Two days, two shootings, at least 29 dead
More than two dozen people were killed over the weekend in shootings in two U.S. cities, underscoring the scale of gun violence in the country.
Federal investigators are now treating a shooting on Saturday at a Walmart in El Paso, Tex., as an act of domestic terrorism. At least 20 people were killed and 26 wounded. Less than 24 hours later, a gunman opened fire in Dayton, Ohio, killing at least nine people and wounding 27 others.
The back-to-back shootings bring the number of mass shootings in the U.S. this year to 32.
White male suspects: In El Paso, a 21-year-old Texan named Patrick Crusius surrendered to the police, and the authorities were investigating a hate-filled, anti-immigrant manifesto that he may have posted online minutes before the attack detailing “the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
In Dayton, a heavily armed gunman wearing body armor, identified as a 24-year-old resident named Connor Betts, was shot dead by police. One of the victims was his sister; six others were black.
Experts believe the strike, which is expected to sprawl across multiple districts, might have a greater impact on the territory’s beleaguered government than the mass demonstrations of the last two months.
Reminder: The demands of the largely leaderless protest movement have broadened beyond the full withdrawal of the extradition bill to now also include an independent investigation into police violence, direct elections and the release of all protesters arrested since early June.
Iran seizes another tanker
The country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps seized a foreign tanker in the Persian Gulf, state television reported, including the ship’s seven crew members. Iran didn’t identify the ship’s operator.
This is the third tanker Iran has captured in the past month — and the second it has accused of “smuggling oil” — while the U.S. ramps up its “maximum pressure” campaign in an attempt to force the country to renegotiate the 2015 nuclear deal.
Tehran has also reneged on the commitments in that deal, which President Trump abandoned last year.
Go deeper: China and other countries have been importing more oil from Iran than was previously known, according to a Times investigation, in clear defiance of U.S. sanctions.
Global warming is thawing Siberia
Warming temperatures are shrinking the permafrost — permanently frozen earth — that covers roughly two-thirds of Russia, reshaping the Siberian landscape, flooding entire villages and changing animal migration patterns.
The government in distant Moscow has been unable to do much, and even state-run institutions are ill-equipped to assess the changes, forcing Siberia’s indigenous people to adapt using their own resources.
Quotable: “There might as well have been a war here,” said the resident of one village where permafrost loss has damaged buildings, roads and livestock.
If you have 10 minutes, this is worth it
Japan’s women opt out of marriage
The percentage of women who work in Japan is at its highest ever, but cultural norms haven’t kept up: Women are still expected to shoulder the burdens of completing housework and caring for children and elderly relatives.
A growing number, fed up with the double standards and eager to focus on their own freedoms, are forgoing marriage altogether — a trend that has alarmed a government determined to reverse the country’s declining population. The woman pictured above is posing for a solo bridal portrait. (Read in Japanese.)
Here’s what else is happening
London: A teenager was arrested on Sunday on suspicion of attempted murder after a 6-year-old boy was thrown off the 10th-floor viewing platform at the Tate Modern museum, the police said. The victim was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition.
Russia: The authorities announced that they had opened a criminal money-laundering investigation into Aleksei Navalny, a prominent opposition leader, in what appears to be a sharp escalation in Moscow’s attempt to silence him and snuff out dissent.
ISIS: Despite the military defeat of the terrorist organization in Syria this year, the group’s leaders could launch international attacks before the end of the year, according to a new U.N. report. The report warns that militants are monitoring political developments in Western Europe and considering attacks that would inflame domestic divisions.
Tainted pork: Details about the spread of a drug-resistant salmonella variant in American pork that has sickened hundreds of people have been largely unattainable as livestock executives who sit on federal agricultural committees have worked to keep public health inspectors off farms, a Times investigation found.
Mexico: In response to President Trump’s demands to lower the number of migrants crossing the border into the U.S., the country has ramped up deportations and detentions, exposing detainees to what critics say are inhumane conditions in an underprepared system.
Snapshot: Above, Franky Zapata, the French inventor of his jet-powered hoverboard, arriving in Dover, England, on Sunday. He used his device, which he calls the Flyboard Air, to cross the English Channel in about 22 minutes.
Fan Bingbing: China’s most famous movie star is cautiously beginning a comeback after disappearing for months last year amid a tax scandal. “No one can have smooth sailing throughout the journey,” Ms. Fan said in a rare interview, the first in which she addressed the controversy.
The Forbidden City: The Chinese government has been revitalizing and opening up the historic palace complex in the heart of Beijing that has long been closed off as part of a broader push to promote the country’s cultural heritage.
What we’re reading: This essay in Air Mail, a news site for world travelers. Lynda Richardson, a Travel editor, writes: “I was engrossed by Elena Ferrante’s four-book series, the Neapolitan novels — and surprised to learn in this piece that her powerful voice falls flat for many Italian women.”
Now, a break from the news
Smarter Living: Among the obstacles to navigate when starting a job is a new social environment. Research shows that building relationships with co-workers and chatting with supervisors can promote workplace harmony and even good personal health. So accept those early offers of coffee or lunch and steer clear of gossip, and skirt or deflect tricky personal questions.
We also have 10 tips to help you have a cleaner, safer, more relaxing hotel stay.
And now for the Back Story on …
Women’s footwear with high elevation at the heel accounts for almost 14 percent of the value of the global $250 billion shoe industry. The shoes are a fixture at footwear trade shows around the world, including at this week’s New York Shoe Show.
But high heels actually began life as a men’s shoe. One theory says they were designed to help mounted soldiers keep their feet in the stirrups. Persians, the stories go, brought the innovation to Europe in the 15th century.
Since then, the shoes have been associated with male aristocracy (17th century), witchcraft (18th), female sex appeal (19th on) — and back, foot and calf injuries and strain.
They’re also tools for activists. Mostly men compete in Madrid Pride’s annual high-heel race (minimum height: 4 inches). And some U.S. cities host awareness-raising “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” high-heel events for men.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. Victoria Shannon on the briefings team wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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