talks between them in Baghdad in April, the Saudis demanded that Iran stop those attacks, according to Iraqi officials.

While visiting northeastern Syria last month, General McKenzie, the top American commander for the region, said military officials were developing ways to disrupt or disable communications between the drones and their operators, bolster radar sensors to identify approaching threats more rapidly, and find effective ways to down the aircraft.

In each of the known attacks in Iraq, at least some of the drones’ remnants have been partially recovered, and preliminary analyses indicated they were made in Iran or used technology provided by Iran, according to the three American officials familiar with the incidents.

These drones are larger than the commercially available quadcopters — small helicopters with four rotors — that the Islamic State used in the battle of Mosul, but smaller than the MQ-9 Reapers, which have a 66-foot wingspan. Military analysts say they carry between 10 and 60 pounds of explosives.

Iraqi officials and U.S. analysts say that while cash-strapped Iran has reduced funding for major Iraqi militias, it has invested in splitting off smaller, more specialized proxies still operating within the larger militias but not under their direct command.

American officials say that these specialized units are likely to have been entrusted with the politically delicate mission of carrying out the new drone strikes.

Iraqi security commanders say groups with new names are fronts for the traditional, powerful Iran-backed militias in Iraq such as Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq. Iraqi officials say Iran has used the new groups to try to camouflage, in discussions with the Iraqi government, its responsibility for strikes targeting U.S. interests, which often end up killing Iraqis.

The Iraqi security official said members of the smaller, specialized groups were being trained at Iraqi bases and in Lebanon as well as in Iran by the hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps — which oversees proxy militias in the Middle East.

American and Iraqi officials and analysts trace the increased unpredictability of militia operations in Iraq to the U.S. killing of General Suleimani and the Iraqi militia leader.

“Because the Iranian control over its militias has fragmented after the killing of Qassim Suleimani and Abu Mahdi Muhandis, the competition has increased among these groups,” said Mr. Malik, the Washington Institute analyst.

Jane Arraf reported from Baghdad and Eric Schmitt from Washington. Falih Hassan contributed reporting.

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The Big Deal in Amazon’s Antitrust Case

This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it weekdays.

Hoo boy, this is a moment. A government authority in the United States has sued Amazon over claims that the company is breaking the law by unfairly crushing competition.

The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday by the attorney general for the District of Columbia, joins the recent government antitrust cases against Google and Facebook. These lawsuits will take forever, and legal experts have said that the companies likely have the upper hand in court.

The D.C. attorney general, Karl Racine, however, is making a legal argument against Amazon that is both old-school and novel, and it might become a blueprint for crimping Big Tech power.

It’s a longstanding claim by some of the independent merchants who sell on Amazon’s digital mall that the company punishes them if they list their products for less on their own websites or other shopping sites like Walmart.com. Those sellers are effectively saying that Amazon dictates what happens on shopping sites all over the internet, and in doing so makes products more expensive for all of us.

told me that he believed that those price claims were the strongest potential antitrust case against Amazon on legal grounds. (He has since been picked to advise the White House on corporate competition issues.)

I don’t know if any of these lawsuits against Big Tech will succeed at chipping away at the companies’ tremendous influence. And I can’t definitively say whether we’re better or worse off by having a handful of powerful technology companies that make products used and often loved by billions of people.

the price of power is scrutiny.

How to fight back against bogus online information: The comedian Sarah Silverman and three of my colleagues are hosting a virtual event Wednesday about disinformation and how to combat it. Sign up here for the online event at 7 p.m. Eastern. It’s open only to New York Times subscribers.



fine social media companies for permanently barring political candidates’ accounts. The measure is most likely unconstitutional and unenforceable, Democrats, libertarian groups and tech companies told my colleague David McCabe, but it’s a response to Facebook’s and Twitter’s suspension of former President Donald Trump.

  • Posting is life. My colleague Taylor Lorenz explains how social media invitations to a teenager’s birthday party spread on TikTok and drew thousands of people and a police crackdown. The event got big partly because it was an opportunity for attendees to post compelling material online. SIGH.

  • POTUS loves Apple News? I don’t like it when computers and smartphones come with the device makers’ apps already installed, but it’s effective — even with the president of the United States. The Washington Post reported that during the 2020 campaign Joe Biden shared with aides human interest stories from Apple News, which came on his iPhone and he apparently hadn’t deleted.

  • The Linda Lindas are glorious. Here is the talented punk band of four girls between the ages of 10 and 16 — Bela, Eloise, Mila and Lucia — playing “Racist, Sexist Boy” at a Los Angeles public library. The Guardian interviewed them about their sudden internet fame.


    We want to hear from you. Tell us what you think of this newsletter and what else you’d like us to explore. You can reach us at ontech@nytimes.com.

    If you don’t already get this newsletter in your inbox, please sign up here. You can also read past On Tech columns.

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    A Press Corps Deceived, and the Gaza Invasion That Wasn’t

    The Israeli military abruptly announced after midnight on Friday that its ground forces had begun “attacking in the Gaza Strip,” saying it on Twitter, in text messages to journalists, and in on-the-record confirmations by an English-speaking army spokesman.

    Several international news organizations, including The New York Times, immediately alerted readers worldwide that a Gaza incursion or invasion was underway, a major escalation of Israeli-Palestinian hostilities.

    Within hours, those reports were all corrected: No invasion had taken place. Rather, ground troops had opened fire at targets in Gaza from inside Israeli territory, while fighters and drones were continuing to attack from the air. A top military spokesman took responsibility, blaming the fog of war.

    But by Friday evening, several leading Israeli news outlets were reporting that the incorrect announcement was no accident, but had actually been part of an elaborate deception. The intent, the media reports said, was to dupe Hamas fighters into thinking that an invasion had begun and to respond in ways that would expose far greater numbers of them to what was being called a devastatingly lethal Israeli attack.

    headlined a report by its military reporter, which called the spread of misinformation to foreign journalists a “planned ploy.”

    The Israeli press cited the military as saying the plan had worked. That claim could not be independently verified.

    Hezbollah missile attack had caused Israeli casualties.

    The spokesman’s office waited two hours — long enough for Hezbollah fighters to declare victory and stand down — before announcing that no Israeli troops had actually been hurt.

    provided answers with certitude: “This is not a ground invasion. Repeat: There is no ground invasion into the Gaza Strip. I don’t understand this strange briefing.”

    By then, according to Israeli reports, the military operation had already concluded.

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    Washington Post Picks Sally Buzbee as Top Editor

    The Post’s search for an executive editor, led by Mr. Ryan, started at the end of January, when Mr. Baron gave a month’s notice, saying, “At age 66, I feel ready to move on.” Mr. Bezos met with final candidates in recent days, and Ms. Buzbee said she had an interview with him in Washington before signing on for the job.

    “Every indication I’ve gotten, everything I’ve seen, is that he believes in the importance of an independent newsroom,” Ms. Buzbee said of Mr. Bezos in an interview on Tuesday.

    She said it was “a huge honor” to be the first woman to lead The Post’s newsroom.

    “Every day when I work, I am conscious of the women who came before me in this profession that we love so much and who broke down so many barriers,” Ms. Buzbee said. “And I am grateful to them pretty much every day of my life, because I know that it took work and guts, and I really do feel that they paved the way for things that are happening now.”

    Ms. Buzbee was also considered this year for the top newsroom job at The Los Angeles Times, which went this month to ESPN’s Kevin Merida, a former managing editor of The Post.

    She was born in Walla Walla, Wash., and grew up in the Bay Area and the suburbs of Dallas and Kansas City. She graduated from high school in Olathe, Kan., before getting a journalism degree at the University of Kansas and an M.B.A. from Georgetown University.

    Her husband, John Buzbee, a Foreign Service officer and Middle East specialist, died in 2016. Her father-in-law, Richard Buzbee, who died in 2018, was the publisher and editor of The Hutchinson News and Olathe Daily News in Kansas.

    Ms. Buzbee, who has been working out of New York, will move to Washington when she takes the Post job. The A.P. said in a statement that it would start a search for her successor immediately. The A.P.’s president and chief executive, Gary Pruitt, said in a statement that Ms. Buzbee had been “an exceptional leader.”

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    The Power of Pre-K

    In the late 1990s, Boston expanded its public pre-K program, but it did not have nearly enough spots for every 4-year-old in the city. So it used a lottery to help determine which children could enroll.

    That lottery created an opportunity for academic researchers. It meant that thousands of otherwise similar children would have different life experiences based on random chance. And random chance is a powerful way for social scientists to study cause and effect. It may be the closest thing to a laboratory experiment in the real world.

    Pre-K was a particularly good subject to study, because there has been a long-running debate about how much it matters. In the 1960s and ’70s, studies of two small preschool programs — known as the Perry and Abecedarian programs — showed major benefits for the children who attended them. But some experts pointed out the two programs were of a higher quality than most pre-K programs. For that reason, a community that enacted universal pre-K could not expect to replicate the benefits of Perry and Abecedarian.

    The evidence about larger pre-K programs — like the federal Head Start program — was more mixed. Graduates of Head Start seemed to do better on math and reading tests during the early years of elementary school. As they got older, though, the positive effects often faded, leaving the value of universal pre-K unclear.

    calling for the federal government to subsidize state pre-K programs. About two-thirds of 4-year-olds and half of 3-year-olds now attend such programs. Biden wants to make them universally available, at an additional cost of about $20 billion a year (or less than 1/30th of what the federal government spends on Medicare). He would pay for it by raising taxes on the wealthy.

    In today’s newsletter, I want to tell you about the results from the Boston pre-K study. They are being released this morning by three economists, from the University of Chicago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley.

    mixed evidence on Head Start.

    But test scores are mostly a means, not an end. More important than the scores are concrete measures of a student’s well-being. And by those measures, the students who won the lottery fared substantially better than those who lost it.

    also found that early education had a bigger effect on long-term outcomes than short-term metrics.

    How could pre-K have these positive effects without lifting test scores? It seems to improve children’s social and emotional skills and help them mature more than it helps in a narrow academic sense, the researchers told me.

    The findings are a reminder of how complex a process schooling is. We can’t simply give up on test scores. Measurement and accountability are vital parts of education, just as they are with most human endeavors. Without them, society ends up tolerating a lot of mediocrity and failure. But measurement often needs to be nuanced to be accurate.

    “An important implication of our study,” Walters, a Berkeley economist, said, “is that modern large-scale public preschool programs can improve educational attainment.”

    For more: How child care became a top issue in Biden’s Washington, by The Times’s Emily Peck; and why Republicans are abandoning their past support for universal child care, by Elliot Haspel, in The Washington Post.

    recipe that lets time do most of the work, no kneading necessary.

    The technique led to an explosion in amateur baking and changed professional baking as well, the chef J. Kenji López-Alt writes. It changed his life, too. “Learning how time can do the work for you turned me from someone who baked perhaps one or two loaves a year into someone who throws together dough on a whim before bedtime several times a month,” he writes.

    updated recipe for no-knead bread.

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    Washingtonian Staff Refuses to Publish to Protest CEO’s Article

    Editorial staff members at Washingtonian are refusing to publish online on Friday after the D.C.-based magazine’s chief executive wrote an opinion piece about the future of remote work that generated an immediate backlash.

    Cathy Merrill, the chief executive of Washingtonian Media, wrote in The Washington Post on Thursday that she was “concerned about the unfortunately common office worker who wants to continue working at home and just go into the office on occasion.”

    Ms. Merrill wrote that by choosing to continue to work from home, employees are offering executives “a tempting economic option the employees might not like.”

    Employees who are not in the office are not able to participate in what she called “extra” responsibilities, such as mentoring junior co-workers, helping a colleague, or celebrating a birthday, she explained, and managers may thus be less inclined to continue providing these workers with the status, and benefits, of being a full-time employee.

    Twitter criticizing Ms. Merrill’s words.

    “As members of the Washingtonian editorial staff, we want our C.E.O. to understand the risks of not valuing our labor,” they wrote. “We are dismayed by Cathy Merrill’s public threat to our livelihoods. We will not be publishing today.”

    Washingtonian staff, who are not part of a union, are still working from home. The magazine plans to have employees return to the office gradually beginning in the summer and then more fully in the fall.

    The article and its original headline — “As a CEO, I want my employees to understand the risks of not returning to work in the office” — felt to some Washingtonian employees like their benefits or jobs were threatened, said a member of the editorial staff who asked to remain anonymous for fear of professional repercussions. The headline was changed to, “As a CEO, I worry about the erosion of office culture with more remote work.”

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    Biden’s Modest Tax Plan

    Business lobbyists and conservative think tanks are not big fans of President Biden’s proposed tax increases on the wealthy.

    The Tax Foundation has said that Biden wants to raise the capital gains tax to “highs not seen since the 1920s.” Suzanne Clark of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called the same plan “outrageous.” Jay Timmons of the National Association of Manufacturers called the proposed increase in the corporate tax rate “archaic.” And Brendan Bechtel, the chief executive of the construction company that bears his family name, said that “it doesn’t feel fair.”

    All of this rhetoric has obscured a basic fact about Biden’s tax plan: It would not actually raise tax rates on the rich to high levels, historically speaking.

    If all of Biden’s proposed tax increases passed — on the corporate tax, as well as on investment taxes and income taxes for top earners — the total federal tax rate on the wealthy would remain significantly lower than it was in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. It would also remain somewhat lower than during the mid-1990s, based on an analysis that Gabriel Zucman of the University of California, Berkeley, did for The Morning.

    just how far taxes on the wealthy have fallen over the past 70 years. In the decades just after World War II, many corporations paid about half of their profits in federal taxes. (Shareholders, who are disproportionately affluent, effectively pay those taxes). Today, corporate taxes are only about one-fourth as large, as a share of G.D.P., as they were in the 1950s and ’60s.

    The declines are not all ancient history, either. For most of the past quarter-century, taxes on the affluent have continued falling, including the rates on corporate profits, personal income, stock dividends, stock holdings and inheritances. Barack Obama reversed some of the declines, but only some. “The net effect over the past 25 years of federal income tax policy has been to reduce the overall revenue collected from top earners,” Owen Zidar, a Princeton University economist, told me.

    Whether you like Biden’s plan or dislike it, it is not radical. For that reason, it is highly unlikely to have the harmful effects on economic growth that its critics are claiming. Remember: In the 1990s, the last time tax rates were as high as the ones Biden has proposed, the economy boomed. It also grew rapidly after World War II, when tax rates were higher yet.

    History suggests that tax rates on the wealthy are not the main determinant of economic growth (and, if anything, higher taxes on the rich can sometimes lift growth). The main effect of Biden’s tax plan probably won’t be on the level of G.D.P. It will instead be on the relative tax burden that wealthy people pay. When they criticize the plan as unfair, archaic and outrageous, they are really saying that they enjoy paying low tax rates.

    admit up to 62,500 refugees in the next six months, reversing his decision to keep a lower limit set by Donald Trump.

  • The E.P.A. plans to limit a class of climate-warming chemicals used in air-conditioning and refrigeration.

  • Richard Cordray, an ally of Senator Elizabeth Warren, will oversee federal student aid, putting him at the center of Democratic disagreements over forgiving debt.

  • Representative Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, accused Trump of “poisoning our democratic system” by making false claims of voter fraud.

  • The country’s increasing diversity isn’t doing as much to help Democrats as liberals hope, Nate Cohn explains.

  • When the World Trade Organization meets this week, should it waive Covid vaccine patents to increase access for poorer countries?

    from Stromboli.

    A Times classic: Can you guess whether these neighborhoods voted for Biden or for Trump?

    Lives Lived: He was born Joseph Jacques Ahearn, but his mother thought Jacques d’Amboise would be better suited to the ballet world. After he became a dancer, d’Amboise found stardom in New York and Hollywood. He died at 86.

    the critic Jesse Green writes in The Times.

    The album, “All the Girls,” also featuring the soprano Sally Wilfert, came out two days after Luker’s death in December. Green calls it beautiful and funny. (It includes this song, which is worth watching.)

    Tonight, Luker’s colleagues and friends will tell stories and sing songs from her career at a fund-raising concert you can stream. — Claire Moses, Morning writer

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    Yamiche Alcindor Is Named Host of ‘Washington Week’ on PBS

    Last month, when Yamiche Alcindor learned she would become the next moderator of the PBS current-affairs show “Washington Week,” she immediately felt the emotion of the moment.

    “I basically instantly cried,” Ms. Alcindor recalled, “thinking about Gwen.”

    “Washington Week,” a calm redoubt in the shouty battleground of political television, is most closely associated with its longtime moderator Gwen Ifill, the pioneering journalist who broke barriers as a Black woman in the Washington press corps.

    Before her death in 2016, Ms. Ifill also became a mentor to Ms. Alcindor, the White House correspondent at “PBS NewsHour.” Starting with the episode on Friday, Ms. Alcindor, 34, will take Ms. Ifill’s old chair at the helm of “Washington Week.” She succeeds Robert Costa, a reporter for The Washington Post who took over in 2017 and left the show this year.

    PBS and WETA-TV, the Washington affiliate that produces the program, announced the appointment of Ms. Alcindor on Tuesday.

    reporter for The New York Times and USA Today.

    She said that she had been a “Washington Week” viewer since college, and that she wanted to widen the scope of a show sometimes steeped in D.C. arcana. She also plans to maintain the civil tone — “a sense of respect and respectability,” as she put it — that has been the show’s signature since its 1967 debut.

    “There can be this sense, when you are working and living in Washington, that everything is about what’s going on in D.C.,” Ms. Alcindor said. “So much of what has guided my journalism is, how are vulnerable populations being impacted by these policies? That will be my guiding light.”

    As a White House reporter, Ms. Alcindor gained some fame as a frequent target of former President Donald J. Trump’s ire at news conferences. On one occasion in 2018, Mr. Trump labeled her question as “racist” after she asked if his policies had emboldened white nationalists. “As a Black woman, it wasn’t the first time that someone had targeted me or said something about me that I knew not to be true,” Ms. Alcindor recalled.

    When Ms. Alcindor was first booked as a guest on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” she said, she called Ms. Ifill “in a panic.”

    She recalled Ms. Ifill’s advice: “She basically told me, ‘You are a reporter who knows just as much as the people around that table. You earned this, and you are ready for this.’”

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    L.A. Times Names Kevin Merida Executive Editor

    When Mr. Merida started at The Undefeated, it was a stalled digital project with an unhappy staff — a would-be publication that, even after a nearly two-year development period, existed only as a web page with links to 19 articles.

    He got The Undefeated up and running, quickly establishing its editorial identity. The site’s relevance grew as prominent Black athletes embraced activism amid the rise of the social justice movement after the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others.

    In his first editor’s letter at The Undefeated, Mr. Merida held up the example of his father, Jesse Merida, as someone who refused to be defeated by pervasive racism and the limited opportunities that went with it.

    His father, he wrote, had gotten a degree in geology at what is now Wichita State University and did not listen to those who advised him to go into teaching rather than trying for a career in the more closed-off world of science. He ended up “earning his living as a janitor at one point while waiting for his opportunity,” Mr. Merida wrote, and was finally hired as a technician with the U.S. Geological Survey, a job that led to a long career, among mostly white researchers, with the Smithsonian Institution.

    At the Disney-owned ESPN, Mr. Merida became a close adviser to Jimmy Pitaro, the network’s chairman, and served as the chair of ESPN’s editorial board. He also played integral roles in its newsroom, helping oversee its investigative coverage and the television shows “E:60” and “Outside the Lines,” while also managing its standards team.

    Mr. Merida, who was born in Wichita, Kan., grew up in the Washington area, where he still lives. He is married to the author Donna Britt, who has worked as a reporter and columnist at The Washington Post, USA Today and The Detroit Free Press.

    He studied journalism at Boston University and started his career as a reporter for The Milwaukee Journal. After a decade at The Dallas Morning News, he joined The Post in 1993 as a congressional reporter.

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    New York Post Reporter Who Wrote False Kamala Harris Story Resigns

    Ms. Italiano, a veteran Post journalist and longtime chronicler of the New York City courts, is a well-liked figure in the paper’s newsroom. She did not respond to inquiries about her resignation or how the Harris article came to be. Representatives for The Post did not respond to calls and emails on Tuesday night.

    Her abrupt exit underscored some of the tensions currently roiling The Post, a classic pugilistic city tabloid that was often a vessel for coverage favorable to former President Donald J. Trump during his term in office.

    Mr. Murdoch, who spoke frequently with Mr. Trump, installed a new editor at the tabloid last month, Keith Poole, who formerly served in a top position at Mr. Murdoch’s London paper The Sun. At least eight journalists at The Post have departed the paper recently, including a White House correspondent, Ebony Bowden.

    Fox News and The Post, given their shared Murdoch ownership, have long demonstrated a certain symbiosis. (Just last week, The Post ran a gossip item complaining that Glamour magazine was not writing features about female Fox News stars.)

    Fox News hosts including Tucker Carlson, Greg Gutfeld and Martha MacCallum discussed the Post article on their programs on Monday. Peter Doocy, Fox News’s White House correspondent, cited “a report in the last couple days in The New York Post” before asking Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, on Monday if Ms. Harris “is making any money” from her books supposedly being distributed in the shelters. Ms. Psaki said she would “have to certainly check on that,” which The Post described in a follow-up story as Ms. Psaki’s having offered “no answers.”

    On Tuesday’s “Fox & Friends,” the co-host Ainsley Earhardt told viewers that the claims about the Harris book were “not accurate,” citing that morning’s fact-checking column in The Washington Post. Also on Tuesday, Fox News updated its article about the Harris book to note that only a single copy had been seen at the shelter and that it had been delivered as “part of a citywide book and toy drive.”

    Fox News has faced criticism in recent days for a different false claim broadcast on the network: that President Biden was planning to restrict Americans’ red-meat consumption under his plan to address climate change. An on-air Fox News graphic declared, “Bye-Bye Burgers Under Biden’s Climate Plan,” setting off a cycle of outrage from conservative commentators.

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