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.
The movie and book don’t show the positive side of the area, because that wouldn’t serve the story’s purposes.
My Aunt Ruth won’t watch Hillbilly Elegy, the movie adaptation of J. D. Vance’s memoir about growing up in and eventually escaping Appalachia and a mother coping with addiction. Practically speaking, my aunt doesn’t have a Netflix account or any of the smart technology she’d need to stream it. But she also has no interest in watching a story of her community that doesn’t reflect what she sees and that she knows will be exploitative, harmful, and not helpful to moving her or her neighbors forward.
Hillbilly Elegy doesn’t show the positive side of Appalachia that my aunt and I know, because that wouldn’t serve the story’s purposes. The film and book need Appalachia to be poor, broken, and dirty, because they depend on us believing that the mountains are somewhere we want Vance to escape. They need to frame poverty as a moral failing of individuals—as opposed to systems—because they have to imply that something about Vance’s character allowed him to get away from his hillbilly roots. Hillbilly Elegy has to simplify the people and problems of Appalachia, because it has decided to tell the same old pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps narrative that so many of us reject.
At the dawn of the 1960s, a couple of New York admen named Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass created the Christmas special. Before that, the networks hadn’t been sure exactly how they should entertain children during the holiday season. They had largely come down on the side of edification, as seen in NBC’s 1951 commission of a children’s opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors, broadcast live on Christmas Eve, after which the show lived on in reruns, and—also on NBC—Babes in Toyland, a turn-of-the-last-century operetta based on the Mother Goose tales.
But American children of the 1960s weren’t going to put up with operas and nursery rhymes. We had grown strong on orange juice, casseroles, and chewable vitamins. We weren’t afraid of polio or tuberculosis—we had the Salk vaccine and the tine test. We had had one small step for mankind, 31 flavors, and 101 dalmatians. The previous decade had already established the whims of children as a legitimate market force; in two years, Wham-O had made $45 million on the Hula-Hoop. Rich guys in office buildings were taking us seriously. What did we want next?
This is why you can eat in a restaurant but can’t have Thanksgiving.
Two weeks ago, I staged a reluctant intervention via Instagram direct message. The subject was a longtime friend, Josh, who had been sharing photos of himself and his fiancé occasionally dining indoors at restaurants since New York City, where we both live, had reopened them in late September. At first, I hadn’t said anything. Preliminary research suggests that when people congregate indoors, an infected person is almost 20 times more likely to transmit the virus than if they were outside. But restaurants are open legally in New York, and I am not the COVID police. Josh and I had chatted several times in the early months of the pandemic about safety, and I felt sure that he was making an informed decision, even if it wasn’t the one I’d make.
In an extended interview, the Reverend William J. Barber II explains why healing the soul of the nation will take more than returning to “normal.”
On November 7, after four days of counting votes, Democrats celebrated the end of a “long national nightmare.” And when former Vice President Joe Biden took the stage in Wilmington, Delaware, to deliver his victory speech that Saturday night, he quickly extended a hand to President Donald Trump’s supporters, who may have felt demoralized by the loss.
“I understand the disappointment tonight,” Biden said. “I’ve lost a couple of times myself. But now let’s give each other a chance... This is a time to heal in America.” Prior to the November election, Trump and Biden supporters alike argued that if the other candidate were to be elected, “it would result in lasting harm to the country,” according to a survey from the Pew Research Center.
The U.S. could have hundreds of thousands of fewer births next year than it would have in the absence of a pandemic.
Updated at 9:10 a.m. ET on November 25, 2020.
By now, the pandemic has disrupted Americans’ daily lives for nearly as long as a baby typically spends in the womb. This means that many children conceived in mid-March are weeks away from joining us in this disorienting new world, but just as notable are the children who won’t be joining us—the babies who would have been born were it not for the ongoing economic and public-health crises. These missing births, which could end up numbering in the hundreds of thousands in the U.S., will make up what’s been called the “COVIDbabybust.”
One would think that a baby bust would take at least nine months to reveal itself, but traces of one seem to have already appeared. As Philip Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland, has noted, births started to decline in California and Florida during the summer. That’d be too soon, though, to reflect a drop in conceptions during the pandemic, or a rise in abortions or miscarriages (which tend to happenearlier on in pregnancy). Three possible explanations, Cohen told me, are errors or lags in states’ data on births, large numbers of pregnant people moving during the pandemic and giving birth in another state, or a large, unexpected drop-off in births that was already going to happen regardless of the pandemic.
For the left to be effective in a post-Trump Washington, it must avoid the culture of deference that set in after Obama’s victory.
Emotionally and politically, 2008 stands as a high-water mark for many American liberals—a year that brought both electoral triumph and national renewal as Barack Obama was swept into office and Democrats took the House and Senate. For those on the progressive left today, however, it should serve as a warning and case study in the way that popular energy and progressive agitation can dissipate when a Democratic administration takes power.
More people than ever are hospitalized with COVID-19. Health-care workers can’t go on like this.
On Saturday morning, Megan Ranney was about to put on her scrubs when she heard that Joe Biden had won the presidential election. That day, she treated people with COVID-19 while street parties erupted around the country. She was still in the ER in the late evening when Biden and Vice President–elect Kamala Harris made their victory speeches. These days, her shifts at Rhode Island Hospital are long, and they “are not going to change in the next 73 days,” before Biden becomes president, she told me on Monday. Every time Ranney returns to the hospital, there are more COVID-19 patients.
The minute we make any decision—I think COVID-19 is serious; no, I’m sure it is a hoax—we begin to justify the wisdom of our choice and find reasons to dismiss the alternative.
Members of Heaven’s Gate, a religious cult, believed that as the Hale-Bopp comet passed by Earth in 1997, a spaceship would be traveling in its wake—ready to take true believers aboard. Several members of the group bought an expensive, high-powered telescope so that they might get a clearer view of the comet. They quickly brought it back and asked for a refund. When the manager asked why, they complained that the telescope was defective, that it didn’t show the spaceship following the comet. A short time later, believing that they would be rescued once they had shed their “earthly containers” (their bodies), all 39 members killed themselves.
Heaven’s Gate followers had a tragically misguided conviction, but it is an example, albeit extreme, of cognitive dissonance, the motivational mechanism that underlies the reluctance to admit mistakes or accept scientific findings—even when those findings can save our lives. This dynamic is playing out during the pandemic among the many people who refuse to wear masks or practice social distancing. Human beings are deeply unwilling to change their minds. And when the facts clash with their preexisting convictions, some people would sooner jeopardize their health and everyone else’s than accept new information or admit to being wrong.
The U.S. entered the coronavirus recession with a few structural advantages. Its success may not last for long.
Here is a remarkable, underappreciated fact: The U.S. economy has performed far better than that of many of the country’s peers during this horrible year. The International Monetary Fund expects the U.S. economy to contract by 4.4 percent in 2020, versus 5.3 percent in Japan, 6 percent in Germany, 7.1 percent in Canada, and nearly 10 percent in both the United Kingdom and France.
This fact is not a result of the United States managing its public-health response better than those countries, allowing it to reopen from lockdown sooner and for consumption to roar back. Indeed, many of those peer nations have had significantly better outcomes, as measured by COVID-19 caseloads, hospitalizations, and death rates. Nor is it a result of the U.S. preserving more jobs. The unemployment rate here is far higher here than it is in Japan, Germany, or the U.K.
States are likely to report fewer coronavirus cases, but not because things are getting better.
Recently, over the course of just one week, the Houston Health Department received more than 110,000 lab reports of COVID-19 test results. In a city of 2.3 million people, “it’s quite a high volume,” says Beau J. Mitts, the department’s bureau chief. Less than two-thirds of those lab reports flow automatically into the health department’s electronic system, according to Mitts. Another 35 percent arrive in digital form but must be imported into the city’s database, and the remainder arrive via fax.
All over the country, health departments are facing such influxes, and many are struggling to keep pace. The latest surge has earned the terrible distinction of having the highest number of daily cases and hospitalizations since the pandemic began. Now data-reporting delays caused by the Thanksgiving holiday and long weekend may provide a veneer of comfort—a seeming dip in cases—when the actual course of the pandemic in the coming days will almost certainly be much bleaker than the reported numbers show.