Political leaders across the world voice their disapproval of Trump’s travel ban, U.S. soldiers killed in Yemen, Myanmar's ruling party lawyer is shot and killed at an airport, and the Philippines bombs suspected terrorists.
Gunmen killed at least five people at a mosque in Quebec City who had come for a Sunday evening prayer service, according to the mosques’ president. About 40 people were inside the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Center, located in the Sainte-Foy neighborhood, and two suspects have been arrested. Police have set up a perimeter surrounding the area. Quebec has seen increased incidence of Islamophobia in recent years, particularly after a 2015 political debate over whether the city should ban the niqab, a Muslim face covering; The majority of the city was in favor of the ban. This same mosque was the focus of an investigation in June, after a severed pig’s head was dropped at its doorstep, wrapped and left with the message, “Bon appétit."
The negative reaction to President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries came in the form of protest in cities across the country, at airports, and in the form of donations to The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), whose lawyers have filed suits against the ban.
Throughout the weekend lawyers with the human rights organization met banned travelers at airports all over the country, and in several cities they filed injunctions against Trump’s executive order, winning stays from federal judges.
From Saturday to late Sunday more than 290,000 donors had sent the ACLU $19 million—the organizations typical annual average is $3 million. That figure, as well as the growth in membership, was “unprecedented,” according to Anthony Romero, the ACLU’s executive director.
The donations were supported in part through social media, where celebrities like the singer Sia, and actor Rosie O’Donnell offered to match donations to the ACLU of up to $100,000. Tech companies like Lyft pledged to donate $1million to the ACLU, and tech investors like Chris Sacca, an early backer of Uber and Instagram, matched up to $150,000.
The French Left Chooses Benoit Hamon as the Socialist Presidential Candidate
In France’s primary vote to determine who will run for president under the Socialist Party’s banner, voters handed the election to the traditional leftist Benoit Hamon. His win is a rebuke of the more-centrist policies of his rival, Manuel Valls, a former prime minister. Polls give Hamon little chance of winning the two-stage presidential election, with votes in both April and and May. Analysts believe his victory will likely turn more moderate leftists to vote for Emmanuel Macron, a 39-year-old independent centrist and former economy minister who wants to bridge the Left and the Right. Macron, however, is polled behind both Conservative Francois Fillon, and the far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who are both seen as most likely to face off in May. The Socialist Party has suffered massive unpopularity after the presidency of Francois Hollande, who was criticised for U-turns on major policies, and because of several high-profile terrorist attacks, was perceived as unable to keep the country safe
Protests Against Trump's Executive Order Spread Nationwide
Late into the night on Saturday, protesters flooded airports around the country to condemn President Trump’s executive order on immigrants and refugees.
On Sunday, they flooded American cities.
Protesters seemed to have multiple goals as they carted banners and signs to various metropolitan downtowns: to tell the brand-new president that his executive order restricting immigration and refugees was un-American; to decry Trump and his top advisers personally; and to demonstrate to the world that U.S. citizens are actively rejecting the new policy.
The protesters came by the thousands, and by Sunday mid-afternoon showed little sign of dispersing. For some cities, this was the second straight weekend they’d seen massive protests: Last Saturday, women’s marches were held in the United States and internationally to protest Trump and his new administration.
In Washington, D.C., demonstrators on Sunday took their chants to Trump’s new Pennsylvania Avenue hotel—and down the street to Lafayette Square, just outside his White House. Here are scenes from some of the protests:
Philippine Airstrike Gravely Injures the Top ISIS Leader in Southeast Asia
Philippine military leaders confirmed Sunday that an airstrike in the country’s south killed 15 Muslim militants with ties to ISIS, and seriously injured an Indonesian leader considered one of Southeast Asia’s top terror suspects. Isnilon Hapilon, who is also known as Mohisen, is the leader of Abu Sayyaf, a group of militants notorious in the region for kidnapping tourists and holding them for ransom. Last year the group beheaded two captured Canadian tourists, and the U.S. has placed a $5 million bounty on Hapilon’s head. Philippine military Chief of Staff General Eduardo Ano said Hapilon was believed to be seriously injured, and is somewhere on the outskirts of Butig, a town in the country’s mountainous south, which has long been a haven for extremists. Jet fighters carried out the strikes, dropping six 500-pound bombs Wednesday night and Thursday on the group’s encampment. Officials said that while Hapilon has not yet been captured, their intelligence says he is being moved around on a stretcher by his followers, who are surrounded by Filipino troops.
Protesters Outside the White House Chant Against Trump's Immigration Order
Protesters have filled Lafayette Square outside the White House in Washington, D.C., in response to the executive order on immigration that President Trump signed Friday that severely restricts immigration from seven Muslim countries, suspends all refugee admission for 120 days, and bars all Syrian refugees indefinitely. Since they can’t get close to the White House, protesters are lining Madison Place, and climbing the steps of the nearby U.S. Court of Federal Claims. They’re chanting “Let them in” and “No hate no fear, refugees are welcome here.” A few are shouting “Fire Bannon,” a reference to Steve Bannon, the president’s chief strategist and senior counselor. After every round of chants, the crowd breaks out into cheers. On the perimeter of the square, I caught a young man named Tom, wrapped in the American flag, sprinting to the protest. The immigration order is, “just disgusting,” he said, and kept running. Four Iranians who said they had green cards told me they were afraid their family members won’t be able to visit them—and they won’t be able to see their relatives. One woman, who said her name was Mehnoosh, brought her two daughters to the protest. She cried telling me she isn’t sure her sister, who was supposed to be visiting soon, will be able to get in. “I’m very sad ... I’ve been crying the past few days.”
The First Combat Casualty of the Trump Administration
A U.S. soldier was killed Sunday in a raid in Yemen that targeted local al-Qaeda militants, making it the first casualty of President Donald Trump’s administration. The soldier was a member of a Navy Seal unit, and three others U.S. soldiers were injured during the crash-landing of their aircraft, which was later intentionally destroyed. The operation’s goal was to collect intelligence, including computer equipment, that was believed to be linked to possible future attacks. The local wing of al-Qaeda in Yemen, which is in the midst of a civil war, has proved a powerful threat. The U.S. has mostly relied upon drone strikes to fight militants in the area, and this operation had reportedly been planned for months. It received authorization by Trump, The Washington Postreported. Fourteen militants died in a firefight with U.S. soldiers, and there are reports of more than a dozen dead civilians.
U.K. Citizens Start a Petition Against Trump, and Other Reactions to the Travel Ban
President Donald Trump and his administration stood defiant Sunday, despite growing, global criticism over his travel ban. Some world leaders have weighed in on the executive order, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She said on Sunday that she is “convinced that the necessary, decisive battle against terrorism does not justify a general suspicion against people of a certain origin or a certain religion.” Similarly, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain does not support Trump’s ban, and citizens there started an online government petition titled "Prevent Donald Trump from making a State Visit to the United Kingdom." Its text reads, in part, that Trump’s "well-documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received" by Queen Elizabeth or Prince Charles. By Sunday at 1 p.m., nearly a half-million people had signed the petition, well beyond the 100,000 signatures needed for parliament to consider it. Among members of the U.S. Congress, the ban is also getting pushback. Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman said: "I think we should slow down.” Arizona Republican Senator John McCain said “it’s been a very confusing process,” and that it would likely “give ISIS some more propaganda." Meanwhile, Trump’s team seems unfazed. A top adviser and former campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said Sunday on Fox News that the order was about "preventing, not detaining," and said not many people had been impacted by the travel ban. The day before, she’d tweeted this:
Get used to it. @POTUS is a man of action and impact.
Promises made, promises kept.
Shock to the system.
And he's just getting started https://t.co/AoUsZWClXt
The rumors began with a video depicting a black-clad figure in the group’s signature Guy Fawkes mask. “Greetings, citizens of the United States,” the figure said in a creepy, distorted voice. “This is a message from Anonymous to the Minneapolis Police Department.” The masked announcer addressed Floyd’s killing and the larger pattern of police misconduct, concluding, “We will be exposing your many crimes to the world. We are legion. Expect us.”
The clip generated a wave of renewed enthusiasm for Anonymous, particularly among young people. Twitter accounts associated with the group saw a surge of new followers, a couple of them by the millions.
Something fundamental has changed about the ways Americans vote.
As polling places closed on November 6, 2018, the expected “blue wave” looked more like a ripple. Not only had some of the highest-profile Democratic candidates lost, but the party’s gains in the House and the Senate looked smaller than anticipated.
The wave, it turned out, simply hadn’t crested yet. Over the ensuing weeks, as more ballots were counted, Democrats kept winning races—eventually netting 41 House seats. In Arizona, the Republican Martha McSally conceded the Senate race to the Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, who picked up more than 70,000 votes in post–Election Day counting. Democrats narrowed deficits in races in Florida and Georgia too. Republicans were stunned.
No matter what happens now, the virus will continue to circulate around the world.
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has sickened more than 16.5 million people across six continents. It is raging in countries that never contained the virus. It is resurgingin manyof the ones that did. If there was ever a time when this coronavirus could be contained, it has probably passed. One outcome is now looking almost certain: This virus is never going away.
The coronavirus is simply too widespread and too transmissible. The most likely scenario, experts say, is that the pandemic ends at some point—because enough people have been either infected or vaccinated—but the virus continues to circulate in lower levels around the globe. Cases will wax and wane over time. Outbreaks will pop up here and there. Even when a much-anticipated vaccine arrives, it is likely to only suppress but never completely eradicate the virus. (For context, consider that vaccines exist for more than a dozen human viruses but only one, smallpox, has ever been eradicated from the planet, and that took 15 years of immense global coordination.) We will probably be living with this virus for the rest of our lives.
Trump is utterly unsuited to deal with this crisis, either intellectually or temperamentally.
For his entire adult life, and for his entire presidency, Donald Trump has created his own alternate reality, complete with his own alternate set of facts. He has shown himself to be erratic, impulsive, narcissistic, vindictive, cruel, mendacious, and devoid of empathy. None of that is new.
But we’re now entering the most dangerous phase of the Trump presidency. The pain and hardship that the United States is only beginning to experience stem from a crisis that the president is utterly unsuited to deal with, either intellectually or temperamentally. When things were going relatively well, the nation could more easily absorb the costs of Trump’s psychological and moral distortions and disfigurements. But those days are behind us. The coronavirus pandemic has created the conditions that can catalyze a destructive set of responses from an individual with Trump’s characterological defects and disordered personality.
The ads are everywhere. You can learn to serve like Serena Williams or write like Margaret Atwood. But what MasterClass really delivers is something altogether different.
Image above, clockwise from top left: MasterClass instructors Serena Williams (who teaches tennis on the platform); Natalie Portman (acting); Gordon Ramsay (cooking); Malcolm Gladwell (writing)
Sometimes an advertisement is so perfectly tailored to a cultural moment that it casts that moment into stark relief, which is how I felt upon first seeing an ad for the mega-best-selling writer James Patterson’s course on MasterClass a few years ago. In the ad, Patterson is sitting at a table, reciting a twisty opening line in voice-over. Then an overhead shot of him gazing out a window, lost in thought like a character in a movie. A title card appears: “Imagine taking a writing class from a master.” It didn’t matter that I’d never read a book by Patterson before—I was hooked. What appealed to me was not whatever actionable thriller-writing tips I might glean, but rather the promise of his story, the story of how a writer becomes a mogul. Any hapless, hand-to-mouth mid-lister can provide instructions on outlining a novel. MasterClass dangled something else, a clear-cut path out of the precariat, the magic-bean shortcut to a fairy-tale ending—the secret to ever-elusive success.
Saudi leaders have figured out what makes the president tick like few others have.
The joke, a throwaway quip, somehow captured the man and the moment—the end of one era, and the beginning of another. It was January 2017, and then–British Prime Minister Theresa May was in the White House, the first foreign leader to visit the new president of the United States, Donald Trump. For May, the trip had gone well: Pleasantries had been exchanged, faux pas avoided, commitments to NATO and the special relationship gleaned. Then came the press conference.
“Mr. President,” the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, called on by May, began, “you’ve said before that torture works; you’ve praised Russia; you’ve said you want to ban some Muslims from coming to America; you’ve suggested there should be punishment for abortion. For many people in Britain, those sound like alarming beliefs. What do you say to our viewers at home who are worried about some of your views and are worried about you becoming the leader of the free world?” A momentary silence followed. Smiling, Trump turned to his guest: “This was your choice of a question?” The room burst into laughter. Then came the punch line: “There goes that relationship.”
A conversation with Ariel Sabar about the stranger-than-fiction story of a Harvard professor, a con artist, and a papyrus fragment that made front-page news
At a September 2012 academic conference in Rome, Karen King, a historian at Harvard Divinity School, made a major announcement. She had discovered a fragment of papyrus that bore a shocking phrase: “Jesus said to them, My wife.” If the scrap was authentic, it had the potential to upend centuries of Roman Catholic tradition.
The journalist Ariel Sabar covered King’s 2012 presentation for Smithsonian magazine, and revisited the mystery of the papyrus’s origins in a 2016 article for The Atlantic, “The Unbelievable Tale of Jesus’s Wife,” in which he tracked down the owner of the papyrus—a man whose identity King adamantly refused to share with the press. Could this man have forged the explosive text? Was King’s discovery too good to be true?
The electorate is split into separate information bubbles. But unconventional messengers, appeals to patriotism, and even jokes can reach voters who don’t want to listen.
A few weeks ago, I went to a political rally in a farmyard. The Polish presidential candidate Rafał Trzaskowski was speaking; in the background, a golden wheat field shimmered in the late-afternoon sun. The audience was enthusiastic—the host, a local farmer, had spread news of the candidate’s visit only the day before—but the juxtaposition of Trzaskowski and the wheat field was odd. He is the mayor of Warsaw, speaks several languages, has degrees in economics, and belongs to the half of Poland that identifies as educated, urban, and European. What does he know from wheat?
But Trzaskowski was running for president in a country whose other half lives in an information bubble that teaches people to be suspicious of anyone from Warsaw who is educated, urban, and European. Polish state television, fully controlled by the ruling Law and Justice party, was sending aggressive messages into that bubble, warning its inhabitants that Trzaskowski was dubious, foreign, in hock to “LGBT ideology”—which the incumbent president, Andrzej Duda, called “worse than communism”—and beholden to Germans and Jews. The messages, constantly repeated on a wide array of radio stations and television channels, were designed to reinforce tribal loyalties and convince Law and Justice voters that they are “real” Poles, not impostors or traitors like their political opponents.
In attacking her record on crime policy, her critics are ignoring how politics actually works.
The racial-justice movement sparked by the murder of George Floyd has had two quite different effects on Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. It has intensified the pressure on Biden to choose a Black woman as his running mate. And it has also intensified the pressure on him to choose a running mate with a history of challenging police brutality. Those two political imperatives are now colliding in the debate over whether Biden should pick Senator Kamala Harris—a former prosecutor whom some progressives in California have characterized as too deferential to police.
Biden had previously vowed to choose a female running mate, and the typical vice-presidential pick is a senator or governor. Harris is the sole Black woman in either category. In one sense, therefore, she clearly benefits from the new political reality that the Black Lives Matter movement has created. But that new political reality has also amplified criticism from progressives. In yesterday’s New York Times, the reporters Danny Hakim, Stephanie Saul, and Richard A. Oppel Jr. quoted David Campos, a former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, who argues that when Harris “had the opportunity to do something about police accountability” as the city’s district attorney, “she was either not visible, or when she was, she was on the wrong side.” Criticisms like these, the Times notes, have led progressives to ask: “Is Ms. Harris essentially a political pragmatist, or has she in fact changed?”
A virus has brought the world’s most powerful country to its knees.
How did it come to this? A virus a thousand times smaller than a dust mote has humbled and humiliated the planet’s most powerful nation. America has failed to protect its people, leaving them with illness and financial ruin. It has lost its status as a global leader. It has careened between inaction and ineptitude. The breadth and magnitude of its errors are difficult, in the moment, to truly fathom.
In the first half of 2020, SARS‑CoV‑2—the new coronavirus behind the disease COVID‑19—infected 10 million people around the world and killed about half a million.