—Five people are dead and 37 were injured after someone opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. More here
—An unclassified assessment released Friday by the U.S. intelligence community says Russian President Vladimir “Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.” More here
—We’re live-blogging the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).
Just hours after he received an intelligence briefing on the influence of Russian hacking on the U.S. presidential election, Donald Trump refuses to say that Russia was responsible. Instead, he’s blaming the Democratic National Committee for allowing themselves to get hacked.
Gross negligence by the Democratic National Committee allowed hacking to take place.The Republican National Committee had strong defense!
WikiLeaks Wants to Create a Database of Verified Twitter Users' Hacked Information
WikiLeaks is considering making an online database of verified Twitter accounts that would include sensitive personal information, the hacking organization said Friday. The group published hacked Democratic National Committee emails. Russian hackers are suspected of leaking the emails in an attempt to sway the U.S. presidential election. In this proposed database, WikiLeaks would provide information on a user’s family, job, finances, political party membership, and housing status. In a follow-up tweet, the group, which is led by Julian Assange, asked its online following for guidance on additional hacking.
We are looking for clear discrete (father/shareholding/party membership) variables that can be put into our AI software. Other suggestions?
Such a database could be dangerous and used for political retribution to the group’s opponents in media, politics, or other organizations. In a statement, Twitter warned, “Posting another person’s private and confidential information is a violation of the Twitter Rules.”
Turkey dismissed an additional 6,000 public workers Friday, as the country continues its crackdown in the months after a failed coup last July. Among the workers are 2,700 police officers, 1,700 justice ministry officials, 838 health ministry officials, and 630 academics who leaders believe played a role in the coup or have ties to Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric who President Recep Tayyip Erdogan believes orchestrated the putsch. Gulen, who lived in self-exile in Pennsylvania, has denied any role. The Turkish parliament voted this week to extend the country’s state of emergency by another three months, which allows the government to usurp rights and freedoms. Turkey has already suspended or dismissed 120,000 public workers, and jailed 41,000. Meanwhile, the Turkish people are still reeling from a New Year’s Day attack at an Istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people, for which ISIS claimed responsibility, and a carb bomb explosion that killed two people in Izmir on Thursday, which has been blamed on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.
The Four Suspects in the Chicago Live-Streamed Beating Appear in Court
A Chicago judge on Friday denied bail for the four suspects accused of beating a mentally disabled man and streaming it on Facebook Live, telling them: “Where was your sense of decency?" The four are charged with hate crimes, aggravated kidnapping, and battery, among other charges. Video of the attack that was live-streamed online shows four black suspects assault the victim, who is white, and shout, “fuck white people” as they hit him. The suspects appeared in court Friday before Cook County Associate Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil, who listened to prosecutors say one of the suspects had demanded $300 from the victim's mother, and that the suspects forced the man to kiss the floor, drink toilet water, and stuffed a sock into his mouth. Authorities say the victim suffers from schizophrenia and attention deficit disorder.
Intelligence Assessment Says Russia 'Aspired to Help' Trump in Election
An unclassified assessment released Friday by the U.S. intelligence community says Russian President Vladimir “Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.” The report, which can be found here, was released the same day President-elect Donald Trump received his own intelligence briefing on the Russian activities during the election. Trump, in a statement, said the hacking by “Russia, China, other countries, outside groups, and people” had no “effect on the outcome of the election.” Russia has denied it tried to interfere in the election.
It’s finally official: Donald Trump has won the presidential election.
Media outlets announced Trump’s victory weeks ago in November. But Congress counted and certified the Electoral College votes on Friday, a time-honored tradition that takes place only after electors have formally cast their votes. Along the way, Trump’s opponents hoped in vain the results of the election might be overturned. A small group of electors attempted to instigate an Electoral College revolt aimed at keeping Trump out of the White House, but that effort ultimately failed. The Electoral College formally selected Trump as the winner of the election in December.
And there were a few failed attempts at resistance on Friday. USA Todayreports:
Several Democratic House members raised formal objections to the Electoral College results, but they did not have the backing of any senators — a requirement for being considered. Vice President Biden, who presided over the session, repeatedly slammed the gavel on debate, saying the objections could not be entertained.
"It is over," Biden said as Republicans applauded.
Congress officially certified the election of Mike Pence to become vice president on Friday as well. Trump’s inauguration as the 45th president of the United States will take place on January 20th in Washington, D.C. The final electoral college vote tally certified by Congress stands at 304 votes for Trump to 227 votes for Hillary Clinton.
UPDATE: 5 Dead in Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting
Five people are dead and eight taken to hospital after at least one gunman opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. A gunman is in custody, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said. The airport said there was “an ongoing incident in Terminal 2, Baggage Claim.” Here’s our live-blog of the shooting.
Tilikum, the Orca That Inspired the Documentary 'Blackfish,' Dies
Tilikum, the SeaWorld orca that was the subject of the documentary Blackfish, died Friday of a persistent lung infection, SeaWorld announced. Tilikum’s role in the 2013 documentary and his life story triggered an anti-captivity backlash against SeaWorld that is still being felt. He was captured from the waters near Iceland when he was young, and transferred to SeaWorld Orlando in 1992. He became one of the park’s largest whales at six tons, and gained a reputation for being dangerous after a man who had snuck into the park for a swim in his tank was found dead, and again in 2010 after he was blamed for battering and drowning orca-trainer Dawn Brancheau. After these incidents, SeaWorld kept Tilikum separate from other orcas, though he was made to perform for paying customers practically until his death. The story of Tilikum’s life told by Blackfish resonated so profoundly with people that SeaWorld is still trying to recover from the image it painted of whale captivity. The marine tourist park has suffered financially, hired a new chief executive officer, and announced last year it would phase out its orca program.
Japan Recalls Envoy to South Korea Over Statue of Comfort Woman
Japan temporarily recalled Yasumasa Nagamine, its ambassador to South Korea, Friday in protest of a statue commemorating Korean women forced to work in Japanese military brothels during World War II. It’s estimated that between 20,000 to 200,000 women—commonly known as “comfort women”—were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during that period. Japan called for an immediate removal of the statue, which was displayed last week by a civic group outside its consulate in the South Korean city of Busan, and announced it would also suspend on-going talks with South Korea on resuming a bilateral currency-swap agreement. South Korea expressed “strong regret” over Japan’s decision. A similar statue was placed outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul in 2011; it too was criticized by the Japanese. The issue continues to be one of the thorniest between the two countries despite an accord reached in December 2015, in which Japan offered a formal apology and agreed to pay about $8.3 million to establish a fund for surviving “comfort women.”
Next week Norway will become the first country in the world to drop its FM radio network. The move is widely unpopular in Norway, but is being closely watched by other European nations. FM will be replaced by digital audio broadcasting (DAB), which is said to have clearer sound and signal, and is already being broadcast in Norway. DAB also allows for eight times as many stations as FM for the same cost. The problem is that more than 2 million cars in Norway don’t have DAB receivers, nor do many homes. The devices are also more expensive. Only 17 percent of Norwegians support the switch, while the rest are undecided. All FM broadcasts are scheduled to shut off by the end of the year. Switzerland plans to make the switch to DAB in 2020. Britain and Denmark have also said they’ll drop FM, though neither has set a firm deadline.
U.S. Adds 156,000 Jobs in December; Jobless Rate at 4.7 Percent
The U.S. economy added 156,000 jobs last month, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Friday, and the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 4.7 percent. Economists had expected the economy to add about 175,000 jobs. The slight increase of the jobless rate was attributed to a more people in the labor force. Wage rose 2.9 percent from December 2015. The report, the last of President Obama’s tenure, shows an economy on solid footing as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to enter the White House. Bloombergadds: “The latest payrolls tally brought the advance for 2016 to 2.16 million, after a gain of about 2.7 million in 2015. The streak of gains above 2 million is the longest since 1999, when Bill Clinton was president.” Full report here.
Russia Withdraws Aircraft Carrier From Syria as Part of Partial Drawdown
Russia announced Friday it was beginning a gradual drawdown of its military presence in Syria, starting with the departure of Admiral Kuznetsov, the aircraft carrier. The announcement comes just days after Russia and Turkey announced a ceasefire between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and rebels opposed to his rule. Assad, bolstered by military support from Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah, the Shia militant group from Lebanon, recaptured eastern Aleppo, the last major rebel stronghold, last month. The Syrian leader is now more firmly in charge of the country than at any point since the civil war began. The ceasefire announced by Russia and Turkey is largely holding, though it is fragile.
CEO Chris Licht felt he was on a mission to restore the network’s reputation for serious journalism. How did it all go wrong?
Updated at 11:34 a.m. ET on June 7, 2023.
“How are we gonna cover Trump? That’s not something I stay up at night thinking about,” Chris Licht told me. “It’s very simple.”
It was the fall of 2022. This was the first of many on-the-record interviews that Licht had agreed to give me, and I wanted to know how CNN’s new leader planned to deal with another Donald Trump candidacy. Until recently Licht had been producing a successful late-night comedy show. Now, just a few months into his job running one of the world’s preeminent news organizations, he claimed to have a “simple” answer to the question that might very well come to define his legacy.
“The media has absolutely, I believe, learned its lesson,” Licht said.
“I’m about to cancel all my Zoom meetings.” It was May 2021, and Jamie Dimon had had enough. The JPMorgan Chase CEO expected that “sometime in September, October,” the company’s office would “look just like it did before.” Two years later, his company is slashing its Manhattan footprint by a fifth.
Post-pandemic, kids are back in school, retirees are back on cruise ships, and physical stores are doing better than expected. But offices are struggling perhaps more than most casual observers realize, and the consequences for landlords, banks, municipal governments, and even individual portfolios will be far-reaching. In some cases, they will be catastrophic. But this crisis, like all crises, also represents an opportunity to reconsider many of our assumptions about work and cities.
A new report of secretive government programs investigating “non-human” vehicles and “pilots” bears a striking resemblance to many that came before.
If ever a headline has demanded a wide-eyed, scrambling-to-click reaction, it might be this one: “Intelligence Officials Say U.S. Has Retrieved Craft of Non-human Origin.”
A website called The Debrief—which says it specializes in “frontier science” and describes itself as self-funded—reported this week that a former intelligence official named David Grusch said that the U.S. government has spent decades secretly recovering “intact vehicles” and “partial fragments” that weren’t made by humans. (A section of The Debrief is dedicated to coverage of UFOs.) Officials, Grusch said, sought to avoid congressional oversight while reverse-engineering these materials for the government’s own purposes. In a separate interview with NewsNation, which has advertised itself as an alternative to major cable networks, Grusch said the military had even discovered the “dead pilots” of these craft. “Believe it or not, as fantastical as that sounds, it’s true,” he said.
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The first time it happened, I assumed it was a Millennial thing. Our younger neighbors had come over with their kids and a projector for backyard movie night—Clueless, I think, or maybe The Goonies.
“Oh,” I said as the opening scene began, “you left the subtitles on.”
“Oh,” the husband said, “we always leave the subtitles on.”
Now, I don’t like to think of myself as a snob—snobs never do—but in that moment, I felt something gurgling up my windpipe that can only be described as snobbery, a need to express my aesthetic horror at the needless gashing of all those scenes. All that came out, though, was: Why? They don’t like missing any of the dialogue, he said, and sometimes it’s hard to hear, or someone is trying to sleep, or they’re only half paying attention, and the subtitles are right there waiting to be flipped on, so … why not?
They impede learning, stunt relationships, and lessen belonging. They should be banned.
In May 2019, I was invited to give a lecture at my old high school in Scarsdale, New York. Before the talk, I met with the principal and his top administrators. I heard that the school, like most high schools in America, was struggling with a large and recent increase in mental illness among its students. The primary diagnoses were depression and anxiety disorders, with increasing rates of self-harm; girls were particularly vulnerable. I was told that the mental-health problems were baked in when students arrived for ninth grade: Coming out of middle school, many students were already anxious and depressed. Many were also already addicted to their phone.
Ten months later, I was invited to give a talk at Scarsdale Middle School. There, too, I met with the principal and her top administrators, and I heard the same thing: Mental-health problems had recently gotten much worse. Even many of the students arriving for sixth grade, coming out of elementary school, were already anxious and depressed. And many, already, were addicted to their phone.
The ousted CNN executive failed to grasp the altered landscape of American politics.
The precipitous fall of Chris Licht is just the sort of story that today’s cable-news environment is best at covering: dramatic, messy, lurid, and ultimately lacking in much substance.
Licht was pushed out of CNN today, five days after my colleague Tim Alberta wrote a deeply textured, carefully considered, and entirely damning profile of the CEO. Licht’s clumsiness and tone-deafness in the story—he sniped at his staff, obsessed over his predecessor, and generally seemed feckless—were astonishing for someone in his position, and they’re the immediate context for his firing.
But the real reason Licht failed was not the way he executed his job but the way he conceived it in the first place. He wanted to turn CNN back into the neutral arbiter of truth that it once was (or seemed to be) without understanding that such a role is impossible in today’s fractured, polarized cable-news environment. “He was dealt a bad hand, and then he played it badly,” as one of his friends told the media reporter Brian Stelter.
Late last night, New Yorkers were served a public-health recommendation with a huge helping of déjà vu: “If you are an older adult or have heart or breathing problems and need to be outside,” city officials said in a statement, “wear a high-quality mask (e.g. N95 or KN95).”
It was, in one sense, very familiar advice—and also very much not. This time, the threat isn’t viral, or infectious at all. Instead, masks are being urged as a precaution against the thick, choking plumes of smoke from Canada, where wildfires have been igniting for weeks. The latest swaths of the United States to come into the crosshairs are the Midwest, Ohio Valley, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic.
The situation is, in a word, bad. Yesterday, New Haven, Connecticut, logged its worst air-quality reading on record; in parts of New York and Pennsylvania, some towns have been shrouded in pollutants at levels the Environmental Protection Agency deems “hazardous”—the more severe designation on its list. It is, to put it lightly, an absolutely terrible time to go outside. And for those who “have to go outdoors,” says Linsey Marr, an environmental engineer at Virginia Tech, “I’d strongly recommend wearing a mask.”
JFK Terminal 8—It is 9:22 a.m., and I am learning about consumer protections from a food-safety inspector who is on her second Bloody Mary. There is nothing quite like alcohol to facilitate an expansive conversation: I should encourage young people, she tells me, to consider careers in food safety. She’s on her way back from a work trip, and I learn that she always drinks Bloody Marys when she travels, which is often, but never drinks them at home. We move on to other topics: reincarnation, ExxonMobil, karma, the state of labor unions. The only thing that seemed to be off limits was her full name (her job, she said, prevents her from speaking with the media).
We’re sitting in the New York Sports Bar across from Gate 10, which is next to Solstice Sunglasses and a vending machine selling ready-to-eat salads in plastic mason jars. In the corner, two blond women drink white wine. A passing traveler pops her head in: Does the bar serve French fries? The bartender says no, they don’t start serving French fries until 10:30. It is too early for French fries. But it is not too early for white wine.
The preeminent golf league suddenly decided that Saudi Arabia’s many sins are not a problem.
When PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan was asked last year about his indefinite suspension of 17 players for joining the rival LIV Golf league, Monahan chastised the golfers for choosing money over morality.
Because LIV gets its money from Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy notorious for its human-rights abuses, Monahan implied that players who chose LIV over professional golf’s preeminent league would regret their association with the kingdom. “I would ask any player that has left or any player that would consider leaving, have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?” Monahan said then.
But in one of the most stunningly hypocritical reversals in recent sports history, Monahan is now on Team LIV and, by extension, Team Saudi Arabia.
The underground reserves that fill mega-basins are not an infinite resource.
These are not your average reservoirs.
The plastic-lined cavities span, on average, 20 acres—more than 15 American football fields. Nicknamed “mega-basins,” they resemble enormous swimming pools scooped into farmland; about 100 basin projects are in the works across France. In wetter winter months, the basins are pumped full of groundwater; during punishing droughts and heat waves, those waters are meant to provide “life insurance” for farmers, who are among the region’s heaviest water users.