Japanese during World War II. He’s still competitive, completing the 800 meters at the World Masters Athletics Championships in 9 minutes 19.53 seconds this year, while running with a colostomy bag because of a bladder infection.

The Japanese adventurer Yuichiro Miura climbed Mount Everest at age 80 (and at 70 and 75). He’s the oldest to reach the summit, and he’s planning a return trip at 90.

Then there’s Robert Marchand, a French cyclist. He set a world record by pedaling 16.7 miles in one hour at age 102.

And Täo Porchon-Lynch, born in India, who still teaches yoga at 98. She’s also a ballroom dancer and performed on “America’s Got Talent” with a 26-year-old partner.

Ed Whitlock, an 85-year-old marathoner, has set dozens of age-group records. “He’s about as close as you can get to minimal aging in a human individual,” a doctor said.

The benefits of exercise, even light activity like walking, are scientifically proven. So go for it in 2017 and keep Mr. Miura’s words in mind: “If you have a dream, never give up.”

Des Shoe contributed reporting.

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Your Morning Briefing will be back on Tuesday, Jan. 3.

What would you like to see here? Contact us at europebriefing@nytimes.com.

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