At least 39 people were killed when at least one gunman opened fire inside a popular Istanbul nightclub during New Year’s Eve celebrations Saturday night, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said. 16 of the fatalities were foreigners and another 69 people were reported injured. The incident took place at the Reina nightclub, a large and popular nightlife hotspot in Turkey’s largest city. The suspected assailant fled the scene shortly after the shooting and is still at large, Soylu told reporters. According to Hurriyet, a Turkish news agency, a police officer is among the fatalities. Further details about the attack are scarce. The Turkish government has imposed a media blackout on coverage of the incident, a common practice during mass shootings and other attacks. No groups have claimed responsibility. In a statement late Saturday night, President Obama condemned the shooting as a “horrific terrorist attack” and offered the United States’ assistance as necessary.
This is a developing story. We’ll update this article with more information as it becomes available.
Turkey Releases Wall Street Journal Reporter As Press Crackdown Widens
The Turkish government secretly detained Wall Street Journal reporter Dion Nissenbaum for two-and-a-half days this week, the newspaper reported Saturday. According to the Journal, Turkish police seized Nissenbaum from his apartment in Istanbul on Tuesday and released him from jail on Friday morning. He subsequently left the country to return to the United States. Nissenbaum is a 49-year-old American national security reporter based in Washington, D.C., who has extensively covered Turkey, ISIS, and the Syrian civil war. The Journal quoted an unnamed source who said the detention was related to the Turkish government’s ban on publishing photos from ISIS videos, but did not offer details. Nissenbaum’s detention comes amid a sweeping crackdown on Turkish press outlets by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government after a failed coup attempt against in July. International press organizations estimate at least 170 media outlets have been closed by Turkish officials and almost 2,500 journalists have lost their jobs. Hundreds more journalists are on trial or behind bars in what Human Rights Watch termed a “deepening assault on critical media.”
At least 28 people were killed and more than 50 others were wounded when two suicide bombings tore through a major Baghdad marketplace on Saturday morning. The twin blasts struck the popular al-Sinak market in the center of the Iraqi capital. Al-Jazeera reported two suicide bombers detonated belts filled with explosives minutes apart during the morning rush. The bombing is the latest of numerous attacks to strike Baghdad in recent months, causing hundreds of deaths and sparking security fears throughout the city. According to the New York Times, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack through the Amaq news agency, its media affiliate.
Climate change is killing Americans and destroying the country’s physical infrastructure.
The federal government spends roughly $700 billion a year on the military. It spends perhaps $15 billion a year trying to understand and stop climate change.
I thought about those numbers a lot last week, as I tried to stop my toddler from playing in ash, tried to calm down my dogs as they paced and panted in mid-morning dusk light, tried to figure out whether my air purifier was actually protecting my lungs, tried to understand why the sky was pumpkin-colored, and tried not to think about the carcinogen risk of breathing in wildfire smoke, week after week.
The government has committed to defending us and our allies against foreign enemies. Yet when it comes to the single biggest existential threat we collectively face—the one that threatens to make much of the planet uninhabitable, starve millions, and incite violent conflicts around the world—it has chosen to do near-nothing. Worse than that, the federal government continues to subsidize and promote fossil fuels, and with them the destruction of our planetary home. Climate hell is here. We cannot stand it. And we cannot afford it either.
Changing voters’ minds is famously difficult, but a recent progressive effort found real success.
No state has haunted the Democratic Party’s imagination for the past four years like Wisconsin. While it was not the only state that killed Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes in 2016, it was the one where the knife plunged deepest. Clinton was so confident about Wisconsin that she never even campaigned there. This year, it is one of the most fiercely contested states. The Democrats planned to hold their convention in Milwaukee, before the coronavirus pandemic forced its cancellation. Donald Trump is also making a strong play for Wisconsin.
Trump’s weaknesses with the electorate are familiar: Voters find him coarse, and they deplore his handling of race, the coronavirus, and protests. One recent YouGov poll found that just 42 percent of Americans approved of his performance as president, while 54 percent disapproved. But when the pollsters asked about Trump’s handling of the economy, those attitudes reversed: 48 percent approved and 44 percent disapproved, despite the havoc wreaked by the pandemic.
Millions of coronavirus tests may be happening without their results being made public.
President Donald Trump has never hidden his ambivalence about testing for the coronavirus. In June, when he told an arena of supporters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that he had instructed “his people” to “‘slow the testing down, please,’” the disclosure prompted one of the more dire news cycles of the pandemic. The president said repeatedly that he wanted the United States to reduce its testing. But in the weeks that followed, testing increased.
Not so now. In the past month, the number of tests conducted in the United States has actually drifted down—and that may be partly because of Trump-administration policy.
The United States now reports about 100,000 fewer daily tests than it did in late July, according to the COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic. Some of this decline is due to reduced demand: The surge of infections across the South and West has subsided, and when fewer people are sick, fewer people seek out tests. Yet this cannot explain all of it. In the Midwest, the number of confirmed cases is growing faster than the number of tests, which has been a sign of a growing outbreak throughout the pandemic.
The Democratic nominee has a Latino-voter problem.
Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by a solid margin—about 7 percentage points nationally, as of this writing. He’s built his advantage by improving on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 success with suburban voters, seniors, and college-educated white Americans.
But when it comes to Latinos, Biden may have a problem. Although he’s dramatically outpacing Trump among Latinos overall, he’s falling behind Clinton’s pace, including in the key state of Florida. An analysis by Harry Enten at CNN found that Biden’s average lead among Latinos is 9 points lower than Clinton’s around this time four years ago. If Biden can’t close the deal with this crucial constituency, it could spell trouble for him across the country.
A dispute between a small group of scholars and the authors of TheNew York Times Magazine’s issue on slavery represents a fundamental disagreement over the trajectory of American society.
When The New York Times Magazinepublished its 1619 Project in August, people lined up on the street in New York City to get copies. Since then, the project—a historical analysis of how slavery shaped American political, social, and economic institutions—has spawned a podcast, a high-school curriculum, and an upcoming book. For Nikole Hannah-Jones, the reporter who conceived of the project, the response has been deeply gratifying.
Reports of a vote-by-mail apocalypse are greatly exaggerated.
President Donald Trump stood on a North Carolina tarmac earlier this month, Air Force One idling behind him, and urged his supporters to commit a crime. He said they should cast the ballots they received in the mail—just as he has done many times in the past—and then they should go to their polling place on Election Day and test the system by trying to vote again. “Let them send it in, and let them go vote,” Trump said. “If their system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote.”
Officials in North Carolina were aghast. The executive director of the state’s board of elections, Karen Brinson Bell, issued a statement the next day explicitly warning North Carolinians not to follow the president’s advice. “It is illegal to vote twice in an election,” she said. “Attempting to vote twice in an election or soliciting someone to do so also is a violation of North Carolina law.”
How Donald Trump’s favorite news source became a language
All happy families are alike; some unhappy families are unhappy because of Fox News.
You might have come across the articles (“I Lost My Dad to Fox News” / “Lost Someone to Fox News?” / “‘Fox News Brain’: Meet the Families Torn Apart by Toxic Cable News”), or the Reddit threads, or the support groups on Facebook, as people have sought ways to mourn loved ones who are still alive. The discussions consider a loss that Americans don’t have good language for, in part because the loss itself is a matter of language: They describe what it’s like to find yourself suddenly unable to speak with people you’ve known your whole life. They acknowledge how easily a national crisis can become a personal one. At this point, some Americans speak English; others speak Fox.
It’s impossible to square the attorney general’s latest speech with his own record in office.
In an administration that tends toward incoherence and lunacy, Bill Barr’s great strength is the ability to sound levelheaded. The attorney general is calm, cogent, and logical—and, in contrast to many of his Cabinet colleagues, clearly well studied and qualified for his role.
Barr’s sober demeanor allows him to make a lot of arguments that sound reasonable and persuasive when delivered, as he demonstrated in a speech to Hillsdale College on Wednesday. The problem comes when you start trying to reconcile what he says with the Justice Department’s actions. It’s almost as if there are two Bill Barrs, arguing with each other. If you take what Bill Barr says when he’s posing as a wise legal theorist seriously, you should be very worried about what Bill Barr is actually doing as attorney general.
Coffee plants were supposed to be safe on this side of the Atlantic. But the fungus found them.
In the southern corner of Guatemala, outside the tiny mountain town of San Pedro Yepocapa, Elmer Gabriel’s coffee plants ought to be leafed-out and gleaming. It is a week before Christmas, the heart of the coffee-harvesting season, and if his bushes were healthy, they would look like holiday trees hung with ornaments, studded with bright-red coffee cherries. But in a long row that stretches down the side of his steeply sloped field, the plants are twiggy and withered. Most of their leaves are gone, and the ones that remain are drab olive and curling at the edges. There are yellow spots, brown in the center, on the leaves’ upper surfaces. On the underside they are pebbly, and coated with a fine orange dust.
Over the past 50 years, America has given up on the Enlightenment-era ideals of its Founders—and the country’s coronavirus disaster is the result.
Alexander Hamilton and his colleagues wrote 85 separate essays to make their case that Americans should take a risk and ratify the 1787 Constitution. Three sentences into the very first of those Federalist Papers, Hamilton made clear that he knew full well the stakes of the gamble he and his co-authors were proposing.
“Whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice” was, Hamilton wrote, entirely uncertain. People are prone to tribalism and irrationality, easy targets for leaders who traffic in demagoguery and corruption. Hamilton doubted that it was even “seriously to be expected” that “We the People” would be able to set aside existing passions and prejudices long enough to debate the ratification of the Constitution itself solely on its merits. How on earth could the Constitution’s Framers then have convinced themselves to expect the people to manage running an effective national government?