The 41st president — and patriarch of one of America’s best-known political families — died late Friday at his home in Houston, Texas. Serving in the White House from 1989 to 1993, the Yale-educated World War II pilot helped steer the world out of the Cold War following the collapse of the Soviet Union. His popularity soared after the swift coalition victory in the Gulf War, but was soon tarnished by a sputtering economy. Jimmy Carter, now the oldest surviving president, said Bush’s tenure was “marked by grace, civility and social conscience.”
The Presidential Daily Brief
Over steak dinner at the G-20 summit in Argentina Saturday, President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, agreed to delay new tariffs for 90 days. Putting off a 25 percent levy on $200 billion in Chinese goods, planned for Jan. 1, Trump said, would allow the nations to negotiate a long-term deal. China agreed to buy more U.S. goods and better regulate its fentanyl trade, which has fueled America’s opiate crisis. “Only with cooperation,” Xi said in an appearance with Trump, “can we serve the interest of world peace and prosperity.”
The forecast is not good. Some 195 nations that signed the 2015 Paris climate agreement are meeting in coal-powered Poland for two weeks beginning today, aiming to iron out the pact’s details. Since that Paris summit, though, President Donald Trump, who continues to mock global warming concerns, has said America is abandoning the deal. But U.S. agencies agree that Americans’ mortality and economic well-being are threatened by climate change, adding weight to an October United Nations assessment. That means the rest of the world may end up picking up the slack, or pointing fingers.
“I have nothing to do with Russia.” Variations on that theme, repeated by then presidential candidate Donald Trump in the summer of 2016, are, if the president’s ex-attorney didn’t perjure himself, untrue. Michael Cohen pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to Congress that an effort to erect a Moscow Trump Tower ended in January 2016 when it actually continued until June. The revelations from Cohen’s case, including a proposal to give Russian President Vladimir Putin a $50 million penthouse, reportedly hang like a cloud over the Trump administration as it waits for special counsel Robert Mueller’s next move.
It was a viral moment: Russian President Vladimir Putin slap-handing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom other leaders kept at a distance at the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires in light of convincing evidence that he ordered the Oct. 2 killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It contrasted sharply with President Trump’s apparent discontent amid myriad difficulties: legal troubles back home, conflict with Russia over seizing Ukrainian ships and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s imploring “Donald,” at the signing of a new North American trade deal, to cut metals tariffs.
Police launched tear gas and made about 200 arrests today as some 75,000 protesters, angered by higher fuel taxes to finance sustainable energy, took to the streets of Paris and other cities, scaling the Arc de Triomphe, smashing store windows and setting fires. About 80 people, including 14 police officers, were injured in clashes during a third weekend of “Yellow Vests” demonstrations, also causing mayhem Friday at European Union sites in Brussels. Speaking from the G-20 Summit in Argentina, President Emmanuel Macron suggested talks on reducing carbon output without impacting the poor.
“The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.” That ominous proverb helps explain the secretive world of Chinese labor camps, which have held 50 million people since the founding of the People’s Republic. Although officially abandoned in 2013, the camps are believed to have continued, incarcerating up to 1 million from the restive Xinjiang region, many of them ethnic Uighurs. Der Spiegel takes a look at three seemingly innocent men thrown into the laojiao suo for posting online criticism of their lot in life — and surviving the world’s largest forced labor, brainwashing and torture system.
The Week Ahead: Yet another NASA space probe, OSIRIS-REx, is on schedule to arrive Monday at Bennu, a near-Earth asteroid. And on Friday, Congress faces a new deadline for budget legislation — possibly stymied by presidential demands for border wall funding — to avert a government shutdown.
Know This: Dozens of aftershocks have rattled Anchorage, Alaska, since Friday’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake, which broke up roadways but caused no known deaths. Famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has denied sexual misconduct allegations that appeared in an online magazine and welcomed an investigation by Fox and National Geograpic, which air his Cosmos TV series. And yesterday Mexico inaugurated its new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration re-approved silicone implants for the market in 2006, ushering in their worldwide resurgence. The implants had been banned due to leaks and other safety issues, and new reporting by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists casts serious doubt on manufacturers’ safety assurances. In the U.S. alone, 8,242 suspected mishaps were attributed to implants in the first half of 2018, compared with 4,567 in all of 2017. And now European Union officials are under pressure to compel makers of such devices to disclose more safety data.
Unlike globally touted universal basic income, this relatively new macroeconomic poverty fix follows the adage that it’s better to teach someone to fish than simply hand over today’s catch. Universal basic assets would provide housing, education, health care and internet access to all in need. While some deride it as unearned handouts, like basic income, UBA is supported by liberals as a way to fight poverty and by libertarians as a safety net alternative. And advocates say the U.S. government could cover the cost out of the $729 billion it currently spends on tax incentives only wealthier Americans can take advantage of.
The e-commerce site is flexing its muscles with large manufacturers, prohibiting them from setting their own Amazon prices if they sell elsewhere. Instead, they must wholesale to Amazon, which then sets prices and sells the products online. Some believe it’s a prelude to Amazon’s One Vendor, which will combine big brands and independent sellers to create a more uniform customer experience. One cellphone accessory-maker was recently banned from independent selling when it refused the terms. That company, PopSockets, decided to leave Amazon, and some believe big brands may follow.
Can they hear you? Anyone who enjoys a tête-á-tête with their crepes knows how noisy today’s restaurants are. Gone is the plush, noise-dampening midcentury decor featured in Mad Men in favor of smooth surfaces, open ceilings, and kitchens and bars sharing the room. Decibels can reach unhealthy levels, but reigning design choices won’t have it otherwise, while the din juices lucrative alcohol sales. But listen up: According to design critic Kate Wagner, acoustic engineering is introducing sound-absorbing materials and fixtures — allowing a conversation about putting calm back on the menu.
It’s one thing to be sidelined. But what if even the sidelines are off-limits? While business, politics and media have opened up to women, professional sports remain a much tougher game. Up-and-coming female coaches, like Phoebe Schecter, who runs NFL drills with the Buffalo Bills, are blazing a very narrow trail. Schecter is one of just six women in a field of 2,600, but programs like the NFL Diversity Coaching Fellowship aim to make those numbers meaningful. If male bastions like the military can open up, some argue, there may be hope for pro sports.