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
It’s time to abandon the dogma that’s driven our foreign policy and led to so much disaster in the region.
President Donald Trump’s October decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria produced a rare moment of bipartisanship in foreign policy. With a shared sense of alarm, Republicans and Democrats alike accused Trump of betrayal.
Certainly, it was a betrayal of the Kurdish partners who bled for us in the fight against the Islamic State. It was also a betrayal of process—leaving our military leaders and diplomats struggling to keep up with tweets, our allies in the dark, our messaging all over the map, and chaos on the ground.
If all this episode engenders, however, is a bipartisan dip in the warm waters of self-righteous criticism, it will be a tragedy—or worse, a mistake. We have to come to grips with the deeper and more consequential betrayal of common sense—the notion that the only antidote to Trump’s fumbling attempts to disentangle the United States from the region is a retreat to the magical thinking that has animated so much of America’s moment in the Middle East since the end of the Cold War.
I served as a career diplomat throughout most of this era, sharing in our successes as well as our failures. Despite important achievements, we all too often misread regional currents and mismatched ends and means. In our episodic missionary zeal, especially after the terrible jolt to our system on 9/11, we tended to overreach militarily and underinvest diplomatically. We let our ambitions outstrip the practical possibilities of a region where perfect is rarely on the menu, and second- and third-order consequences are rarely uplifting. The temptations of magical thinking, the persistent tendency to assume too much about our influence and too little about the obstacles in our path and the agency of other actors, led to indiscipline and disappointments—steadily diminishing the appetite of most Americans for Middle East adventures.
That leaves American policy at a crossroads. Our moment as the singular dominant outside player in the Middle East has faded, but we still have a solid hand to play. The key to playing it well will be neither restoration of the inflated ambition and over-militarization of much of the post-9/11 period nor sweeping disengagement. Instead, we need a significant shift in the terms of our engagement in the region—lowering our expectations for transformation, ending our habit of indulging the worst instincts of our partners and engaging in cosmic confrontation with state adversaries, finding a more focused and sustainable approach to counterterrorism, and putting more emphasis on diplomacy backed up by military leverage, instead of the other way around.
Why we need to face the best arguments from the other side
Images above: A protestor holding a sign that reads “Abortion Is Freedom” and protestors holding anti-abortion signs
In 1956, twoAmerican physicians, J. A. Presley and W. E. Brown, colleagues at the University of Arkansas School of Medicine, decided that four recent admissions to their hospital were significant enough to warrant a published report. “Lysol-Induced Criminal Abortion” appeared in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. It describes four women who were admitted to the hospital in extreme distress, all of them having had “criminal abortions” with what the doctors believed to be an unusual agent: Lysol. The powerful cleaner had been pumped into their wombs. Three of them survived, and one of them died.
The fancy bike brand tried to depict a wellness journey. It didn’t go as planned.
The internet has some feedback on Peloton’s holiday ad campaign. The fitness-tech company, famous for its $2,400, Wi-Fi-enabled stationary bikes that let riders stream spin classes, debuted a new television commercial in mid-November, but it didn’t become infamous until earlier this week, when Twitter got ahold of it.
In the ad, a young mom gains confidence in the year after her husband buys her a Peloton for Christmas—or, at least, that’s what the ad seems to be aiming for. The commercial documents the woman (who is also documenting herself, via her phone’s front-facing camera) while she gets up early day after day to exercise or jumps on the bike after work. At the end, she presents the video of her exercise journey to her husband. “A year ago, I didn’t realize how much this would change me,” she tells him. “Thank you.”
The surreal story of how a comedian who played the Ukrainian president on TV became the president in real life—then found himself at the center of an American political scandal
Last May, in the weeks leading up to his presidential inauguration, Volodymyr Zelensky learned that a man named Rudy Giuliani wanted to meet with him. The name was only distantly familiar. But the former mayor of New York City was the personal attorney of the president of the United States, and he apparently wanted to make the case that certain investigations deserved the full attention of the new Ukrainian administration. Zelensky understood that it might be hard to say no.
Zelensky had won his country’s highest office despite having been a politician for little more than four months. Even as he prepared to assume the presidency, he remained a professional comedian and a fixture on television shows, including League of Laughter. Unsure of whether he should agree to meet Giuliani, Zelensky gathered advisers in the headquarters of his entertainment company.
In its third season, the series is stuck in a relentlessly cheery mode that’s cloying to watch.
The great irony of Amy Sherman-Palladino’s television shows is that the dialogue gushes forth with the insistence of a burst hydrant, and yet the most beguiling moments are the ones in which no one speaks at all. Midway through the third season of Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, a man and a woman whose chemistry has smoldered almost since the show’s inception find themselves alone, in the early hours of the morning, at a hotel. They gaze at each other. They each glance meaningfully through the open door toward a bed. They say nothing. The energy is so heightened and so loaded with expectation that I couldn’t have stopped watching if the room around me had suddenly caught on fire.
The five hours or so that preceded it, though, had mostly the opposite effect, where any scenes without Rachel Brosnahan’s unsinkable comic Midge Maisel—and even a few with her—were either inert or insufferable. What used to feel like Sherman-Palladino trademarks now come across as tics: the barrage of inane chatter; the superficial stereotyping; the overreliance on spectacle without substance, like a dinner composed entirely of cake pops. More vexing than anything, though, is how defiantly The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel refuses to have stakes. Everything plays out in the same major key. Everything—lost children, homelessness, divorce, social injustice—is just a joke, bedazzled and glib and gorgeous. This is a series so vacantly uplifting, it’s managed to transfigure Lenny Bruce into Prince Charming.
A conversation with the evangelical pastor and theologian
Shortly after I met my wife, Cindy, in 1989—she was living in New York City at the time, while I was living in Northern Virginia—she told me about a new church she was attending in Manhattan: Redeemer Presbyterian. The young minister, she told me, was “the best pastor in America.”
His name was Timothy J. Keller.
Since that time Keller, 69, has become one of the most consequential figures in American Christianity. When he founded Redeemer in the fall of 1989, fewer than 100 people attended; in the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001, Keller was preaching in multiple services in three different venues each Sunday to about 5,000 people—mostly young, single, professionally and ethnically diverse. He has written about two dozen books, several of them best sellers. And unlike that of many popular ministers, his reach extends farbeyond the Christian subculture.
For some kids, the weekly trash pickup is a must-see spectacle. Parents, children, waste-management professionals, and experts on childhood all offer theories as to why.
For Ryan Rucker, a dad in Vacaville, California, the weekly summons comes on Wednesday mornings, usually around seven. For Rosanne Sweeting on Grand Bahama island, in the Bahamas, it’s twice a week—Mondays and Thursdays, anytime from 6 to 8:30 a.m.—and for Whitney Schlander in Scottsdale, Arizona, it’s every Tuesday morning at half-past seven.
At these times, the quiet of the morning is broken by the beep beep beeping of an approaching garbage truck—and broken further when their kids start hollering, begging to be escorted outside to wave or just watch in awe as the truck collects and majestically hauls away the household trash. Rucker’s daughter Raegan, 3, takes her stuffed animals outside with her to watch the pickup. Cassidy Sweeting, 4, enlists her mom’s help to deliver granola bars and water bottles to the three trash collectors. Finn Schlander, 3, invited the neighborhood garbage-truck driver to his birthday party. (Ultimately, he was unable to attend, but the party had garbage-truck decorations nonetheless.)
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Television in 2019 offered up sweet birthday babies and hot priests; exposed nuclear cores and examined injustices; giant octopuses and the king of edible leaves, His Majesty the Spinach. It was a year in which more than 500 original scripted series were estimated to air—a new record signaling a television landscape that’s more abundant but also more fragmented than ever.
With that in mind, this year’s “best of” list, like last year’s, tries to recognize shows that did specific things particularly well. Some were brand new; some have already been canceled. But most of them came into being because someone took a chance on an odd idea, a risky concept, or a distinctive voice. As the streaming wars heat up, none of these series feels like a safe bet, which is precisely what makes them so worthwhile to watch.
As anyone who has been called out for hypocrisy by a small child knows, kids are exquisitely attuned to gaps between what grown-ups say and what grown-ups do. If you survey American parents about what they want for their kids, more than 90 percent say one of their top priorities is that their children be caring. This makes sense: Kindness and concern for others are held as moral virtues in nearly every society and every major religion. But when you ask children what their parents want for them, 81 percent say their parents value achievement and happiness over caring.
Kids learn what’s important to adults not by listening to what we say, but by noticing what gets our attention. And in many developed societies, parents now pay more attention to individual achievement and happiness than anything else. However much we praise kindness and caring, we’re not actually showing our kids that we value these traits.
The city’s leaders believe a revamped education system will make its people more loyal to China and less likely to protest.
HONG KONG—After months of protests, an embarrassing rebuke at the ballot box, a pair of new laws in the United States targeting Hong Kong, and a worsening economic outlook, the territory’s leader, Carrie Lam, promised to do some soul-searching. It seemed an appropriate response: Her city looked to have changed, gripped by a suddenly politically engaged populace determined to face down the authorities.
And in recent days, it appears Lam has indeed emerged with a solution for how to quell unrest here: Faced with demands for greater freedoms, an end to police brutality, and full universal suffrage, she has determined that what Hong Kong’s people really need is more Chinese-style patriotic education instead.