Migos Returns to No. 1 With ‘Culture II,’ Another Streaming Juggernaut

A year after “Bad and Boujee” helped to cement a moment for digital streaming by hitting No. 1, the rap trio Migos is at it again.

With 225 million streams in its debut week, the group’s new album, “Culture II” (Quality Control/Motown/Capitol), easily topped the Billboard 200, tallying the best streaming week for an album since Kendrick Lamar’s “DAMN.” last April. The release also counted 38,000 in traditional sales for a total of 199,000 units by the industry’s current metrics, according to Nielsen data.

That was enough to best the first “Culture” album — which debuted with 116 million streams and 131,000 total units last year — despite the lack of another chart-topping single. The song “MotorSport,” featuring Cardi B and Nicki Minaj, has hovered around the Top 10, while its follow-up, “Stir Fry,” has lived mostly in the second half of the Hot 100.


Call to Remove Homeless People (All 8) Before Royal Wedding Stirs Anger

WINDSOR, England — Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their wedding date last month, the council leader who oversees one of the most affluent boroughs in Britain has been on a campaign to deal with the homeless people who “sleep rough” near the wedding venue, Windsor Castle — all eight of them, according to official statistics.

Simon Dudley, leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, wrote to the Thames Valley police this past week demanding that they use their legal powers to tackle the issue of “aggressive begging and intimidation,” ahead of the royal wedding on May 19.

Last month, while on a ski vacation in Wyoming, Mr. Dudley tweeted about an “epidemic of rough sleeping and vagrancy in Windsor,” which he says paints the historical market town in an “unfavorable light.” He also announced that he would be writing to the police to ask them to “deal with it” before the royal wedding.

His description of “bags and detritus” accumulating on the streets and “people marching tourists to cash points to withdraw cash” suggested that homeless people had somewhat taken over the quaint streets of Windsor.

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Tom Hanks to Return to the Stage in ‘Henry IV’ in Los Angeles

Just in case being a film titan wasn’t enough, Tom Hanks, fresh off being cast as Fred Rogers in an upcoming biopic, will be returning to the stage. He will play Sir John Falstaff in “Henry IV,” the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles announced on Tuesday. Rita Wilson, his wife, will also be in the show.

Mr. Hanks will be directed by Daniel Sullivan, a veteran Tony Award-winning director, in one of the most iconic comedic roles in all of Shakespeare. The play will have 24 performances starting June 5 and ending July 1. They will run at the Japanese Garden on the West Los Angeles V.A. Campus, and 2,000 tickets will be set aside for active and retired members of the military.

For almost three decades, Mr. Hanks and Ms. Wilson have been benefactors of the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, hosting “Simply Shakespeare” every year — a comedic, impromptu reading of the playwright’s work.

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Riders Outside Manhattan Can Now Hail Accessible Taxis, Too

New York City is expanding a taxi dispatch service for the disabled to allow people who use wheelchairs to order accessible cabs in the boroughs outside Manhattan, officials announced on Wednesday.

The expansion of the service, which had been limited to Manhattan, marked the latest development in the city’s decades-long efforts to provide people in wheelchairs and motorized scooters with more equitable access to transportation.

“Today’s expansion is an important recognition that we are a city of five boroughs,” Meera Joshi, the commissioner of the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, said at a news conference in Brooklyn.

Through the dispatch program, riders can arrange to be picked up by a wheelchair accessible taxicab by calling 311, using a mobile app or a website or calling or texting a dispatcher. They would not be charged anything beyond the metered fare for the pickup.

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How to Avoid a Renovation Nightmare

Nobody ever intends to hire a shoddy contractor, but it often doesn’t take much for a home renovation project to go awry. The potential woes are many: poor workmanship, countless delays and a bill that seems to keep growing. Or worse yet, a contractor who takes your money, doesn’t finish the job and then disappears.

Complaints filed against home improvement contractors rank among the top five complaint categories year after year in New York City, according to the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs. In 2017, there were 1,116 complaints filed against contractors and $1.5 million in fines issued.

“There’s been a slight decrease in the number of complaints since 2016, but it’s an ongoing problem,” said Lorelei Salas, the consumer affairs commissioner.

So what can a homeowner do to find a good contractor — and there are many hardworking, skilled tradesmen out there — and avoid a renovation nightmare?

Alan Goldman, left, and Terri Goldman hired a contractor to renovate a bathroom in their house in Niskayuna, N.Y., but although the contractor was paid more than $11,000, he never finished the job.Credit…Preston Schlebusch for The New York Times


Review: At City Ballet, a Prettily Arcadian ‘Dance Odyssey’

As a dancer, Peter Walker, a dark-haired beanpole amid the New York City Ballet corps, has an unusually adult and purposeful look. He brings onto the stage the air of a life outside the theater. I believe in him so much as a character in performance (not least in plotless ballets) that I want to believe equally in the ballets he himself makes.

So far, alas, I don’t. His second creation for City Ballet, “dance odyssey,” is an improvement on his first, “ten in seven” (2016), notably in its choice of music (by the British composer Oliver Davis) and costumes (designed by City Ballet’s resident wardrobe director, Marc Happel).

The music — for solo violin, strings, piano and harp, taken from Mr. Davis’s “Dance,” “Airborne Dances,” “Dance Odyssey,” “Frontiers” and “Dancing Folk” — is charming, lyrical, Arcadian, reaching in its final section a melodious polyphony that recalls Michael Tippett’s beautiful Fantasia Concertante on a Theme of Corelli. (Mr. Davis’s score evokes the tradition of all-strings works by British composers — Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Britten and Tippett all wrote outstanding examples.) I find it affable, accomplished, harmless.

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Russia, Strava, Blood Moon: Your Wednesday Briefing

Good morning.

The State of the Union address in Washington, a fight over thin air and an epic lunar eclipse. Here’s your Morning Briefing:

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York TimesCredit…Jan Mark

• “I would definitely not like to be a Manning, or a Snowden, or an Assange.”

That was Nathan Ruser, the 20-year-old Australian National University student who shook security experts around the world with his revelation that the fitness app Strava exposes the locations of U.S. and other military bases in Afghanistan, Syria and beyond.

He credits part of his discovery with private group chats on Twitter, which experts say are increasingly important forums for cybersecurity discussions.


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Review: ‘Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story’ Exposes a Wildlife Massacre

Brutality overrides everything else in “Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story” — views of beautiful landscapes are hard to enjoy after seeing wild animals, including their young, maimed and slaughtered. But the filmmakers are determined to sound a wake-up siren, and they blast it here with extra strength.

The documentary, directed by Mick McIntyre and Kate McIntyre Clere, begins with a look at the kangaroo and its place in Australian culture: It’s both a widely used mascot and, to some, a hallowed creature.

But the animal is considered a pest by farmers and ranchers, and a profit source by pet-food companies and leather processors. Meat exporters are rushing to build a market for human consumption of this marsupial in China and Russia. The filmmakers scrutinize processing plants, where carcasses are butchered by the trailer-load, and deride the Australian government, which they suggest is mismanaging the populations.

“Millions of kangaroos are slaughtered every year in Australia to provide meat for cats and dogs, and also for humans,” in what is the largest terrestrial wildlife killing anywhere on earth, one interviewee says.

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The Misery of the New York Sports Fan in February

Sports fandom is an addiction; it doesn’t go away in midwinter when your seasonal teams are dreadful; March Madness is, well, in March; pitchers and catchers are still working out in high school gyms and the Westminster Dog Show is a fast-approaching headline. Today, if you’re a New York fan particularly, with the Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Devils and Islanders all wallowing in the kind of meh play that drains the juice out of both hope and despair, and particularly on Super Bowl Sunday with our football franchises in a catastrophic state of haplessness, you’re fundamentally lost.

O.K., there is the powerful Yankee lineup to look forward to, with its promise to rocket countless baseballs into the stratosphere. But opening day is a distant horizon, and we’ve been dreaming that dream for weeks now since Aaron Judge and his 52 homers almost carried them to the pennant and then Giancarlo Stanton, with 59 of his own, came aboard in a December trade. An addiction needs to be fed more regularly than that.

So the really hard-core fan — by which I mean someone like me, who is so pathetically hooked on local sports news that the hiring of a new defensive coordinator has an effect on my day — might find himself in deep consideration of whether the Jets should take another chance on an equal-parts talent and pain in the neck like the pouty, stubborn defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson. (Probably not.) Or, as I confess to doing, arguing in the comments section of Giants.com that Eli Manning still has a couple of years left in him, so the new general manager ought to forget about drafting one of those touted-but-flawed West Coast quarterbacks and take the running back from Penn State instead.


Taking On Terrorists and a Turkish Scandal, Beneath a Fleeting Spotlight

Amid the tumult last March of the Trump administration’s abrupt firing of Preet Bharara from his post as the United States attorney in Manhattan, his deputy, Joon H. Kim, a virtual unknown to the public, quietly stepped in.

It did not take long for Mr. Kim to be thrust into the spotlight.

Within days, he announced that the office would not file charges after what he said was a “thorough investigation” of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign fund-raising. In the ensuing months, Mr. Kim’s office indicted the man who drove a pickup truck down a crowded West Side bike path, killing eight people in the deadliest terrorist attack in New York since Sept. 11, and it filed charges against nearly a dozen people in a college basketball corruption scandal.

And on the day Mr. Kim learned he was being replaced by a prosecutor appointed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his office won a high-stakes trial of a Turkish banker in a conspiracy to violate United States sanctions on Iran.

Indeed, Mr. Kim’s 10 months as acting United States attorney were anything but quiet.

Mr. Kim, in a series of recent interviews, reflected on his brief but busy tenure leading the United States attorney's office for the Southern District of New York, a job he took under what he called “unusual and difficult" circumstances.

Despite several corruption-related prosecutions focused on New York lawmakers, Mr. Kim was uncertain that the message in Albany had been received. “Did we hope that it would have more of an impact than it appears to have had? The answer is yes.”Credit…Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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