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.
Why are sacramental beads suddenly showing up next to AR-15s online?
Just as the AR-15 rifle has become a sacred object for Christian nationalists in general, the rosary has acquired a militaristic meaning for radical-traditional (or “rad trad”) Catholics. On this extremist fringe, rosary beads have been woven into a conspiratorial politics and absolutist gun culture. These armed radical traditionalists have taken up a spiritual notion that the rosary can be a weapon in the fight against evil and turned it into something dangerously literal.
Their social-media pages are saturated with images of rosaries draped over firearms, warriors in prayer, Deus Vult (“God wills it”) crusader memes, and exhortations for men to rise up and become Church Militants.Influencers on platforms such as Instagram share posts referencing “everyday carry” and “gat check” (gat is slang for “firearm”) that include soldiers’ “battle beads,” handguns, and assault rifles. One artist posts illustrations of his favorite Catholic saints, clergy, and influencers toting AR-15-style rifles labeled SANCTUM ROSARIUM alongside violently homophobic screeds that are celebrated by social-media accounts with thousands of followers.
U.S. national security depends upon our allies’ ability to trust us with intelligence. Mar-a-Lago was no place to keep top-secret documents.
French President Emmanuel Macron has to be wondering why former President Donald Trump retained, of all things, information about him. I certainly am; aren’t you? According to an inventory of what the FBI took from Mar-a-Lago during last week’s search and recovery of materials from Trump’s home, the French dossier, so to speak, stood out. Why Macron? Lest we forget, France is a friend and partner to the U.S., most notably in the unified response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
For now, we’re stuck with a maddening uncertainty about the true stakes of the matter: If Trump was holding on to personal information—perhaps mere tittle-tattle—about the leader of an allied nation, as well, reportedly, as top-secret intelligence about nuclear capabilities, then why? We swing between gossip and fear, the scurrilous and the deadly serious, The Real Housewives and The Walking Dead. We parse the judicial warrant, including an Espionage Act charge, for clues. The temptation to indulge in overheated speculation, particularly for some of Trump’s more partisan critics, is irresistible—but irresponsible, as The Atlantic’s Tom Nichols has warned.
If the virus is in your house, you can still escape it.
By this point, the pandemic saga has introduced us to a cast of recurring characters. Among them are the Chill Friend, who is totally over COVID precautions at this point, and the Unlucky Acquaintance, who has had COVID three times and brings it up whenever someone else falls sick. And then there is the Person Whose Roommate Has COVID. You know the type: They’ll describe, in the hushed tones usually reserved for tragic gossip, how and when their live-in friend, partner, child, or whoever came down with the virus—before interjecting, “But I feel fine! … For now.” Nervous laughter ensues. Whether their house is dealing with a blazing-fever situation or a mild-cough one, Person Whose Roommate Has COVID always has the same underlying worry: Am I next?
The danger is not organized civil war but individual Americans with deep resentments and delusions.
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I’ve been thinking about the threats against law enforcement and Trump’s barely veiled warning to Attorney General Merrick Garland about a “country on fire.” We should no longer wonder if we can avert a new era of political violence in the United States. It’s already here.
But first, here are three new stories from The Atlantic.
Civil war is among the many terms we now use too easily. The American Civil War was a bloodbath driven by the inevitable confrontation between the Union and the organized forces of sedition and slavery. But at least the Civil War, as I said Friday on Morning Joe during a panel on political violence in America, was about something. Compared with the bizarre ideas and half-baked wackiness that now infest American political life, the arguments between the North and the South look like a deep treatise on government.
Last spring, my boyfriend sublet a spare room in his apartment to an aspiring model. The roommate was young and made us feel old, but he was always game for a bottle of wine in the living room, and he seemed to like us, even though he sometimes suggested that we were boring or not that hot.
One night, he and my boyfriend started bickering about which Lorde album is better, the first one or the second one. This kind of argument can be entertaining if the participants are making funny or interesting points, but they weren’t, and they wouldn’t drop it. The roommate was getting louder and louder; my boyfriend was repeating himself. It was Friday; I was tired. I snapped and said, loudly, “This conversation is dumb, and I don’t want to keep having it.” I knew it was rude, but I thought it was expedient, eldest-sibling rude. So I was sort of shocked when the roommate got up without a word, went into his room, slammed the door, and never spoke to me again.
Moldova’s president has high hopes. Putin has other ideas.
In the three decades since Moldova gained its independence, Russia has spent billions, perhaps trillions, of rubles to subvert this tiny country sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine. At different times, using different tactics, Russian security services have helped create and nurture pro-Russia political parties, pro-Russia media, and pro-Russia social-media campaigns in Moldova. Russian “entrepreneurs” created a web of corruption in Moldova, too, culminating in the spectacular scheme known as the Moldovan Laundromat. In that venture, a group of Moldovan banks, with the support of several senior Moldovan politicians, among others, helped launder more than $20 billion of illicit Russian money from 2010 to 2014.
Human actions have turned a usually beneficial fungus into a bringer of death.
Deep in the loamy soil of forests around the world, there exists a fungus called the honey mushroom that makes its living on death. A parasite that preys on weak trees, it sucks its victims dry of nutrients, then feasts on their postmortem flesh. Orchards and vineyards have fallen to it; gardeners, farmers, and foresters spend their days fruitlessly fighting the pesticide-resistant scourge. Although the bulk of the fungus’s mass is underground, its devastation is visible to anyone who’s flown over the gray, balding patches of woodland where the pathogen has felled its hosts.
The honey mushroom is also an exemplar of the extreme forms that life can take. Thousands of years ago, one honey-fungus species, Armillaria ostoyae (also known as Armillaria solidipes), birthed a spore that settled in what we now think of as Oregon, started to spread, and never stopped. “It was just extremely, extremely successful at growing,” says Adriana Romero Olivares, a mycologist at New Mexico State University. “And so it got extremely, extremely large.” Today, that individual fungus inhabits roughly 2,400 acres of earth. Nicknamed Humongous Fungus, it is one of the planet’s largest known organisms, and the biggest ever recorded by area on land.
The text message came a little before 5 p.m. It was August 26, 2021. Eleven days earlier, the Taliban had overthrown the Afghan government. My friend—a German writer and academic—had been trying to help my family flee the country. Now she told me she had gotten my two younger sisters and me on the list for a flight to Frankfurt, a last-minute evacuation negotiated by the German government and a nonprofit group.
“What about my mom?” I asked. She didn’t reply for a moment. “I was not able to get her on this flight,” she answered. Please, I begged her: “My brothers are gone and my father is living with his second wife. She just has us, no one else, for God’s sake please do something.”
But there was nothing she could do. “These are the names that they offered me,” she wrote. “I know it’s a terrible choice.”
Stick shifts are dying. When they go, something bigger than driving will be lost.
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I drive a stick shift. It’s a pain, sometimes. Clutching and shifting in bumper-to-bumper traffic wears you out. My wife can’t drive my car, which limits our transit options. And when I’m at the wheel, I can’t hold a cold, delicious slushie in one hand, at least not safely. But despite the inconvenience, I love a manual transmission. I love the feeling that I am operating my car, not just driving it. That’s why I’ve driven stick shifts for the past 20 years.
That streak may soon be over. When it comes time to replace my current car, I probably won’t be able to get another like it. In 2000, more than 15 percent of new and used cars sold by the auto retailer CarMax came with stick shifts; by 2020, that figure had dropped to 2.4 percent. Among the hundreds of new car models for sale in the United States this year, only about 30 can be purchased with a manual transmission. Electric cars, which now account for more than 5 percent of car sales, don’t even have gearboxes. There are rumors that Mercedes-Benz plans to retire manuals entirely by the end of next year, all around the world, in a decision driven partly by electrification; Volkswagen is said to be dropping its own by 2030, and other brands are sure to follow. Stick shifts have long been a niche market in the U.S. Soon they’ll be extinct.
The FBI search at Mar-a-Lago prompts sincere talk of violence. But some threats remain mere threats.
In some corners of MAGA-land, a new civil war is getting under way. The FBI’s arrival at Mar-a-Lago yesterday evening to collect evidence in a criminal investigation related to former President Donald Trump is the trigger that some of his supporters needed to suggest that violence is imminent. Predictably, the unverified Twitter accounts of armchair revolutionaries circulated claims such as “I already bought my ammo” and dark talk of “kinetic civil war” and “Civil War 2.0.”
Not to be outdone, the National Rifle Association posted an image of Justice Clarence Thomas above an indignant quotation from a majority opinion he wrote: “The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not ‘a second class right.’” Verified right-wing influencers got in on the martial rhetoric, too. “Tomorrow is war. Sleep well,” Steven Crowder promised.