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.
Misperceptions and rage are blinding Republicans—and their voter-suppression measures may backfire.
It’s not only Georgia.
In every state where Republicans control a chamber of the legislature, bills to restrict voting are advancing fast. Arizona and Texas Republicans have acted especially aggressively to choke off unwanted voters in time for 2022.
Arizona Republicans propose to reduce the number of days for early voting. They want to purge voter rolls of people who missed the previous election. They want to cut off mail-in balloting five days before Election Day. And they want to require that affidavits of identity accompany any ballot that is mailed in.
Texas Republicans are pushing a bill to limit early voting, prohibit drive-through voting, limit the number of ballot drop-off locations, and restrict local officials’ ability to publicize voting by mail.
The CDC has finally said what scientists have been screaming for months: The coronavirus is overwhelmingly spread through the air, not via surfaces.
Last week, the CDC acknowledged what many of us have been saying for almost nine months about cleaning surfaces to prevent transmission by touch of the coronavirus: It’s pure hygiene theater.
“Based on available epidemiological data and studies of environmental transmission factors,” the CDC concluded, “surface transmission is not the main route by which SARS-CoV-2 spreads, and the risk is considered to be low.” In other words: You can put away the bleach, cancel your recurring Amazon subscription for disinfectant wipes, and stop punishing every square inch of classroom floor, restaurant table, and train seat with high-tech antimicrobial blasts. COVID-19 is airborne: It spreads through tiny aerosolized droplets that linger in the air in unventilated spaces. Touching stuff just doesn’t carry much risk, and more people should say so, very loudly.
A classic meme about being radicalized is now so absurd that it means almost nothing at all.
Have you fallen for a famous great ape, the most lovable star of something called the “MonsterVerse”? You’re Kong-pilled. Have you been convinced by a local restaurateur that an imported Italian oil is actually worth the expense? You’re truffle-pilled. Have you inadvertently become entranced by Marxist perspectives on mass media and popular culture? You’re Horkheimer and Adorno–pilled.
All over the internet, people are claiming to be “pilled” by anything you can imagine. Like lots of memes, this one comes from pop culture. In the 1999 movie The Matrix, the protagonist is presented with a choice: Take a red pill or a blue pill. The red pill will wake you up to all the horrors of reality, and the blue pill will let you stay clueless and happy in a simulated dreamworld. But unlike lots of memes, this one didn’t start as a neutral joke about a famous movie. About eight years ago, boys who were spending too much time on the internet—usually on 4chan or Reddit—began to use taking the red pill as code for “choosing to realize that feminism is destroying society and my life.” The phrase was adopted by other far-right political subcultures and slowly came to mean that a person had been radicalized in some way.
As stores disappear, shopping in your own wardrobe becomes the ultimate luxury.
This article was published online on April 8, 2021.
When I was a kid, my mother loved to take me out for some light trespassing. This was the 1990s, during which the Atlanta metropolitan area’s population grew nearly 40 percent, and housing construction boomed to match. McMansions were sprouting up on seemingly every tract of available land in my family’s once-modest suburb, and my mom—I say this affectionately—is the nosiest person alive. Often, in the middle of running errands, she’d whip her station wagon into some new development, surveil the scene until she found a house that looked finished enough, and see if the front door was unlocked. Or maybe the side door.
Canada has universal health care and millions of doses on order. So why are so few of its citizens vaccinated?
By the time you read this, at least a quarter of Americans will have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. It’s a stunning turnaround for a country where a bungled early response, inadequate financial support to keep people home, and a mishmash of mask requirements have led to more than 30 million infections and more than 554,000 deaths.
Just north of the border, Canadians—usually so smug about our universal health care—are looking on with jealousy. “Here, vaccine envy has turned into a national psychosis, another reason to beat ourselves up for some fatal national flaw,” wrote Alan Freeman, a journalist turned public servant and academic on iPolitics, a Canadian news website. In The Globe and Mail, the columnist Ian Brown retells an encounter with a vaccinated person: “I immediately wanted revenge. Nothing serious: steal his car, maybe, or his wallet.”
The recent wave of anti-trans legislation follows a decades-long pattern of the GOP targeting those they think lack the numbers or votes to properly fight back.
Ken Mehlman wanted to apologize. Speaking with The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder in 2010, the former Republican National Committee chair came out as gay, and acknowledged that, despite being a party leader, he had not worked against the GOP’s strategy of setting up anti-marriage-equality referendums in key states prior to the 2004 election.
“Mehlman said at the time that he could not, as an individual Republican, go against the party consensus,” Ambinder wrote. He added that Mehlman “often wondered why gay voters never formed common cause with Republican opponents of Islamic jihad, which he called ‘the greatest anti-gay force in the world right now.’”
The interview represented a shift in conservative politics, as the Republican Party moved from demonizing one group of Americans to another. The time for blaming the nation’s problems on gay people was over; now was the time to come together as a country and blame our problems on Muslims. For the past 30 years, the GOP has pursued a consistent strategy: Find a misunderstood or marginalized group, convince voters that the members of that group pose an existential threat to society, and then ride to victory on the promise of using state power to crush them.
In this crowded field of wrongness, one voice stands out. The voice of Alex Berenson: the former New York Times reporter, Yale-educated novelist, avid tweeter, online essayist, and all-around pandemic gadfly. Berenson has been serving up COVID-19 hot takes for the past year, blithely predicting that the United States would not reach 500,000 deaths (we’ve surpassed 550,000) and arguing that cloth and surgical masks can’t protect against the coronavirus (yes, theycan).
Image above: Glacier National Park, in Montana, as seen from the Blackfeet Reservation, near Duck Lake.
This article was published online on April 12, 2021.
In 1851, members of a California state militia called the Mariposa Battalion became the first white men to lay eyes on Yosemite Valley. The group was largely made up of miners. They had been scouring the western slopes of the Sierra when they happened upon the granite valley that Native peoples had long referred to as “the place of a gaping mouth.” Lafayette Bunnell, a physician attached to the militia, found himself awestruck. “None but those who have visited this most wonderful valley, can even imagine the feelings with which I looked upon the view,” he later wrote. “A peculiar exalted sensation seemed to fill my whole being, and I found my eyes in tears.” Many of those who have followed in Bunnell’s footsteps over the past 170 years, walking alongside the Merced River or gazing upon the god-rock of El Capitan, have been similarly struck by the sense that they were in the presence of the divine.
My son does an average of five or six hours of homework every night. Is this normal?
Editor’s Note: Every Tuesday, Abby Freireich and Brian Platzer take questions from readers about their kids’ education. Have one? Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Abby and Brian,
My son, who is in ninth grade, is a really good student, but I’m worried he’s working far too much. He does an average of five or six hours of homework every weeknight, and that’s on top of spending most of the weekend writing essays or studying for tests. His school says that each of his five main classes (English, history, math, language, and science) can assign no more than 30 minutes a night and that electives can assign no more than one hour a week. That should look like something around three hours a night, which is a lot but at least more manageable.
Vaccinated and unvaccinated people are getting more lax with behavior at a time when vigilance really matters.
A few weeks ago, my partially vaccinated partner and my wholly unvaccinated self got an invitation to a group dinner, held unmasked and indoors. There’d be Thai food for 10, we were promised, and two über-immunized hosts, more than two weeks out from their last Moderna doses. And what about everyone else? I asked. Would they be fully vaccinated, too?
Well, came the response. Not really. Some would be, some wouldn’t. But it had been so long—weren’t we close enough?
The answer was of course no, and my partner and I ended up staying home. But as the weeks wear on, I’m having more and more of these conversations with people who are struggling to navigate the new social calculus of a partly vaccinated world. Even as infection rates tick up again, people are bending, stretching, and breaking the rules governing how they should act around others: A recent Gallup poll showed that Americans’ vigilance about distancing and avoiding public places seems to be slackening, regardless of their immunization status. Slowly but surely, we’re losing our grip.