The Atlantic Daily: Where They're Coming From

Trump’s planned meeting with Kim Jong Un, why fake news succeeds on Twitter, modern missionaries’ goals, and more

Chung Eui-yong, South Korea's national security adviser, speaks to reporters outside the White House on March 8, 2018. (Leah Mills / Reuters)

What We’re Following

Updated at 8:29 p.m.

North Korea News: Following conversations with President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, South Korea’s national security adviser announced three surprising developments: First, that Kim had pledged to stop conducting missile tests and commit to denuclearization; second, that Kim had extended an invitation to Trump to meet with him; and finally, that Trump had agreed he would visit Kim by May. Uri Friedman explains what could come of that visit.

Attack on a Former Spy: British authorities confirmed this week that Sergei Skripal, a former Russian intelligence agent who Russian prosecutors say later became a double agent for Britain, was poisoned with a nerve agent that caused him and his daughter Yulia to collapse. They’re now in critical condition. A police officer who responded was also hospitalized after coming in contact with the nerve agent. Here’s why such poisons are so deadly.

Education Updates: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s visit to the site of last month’s school shooting did little to change many students’ sense of an inadequate government response. In West Virginia, striking teachers reached a deal for a 5 percent salary raise and the possibility of additional policy solutions—and they may also have succeeded in starting a larger national movement.


Researchers at MIT have just completed the largest-ever study of fake news—and found that on Twitter, falsehoods outperform facts by every common metric. Robinson Meyer explains why. (Krista Kennell / Stone / Catwalker / Shutterstock / The Atlantic)

Who We’re Talking To

Julie Washington, a speech pathologist, explains why she believes schools should help kids learn how to “code-switch” in and out of African-American English.

Richard Painter, a former White House ethics lawyer and longtime Republican, shares why he’s become a critic of his party: “I don’t want to blame Trump for all our difficulties in government. But he certainly hasn’t made the situation better.”

Evening Read

Saba Imtiaz on the new landscape of missionary work:

Christianity is shrinking and aging in the West, but it’s growing in the Global South, where most Christians are now located. With this demographic shift has come the beginning of another shift, in a practice some Christians from various denominations embrace as a theological requirement. There are hundreds of thousands of missionaries around the world, who believe scripture compels them to spread Christianity to others, but what’s changing is where they’re coming from, where they’re going, and why.

Keep reading, as Imtiaz talks to young Christian missionaries about what their work means today.

If you are a missionary or a former missionary, we’d love to hear your story. We’re interested in your opinions—positive, negative, and everything in between—on the changing nature of mission work and its value in today’s world. Fill out this quick survey to share your experience.

What Do You Know … About Global Affairs?

In an interview with David Frum, the political theorist Yascha Mounk makes a dark prediction: If democracy fails in America, it could fail all over the world. As the Chinese Communist Party considers a recommendation that would allow President Xi Jinping to rule the country indefinitely, observers are condemning the move as the end of China’s democratic hopes—but one analyst saw it coming even when those hopes looked brighter. For his part, Donald Trump described the power grab as “great”—adding Xi to the list of authoritarian leaders that he has praised over the years.

Can you remember the other key facts from this week’s global coverage? Test your knowledge below:

1. In 2000, there were ____________ foreign Christian missionaries worldwide.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

2. In Italy’s recent elections, the populist Five-Star Movement won ____________ percent of the vote.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

3. According to the Salvadoran defense ministry, approximately ____________ Salvadorans are involved with gangs, some against their will.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

Answers: 440,000 / 33 / 500,000

Urban Developments

Our partner site CityLab explores the cities of the future and investigates the biggest ideas and issues facing city dwellers around the world. Gracie McKenzie shares today’s top stories:

A plan just confirmed by the EU seems almost too good to be true: This summer, thousands of 18-year-olds will get a month of free train travel across Europe.

Thanks largely to the rise of e-commerce, big-box chains are shuttering faster than analysts predicted even a year ago. But according to some forecasters, an even larger retail apocalypse is still on the horizon.

No, the D.C. Streetcar isn’t scrapping its fleet and shutting down. But there’s a reason why so many critics of the system thought it was.

For more updates from the urban world, subscribe to MapLab, CityLab’s newsletter for mapmakers and map lovers.

Reader Response

For the Big Question feature in our April issue, we asked readers: Which fictional house would you most like to live in? John Gary Vallely in Sharon, Massachusetts, quotes Samuel Taylor Coleridge:

“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan / A stately pleasure-dome decree: / Where Alph, the sacred river, ran / Through caverns measureless to man / Down to a sunless sea.” Sounds pretty cool to me.

Peter Delametter of Colorado Springs, Colorado, would be satisfied with something a little closer to home:

The Miami home of Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, and Sophia in The Golden Girls always has great jokes, great friends, a spacious lanai, and cheesecake in the refrigerator.

Check out more responses, and email to weigh in on the question for our June issue: Which two historical figures would you most like to introduce to each other?


Speculum redesigned, intersectionality misdefined, evolution synchronized, astronomers surprised.

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