Exits: Secretary of Defense James Mattis is resigning, after conflicts with President Donald Trump over the current direction of the administration’s foreign policy. His resignation letter—which you can read in full here—addresses the problem head-on: “I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours.” His departure ends what may be one of the strangest single stints in Trump’s cabinet, writes David A. Graham. Elsewhere: Outgoing Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill’s fiery exit interview isn’t kind to her progressive critics.
Weinstein on Trial: A judge on the New York Supreme Court announced Thursday that Harvey Weinstein will face trial in 2019 for the five criminal charges brought against him after numerous women accused the fallen entertainment mogul of sexual assault and rape. The continuation of Weinstein’s case was unexpected, writes Megan Garber, but the sure-to-be-chaotic trial will be critical in informing the future of the #MeToo movement.
The promise of self-driving cars has generated a lot of hype in recent years. Alexis Madrigal breaks down the seven key obstacles that stand between us and our autonomous-vehicle utopia:
Self-driving cars are coming. Tech giants such as Uber and Alphabet have bet on it, as have old-school car manufacturers such as Ford and General Motors. But even as Google’s sister company Waymo prepares to launch its self-driving-car service and automakers prototype vehicles with various levels of artificial intelligence, there are some who believe that the autonomous future has been oversold—that even if driverless cars are coming, it won’t be as fast, or as smooth, as we’ve been led to think. The skeptics come from different disciplines inside and out of the technology and automotive industries, and each has a different bear case against self-driving cars. Add them up and you have a guide to all the ways our autonomous future might not materialize.
1. Shortly after the Senate voted last week to hold Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Pentagon revealed that it was still owed $331 million from Saudi Arabia and this country.
3. A controversial trial in this European country concluded yesterday with two immigrants’-rights activists being sentenced to jail time ahead of a strict new immigration law that will take effect in January.
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:
“Your dragon display is only marginally acceptable at Halloween,” an anonymous neighbor wrote in all caps about Diana Rowland’s inflatable-dragon nativity scene. So Rowland got more inflatable dragons.
The U.S. has added 10,000 dollar-store locations since 2001. Though these “small box” retailers carry only a limited stock of prepared foods, they’re now feeding more people than grocery chains like Whole Foods. But some towns and cities are trying to push back.