The hits keep coming. While President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was the biggest name among special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments this week, the most important may have been foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Recently unsealed records show he spoke of Russian connections to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Trump, despite under-oath assertions from both to the contrary. Meanwhile, three conservative Republican congressmen are expected to file a motion asking Mueller to recuse himself from the investigation over an alleged conflict of interest.
The Presidential Daily Brief
He hasn’t set foot on the trail. But Virginia’s gubernatorial election on Nov. 7 is being seen as a referendum on President Trump anyway, with nearly a third of likely voters saying he’s a factor, as Democratic candidate Ralph Northam spars with his Republican counterpart, Ed Gillespie. Meanwhile, the Garden State’s Tuesday race could also be a harbinger of 2018 rhetoric, as Democratic front-runner Phil Murphy and his opponent, Kim Guadagno, both eschew centrism and go extreme: Murphy’s promising to make New Jersey a “sanctuary state,” while Guadagno warns against violent undocumented immigrants.
This lone wolf wasn’t alone. Suspects with Uzbek roots have committed recent terror attacks in Stockholm, Istanbul and now New York, where Sayfullo Saipov allegedly killed eight people Tuesday by plowing his truck through a bicycle path. That may be linked to Uzbekistan’s treatment of its Muslim population: Muslim schools are government-controlled, Islamist political parties are outlawed, and even growing a beard is considered extremist behavior. Such strictures may have helped foster Islamic insurgencies, whose soldiers have fanned out to fight for ISIS in Syria, Iraq and around the globe.
In victory, there’s uncertainty. The Syrian Democratic Forces, which liberated Raqqa from ISIS, are led by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, which preaches democracy, women’s rights, religious pluralism — and Kurdish independence. The battle for Raqqa forged an alliance of Kurdish, Arab and U.S. forces, but those fragile bonds may collapse as NATO-member Turkey, which sees such Kurdish parties as terrorist groups, pressures the United States to withdraw its support. Meanwhile, Kurdish fighters have sworn to continue their battle for progressive politics and their own homeland.
The Week Ahead: Tomorrow, more than 51,000 runners will participate in the New York Marathon, with increased security after this week’s truck attack. On Monday, preliminary exam hearings continue in the case of Eden Wells, Michigan’s chief medical executive, who’s been charged with involuntary manslaughter over Flint’s notoriously tainted water. And on Wednesday, the European Commission is expected to deliver new benchmarks for acceptable tailpipe carbon emissions, with targets expected to demand reductions of 25-35 percent by 2030.
Know This: President Trump has left for an 11-day, five-country tour of Asia, where he’s expected to bolster ties with South Korea and Japan while compelling China to take a tougher stance against North Korea. The New York Police Department says it’s gathering evidence to arrest disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, based on allegations by actress Paz de la Huerta that Weinstein raped her twice. Belgian authorities will need to decide whether to enforce a Spanish arrest warrant against Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who is currently in Brussels.
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At long last, they’ll be mourned. For Irish grandmother Catherine Corless, childhood memories of “home babies,” illegitimate children raised in Ireland’s state-financed, church-administrated homes, became a yearslong quest to uncover the secrets of tiny skeletons unearthed on facility grounds in her hometown of Tuam. Corless’ discovery: Nearly 800 children who’d died from disease and mistreatment had been buried without ceremony at Tuam, which has led to a national soul-searching as this abuse of unwed mothers and their children at similar homes across Ireland has come to light.
They’re California dreamin’. Recent news stories have exposed cultural failings within Silicon Valley’s tech giants: widespread sexual harassment at Uber, discrimination at Google and fake news at Facebook. It’s led many to question what in the 1990s was dubbed the Californian Ideology, which theorized that technology and market deregulation could create a utopian society. Now, the so-called Tech Left have arisen, taking on the role factory organizers held in the 19th century to unite their fellow workers and push for progressive causes and rights.
What they’ve got: remains to be seen. NecroSearch, an elite volunteer task force, has been helping police across the world find missing bodies for more than three decades. Using radar, botany and landfill-search expertise, they’ve helped on hundreds of murder cases and have been called on to find World War II pilots and Russian royalty. But the members of NecroSearch themselves are a dying breed: Several have passed away recently, and the remaining, often elderly members are struggling to get young experts — focused more on building their own careers — to volunteer.
There’s green in them thar hills. With so-called superfoods like avocados, lychees and macadamia nuts in high demand, foreign investors have brought the profitable crops to western Mozambique’s destitute Sussundenga district, which is recovering from decades of war — but also has an ideal growing climate. The industry has created hundreds of jobs, and bigger firms — noting the demand for avocado toast from American millennials and a Chinese craze for macadamia nuts — are starting to follow suit. That could trigger an avocado rush to seize the mountainous region’s agricultural potential.
Stars can’t rise forever. After winning their first-ever World Series this week, the Houston Astros seem to be on a rising trajectory after a string of losing seasons. But their strategy to secure that victory, a triumph of choosing and nurturing solid players over pure spending power, might make it difficult to repeat. An array of measures designed to level the playing field means baseball is no longer dominated by Yankees-style dynasties, and no team has defended its World Series title in 17 years — making Houston’s win a likely one-off.