Carlo Allegri / Reuters

What We’re Following

The art of the no-deal: In a much-hyped meeting with Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, in Vietnam, President Donald Trump did something he’s rarely done since taking office—he walked away instead of folding and accepting a lesser deal. On Thursday, the second confab between the two heads of state ended in a failure, with no agreement on denuclearization and without a declaration, at long last, of an end to the Korean War. It was a stunning setback to Trump’s I-alone-can-do-this approach to North Korean diplomacy. The surprising act of resolve, however, prevented Trump from flinching and accepting a bad deal for the U.S. The lone winner of the spectacle was Vietnam; the country has sparingly played host to major international meetings, and doing so could help bolster its ploy to become a serious player on the international stage.

What’s the Democratic Party’s best path forward to try to unseat Trump in 2020? The party is already grappling with a crowded 2020 field, and to cobble together the necessary electoral votes, it has its eyes set on two key regions: the Rust Belt and the Sun Belt. But candidates who excel in one region could lag in the other, and both paths look to be littered with traps and pitfalls. To recapture lost ground with white voters in midwestern states that flipped for Trump in 2016, established politicians such as Joe Biden or Amy Klobuchar could have the strongest case. But capturing the red-trending-purple states such as Arizona and Texas could hinge on another breed of politician—younger figures like Julián Castro or Beto O’Rourke with a track record of galvanizing nonwhite voters.

Can the state put a convict to death if he can’t remember the crime? In a 5–3 vote, the Supreme Court punted the Madison v. Alabama decision back down to a lower court. The case dealt with a death-row prisoner named Vernon Madison who murdered a police officer in 1985, but who has since been diagnosed with dementia and seemingly has no recollection of the crime. Madison’s lawyers alleged that putting him to death would violate the Constitution’s prohibition on “cruel and unusual punishments,” and the Court’s ruling will, for now, put his state-sanctioned death on hiatus. But since the average of death-row inmates is on the rise, the vexing question of how to treat aging convicts isn’t going away anytime soon.

Saahil Desai


Evening Reads

Momo Is Not Trying to Kill Children

A hoax ricocheting through the internet of late is the creepy face of “Momo,” which is supposedly challenging kids to take their own life. It’s the latest in a long line of viral swindles:

“For parents today, it can seem that the internet has endless ways of trying to kill your children or persuading your children to kill themselves. The so-called Blue Whale challenge supposedly asked kids to complete a series of tasks that culminated in suicide. The trend later turned out to be a hoax. Local news has warned about recent ‘crazes’ like teens eating toxic Tide Pods (they weren’t), or potentially choking to death while snorting condoms for YouTube views (no deaths have been reported). Even the cinnamon challenge could supposedly kill you.”

Read the rest


Why Are So Few Male Students Studying Abroad?

(D3SIGN / Getty)

For lots of students, one of the best parts of college is a semester-long jaunt abroad to get a feel for another country and culture. But one group is underrepresented in the surge of students studying abroad:

“Today, even in colleges that enroll a majority of men, those who study abroad are disproportionately women. Take Purdue University, for example. Men account for 57 percent of the student body but only 41 percent of undergraduates who go abroad, according to a university spokesperson. Since 2013, the number of Purdue undergraduates studying overseas annually has doubled to around 2,600 as part of a university-wide effort to increase global awareness among its students. The percentage of men going abroad, however, has remained the same.”

→ Read the rest


Urban Developments

Are Dog Parks Exclusionary?

(Sterling Bay / Skidmore, Owings & Merrill)

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

In Chicago and other cities, the demand for pet-friendly public space has boomed. But many communities see off-leash parks as heralds of gentrification.

What makes a good public-transit seat cover? Here’s an international roundup of fabric designs based on CityLab’s four criteria for a commuter-friendly textile. Come for the horse silhouettes, stay for the cosmic spaghetti.

Most serious urban violence is concentrated among less than 1 percent of a city’s population. So why are we still criminalizing entire neighborhoods? Stephen Lurie breaks down the misconceptions behind “broken windows” policing.

Keep up with the most pressing, interesting, and important city stories of the day. Subscribe to the CityLab Daily newsletter.

Renewal Awards

The Atlantic renewal awards open for voting

The Renewal Awards, a national competition now in its fourth year, recognizes local organizations and individuals who are driving change in their communities—and helps them make an even bigger impact.

This year’s voting will be open for one more day. You can support the efforts of these nonprofits by voting for one of the 15 finalists, here. Five winners, including the Allstate Youth Empowerment Award winner, will receive $20,000 in funding from Allstate.


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