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Good evening. Here’s the latest at the end of Thursday.
The warmer than normal conditions that have contributed to severe drought in large parts of the western United States shows no sign of stopping.
Five states had their warmest June to August in 127 years of record keeping. Two of these states – California and Oregon – experienced some of the largest wildfires in their history. Now, federal researchers have predicted that October will bring above normal temperatures across the country, with only the Pacific Northwest and Gulf States likely to have near-average temperatures.
If this forecast holds, the drying drought is likely to expand eastward to eastern New Mexico, eastern Colorado, and nearly all of Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. Much of the east coast and the upper midwest are also expected to be wetter than usual.
In other climate news, a house panel expanded its investigation into disinformation from oil giants after a secret video released in July revealed an Exxon official boasting of such an effort. Tomorrow, President Biden will host leaders to discuss climate change ahead of a UN summit.
2. Beijing and Paris reacted angrily after Australia announced a military partnership with the United States and Britain which makes it possible to send submarines to monitor China’s actions in the South China Sea.
French officials accused President Biden of behaving like his predecessor, saying they were not consulted about the deal, and described the decision as a “knife in the back.” France also canceled a gala to celebrate its relations with the United States. The Biden administration said it had not told French leaders in advance because it was clear they would be unhappy with the deal.
Australia bet the house on American power in Asia, our correspondents write in a news analysis. When Prime Minister Scott Morrison came to power, he insisted that his country could maintain close ties with China while working with the United States. But after years of deteriorating relations with Beijing, the country enters into an “eternal partnership” with Washington, its main ally in security.
3. Thousands of Afghans remain at US military bases throughout the United States and abroad, weeks after their dramatic flight from Kabul.
Nearly 49,000 live at eight domestic military bases, according to a document obtained by The Times. About 18,000 are at bases abroad, largely in Germany. Some will leave within weeks; most will stay longer. Many Afghans who left the country in August were waiting for medical and security checks and for flights that have been halted by an outbreak of measles.
Our reporter visited the rural areas of Afghanistan where the remnants of war are everywhere. But for the first time this year, the shooting has stopped.
4. Will the bus driver ever come?
Just weeks into the new year, school districts across the United States are desperate to fill jobs, especially behind-the-scenes positions – cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and substitute teachers. But low wages, irregular schedules and fears of Covid-19 keep workers away. The shortage has affected families who are already under stress.
In other news about coronavirus:
5. The South Carolina attorney whose wife and son were mysteriously shot dead was arrested after admitting to staging his own murder.
Alex Murdaugh was charged with insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and for filing a false police report in connection with the suicide scheme, which his lawyers said was intended to secure a $ 10 million life insurance payment. He went on to deny any role in the death of his wife and son in June.
The series of astonishing developments led intense control to the prominent Murdaugh family and to three other deaths that occurred near the family in recent years.
Separately, a young couple traveled for an adventure in their equipped van. Now, police say, the woman is missing and her fiancé is a “person of interest” in her disappearance.
6. “It’s always going to haunt me.”
Captain Carneysha Mendoza, a commander of the Capitol Police, was at home when she began receiving hectic calls about violence in the Capitol on January 6th. She ran to the scene and struggled for hours with a pro-Trump mob who got chemical burns to her face.
For those present, this moment of national crisis was also a profound personal trauma. Here are some of their stories.
The “Justice for J6” meeting for suspects involved in riots Jan. 6 is scheduled for Saturday at the foot of Capitol Hill. They are Republican lawmakers who are cautious about the political fallout and are getting around the event.
In other news from Washington, a special lawyer from the Ministry of Justice, who investigated the investigation in Russia, secured an indictment against a lawyer at a firm with democratic ties.
7. As Internet titans adopt changes in confidentiality, intensifies a battle that will reshape the future of the web.
The fight has entangled Apple, Google and Facebook, up Madison Avenue and disrupted small businesses. It shows a profound shift in how people’s personal information can be used online, with major implications for the ways companies make money digitally.
At the center is the lifeblood of the Internet: advertising. The technology behind “cookies” that track people from site to site is being dismantled. The fallout could hurt brands that rely on targeted ads to get people to buy their goods, and instead drive money to Big Tech.
Here’s what the privacy battle means to you.
9. Many of the best trees will soon show their colors. But the best are not always the greatest.
Between the low ground cover and the tall canopy trees is a layer that gardeners often forget. Our garden columnist spoke with Marc Wolf, CEO of Mountain Top Arboretum in Tannersville, NY, about the “native trees for the observant” that can fill that space.
If you’re outside of New York City and the surrounding area, look for the beautiful spotted lantern fly – and kill it right away. This invasive pest from Asia zealously feeds on the sap of more than 70 plant species, leaving them susceptible to disease and destruction.
10. And finally good mood on three wheels.
Parking enforcement vehicles are best known for ferrying dreaded parking police around cities. But a few dozen San Franciscans recycle some of these tricycles for transportation and personal expression: decorate them in imaginative colors (blue and pink) as well as disco balls and artificial fur.
The vehicles have a clear practical advantage. Tricycles are legally classified as motorcycles, so they can be parked perpendicular to the curb. Outrageous decorations are a necessity — cars are an instant magnet for the wrath of disgruntled passers-by — and most owners keep wise off the highway. But they offer a little “creativity in the way we move the world,” Jennifer Devine said.
Have a whimsical night.
Shelby Knowles collected photos for this briefing.
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