Winchester, 52, was shot in an airport parking lot and was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead, said Oklahoma City Police Captain Paco Balderrama at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Police previously said there were reports of a second victim, but Balderrama did not mention this person during the latest press conference. The suspect was later found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. The motive is still unclear.
Police evacuated everyone from the airport, where all arriving and departing flights were suspended. Several hours later, operations resumed. Around 30 flights were canceled because of the shooting.
A group of international swimmers swam across the Dead Sea for seven hours Tuesday to raise awareness about the hyper-saline lake’s shrinking water levels.
The swimmers made the 16-kilometer (10-mile) trip from Jordan to Israel in masks and snorkels to protect them from the water's high salt concentration. The swim was the first of its kind in the lake, which, at 423 meters (1,388 feet) below sea level, is the lowest point on Earth. The swim’s organizers say the Dead Sea’s water level has dropped by more than 25 meters (82 feet) in the past 30 years.
“Oh, it's absolutely crazy,” Jackie Cobell, an English long-distance swimmer, told the AP Tuesday about the crossing. But “this is really important, because it's disappearing fast.”
The swim was open only to open-water marathon swimmers. Participants—from Israel, South Africa, New Zealand Denmark, the Palestinian territories, among other places—were followed by boats carrying medical supplies and food. They were instructed to take water breaks every 30 minutes and apply Vaseline to skin to protect against the chafing caused by the salty water. The water is painful if it gets into the eyes, and can be deadly if swallowed. All but three of the swimmers finished the crossing.
The lake depends on a steady flow of freshwater to replenish the water that evaporates. In the 1960s, Israel built a pumping station on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, diverting the lake’s main source of freshwater into a pipeline system for the country, Joshua Hammer explained in Smithsonian magazine in 2005. A decade later, Jordan and Syria diverted another important inlet. The extraction of minerals from the lake has also contributed to its decline. Environmentalists have lobbied Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority for years to nominate the Dead Sea as a United Nations World Heritage site, which would provide certain protections.
U.K. Signs Off on Extradition of Alleged FBI Hacker Lauri Love
U.K. Home Secretary Amber Rudd approved Monday the extradition of Lauri Love to the United States, where he faces nearly a century in prison for allegedly hacking into federal government computers.
Rudd said she “carefully considered all relevant matters” before signing off on Love’s extradition, noting the serious charges the 32-year-old Suffolk native was facing, The Guardian reports. In September, a British court approved Love’s extradition for his alleged involvement in a series of Anonymous-affiliated hacks into several U.S. government agencies including the FBI, the U.S. Army, the Missile Defense Agency, and the Federal Reserve—hacks the U.S. said resulted in the release of confidential information and caused millions of dollars in damage. Love faces charges in three different jurisdictions and up to 99 years in prison if convicted.
Love, who has Asperger’s syndrome, told the court being sent to a U.S. prison would endanger his mental health and pose a high risk of him committing suicide. He argued that his extradition should be blocked on the grounds it would violate his human rights. Such a move is not without precedent— that very exception was made by then-Home Secretary Theresa May in 2012 for Gary McKinnon, an alleged hacker with Asperger’s syndrome who was accused of hacking U.S. military computers.
Rudd acknowledged Love’s “physical and mental health issues,” but said she believed the U.S. facilities were adequate enough to address them.
Love’s father, Alexander, told the BBC they would appeal the decision.
South Korean Opposition Vows National Campaign to Oust President Park
South Korea’s opposition leaders vowed to launch a national campaign to oust Park Geun-hye, whose recent scandal involving a political confidante has gripped the country and embroiled her presidency, Yonhap News Agency reports.
Moon Jae-in, a former Democratic Party leader and a potential contender for the South Korean presidency in next year’s election, pledged to spearhead a “a nationwide campaign” pushing for Park’s resignation. Other opposition leaders, including Seoul’s mayor, echoed Moon’s calls for Park to step down. Here’s a photo of Moon joining protesters calling for Park’s resignation:
Yoo Yeong-ha, Park’s attorney, requested Tuesday that Park be given more time to prepare for the investigation into Park’s relationship with Choi Soon-sil, a long-time friend of the president who has been charged with attempted fraud and abuse of authority. Yoo said the investigation should be conducted in a way that minimizes any impact on Park’s presidential duties, noting “the investigation or trial of the president, while he or she is still in office, could paralyze state affairs and divide public opinion.”
The scandal has indeed proved to be the worst crisis of Park’s political career, sending her approval rating to 5 percent—the lowest for any leader of the country in nearly 70 years.
What Do the Corruption Charges Against a Top Russian Official Mean?
Russia detained Alexei Ulyukayev, its economy minister, Tuesday after he was caught in a sting taking a $2 million bribe in exchange for approving the sale of a state-run oil producer. It is the highest-profile corruption case in Vladimir Putin’s 16-year rule in a country where government corruption is common, and it likely represents tension in the Russian president’s inner circle.
Investigators wiretapped Ulyukayev’s phone for months after learning he threatened operators of Rosneft that he’d “create impediments” in their bid to buy Bashneft, a smaller state-run oil producer. He is the first economy minister since the Stalin era to be arrested while in office. Some politicians pointed to it as evidence of Russia’s desire to rid the government of corruption.
“Everyone is equal before the law,” said the speaker of the lower house of parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin.
Inside the Kremlin, however, the story seems different. Igor Sechin, Rosneft’s top official, a friend to Putin and one of the most powerful men in the country, wanted to purchase Bashneft, while Russia’s prime minister thought it should go to a private company. Ulyukayev is in charge of selling state-owned companies, and he had originally sided with the prime minister. He eventually came around to the idea of selling to Rosneft at market price—$5 billion. The storyline has raised several questions, like why Ulyukayev would try to bribe one of the country’s most powerful men, someone so close to Putin? And why he would even seek a bribe for the market-price transfer of a state-owned company to another state-owned company?
Some experts believe it’s the beginning of an internal purge against liberals in the government, or score-settling.
Hong Kong Bars Pro-Independence Lawmakers From Office
A Hong Kong court ruled Tuesday that two pro-independence lawmakers are disqualified from taking their seats in the city’s legislature after a controversy erupted following their refusal to pledge allegiance to China.
Judge Thomas Au Hing-cheung said in his judgement that Yau Wai-ching, 25, and Sixtus Leung, 30, did not “faithfully and truthfully” perform the legislative oath required of them to serve in Hong Kong as required by the Chinese territory’s Basic Law. He also ruled they could not be given a chance to retake their oaths.
The judge was referring to a swearing-in ceremony last month, during which the politicians—both of whom advocate for independence from China—altered the words of their oaths to pledge allegiance to the “Hong Kong nation” instead of China, which they referred to instead using a derogatory term and other vulgar language. Beijing last week prevented them from taking office, a decision that prompted street protests.
Leung told the South China Morning Post he intends to appeal the decision—one Yau said was made due to Beijing’s influence.
Under the one-country-two-systems formula that has governed relations between Beijing and Hong Kong since the 1997 handover, the territory enjoys wide-ranging autonomy, but Beijing still has final say over how the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini constitution, is interpreted.
Twitter says it has taken action to combat the increased “abuse, bullying, and harassment we've seen across the Internet … over the past few years.”
The company said it is expanding its “mute” function to include “keywords, phrases, and even entire conversations you don't want to see notifications about.” It’s also giving users a more direct way to report “hateful conduct” against people “on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease.” And, it said, it has “retrained all of our support teams on our policies … in order to deal more effectively with this conduct when it's reported to us.”
The announcement Tuesday comes after months of criticism against the type of speech for which Twitter has become infamous. BuzzFeed Newsadds: “The company’s failure to curb abuse has turned the platform into a primary destination for trolls and hate groups — a reputation that reportedly drove away potential buyers, including Salesforce and Disney this summer.”
Russia Resumes Aleppo Offensive Hours After Putin and Trump Talk
Russia resumed its offensive on Tuesday in rebel-held Aleppo after a weeks-long pause, dropping barrel bombs from helicopters and firing missiles at targets. The strikes were paused three weeks ago to allow for civilians to leave the area, but Russian President Vladimir Putin resumed bombing just hours after speaking with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.
The Kremlin said Tuesday the two leaders shared the view it was necessary to work together in Syria to fight “the common enemy number one: international terrorism and extremism.” Putin’s spokesman did not say if the two discussed Aleppo specifically, only that they shared a “phenomenally similar” outlook on foreign policy.
Russia’s missiles struck targets in the north of the city, where rebels, some of whom receive U.S. aid, have dug in to fight Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Russia backs the Syrian government, and Tuesday’s assault had nothing to do with fighting ISIS, which is not present in Aleppo. Some of the missiles were directed from Admiral Kuznetsov, the Russian aircraft carrier stationed last month on the shores of Syria. The bombs struck rebel weapons depots and training camps in the Idlib province, as well as three neighborhoods in Aleppo. Casualties were not reported yet.
Egyptian Court Overturns Mohammed Morsi's Death Sentence
Egypt’s Court of Cassation, the country’s highest court, overturned Tuesday the death sentence against Mohammed Morsi, the Islamist president who was ousted by the military in 2013, and ordered a retrial in the prison-break case for which he received the sentence.
Morsi faces charges in three other cases: One related to espionage for which he was sentenced to life in prison (25 years), plus 15 years. A hearing on his appeal is set for November 27. He and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders were also sentenced to life in prison in a separate espionage case; Mosri is appealing that ruling. He and others are also being tried on charges of insulting the judiciary. A hearing is set for December 10.
The court, in its ruling Tuesday, overturned the death penalties against Mohamed Badie, the Muslim Brotherhood leader, and other members of the group.
Morsi was elected president in 2012 after massive protests during the Arab Spring saw the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, the longtime Egyptian leader. But public sentiment, and the military, quickly turned against Morsi, and mass protests against his rule resulted in his ouster in 2013.
Germany Bans Muslim Group; Raids Mosques, Apartments in 10 Cities
German authorities banned True Religion, a Muslim group perhaps best known for distributing translated Qurans, for its alleged recruitment of militants to fight for ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and police conducted raids on mosques, apartments, and offices in several states.
Deutsche Welleadds: “Some 65 raids were carried out in the state of Hesse, 15 of them in the city of Frankfurt alone. Every one of the searches took place in Berlin or the former West.”
Thomas de Maizière, the German interior minister, said True Religion was a Salafist group and its translations of the Quran was used to “spread messages of hate and anti-constitutional ideologies.” He said more than 140 youths had read the group’s translations and traveled to Syria. Deutsche Welle quoted a tweet purportedly sent by True Religion that said: The Quran has been banned in Germany. … We have delivered Allah’s message.”
Germany has intensified its crackdown on ISIS and Islamist sympathizers following several terrorist attacks over the summer. Last week, it arrested five alleged ISIS members, including one described as a senior recruiter for the group. True Religion is the sixth Islamist group to be outlawed in Germany since 2012.
Persistent hype around mRNA vaccine technology is now distracting us from other ways to end the pandemic.
At the end of January, reports that yet another COVID-19 vaccine had succeeded in its clinical trials—this one offering about 70 percent protection—were front-page news in the United States, and occasioned push alerts on millions of phones. But when the Maryland-based biotech firm Novavax announced its latest stunning trial results last week, and an efficacy rate of more than 90 percent even against coronavirus variants, the response from the same media outlets was muted in comparison. The difference, of course, was the timing: With three vaccines already authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the nation is “awash in other shots” already, as the The New York Times put it.
Customers were this awful long before the pandemic.
In May, I stood in the rear galley of an airplane and watched as a line formed to berate the flight attendant next to me. We were at a gate at LaGuardia, our flight half an hour delayed, and the air inside the cabin was acrid with the aromas of anxiety sweat and bags of fast food procured at the gate. Impatient passengers squeezed past others hoisting carry-ons into overhead bins to jockey for position in the complaining queue, lodging grievances largely about things over which a flight attendant would have obviously little control: the airline’s decision to sell middle seats, the disruptive wait, the insolent tone of a different flight attendant.
I was tucked inside one of the tiny spaces usually reserved for the flight crew, because I had arrived at my assigned seat to find a man who had no intention of getting up. He gave nothing in the way of an explanation; instead, he stared up at me blankly, as though he had never before encountered the concept of assigned seating. The flight attendant had noticed our stalemate and offered to roust the man from my seat, but the situation felt too combustible to me, and 25C like too stupid a hill on which to die. The attendant said he’d find me another if I’d just wait in the back.
So many of us have been raised to see strangers as dangerous and scary. What would happen if we instead saw them as potential sources of comfort and belonging?
Nic spent most of her childhood avoiding people. She was raised by a volatile father and a mother who transferred much of the trauma she’d experienced onto her daughter. The combination left Nic fearful and isolated. “My primitive brain was programmed to be afraid of everybody, because everybody’s evil and they’re gonna hurt you,” she told me. (Nic asked to be referred to by only her first name to protect her privacy.)
Nic’s fear isn’t uncommon in a country where valid lessons about “stranger danger” can cast all people you don’t know as threats to be feared, but she recognized it was unhealthy, so she took steps to engage with the world. As she grew older, she began to travel to seek new people out. At 17, Nic visited Europe for 10 days with her high-school classmates and noticed that people began starting conversations with her. “If people in Europe randomly talked to me, then maybe I’m not so bad,” she figured. “Maybe I’m not gonna die if I randomly talk to them.” So she took more trips and connected with more people. She was anxious about these encounters, wired for fear and expecting the worst, but they always went well. She found that, contrary to what she’d been raised to believe, these strangers weren’t dangerous or scary. They were actually sources of comfort and belonging. They expanded her world.
The creative class was supposed to foster progressive values and economic growth. Instead we got resentment, alienation, and endless political dysfunction.
This article was published online on August 2, 2021.
The dispossessed set out early in the mornings. They were the outsiders, the scorned, the voiceless. But weekend after weekend—unbowed and undeterred—they rallied together. They didn’t have much going for them in their great battle against the privileged elite, but they did have one thing—their yachts.
During the summer and fall of 2020, a series of boat parades—Trumptillas—cruised American waters in support of Donald Trump. The participants gathered rowdily in great clusters. They festooned their boats with flags—American flags, but also message flags: Don’t Tread on Me, No More Bullshit, images of Trump as Rambo.
The women stood on the foredecks in their red, white, and blue bikinis, raising their Pabst Blue Ribbon tallboys to salute the patriots in nearby boats. The men stood on the control decks projecting the sort of manly toughness you associate with steelworkers, even though these men were more likely to be real-estate agents. They represent a new social phenomenon: the populist regatta. They are doing pretty well but see themselves as the common people, the regular Joes, the overlooked. They didn’t go to fancy colleges, and they detest the mainstream media. “It’s so encouraging to see so many people just coming together in a spontaneous parade of patriotism,” Bobi Kreumberg, who attended a Trumptilla in Palm Beach, Florida, told a reporter from WPTV.
Whether economic times are good or bad, the lament for the old days of factories and mills never changes.
“You’ll want to read this,” my wife said, handing me the Sunday Boston Globe. The cover story that week in late September 2020 was about a 62-year-old woman who had colon cancer that had metastasized. She died in a local hospital; her husband was also in poor health and could not take care of her at home. After she died, he moved into an area facility. Reading of someone so close to my own age succumbing to a highly preventable disease was a bit unsettling.
The dateline, however, was the reason my wife had given me the paper. The story was from my hometown in Massachusetts, and the facility where the husband now lived was down the street from my childhood home. When I was a boy, we joked, far too easily, about “putting” people there when they got old. In later years, the joking ended when my father had to stay there briefly as his health began to fail. My brother then passed through its doors on his way to the final stop in a VA hospital. The couple in the story had struggled for survival in the neighborhood where I grew up, and one of them, as the Globe put it, had experienced “the kind of death all too typical for people who work hard jobs for modest pay,” dying “too young … and too hard.”
Beyond limiting the coronavirus’s flow from hot spots to the rest of the country, allowing only vaccinated people on domestic flights will change minds, too.
When you go to the airport, you see two kinds of security rules. Some apply equally to everyone; no one can carry weapons through the TSA checkpoint. But other protocols divide passengers into categories according to how much of a threat the government thinks they pose. If you submit to heightened scrutiny in advance, TSA PreCheck lets you go through security without taking off your shoes; a no-fly list keeps certain people off the plane entirely. Not everyone poses an equal threat. Rifling through the bags of every business traveler and patting down every preschooler and octogenarian would waste the TSA’s time and needlessly burden many passengers.
The same principle applies to limiting the spread of the coronavirus. The number of COVID-19 cases keeps growing, even though remarkably safe, effective vaccines are widely available, at least to adults. Many public agencies are responding by reimposing masking rules on everyone. But at this stage of the pandemic, tougher universal restrictions are not the solution to continuing viral spread. While flying, vaccinated people should no longer carry the burden for unvaccinated people. The White House has rejected a nationwide vaccine mandate—a sweeping suggestion that the Biden administration could not easily enact if it wanted to—but a no-fly list for unvaccinated adults is an obvious step that the federal government should take. It will help limit the risk of transmission at destinations where unvaccinated people travel—and, by setting norms that restrict certain privileges to vaccinated people, will also help raise the stagnant vaccination rates that are keeping both the economy and society from fully recovering.
The state GOP’s comeback runs through Latino communities.
At the end of the 2020 election, California’s Republicans had reason to feel hopeful. Although Joe Biden won the state by a landslide, Donald Trump won more votes (6 million) there than any other Republican candidate had ever. Increased Republican turnout led to victories in four competitive House races with large Latino populations. One of those districts even elected the state’s first Republican Latino congressman since 1873.
Hope hasn’t been California Republicans’ default emotion lately. Just three years ago, Democrats crushed the state GOP, cementing a supermajority in the legislature and winning four congressional seats in Orange County that had been in Republican hands for decades. But the 2020 results offered a taste of what a reinvigorated party could accomplish if it looked beyond its base and offered a palatable message to Latino voters. Trump won more votes from Latinos in California last year than he did in 2016, and he made similar gains around the country. With an effort to recall Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom now under way—the election is set for September 14—the party faces its first post-Trump test of whether it can be truly competitive in the state, and whether it’s willing to distance itself from a toxic legacy to make gains with California’s new, growing plurality.
In Disney’s Jungle Cruise, the actor plays a typical hero—and ignores the qualities that make him so magnetic on-screen.
Once upon a time, a broad-shouldered actor who started out in the brawny sporting world made a successful leap to Hollywood—first playing villains and quirky supporting roles, then becoming a star who could headline hyper-violent R-rated thrillers as easily as family comedies. Eventually, he parlayed this superstardom into political office. I’m talking, of course, about Arnold Schwarzenegger: weightlifting champ, king of action cinema in the ’80s and ’90s, and eventual governor of California. But this career arc seems to be a model for a newer Hollywood A-lister, the square-jawed and larger-than-life Dwayne Johnson, a onetime professional wrestler, current marquee name, and potential future presidential candidate.
For years, Sandra Emry, a researcher at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, has been studying the potential impact of future heat waves on rockweed, a species of brown alga that provides a habitat for marine life on both coasts of North America. To simulate a June heat wave in the year 2060 or 2080 in the Strait of Georgia, between Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland, she typically drags patio heaters down to the shore, warming the air around a patch of rockweed to 95 degrees Fahrenheit in order to see how the alga reacts.
This summer, she didn’t need the heaters. On June 28, her thermal-imaging camera showed the temperature nearing 125 degrees. Over the course of a four-day heat wave, dense beds of rockweed died, as did many of the nearby mussels, chitons, limpets, and other intertidal species. “The stench was awful. I never expected to see such a major die-off,” Emry told me. She didn’t think temperatures would get that high this soon.
Why targets of deliberate deception often hesitate to admit they’ve been deceived
Something very strange has been happening in Missouri: A hospital in the state, Ozarks Healthcare, had to create a “private setting” for patients afraid of being seen getting vaccinated against COVID-19. In a video produced by the hospital, the physician Priscilla Frase says, “Several people come in to get vaccinated who have tried to sort of disguise their appearance and even went so far as to say, ‘Please, please, please don’t let anybody know that I got this vaccine.’” Although they want to protect themselves from the coronavirus and its variants, these patients are desperate to ensure that their vaccine-skeptical friends and family never find out what they have done.
Missouri is suffering one of the worst COVID-19 surges in the country. Some hospitals are rapidly running out of ICU beds. To Americans who rushed to get vaccinated at the earliest opportunity, some Missourians’ desire for secrecy is difficult to understand. It’s also difficult to square with the common narrative that vaccine refusal, at least in conservative areas of the country, is driven by a lack of respect or empathy from liberals along the coasts. “Proponents of the vaccine are unwilling or unable to understand the thinking of vaccine skeptics—or even admit that skeptics may be thinking at all,” lamented a recent article in the conservative National Review. Writers across the political spectrum have urged deference and sympathy toward holdouts’ concerns about vaccine side effects and the botched CDC messaging about masking and airborne transmission early in the pandemic. But these takes can’t explain why holdouts who receive respect, empathy, and information directly from reliable sources remain unmoved—or why some people are afraid to tell their loved ones about being vaccinated.