Aleppo, Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump: Your Wednesday Briefing

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Good morning.

Here’s what you need to know:

• A Times investigation reveals how Russia aimed the perfect weapon at the U.S. presidential election: cyberattacks that were honed in elections elsewhere.

Intelligence officials believe an operation to collect information evolved into an effort to support Donald J. Trump’s campaign. Calls are coming from both parties to investigate Russian meddling.

Above, the Democratic National Convention’s hacked server on a table in the organization’s basement, next to a reminder of a past breach: a filing cabinet jimmied in the Watergate burglary of its offices in 1972.

Separately, a group of European lawmakers warned of Russian efforts to “influence European politics, media and civil society to prevent consequences for Russian human rights violators.”

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Russia, Turkey and Syrian rebel groups reached an agreement for rebels to leave the last pockets of territory in the ravaged city of Aleppo after a four-year battle.

Evacuations were expected to begin this morning, leaving the city fully in the hands of government forces.

But there was confusion over whether the deal would assure safe passage for civilians, who the U.N. said had been shot in the streets by the score.

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• Mr. Trump selected Rick Perry, the former Texas governor, to lead the Energy Department, which would place him in charge of America’s aging nuclear arsenal.

The president-elect is lining up veteran members of the Republican foreign policy establishment to endorse his choice for secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson. The Exxon Mobil chief executive will face sharp scrutiny over his ties to Russia.

Here’s the latest on the transition.

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• In Poland, thousands joined a march from the former Communist Party headquarters in Warsaw to the offices of the governing party, Law and Justice, to protest what they see as a slide toward authoritarianism.

“Free and democratic Poland is in danger,” said Lech Walesa, the former Solidarity leader.

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Jobs will be high on the agenda when Mr. Trump meets with tech leaders later today, including Elon Musk of Tesla, Timothy D. Cook of Apple and Jeff Bezos of Amazon.

Asahi, the Japanese beer giant, will pay $7.8 billion to Anheuser-Busch InBev for a group of some of the most popular beers in Central and Eastern Europe.

• Chinese investors have dropped a bid to take over Osram Licht, a German lighting and semiconductor company, amid mounting political opposition to such deals.

• Don’t view retirement as a light at the end of a career tunnel, our personal finance writer warns. He offers a few tips to rearrange your work life.

• Stock markets are up as investors anticipate an interest-rate increase today by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

• The French government is seeking to turn “La Marseillaise,” the national anthem, often associated with the political right, into a symbol of national unity. [The New York Times]

• Aleksei A. Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition politician, announced his intention to run for president in 2018, vowing to make corruption a prominent issue of his campaign. [The New York Times]

The U.S. blocked a transfer of precision munitions to Saudi Arabia because of concerns about civilian casualties in its war in Yemen. [The New York Times]

• The European Parliament’s suspension of payments to a euroskeptic think tank linked to the U.K. Independence Party is part of wider scrutiny of populist groups’ use of E.U. funds. [Politico]

• A review of data from 151 countries found wide gaps in education among followers of the world’s major religions. [The New York Times]

• Europeans overestimate the Continent’s Muslim population, a regional poll shows. [The Guardian]

• After Theresa May, the British prime minister, was criticized for wearing $1,250 leather trousers, many argued that no man would face such an attack. [The New York Times]

• Satellite images provide a picture of how the world’s lakes and rivers have been altered over the past three decades by drought and global warming.

• Yes, darts: Michael van Gerwen from the Netherlands could be the greatest player of all time.

• In memoriam: Esma Redzepova, who brought wide recognition to Romany music, and E. R. Braithwaite, whose memoir of teaching in London’s deprived East End was adapted into a hit 1967 film.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” opens in most European countries today and tomorrow, and it is projected to have one of the biggest December debuts. Here’s our spoiler-free review.

• Torun, the Polish hometown of the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, has for centuries closely guarded its gingerbread recipes.

Finally, researchers offer some advice on gift-giving: Recipients often don’t care how much thought went into the present. In other words, don’t try so hard.

We told you last week about a fight in Canada over a proposed official bird, the gray jay.

Canadians have also sparred over whether poutine (fries topped with cheese curds and gravy) should beat out maple syrup as their most representative food (no).

In some places, trademark foods are not so self-evident.

Many Britons consider chicken tikka masala, a colonial adaptation featuring a bright orange sauce, as their national dish — more so than fish and chips. The concoction, one official said, “is a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs and adapts external influences.”

In other places, there’s no question about the winner.

For example, New Mexico reveres the local chile. It’s nowhere near as hot as peppers in China, India or the Caribbean, but it is perhaps the most consistent ingredient in the state’s dishes.

Lawmakers in the late ’90s declared the state’s official question to be “Red or green?” As in: Which variety of chile sauce do you want?

One answer plays no favorites. Order “Christmas,” and you’ll get both.

Can’t handle the heat? Reach for a glass of milk, which neutralizes the capsaicin that makes your taste buds sting.

It’s also the official beverage of 21 states.

Anna Holland contributed reporting.

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Your Morning Briefing is published weekday mornings.

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