Home featured DACA, Unemployment, Space Tourism: Your Thursday Evening Briefing

DACA, Unemployment, Space Tourism: Your Thursday Evening Briefing


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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

Credit…Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

President Trump immediately attacked the ruling on Twitter.

Credit…Bryan Woolston/Reuters

2. Another 1.5 million American workers applied for state unemployment benefits last week, the 13th straight week of filings topping one million. Above, a Kentucky Career Center in Frankfort today.

The pace of layoffs has slowed, but the number is still more than twice that of the worst week of the Great Recession. One economist called it “a sustained hemorrhaging of jobs unlike anything we’ve seen before.”

Credit…Juan Arredondo for The New York Times

3. States like Florida, Texas and Arizona are seeing spikes in new coronavirus infections, but state and local officials have been left to their own judgment about containment.

The White House is sending mixed messages and Washington’s top public health experts have been sidelined. The current pace of coronavirus-related deaths suggests a grim tally of more than 200,000 lost lives by the end of September.

But New York City, once the epicenter of the coronavirus in the U.S., is edging back to normal as deaths have dropped into the teens, from a high of 799 in April. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city would enter Phase 2 of the long reopening process on Monday, allowing outdoor dining, in-store shopping and offices to reopen, with limits.

Credit…Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

4. China lashed out at the U.S. a day after President Trump signed into law a bill that allows sanctions on Chinese officials involved in the detention of Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang.

Accusations by John Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, have muddied the issue. In his new book, Mr. Bolton said Mr. Trump had questioned why the U.S. would impose sanctions on the Chinese officials involved — and even accepted China’s rationale for the creation of a vast system of camps and surveillance in Xinjiang. The report dismayed Uighur activists. Above, a pro-Uighur protest in Washington last year.

Here are five takeaways from Mr. Bolton’s memoir.

Credit…Facebook, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

5. Facebook removed Trump campaign ads that featured a red triangle, a symbol used by Nazis during World War II to classify political prisoners.

The ads criticized antifa, a loose collective of anti-fascist protesters that President Trump has blamed for stirring violence during nationwide protests against racial injustice. There is little evidence of that.

It was not clear if the Trump campaign was familiar with the origin of the symbol, which was reclaimed and used by anti-fascists after the war.

The move comes just days ahead of Mr. Trump’s return to the campaign trail since it was postponed by the pandemic. A rally was pushed back to Saturday after an uproar over its original timing — on Juneteenth, the celebration tomorrow of the end of slavery in the U.S. — and the history of its host city, Tulsa, Okla., the site of one of the country’s most violent racist episodes.

Mr. Trump and his aides said they had not known of the significance of their originally planned date and location.

Credit…Matthew Odom for The New York Times

6. Going to the bank while black can be a minefield.

Something as simple as opening a bank account can lead to suspicious employees summoning the police, causing anxiety and fear — and sometimes even physical danger. Clarice Middleton, above, sued after she was accused of fraud while trying to cash a check at a Wells Fargo in Atlanta.

The police killing of George Floyd is prompting more people to speak up.

We also took a look at how the coronavirus is hitting black business owners. More than 40 percent of black business owners reported they weren’t working in April; only 17 percent of white small business owners said the same.

Credit…Jennifer Coate/March of Dimes Foundation, via Associated Press

7. Climate change is tied to major pregnancy complications, with black mothers and babies most at risk, according to a study that looked at 32 million U.S. births.

The authors analyzed 57 studies published since 2007 and found that women exposed to high temperatures or air pollution are more likely to have premature, underweight or stillborn babies.

The study offers some of the most sweeping evidence so far linking climate change with harm to newborn children, and adds to the growing body of evidence that minorities bear a disproportionate share of that danger.

In other climate news, it’s going to be a blistering summer. Hotter than normal temperatures are expected across almost all of the U.S. into September, government researchers said.

Credit…Space Perspective

8. Seven years ago, entrepreneurs planned trips to the stratosphere, but tourists never got off the ground. They’re trying again.

For $125,000 a seat, a company called Space Perspective hopes to sell a ride on a giant balloon like the one above to an altitude of 100,000 feet, enabling passengers to take in views of the blackness of space and the curvature of the Earth. It would take about two hours to float up there.

The couple behind Space Perspective have been here before. Their last company, World View, promised a similar mission, but only managed to fly smaller balloons for scientific experiments (and a KFC chicken sandwich for an advertising stunt).

Credit…Joe Mamer Photography/Alamy

9. Good news. There have long been fears — many exaggerated — that it is only a matter of time before the supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park blows, taking much of North America with it. New research suggests otherwise.

The volcano is one of the largest on the planet and has a history of generating huge eruptions. The hot spot under the Earth’s crust — which burns through the sliding tectonic plates above — is also what gives the park its hot springs and geysers.

Scientists found a pattern of eruptions as the hot spot migrated over millions of years from Oregon, across Idaho and into Wyoming that suggests, at least to some, that its power is diminishing.

10. And finally, the season of solos.

Spring has come and almost gone. This weekend marks the start of summer, and for many, months of isolation are yielding. But during lockdown, the spotlight in classical music shifted away from ensembles to individual performances.

One of our culture editors rounded up some of his favorites, from the violinist Alexi Kenney’s bright takes on popular songs, to Anthony McGill, the principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic, who recently recorded a spare and mournful version of “America the Beautiful.”

“Solos,” notes the editor, “amplified the qualities we only get glimpses of onstage.”

Have a harmonic night.

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