Norwegian Police Find a 'Bomb-Like' Device in the Capital
Police in Norway set off a controlled explosion in the capital, Oslo, after they found a “bomb-like” device. A suspect is in custody. “The noise from the blast was louder than our explosives themselves would cause,” a police spokesman told Reuters. The device was found in the Groenland neighborhood, a popular spot with bars and restaurants near the city’s main police station. Police would not release further information about the suspect, or details of the device they found. The country was on high alert after an attack in Sweden the day before, in which a man stole a beer truck and drove it into a crowd of people, killing four and injuring many others. Nordic countries are not used to regular acts of terrorism, as has been increasingly the case in much of Europe.
Vi har kontroll på stedet, og avventer nå til vi har fått foretatt nødvendige undersøkelser.Vi har kontroll på en person med status mistenkt
Warplanes Return to the Syrian Town Hit by Chemical Attack
Warplanes returned on Saturday to bomb the rebel-held Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun, the site targeted by the Bashar al-Assad regime earlier this week in a chemical attack. The latest bombing killed one woman and wounded several others, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group based in Britain. It’s not known who deployed the warplanes. Khan Sheikhoun is practically a ghost town now, ever since Tuesday when Assad killed more than 80 people in the chemical attack. This prompted the U.S. to retaliate Friday with 60 Tomahawk missiles fired at the Shayrat air base, the site where the chemical attack was launched. It was the first time U.S. took direct military action against Assad since the civil war began in 2011. Elsewhere in the country on Friday, the U.S. targeted ISIS-held city of Raqqa, killing at least 15 people, including a woman and her six children on a boat in the Euphrates River.
Venezuela Bans Opposition Leader From Holding Office
Venezuelan authorities banned opposition leader Henrique Capriles from holding office for 15 years, removing President Nicolás Maduro’s toughest challenger in next year’s election. The move is the latest in a series of attempts to assert Maduro’s control in a country that has already pushed back democratic elections. Venezuela’s comptroller general accused Capriles, a state governor, of misusing public funds and "administrative irregularities." Capriles has run for president twice, and is seen as the opposition’s best chance at beating Maduro. Capriles has led a series of protests recently, accusing the government of stifling dissent. Maduro is deeply unpopular in the country since oil prices plummeted and threw Venezuela into an economic nosedive. The government has tried to consolidate power, and in March the Supreme Court stripped Congress of authority. The court rescinded that decision a week ago after massive protests and criticism even from within the ruling party.
The militant Basque separatist group ETA handed over its weapons to French authorities Saturday, ending a decades-old conflict and the last insurgency in Europe. At a ceremony in southern French city of Bayonne, militants handed authorities an inventory of weapons and their locations. ETA, which is an acronym for Basque Homeland and Freedom, was founded in 1959 to fight cultural and political repression under Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco. The Basque region lies on the border of France and Spain, and the ETA has sought to carve out an independent state. More than 850 people were killed in their fight, including Franco’s heir, Luis Carrero Blanco. ETA members dug a tunnel under the road Blanco drove to mass each week and packed it with bombs, blowing up his car and killing him. The group also attacked areas crowded with civilians. In 1987 it targeted a Barcelona supermarket and killed 21 people, including children. In 2011, the ETA declared a ceasefire, but held onto its weapons. At the supply caches, authorities were expected to find more than 120 firearms and more than three tons of explosives. Neither the ceasefire or disarmament include impunity, so investigators could use some of the weapons to tie suspects to past crimes.
Swedish police arrested a man they accused of stealing a beer truck in Stockholm and crashing it into a crowd of people in a busy shopping area, killing four. The suspect is a 39-year-old man from Uzbekistan who had been known to the country’s security services, although investigators found no ties to extremism. His name was not released. He is the same man pictured in a still image taken from a surveillance video that police released on Friday, the day of the attack. Officers initially said they were unsure what role the man might have played, but by Saturday said they were confident he had driven the truck. Swedish media also reported that investigators found a suspicious device in the truck, but it has not been identified.
Every year thousands of Americans die on the roads. Individuals take the blame for systemic problems.
More than 20,000 people died on American roadways from January to June, the highest total for the first half of any year since 2006. U.S. road fatalities have risen by more than 10 percent over the past decade, even as they have fallen across most of the developed world. In the European Union, whose population is one-third larger than America’s, traffic deaths dropped by 36 percent between 2010 and 2020, to 18,800. That downward trend is no accident: European regulators have pushed carmakers to build vehicles that are safer for pedestrians and cyclists, and governments regularly adjust road designs after a crash to reduce the likelihood of recurrence.
But in the United States, the responsibility for road safety largely falls on the individual sitting behind the wheel, or riding a bike, or crossing the street. American transportation departments, law-enforcement agencies, and news outlets frequently maintain that most crashes—indeed, 94 percent of them, according to the most widely circulated statistic—are solely due to human error. Blaming the bad decisions of road users implies that nobody else could have prevented them. That enables car companies to deflect attention from their decisions to add heft and height to the SUVs and trucks that make up an ever-larger portion of vehicle sales, and it allows traffic engineers to escape scrutiny for dangerous street designs.
The preponderance of the evidence suggests that social media is causing real damage to adolescents.
Social media gets blamed for many of America’s ills, including the polarization of our politics and the erosion of truth itself. But proving that harms have occurred to all of society is hard. Far easier to show is the damage to a specific class of people: adolescent girls, whose rates of depression, anxiety, and self-injury surged in the early 2010s, as social-media platforms proliferated and expanded. Much more than for boys, adolescence typically heightens girls’ self-consciousness about their changing body and amplifies insecurities about where they fit in their social network. Social media—particularly Instagram, which displaces other forms of interaction among teens, puts the size of their friend group on public display, and subjects their physical appearance to the hard metrics of likes and comment counts—takes the worst parts of middle school and glossy women’s magazines and intensifies them.
People with scant illusions about Trump are volunteering to help him execute one of his Big Lies.
If Donald Trump had been supported only by people who affirmatively liked him, his attack on American democracy would never have gotten as far as it did.
Instead, at almost every turn, Trump was helped by people who had little liking for him as a human being or politician, but assessed that he could be useful for purposes of their own. The latest example: the suddenly red-hot media campaign to endorse Trump’s fantasy that he was the victim of a “Russia hoax.”
The usual suspects in the pro-Trump media ecosystem will of course endorse and repeat everything Trump says, no matter how outlandish. But it’s not pro-Trumpers who are leading the latest round of Trump-Russia denialism. This newest round of excuse-making is being sounded from more respectable quarters, in many cases by people distinguished as Trump critics. With Trump out of office—at least for the time being—they now feel free to subordinate their past concerns about him to other private quarrels with the FBI or mainstream media institutions. On high-subscription Substacks, on popular podcasts, even from within prestige media institutions, people with scant illusions about Trump the man and president are nonetheless volunteering to help him execute one of his Big Lies.
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is a mainstay of basic cable—and a rallying cry for a country that is losing touch with itself.
In 2007, in one of the first episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Guy Fieri visited Patrick’s Roadhouse, a railway-station-turned-restaurant in Santa Monica, California. The diner’s chef, Silvio Moreira, walked Fieri through the preparation of one of Patrick’s most notable dishes, the Rockefeller—a burger topped with mushrooms, sour cream, jack cheese, and … caviar. Fieri, looking playfully trepidatious, lifted the burger with both hands, said a fake prayer, and did what he would proceed to do thousands of times on the show: He took an enormous bite. And then he fell silent. “Wooow,” he commented, finally, shooting Moreira a what-have-you-done-to-me look.
“Different, huh?” Moreira said, grinning. “Yeah,” Fieri replied. The show’s camera discreetly cut away to the next scene.
Omicron, also known as B.1.1.529, was first detected in Botswana and South Africa earlier this month, and very little is known about it so far. But the variant is moving fast. South Africa, the country that initially flagged Omicron to WHO this week, has experienced a surge of new cases—some reportedly in people who were previously infected or vaccinated—and the virus has already spilled across international borders into places such as Hong Kong, Belgium, Israel, and the United Kingdom. Several nations are now selectively shutting down travel to impede further spread. For instance, on Monday, the United States will start restricting travel from Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi.
These statements relieve the speaker and the audience of the responsibility to think about Indigenous peoples, at least until the next public event.
In David Mamet’s film State and Main, a Hollywood big shot tries to shortchange a set hand by offering him an “associate producer” credit on a movie. A screenwriter overhears the exchange and asks, “What’s an ‘associate producer credit’?” The big shot answers: “It’s what you give your secretary instead of a raise.”
The practice of “land acknowledgment”—preceding a fancy event by naming the Indigenous groups whose slaughter and dispossession cleared the land on which the audience’s canapés are about to be served—is one of the greatest associate-producer credits of all time. A land acknowledgment is what you give when you have no intention of giving land. It is like a receipt provided by a highway robber, noting all the jewels and gold coins he has stolen. Maybe it will be useful for an insurance claim? Anyway, you are not getting your jewels back, but now you have documentation.
Manufacturer inventories. Durable-goods orders. Nonfarm payrolls. Inflation-adjusted GDP. These are the dreary reportables that tell us how our economy is doing. And many of them look a whole lot better now than they did at their early-pandemic depths. But what if there’s another factor we’re missing? What if the data points are obscuring a deepening recession in a commodity that underpins them all?
Trust. Without it, Adam Smith’s invisible hand stays in its pocket; Keynes’s “animal spirits” are muted. “Virtually every commercial transaction has within itself an element of trust,” the Nobel Prize–winning economist Kenneth Arrow wrote in 1972.
But trust is less quantifiable than other forms of capital. Its decline is vaguely felt before it’s plainly seen. As companies have gone virtual during the coronavirus pandemic, supervisors wonder whether their remote workers are in fact working. New colleagues arrive and leave without ever having met. Direct reports ask if they could have that casual understanding put down in writing. No one knows whether the boss’s cryptic closing remark was ironic or hostile.
A group of films, ranging from art-house gems to big blockbusters, that deserve a fresh look
Moviegoing is at a strange, tenuous moment. With pandemic fears still circulating, and many studios still delaying their films’ release dates, not everyone is comfortable going back to theaters yet. But this is also a time of extraordinary at-home accessibility for cinema, with many thousands of titles available to stream, or digitally rent and buy, every day. So I’ve returned to a topic that sustained me during 2020’s most isolated moments: celebrating underrated and unique movies in need of wider appreciation. The following 26 films cross every genre and range from art-house to blockbuster. They were all unappreciated by critics or audiences on release and deserve a fresh look.
The degree to which the world depends on oil and gas is not well understood.
To appreciate the complexities of the competing demands between climate action and the continued need for energy, consider the story of an award—one that the recipient very much did not want and, indeed, did not bother to pick up.
It began when Innovex Downhole Solutions, a Texas-based company that provides technical services to the oil and gas industry, ordered 400 jackets from North Face with its corporate logo. But the iconic outdoor-clothing company refused to fulfill the order. North Face describes itself as a “politically aware” brand that will not share its logo with companies that are in “tobacco, sex (including gentlemen’s clubs) and pornography.” And as far as North Face is concerned, the oil and gas industry fell into that same category—providing jackets to a company in that industry would go against its values. Such a sale would, it said, be counter to its “goals and commitments surrounding sustainability and environmental protection,” which includes a plan to use increasing amounts of recycled and renewable materials in its garments in future years.
If the 20th century was the story of slow, uneven progress toward the victory of liberal democracy over other ideologies—communism, fascism, virulent nationalism—the 21st century is, so far, a story of the reverse.
The future of democracy may well be decided in a drab office building on the outskirts of Vilnius, alongside a highway crammed with impatient drivers heading out of town.
I met Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya there this spring, in a room that held a conference table, a whiteboard, and not much else. Her team—more than a dozen young journalists, bloggers, vloggers, and activists—was in the process of changing offices. But that wasn’t the only reason the space felt stale and perfunctory. None of them, especially not Tsikhanouskaya, really wanted to be in this ugly building, or in the Lithuanian capital at all. She is there because she probably won the 2020 presidential election in Belarus, and because the Belarusian dictator she probably defeated, Alexander Lukashenko, forced her out of the country immediately afterward. Lithuania offered her asylum. Her husband, Siarhei Tsikhanouski, remains imprisoned in Belarus.