Trump, ‘Roseanne,’ Arkady Babchenko: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing


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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. Federal regulators unveiled a sweeping plan to soften the Volcker Rule, opening the door for big banks to resume trading activities that were restricted under the 2010 Dodd-Frank law.

Jerome Powell, the Fed chairman, above, said it would streamline “overly complex and inefficient requirements.”

The changes would give big banks the freedom to engage in more complicated — and possibly riskier — trading. Consumer advocates and other financial watchdogs say that they would allow a return to the Wild West days on Wall Street.

2. President Trump weighed in on the cancellation of “Roseanne” — sort of. Referencing an apology from the parent company of ABC, Mr. Trump noted that he hadn’t gotten his own “for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC.”

Ms. Barr wrote that she was “ambien tweeting” when she used a racist slur against Valerie Jarrett, a former adviser to President Obama. Ambien’s maker, Sanofi U.S., hit back: “Racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”

Mr. Trump also tweeted, in reaction to a CBS interview with a congressman, that he wished he had chosen another lawyer to be his attorney general instead of Jeff Sessions. (The president was angered when Mr. Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation last year.) Above, Mr. Trump in Nashville on Tuesday.

3. Italy is confronting a political crisis, one that could mean big trouble for the world economy.

Our economics columnist lays out the stakes: Italy is the fourth-largest economy in Europe and has one of the largest piles of public debt in the world. A crisis there could endanger banks and investment portfolios everywhere.

In Rome, Italy’s populist parties continued their efforts to form a government. Above, Matteo Salvini, the leader of the League party.


4. Google’s work for the Defense Department has touched off an existential crisis at the company.

It recently won a share of the contract for the Maven program, which uses artificial intelligence to interpret video images and could be used for drone strikes.

By reviewing emails and documents and interviewing about a dozen insiders at Google, our reporters got a detailed picture of how the news fractured its work force, fueling heated staff meetings and prompting employees with moral objections to resign.

Executives now face this dilemma: Proceeding with defense contracts could drive away brainy experts in artificial intelligence; rejecting such work would deprive the company of a potentially huge business.


5. The ground offensive to wipe out the last pockets of Islamic State militants in eastern Syria is gaining momentum.

Kurdish commanders who had left the front lines to battle Turkish troops in the north have returned. They’re working again with their allies in the American-led military coalition to hunt down the few hundred fighters who remain. (The insurgents are quickly moving underground.)

We’re up to Chapter 7 in our new podcast, “Caliphate,” in which the reporter Rukmini Callimachi takes listeners inside the Islamic State and its fall in Mosul. Listen here.


6. It’s the hunger season in South Sudan.

More than four years of civil war have obliterated the economy and overrun the most productive land, and food scarcity between harvest seasons is intensifying.

Within months, millions of people potentially face acute malnutrition. Our team went to South Sudan to document the extent of hunger. They met Tafisa Nyattie, above, who lives in a refugee camp and often runs out of food rations for her children.

Juba, the capital, still has food, but the price for even a single plate of bean stew is astronomical.

7. Researchers say the May 18 attack on a school in Santa Fe, Tex., is the latest example of a copycat shooting inspired by the 1999 attack on Columbine High School in Colorado.

The gunman, a 17-year-old junior, wore a black trench coat and fired a sawed-off shotgun, the same attire and weapon used by the Columbine assailants. In dark corners of the internet, the massacre is studied and celebrated, inspiring more attacks.

Santa Fe High School reopened to students this week. We texted with a sophomore who described the day. “It was tough being there,” he wrote.


Mr. Babchenko and Ukrainian security officials said that a contract had been put on his life and that the only way to track down those responsible was to make it seem as if it had happened.

The Ukrainian authorities accused Russian security services of ordering the killing.


9. Eighteen hours and 45 minutes: That’s how long it’ll take to get from Singapore to Newark — the world’s longest commercial flight — starting in October.

Singapore Airlines will fly the Airbus A350-900 U.L.R., or ultra long range, on the route daily. (Above, a rendering.) The plane is made of a carbon fiber that is lighter than the aluminum of traditional jets.

The flights will have 161 seats — 67 in lie-flat business class and 94 in premium economy. No word yet on ticket prices.

10. Finally, everyone is sure someone is going to die in Wednesday night’s series finale of “The Americans,” on FX at 10 p.m. Eastern. But who?

Hundreds of readers have shared their predictions, which range from the simple — an-eye-for-an-eye justice — to the fittingly byzantine. Read them here, and stay tuned for our recap after the show. Above, Keri Russell, who plays Elizabeth.

Have a great night.


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Source : Nytimes