—A 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand early Monday morning, triggering a tsunami that threatens the country’s eastern coast.
—France marked the anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed 130 people in Paris last year. President Francois Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo visited the sites targeted in the attacks, where the names of the victims were read aloud.
—We’re live-blogging the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).
Europe's Foreign Ministers Call Emergency Meeting to Talk About Trump
The head of the European Council has called an emergency meeting of the continent's foreign ministers to discuss the unexpected election of Donald Trump as the president of the United States, which has rattled European leaders.
Donald Tusk, the president of the council, scheduled the gathering in Brussels at the suggestion of Germany, The Guardian reported Sunday. The foreign ministers will meet Sunday night, with the exception of Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary and one of the leaders of the campaign for Brexit, who is boycotting the meeting.
The ministers will "exchange notes on how far they believe Trump will follow through on his dramatic but sometimes inconsistent pledges to turn U.S. foreign policy upside down, including over Russia, Syria, Iran and NATO," The Guardian wrote. The ministers will also convene Monday for a regular meeting, so it’s unclear why Tusk called for another one the night before.
President Obama will try to reassure Europe about the next administration when he travels to Berlin this week to meet with the leaders of the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.
New Zealand Downgrades Tsunami Threat After Earthquake
New Zealand has downgraded the tsunami warning issued after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country’s South Island shortly after midnight Monday.
New Zealand’s ministry of civil defense and emergency management said Monday fewer parts of the east coast are now at risk of dangerous waves. Here’s an earlier map, released at about 3 a.m. local time, showing the areas at most risk of a tsunami impact. The darker blue indicates areas that are most vulnerable:
Paris Marks Anniversary of Deadly Terrorist Attacks
France marked the anniversary of last year’s Paris terrorist attacks, which left 130 people dead at a concert hall, stadium, and several bars and restaurants.
Residents paid tribute to the victims on Sunday by placing flowers, candles, and notes at the sites that were targeted in the ISIS-directed attacks. French President Francois Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo visited each of the six sites, where they unveiled commemorative plaques and the victims’ names were read aloud, according to the BBC. They released colorful balloons into the air outside the Bataclan, where assailants attacked during a concert, spraying the crowd with bullets. The music venue reopened Saturday night with a show by the singer Sting.
France has been under a state of emergency since the attacks. The state of emergency was extended in Juy after a man drove a truck into a crowd in Nice on Bastille Day, killing 84 people. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Saturday it would remain in place because of the risk of “attacks of the kind we saw in Nice.”
New Zealanders Seek High Ground After Powerful Earthquake
Tsunami warning sirens are ringing along New Zealand’s east coast after a powerful earthquake struck the country early Monday morning, sending residents into the streets and damaging some roads.
The 7.8-magnitude struck shortly after midnight on New Zealand’s South Island, 15 kilometers (nine miles) northeast of Culverden. About 45 aftershocks followed, the largest recorded at 6.2 magnitude, according to GeoNet, which monitors seismic activity in New Zealand. Strong quakes were felt in Wellington, the country’s capital.
No injuries have been reported, but power outages have hampered communication.
New Zealand’s ministry of civil defense and emergency management has issued a tsunami warning to the country’s entire east coast and urged residents to seek higher ground and avoid beaches. Waves between three and five meters (10 to 16 feet) are expected near the quake’s epicenter.
The ministry released a map showing the areas at most risk of a tsunami impact. The darker blue indicates areas that are most vulnerable:
A controversial video of Catholic students clashing with American Indians appeared to tell a simple truth. A second video called that story into question. But neither shows what truly happened.
In a short, viral videoshared widely since Friday, Catholic high-school students visiting Washington, D.C., from Kentucky for the March for Life appeared to confront, and mock, American Indians who had participated in the Indigenous Peoples March, taking place the same day.
By Saturday, the video had been condensed into a single image: One of the students, wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, smiles before an Omaha tribal elder, a confrontation viewers took as an act of aggression by a group of white youths against an indigenous community—and by extension, people of color more broadly. Online, reaction was swift and certain, with legislators, news outlets, and ordinary people denouncing the students and their actions as brazenly racist.
Next time there’s a viral story, I’ll wait for more facts to emerge.
Like many people who spend too much time on Twitter, I watched with indignation Saturday morning as stories began appearing about a confrontation near the Lincoln Memorial between students from Covington Catholic High School and American Indians from the Indigenous Peoples March. The story felt personal to me; I live a few miles from the high school, and my son attends a nearby all-boys Catholic high school. I texted him right away, ready with a lesson on what the students had done wrong.
“They were menacing a man much older than them,” I told him, “and chanting ‘Build the wall!’ And this smirking kid blocked his path and wouldn’t let him leave.” The short video, the subject of at least two-thirds of my Twitter feed on Saturday, made me cringe, and the smirking kid in particular got to me: His smugness, radiating from under that red MAGA hat, was everything I wanted my teenagers not to be.
Home to vibrantly colored, tiny creatures, the ecosystems floating on the ocean’s surface remain all but unknown.
Imagine you’re on a small boat in the middle of the open ocean, surrounded by what looks like a raft of plastic. Now flip the whole world upside down. You remain comfortably attached to your seat—the abyss towers above you, and all around, stretching up from the water’s surface, is an electric-blue meadow of life. What you thought was plastic is actually a living island. This meadow is made up of a diverse collection of animals. The most abundant are blue buttons and by-the-wind sailors, with bright-blue bodies that dot the sky like suns, and deep-purple snails found in patches so dense one scientist described collecting more than 1,000 in 20 minutes.
This is the neuston, a whole ecosystem living at the ocean’s surface. I once stumbled upon a raft of neuston when a storm blew it ashore in California. Many neustonic animals are vibrant highlighter colors, and the sand was saturated in bright blues and pale pinks. Together, these small creatures may function like upside-down coral reefs: an oasis of shelter and life far out to sea. As far back as the Cold War era, scientists were describing these colorful and important ecosystems, yet they still remain all but unknown. But now, as efforts to clean the ocean of plastic start up, our ignorance is putting this ecosystem at risk.
From West Virginia to Los Angeles, educators are ushering in a new era of labor activism.
In Los Angeles, more than 30,000 teachers remain on strike; it took union and city officials more than a week to eke out a tentative agreement that, they announced Tuesday morning, will likely bring them back to their classrooms this week. Last Friday, teachers from a handful of public schools in Oakland, California, staged a one-day walkout, too, and they’re planning for another demonstration this Wednesday. Meanwhile, a citywide strike is brewing a few states over in Denver, as could soon be the case in Virginia, where teachers are gearing up for a one-day rally in Richmond later this month. An educator uprising is even percolating in Chicago, where the collective-bargaining process is just getting started: “We intend to bargain hard,” the teachers’ union’s president told the Chicago Tribune last week.
Insights into the little-studied realm of last words
Mort Felix liked to say that his name, when read as two Latin words, meant “happy death.” When he was sick with the flu, he used to jokingly remind his wife, Susan, that he wanted Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” played at his deathbed. But when his life’s end arrived at the age of 77, he lay in his study in his Berkeley, California, home, his body besieged by cancer and his consciousness cradled in morphine, uninterested in music and refusing food as he dwindled away over three weeks in 2012. “Enough,” he told Susan. “Thank you, and I love you, and enough.” When she came downstairs the next morning, she found Felix dead.
During those three weeks, Felix had talked. He was a clinical psychologist who had also spent a lifetime writing poetry, and though his end-of-life speech often didn’t make sense, it seemed to draw from his attention to language. “There’s so much so in sorrow,” he said at one point. “Let me down from here,” he said at another. “I’ve lost my modality.” To the surprise of his family members, the lifelong atheist also began hallucinating angels and complaining about the crowded room—even though no one was there.
The 2020 candidate is pitching herself as the one who can actually put together a winning coalition of voters, a goal Democrats have obsessed over since their shocker loss in 2016.
Kamala Harris is a half-Jamaican, half-Indian woman from Oakland, California, the daughter of two UC Berkeley grad students. She went to high school in Montreal. She married a wealthy, white, Jewish lawyer later in life, and didn’t have kids of her own. When she’s not in Washington, she splits her time between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Her first name is Sanskrit and gets mispronounced all the time. She was being mentioned as a front-runner presidential candidate before she’d even headed over to her Senate victory party, all of two years and two months ago.
She is not, by biographical measures, representative of what most would see as the typical American experience. But Harris launched her presidential campaign Monday with a challenge to the rest of the field that—as she put it to me at the press conference she held in the afternoon in the lobby of the Interdisciplinary Research Building at her alma mater, Howard University—candidates who want to win have to speak to “the complexities of each of our lives, and pay equal attention to their needs.”
The internet once made it easier to slip from one domain to another. Is there a way to preserve that vital freedom?
Has the internet afforded humans more freedom, or less?
That’s a question I’m pondering anew thanks to the University of Michigan philosophy professor Elizabeth Anderson, who provoked the thought while being interviewed by Nathan Heller for a recent profile in The New Yorker.
After Europe’s religious wars, Anderson mused, as centuries of conflicts between Catholics and Protestants gave way to a liberal, live-and-let-live order that tolerated freedom of religion, something remarkable happened:
People now have the freedom to have crosscutting identities in different domains. At church, I’m one thing. At work, I’m something else. I’m something else at home or with my friends. The ability not to have an identity that one carries from sphere to sphere but, rather, to be able to slip in and adopt whatever values and norms are appropriate while retaining one’s identities in other domains? That is what it is to be free.
I am familiar with the ambiguities of video evidence—for example, through this piece I wrote from Israel more than 15 years ago, “Who Shot Mohammed al-Dura,” about the battle over the meaning of an inflammatory video there; or these two separate Twitter threads, first here then here, in the past few days from James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor for America magazine, about the meanings of the multiple videos from the confrontation on the National Mall this past weekend.
I now believe that the “meaning” or “truth” of this recent encounter is likely to remain as contested as anything in the al-Dura case. The more additional evidence comes in, the more clearly it is taken to “prove” one interpretation of the case, or its opposite. “You must not have seen the full videos” is meant to be a conclusory statement, either way.
Roma and The Favourite tied for the most nods in a year when a clear Best Picture front-runner never quite emerged.
Roma and The Favourite led the Oscar nominations with 10 apiece as the Academy Awards unfurled their shortlist Tuesday morning, with Best Picture recognition for A Star Is Born, BlacKkKlansman, Green Book, Black Panther, Vice, and Bohemian Rhapsody. Some surprising snubs abounded in a race that never quite settled on an obvious front-runner: Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born) and Peter Farrelly (Green Book) missed out on crucial Best Director nods, and stars such as Emily Blunt, Timothée Chalamet, and Ethan Hawke were overlooked in the expected acting categories. But there were multiple industry milestones, including Roma becoming the first Netflix film to get a Best Picture nomination and Black Panther becoming the first comic-book movie to do so.