The Atlantic Daily: Mali's Hostage Crisis, Trump's Muslim Database, Mississippi's Tied Election

At least 18 people are dead after gunmen storm a hotel in Bamako, the GOP frontrunner is criticized after an interview, and two candidates draw straws to decide a winner.

Joe Penney / Reuters

What We’re Following: A Hostage Crisis in Mali

Gunmen in Mali stormed a luxury hotel in the capital city of Bamako on Friday, killing at least 18 people and taking more than 100 others hostage.  Malian troops subsequently launched a rescue operation that ended the crisis, but some details remain unclear. The West African nation has faced multiple crises in recent years, including a civil war and the rise of jihadist groups in its northern provinces.

Trump Comments Scorned: Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump came under intense criticism on Friday for an interview in which he appeared to suggest that American Muslims should have to register under a database and carry some kind of religious ID. Trump subsequently tweeted that the reporter had brought up the idea, not him, but did not clarify his own position on the idea.

Drawn Straws Down South: Blaine Eaton II, a Democratic state representative in Mississippi, won re-election on Friday after drawing straws with his opponent Mark Tullos. Both candidates received exactly 4,589 votes in the race for House District 79. Had Tullos drawn the other straw, his victory would have given Mississippi Republicans a three-fifths supermajority in the state house of representatives.


A poor Pakistani girl extends her plastic bag to receive free food for her family, distributed at a local shrine in the suburbs of Islamabad, Pakistan, on November 20, 2015, Universal Children's Day. For more images from this week’s news, visit The Atlantic Photo. (B.K. Bangash / AP)


Adeel Zeb, a Muslim university chaplain: “A lot of young Muslim students are looked upon to answer questions about [terrorism]—as if they have a Ph.D. and a 20-year tenure of answering these questions—when they’re simply just trying to get past organic chemistry.”

David Andrews, author of Why Does the Other Line Always Move Faster? on waiting: “Complaining makes it go better. There [was] a phrase when I was in the military: ‘A whining soldier is a happy soldier.’”

Laiana Wong, a Hawaiian languages professor: “What about the person who speaks a more standard form of English who cannot speak Pidgin—are they handicapped in Hawaii? … I say yes.”

News Quiz

1. _____________ can be 70 percent higher in predominantly black neighborhoods compared to predominantly white ones, a new report found.

(Click here or scroll down for the answer.)

2. Chitons, a group of little-known sea creatures, have evolved armor covered in hundreds of _____________.

(Click here or scroll down for the answer.)

3. Some pumps at Canadian gas stations will soon carry ____________ warnings.

(Click here or scroll down for the answer.)

Evening Read

Alana Semuels on how poverty decimated Syracuse, N.Y.:

The neighborhood with the most concentrated poverty in America has Victorian-style homes with big porches, immaculate public parks, and tree-lined streets where children play. But some of the homes are crumbling or abandoned, and the parks are empty because a recent spate of shootings in this city has made parents fear for their children’s safety. …

Over the past decade, the concentration of poverty in Syracuse and other American cities has increased, even as the nation has become wealthier and pulled itself out of a damaging recession. The number of high-poverty census tracts in Syracuse more than doubled to 30, from 12, between 2000 and 2013. … Neighborhoods like this one, in the south part of Syracuse, have historically been poor, but residents here say they’ve seen things worsen in the last decade. Darlene Sanford, 38, runs a daycare in her great-grandmother’s spacious 19th-century house near the highway. Sanford remembers walking to the black-owned small businesses that lined the streets here when she was a girl, but most of them have disappeared. Although most of the houses on Sanford’s street have well-mowed lawns and manicured bushes, she now feels a sense of unease. A few weeks ago, she had to call 911 after a man living next door was targeted in a drive-by shooting, just after Sanford had put the younger kids in her care down for a nap. She no longer leaves her house at night. She’s thinking of leaving the city entirely.

Reader Response

Chris Martin, an Iraq War veteran and 2015 college graduate, joins the discussion of “safe spaces” on campus:

In the military I firsthand witnessed occasional racism—not institutionalized nor systemic. … At college, I again heard of racial tensions between student groups. I wholeheartedly acknowledge and support the causes that the students at Mizzou/Yale/Ithaca/CMC/Amherst and other colleges are fighting for. Their cause is just and needed.  

However, I would like to make a distinction that I think is necessary in light on the events of the last two weeks. …  Speaking as a veteran who saw combat, and who had friends killed and wounded, it is difficult for me to reconcile the idea that campuses are not “safe spaces” for students. To me, a “safe space” is one in which no one is actively trying to kill you. Forget micro-aggressions; there is a large subset of students on American campuses who spent many of their formative years being shot at and blown up by IEDs. …

My Millennial peers who are still on college campuses do their causes disservice by claiming conversations about inappropriate Halloween costumes cause them to fear for their safety. Talk to a student veteran about fearing for your safety, before invoking such hyperbolic terms.

Read his full letter, and many more perspectives, here.


Masala the red panda escapes, gyrocopter pilot pleads guilty, Woodrow Wilson criticized.

Answers: Car insurance premiums, Eyes, Climate Change.

Yesterday’s newsletter stated that Hillary Clinton gave a major foreign policy address in Washington. In fact, the speech took place at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. We regret the error.