In a speech packed with policy proposals, a dark view of the past, and hope for the future, President Trump addressed a joint session of Congress Tuesday evening. As my colleague Clare Foran notes, the speech was “perhaps more notable for its tone than its substance.” She writes:
It marked a striking change of tone from his campaign and his early days in office, from a president who has frequently feuded with critics, including members of his own party. The optimistic tone was equally a departure from Trump’s inaugural address, in which he painted a picture of a country in decline and memorably promised to end “American carnage.” On Tuesday, he acknowledged that “the challenges we face as a nation are great,” but he added “our people are even greater.”
For a full breakdown of the moments of the speech and what the president proposed, check out our full coverage here.
Malaysian authorities charged two women in the death of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The women, Siti Aishah from Indonesia and Doan Thi Huong from Vietnam, face the death penalty if convicted. Kim was killed on February 13 at the Kuala Lumpur airport when the women allegedly rubbed a VX nerve agent on his face. Lawyers for the women have said they thought they were playing a prank on a gameshow. Kim died within 20 minutes of the attack. The North Korean government is suspected in orchestrating the attack. Leaders in Pyongyang have denied those accusations. Authorities in Malaysia are seeking to question a diplomat in the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
FBI to Investigate Shooting of 2 Indian Men in Kansas as a Hate Crime
Authorities will investigate the shooting at a Kansas bar that resulted in the death of an Indian man as a hate crime, the FBI announced Tuesday. The decision comes nearly one week after 51-year-old Adam Purinton allegedly yelled at Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, both 32-year-old Indian men, to “get out of my country” before opening fire, killing Kuchibhotla and wounding Madasani. Ian Grillot, another bar patron who tried to intervene in the shooting, was also injured. Purinton, who was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder, reportedly believed Kuchibhotla and Madasani to be of Middle Eastern descent. The incident has since prompted fears within the Indian community of future racially-motivated attacks, and Madasani’s father, Jaganmohan Reddy, cautioned Indian parents against sending their children to the U.S., adding: “The situation seems to be pretty bad after Trump took over as the U.S. president.” In a press briefing Friday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer called suggestions of a correlation between the shooting and President Trump’s immigration policies “absurd.”
2 Police Officers Shot in Houston; Suspect at Large
Updated at 3:42 p.m.
Two Houston police officers responding to a burglary were shot Tuesday in the southwest portion of the city, prompting a shelter-in-place for residents of the area. Both officers were shot multiple times and are being treated at local hospitals. One, identified as Officer Jose Munoz, a 10-year veteran, received non-life-threatening injuries; the other, Officer Ronnie Cortez, a 24-year veteran of the force, was critically injured, Chief Art Acevedo said at a news conference. Acevedo said there were two suspects, one of whom was killed at the scene, and the other who is at large.
Update: two officers shot during incident at 8714 Sterlingame; both being treated at hospitals; conditions not being released at this time
Female and Child Migrants Face Rampant Abuse in Libya, UNICEF Says
Female and child migrants making the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe face sexual abuse, violence, and exploitation at the hands of smugglers and traffickers, a report published Tuesday by UNICEF finds. According to the UN agency, there are more than 250,000 migrants in Libya; women make up 11 percent and children 9 percent. These migrants are often held within any one of the 34 government-run detention centers identified throughout the country, though UNICEF said many of them are also held in unofficial detention centers run by armed groups. Of the 122 women and children interviewed by UNICEF, three-quarters “said they experienced violence, harassment, or aggression at the hands of adults” while in detention, and nearly half of them reported sexual abuse. Those interviewed also reported a lack of access to proper nutrition, sanitation, health care, and legal access—conditions UNICEF described as “living hellholes.” Afshan Khan, the UNICEF Regional Director and Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe, said in a statement that migration routes from Libya to Europe are “controlled by smugglers, traffickers and other people seeking to prey upon desperate children and women who are simply seeking refuge or a better life,” adding: “We need safe and legal pathways and safeguards to protect migrating children that keep them safe and keep predators at bay.” Indeed, there are few safeguards for migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean. Of the more than 180,000 who attempted the journey from Libya to Italy last year, more than 4,500 drowned—a figure which made 2016 the deadliest year for migrants on record.
UPDATE: Samsung's Chief, 4 Executives Charged in Corruption Scandal
Updated at 9:19 a.m. ET
South Korean prosecutors say they charged Lee Jae-yong, the Samsung heir, and four other company executives with corruption and embezzlement in a scandal that has already resulted in the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. Three of the four executives, who were named in Tuesday’s announcement, resigned from the company. Lee was arrested earlier this month. My colleague Yasmeen Serhan previously reported: “The arrest concerns multimillion-dollar donations the Samsung executive made to companies associated with Choi Soon-sil, a longtime friend of Park whose Rasputin-like relationship with the president prompted allegations of undue influence and ultimately led to Park’s impeachment. Prosecutors allege Lee made the donations in exchange for political support for a 2015 merger between Samsung and Cheil Industries, an affiliated firm. Though Lee confirmed he made the donations, he denied that they were bribes.” The charges could have major implications for Samsung; Lee has run the conglomerate since his father, Lee Kun-hee, suffered a heart attack in 2014.
UPDATE: 'I Don’t Think We’ve Explained it Well Enough to the American Public,' Trump Says
Updated at 9:01 a.m. ET
President Trump toldFox & Friends he’d give himself an “A” on his achievements so far, but would give himself a “C or C-plus” for messaging. “I think I’ve done great things, but I don’t think I have—I and my people—I don’t think we’ve explained it well enough to the American public,” he said. The remarks came hours before his scheduled remarks to a joint session of Congress. Trump said he’d use the address to elaborate on his plans for the military, border security, the economy, and health care. The speech isn’t technically a State of the Union address, which is given a year after a president has been in office. The address, which begins at 9 p.m., comes a little more than a month after Trump’s inauguration as president. My colleague Molly Ball assessed his time in office so far.
The contrast with his opponent renders it all the more egregious.
Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia couldn’t be more different from his Republican opponent, the former football player Herschel Walker—and news coverage of their campaigns in the past week is a perfect example.
Warnock didn’t generate a single juicy or humiliating headline. Articles about the Democratic incumbent dutifully describe his issue positions and his campaign strategies. Meanwhile, the Daily Beastreported recently that the staunchly anti-abortion challenger had paid for an abortion that the mother of one of his children underwent. That story prompted Walker’s son Christian to post a bitter rebuke of his father on Twitter.
Students need more exposure to the way everyday things work and are made.
One of the most useless questions you can ask a kid is, What do you want to be when you grow up? The more useful question is: What are you good at? But schools aren’t giving kids enough of a chance to find out.
As a professor of animal science, I have ample opportunity to observe how young people emerge from our education system into further study and the work world. As a visual thinker who has autism, I often think about how education fails to meet the needs of our very diverse minds. We are shunting students into a one-size-fits-all curriculum instead of nurturing the budding builders, engineers, and inventors that our country needs.
Back when I went to school in the 1960s, shop class was the highlight of my day. I can vividly recall the wooden workbenches and the coping saws, hammers, pliers, screwdrivers, and eggbeater drills hung from a pegboard in a neat row. I also loved home economics. Although I was a tomboy, I enjoyed working with my hands in all kinds of ways. The skills I learned by embroidering, sewing, and measuring ingredients, I still use today.
The internet’s file format has been diagnosed as “cringe,” but there are other threats to its existence.
About 40 percent of my first full-time job was dedicated to making GIFs—a skill I had professed to have during the interview process, and that turned out to be much harder than I thought. It took trial and error to figure out how to make sure the colors weren’t too weird, the frame rate too fast, the file too big.
This was 2015, and GIFs had to be smaller than 1 megabyte before you could upload them to most social platforms. Fiddling with them was worthwhile, because GIFs were very important. You had to have them! They were the visual style that the audience craved. Not only did I make dozens a day for the website I worked for, but I often made extras for co-workers who requested them for their personal use. (I was eager to please!)
At his Pennsylvania rally, the former president gave exactly the narcissistic display his Democratic nemesis tried to provoke.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton warned that Donald Trump was a fool who could be baited with a tweet. This past Thursday night, in Philadelphia, Joe Biden upped the ante by asking, in effect: What idiot thing might the former president do if baited with a whole speech? On Saturday night, the world got its answer.
For the 2022 election cycle, smart Republicans had a clear and simple plan: Don’t let the election be about Trump. Make it about gas prices, or crime, or the border, or race, or sex education, or anything—anything but Trump. Trump lost the popular vote in 2016. He lost control of the House in 2018. He lost the presidency in 2020. He lost both Senate seats in Georgia in 2021. Republicans had good reason to dread the havoc he’d create if he joined the fight in 2022.
Late last month, analysts at the investment bank Credit Suisse published a research note about America’s new climate law that went nearly unnoticed. The Inflation Reduction Act, the bank argued, is even more important than has been recognized so far: The IRA will “will have a profound effect across industries in the next decade and beyond” and could ultimately shape the direction of the American economy, the bank said. The report shows how even after the bonanza of climate-bill coverage earlier this year, we’re still only beginning to understand how the law works and what it might mean for the economy.
It is impossible to watch Vladimir Putin’s arrogant invasion of Ukraine without being appalled by its savagery. Dead men and women strewn on the streets of Bucha, hands bound behind their backs. Russian soldiers raping women, sometimes in front of husbands or children. Russians seizing loot of every size, from cellphones to giant John Deere wheat-harvesting combines. And, again and again, testimony about torture: beatings, electric shocks, near suffocation with plastic bags.
Yes, all wars are bloody, but they’re not all fought like this. The First World War, for example, killed millions. Yet Captain Boris Sergievsky, a fighter pilot in the Imperial Russian Air Service stationed in western Ukraine, who as an émigré years later married my aunt, told me that if you fatally shot down a German aviator over Russian territory, you buried him with full military honors; you then dropped by parachute onto the German airfield his personal effects and a photograph of his funeral. That war, like this one, was over territory. But in today’s war, even as Putin insists that the would-be conquerors and the invaded are “one people,” the Russians almost seem to have an additional aim: to humiliate the Ukrainians, to dehumanize them, to see them suffer.
Focusing on anything, let alone a book, has been hard lately. These are the titles that reignited our love for literature.
Reading is hard right now. The pandemic has pushed our already scattered attention spans to a crisis point. But even before 2020, stressors such as political chaos and the allure of our phones made it harder and harder to find the time and focus to get lost in a book. Even when we’re not living through a distracting moment, we will inevitably have personal fallow periods when reading as a habit and a respite just doesn’t happen.
Certain writing is able to grab us and shake us out of these ruts—by presenting a breakneck adventure we feel compelled to see through; by gently opening us back up to the thrill of a good story; by allowing us to spend time in the mind of a fictional character. When they appear to us at the right moment and in the right way, these books can act as a bridge that leads us back to the rewards of literature. Below, our staff members have compiled 12 books that rekindled our love for reading after a dry spell.
Millennial and Gen Z voters have serious power in the South.
ATLANTA—The three dozen young Black men and women who gathered in a church meeting room last Friday night were greeted with a rousing exhortation that had the added benefit of being true.
In welcoming remarks, Bryce Berry, a senior at nearby Morehouse College and the president of the Young Democrats of Georgia club, told the group that none of the party’s national-policy accomplishments of the past two years would have been possible without people like them. “Without young Georgians, young Black Georgians,” Berry said for emphasis, “there would be no Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, no American Rescue Plan … no Inflation Reduction Act, no student-debt relief, and no gun-safety bill.”
It was the sort of thing speakers always say to motivate a crowd at political rallies. But in this case it was historically accurate: Massive turnout and huge margins among young voters, especially young voters of color, were crucial to the twin runoff victories of Georgia Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in January 2021 that delivered Democrats their unexpected majority in the upper chamber.
Reading the work of the newly minted Nobel Prize laureate, one novelist discovered the kind of writer she wanted to be.
When I was living in Paris in 2018, a friend passed Annie Ernaux’s book Happening to me as if it were an envelope containing treasure. The memoir tells the story of the abortion Ernaux had in 1963, when the procedure was illegal in France, and, like nearly all of her books, it is an excavation of memory, of self, of the powers and the limits of writing. In its most climactic scene, the narrator, a college student, expels what looks like a “baby doll” from her body “like a grenade” and carries it, still attached to her, in her hand from the dormitory bathroom to her room. An acquaintance helps her cut the cord; they slip the fetus into an empty melba-toast wrapper. I remember the exact place I was sitting, in a train station, when I read this scene, the amazement with which I looked up from the page at the people milling around me, as the book changed something in me.
It may not be as bad as last year’s … but it certainly won’t be good.
This fall, unlike the one before it, and the one before that, America looks almost like its old self. Schools and universities are in session; malls, airports, and gyms are bustling with the pre-holiday rush; handwashing is passé, handshakes are back, and strangers are packed together on public transport, nary a mask to be seen. On its surface, the country seems ready to enjoy what some might say is our first post-pandemic winter.
Americans are certainly acting as if the crisis has abated, and so in that way, at least, you could argue that it has. “If you notice, no one’s wearing masks,” President Joe Biden told60 Minutes in September, after proclaiming the pandemic “over.” Almost no emergency protections against the virus are left standing; we’re dismantling the few that are. At the same time, COVID is undeniably, as Biden says, “a problem.” Each passing day still brings hundreds of deaths and thousands of hospitalizations; untold numbers of people continue to deal with long COVID, as more join them. In several parts of the country, health-care systems are struggling to stay afloat. Local public-health departments, underfunded and understaffed, are hanging by a thread. And a double surge of COVID and flu may finally be brewing.