The seizure took place in international waters Friday in the South China Sea, where China and neighboring countries have been sparring over disputed territorial claims. According to the U.S. military, the drone was part of an oceanic research project carried out by the Navy research vessel USNS Bowditch. The Chinese Defense Ministry accused the U.S. of “hyping up” the drone’s seizure on Saturday and said it would be returned “in an appropriate manner.” Trump’s tweet comes just two weeks after the president-elect spoke with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen by phone, the first contact of its kind between Taiwanese leaders and a U.S. president in almost four decades.
Update, 9:01 p.m. ET: President-elect Trump has revised his position on the drone’s status. In a tweet Saturday evening, he wrote China should keep the seized U.S. Navy property because “we don’t want the drone they stole back.”
We should tell China that we don't want the drone they stole back.- let them keep it!
Trump did not elaborate on his view. The stance marks a shift away from one taken earlier by Jason Miller, the Trump transition team's communications director, who credited the president-elect for China's announcement it would return the seized drone.
Suicide Car Bomb Kills At Least 14 Turkish Soldiers
At least 14 off-duty Turkish soldiers were killed Saturday by a suicide car bomb, Turkish officials said. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said another 56 people were injured. The explosion occurred next to a bus carrying the soldiers as it drove through Kayseri, a city in central Turkey. According to Agence-France Press, local officials blamed the attack on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, also known as the PKK, a Kurdish separatist movement that has battled the Turkish government for years. No public claims of responsibility have been made. The BBC reported that Turkish officials instituted a temporary press blackout shortly after the bombing, an increasingly common practice in the country. The bombing comes one week after two blasts outside Istanbul’s Vodafone Stadium killed 44 people, most of whom were police officers, and wounded dozens more shortly after a soccer match between two of the country’s most well-known teams. A PKK splinter faction claimed responsibility.
Henry Heimlich, Anti-Choking Maneuver's Inventor, Dies at 96
Henry Heimlich, whose eponymous technique of using abdominal thrusts to save a choking person’s life became an international first-aid staple, died Saturday at a Cincinnati hospital. He was 96 years old. Heimlich, a thoracic surgeon, first published a paper about the method in 1974. The American Red Cross and the American Heart Association added it to their guidelines for treating choking victims two years later, leading to its wide use throughout the world. According to the BBC, the maneuver is believed to have saved over 100,000 people in the U.S. alone since its adoption. Heimlich himself performed the maneuver earlier this year at age 96 to save the life of a fellow retirement-home resident who had begun choking at dinner. Alongside the maneuver and his work on a chest valve to re-inflate collapsed lungs, Heimlich also received criticism for his controversial support of malariotherapy, in which weaker strains of malaria are used as treatments for illnesses ranging from cancer to HIV/AIDS. Its efficacy remains unproven.
7.9-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Near Papua New Guinea
A strong 7.9-magnitude tremor struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea on Saturday night local time, causing minimal damage and no reported injuries so far. The earthquake occurred 29 miles east of New Ireland, a Papua New Guinean island in the eastern Bismarck Archipelago, at a depth of about 61 miles beneath the Earth’s surface, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. As the Associated Press noted, tremors at lower depths tend to cause less damage. The quake nonetheless prompted tsunami warnings throughout the southwestern Pacific Ocean, including in Indonesia, Nauru, and New Zealand. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, those warnings have now ended without signs of serious waves.
Polished, soft-spoken, and a self-styled moderate, Jared Kushner has become his father-in-law’s most dangerous enabler.
Jared Kushner, the second-most-powerful man in the White House, is quite a bit smarter than the most powerful man, his father-in-law, the president. Donald Trump possesses a genius for the jugular, but he evinces few other signs of intelligence. He certainly displays no capacity, or predisposition, to learn. His son-in-law, by contrast, appears to have sufficient analytic acumen to comprehend that the country has been brought to its knees by the coronavirus pandemic. Kushner might not be the brightest public servant in American history—he is a Harvard graduate who is also a leading symbol of college-admissions corruption, and a businessman with a substantial record of failure—but he has shown flashes of effectiveness in his time at the White House. Because he projects a facsimile of capability and because he shows, at irregular intervals, a seemingly genuine interest in governing, he is also an exasperating mystery.
Zvikorn, whose bio on the site describes an Israeli teen into sports history, has made more than 2,300 edits to Wikipedia articles over the past few years. “The main reason I edit Wikipedia is a strong belief that every person on the planet has the right to access the accumulated knowledge of humanity,” he wrote. “Today it is only getting more important for mankind to find out the truth and not be exposed to believe fake news.”
No one has capitalized on this look’s popularity more than influencers. Some have even started to make thousands of dollars on photo presets that warp anyone’s pictures to fit this mold. But every trend has a shelf life, and as quickly as Instagram ushered in pink walls and pastel macaroons, it’s now turning on them. “Avocado toast and posts on the beach. It’s so generic and played out at this point. You can photoshop any girl into that background and it will be the same post,” said Claire, a 15-year-old who asked to be referred to by a pseudonym because of her age. “It’s not cool anymore to be manufactured.”
WhatsApp diplomacy seems to have worked for the Trump administration.
This morning, Donald Trump announced the normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Israel is also committing to not annexing the West Bank. The agreement will shock those who thought the portion of the Jared Kushner portfolio devoted to peace in the Middle East consisted of a single briefing folder filled with printouts of Wikipedia articles. But there were signs that this agreement was coming, and that the Trump administration would be uniquely suited to making it happen.
Saudi Arabia is not officially party to the agreement, but its relationship with the UAE is so fraternal that we should assume that it eagerly approved, and that the UAE will represent its interests in Israel as if they were its own. The Trump administration deals with these countries through the same personal channels, which look opaque and corrupt to us because they are. A few months ago, a Saudi academic told me that Trump was easier for him to understand than for me, because I live in a country where nepotism is a crime, and he lives in one where it is the system of government. The idea that a president would appoint his son-in-law to manage the most sensitive aspects of his administration offends me. To a Saudi, he said, it is just how things get done, and there is nothing mysterious about it at all.
American conspiracy theories are entering a dangerous new phase.
If you were an adherent, no one would be able to tell. You would look like any other American. You could be a mother, picking leftovers off your toddler’s plate. You could be the young man in headphones across the street. You could be a bookkeeper, a dentist, a grandmother icing cupcakes in her kitchen. You may well have an affiliation with an evangelical church. But you are hard to identify just from the way you look—which is good, because someday soon dark forces may try to track you down. You understand this sounds crazy, but you don’t care. You know that a small group of manipulators, operating in the shadows, pull the planet’s strings. You know that they are powerful enough to abuse children without fear of retribution. You know that the mainstream media are their handmaidens, in partnership with Hillary Clinton and the secretive denizens of the deep state. You know that only Donald Trump stands between you and a damned and ravaged world.
Heavy fog in India, the announcement of a Vice Presidential candidate in Delaware, protests and anger in Beirut, a Latvian folk/pagan metal band in concert, derecho damage in Iowa, and much more.
Heavy fog in India, the announcement of a Vice Presidential candidate in Delaware, protests and anger in Beirut, coronavirus precautions in a Thai kindergarten, a Latvian folk/pagan metal band in concert, a funicular in Austria, a volcanic eruption in Indonesia, derecho damage in Iowa, guests at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the return of the Mayflower II, and much more.
The first daughter (though not the only daughter), wearing a fitted black mockneck and black pants, her golden hair fastened in a low twist, glided across the Oval Office. It was a Tuesday afternoon, and it was apparently vital to inform Trump, at that very moment, that Siemens had pledged to expand its education and training opportunities to more workers as part of Ivanka’s workforce-development initiative. She also wanted to remind him that tomorrow would be the inaugural session of the program’s advisory board, and that Tim Cook would be joining the meeting.
India’s and Turkey’s leaders are turning buildings into battlegrounds for nationalists.
In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has acted on his yearlong quest to restore the historic Hagia Sophia, once a Byzantine-era cathedral and museum, as a functioning mosque. Three thousand miles away, in India’s northeastern city of Ayodhya, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fulfilled a similar promise, last week laying the foundation for a new Hindu temple on the ruins of a 16th-century mosque where Hindus believe an ancient temple once stood.
Yet the transformation of these sites marks more than a simple manifestation of religious adherence. At its core, it represents a concerted effort by Turkey’s and India’s leaders to galvanize support from their religious and nationalist bases, even if doing so comes at the expense of their countries’ religious minorities. Even more fundamentally, it is changing how these two countries see themselves, demonstrating a simultaneous recasting of once-secular republics into fully fledged ethnonationalist states.
The pandemic is bringing the sport face-to-face with its deepest flaws.
This week, the bottom fell out of college football. The future of the fall season had been wavering for more than a month as the coronavirus continued to burn through much of the United States, and on Tuesday, the Big 10, the conference that comprises the Midwest’s major football programs, was the first to topple. It canceled its fall season, and a few hours later, the Pac-12, which represents major programs on the West Coast, made the same call.
Forgive me for trying to put these cancellations in their bizarrely complicated context. The Big 10 and Pac-12 are two of the five regional conferences that make up college football’s top tier as the Power 5, which together play for the sport’s most prestigious, but certainly not its only, national championship. (Central Florida fans, please don’t email me.) The schools of the SEC, Big 12, and ACC, which cover the Southeast, Great Plains, and East Coast, respectively, are moving ahead with football for now, game schedules redrawn.
A dangerous wildfire driven by hot, windy conditions has prompted hundreds of evacuations.
Just north of Los Angeles, a wildfire near Lake Hughes grew to 10,000 acres within merely a few hours yesterday. The rapidly growing blaze prompted the evacuation of hundreds of nearby homes as firefighters rushed to contain it. High winds, hot and dry conditions, and steep terrain have driven the fire’s growth in the Angeles National Forest.