Written by 9:48 pm New York News

Hurricane Laura, President Trump, Baby Dinosaurs: Your Thursday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. Hurricane Laura, one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the U.S., has been downgraded to a tropical storm.

Laura swept ashore early in the day as a Category 4 hurricane, pounding the Louisiana and Texas coasts with 150 m.p.h. winds that diminished as it moved inland. At least four people died, including a 14-year-old girl in Louisiana. Hundreds of thousands are without power. Above, Cameron, La.

The punishing storm surges and winds hit some of the most industrialized parts of the southern U.S., studded with fuel and petrochemical plants that can release toxic chemicals when damaged — and which are often near poor communities of color.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said Louisiana had suffered “extensive” damage, particularly the Lake Charles area. Texas officials reported less destruction than they had feared.

We’re tracking the storm here.

2. President Trump will formally accept the Republican nomination tonight from his daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump.

Mr. Trump will press his case for another term as the country, battered by crises, faces two new ones — Hurricane Laura and uprisings over the police shooting of another Black man. Joe Biden accused the president of “rooting for more violence.”

So far, the Republican National Convention has reflected Mr. Trump’s base, but tonight’s lineup puts the Republican Party on display. Speakers include Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development; Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader; and Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas. Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, will also speak.

We’ll have live coverage and analysis. Here’s how to watch. And if you need to catch up, here are three major themes from Wednesday night.


3. The Justice Department deployed 200 federal agents and marshals to Kenosha, Wis., and said it would investigate the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man whose family says he is partially paralyzed.

Protests in Kenosha appeared to be largely peaceful on Wednesday, above, after a chaotic Tuesday night during which a shooting killed two men and seriously injured a third. We analyzed hours of footage to track the movements of the 17-year-old from Illinois, Kyle Rittenhouse, who was arrested and charged afterward.

Meanwhile, N.B.A. players pledged to resume playoff games. Their walkout on Wednesday triggered stoppages across professional sports to protest racism and police brutality. The N.B.A. said it hoped play would restart on Friday or Saturday.


4. The Federal Reserve is trying a striking new approach.

Chairman Jerome Powell said that the U.S. central bank would no longer raise interest rates to keep the unemployment rate from falling too far, and would allow inflation to run slightly higher in better times. That could mean years of low interest rates.

“This change reflects our appreciation for the benefits of a strong labor market, particularly for many in low- and moderate-income communities,” Mr. Powell said.

Unemployment continues to climb as layoffs continue: New filings exceeded one million last week, suggesting a slowing economy. The promised extra $300 in jobless pay may not show up before mid-September in most states.

5. Dawn Davis, above right, a prominent editor and one of the few Black gatekeepers in the book world, will be the next editor in chief at Bon Appétit. The multimedia food-journalism powerhouse has experienced a summer of racial strife in the workplace.

In other media news, the race to buy TikTok has taken another turn. Walmart is teaming up with Microsoft on a potential bid for the popular Chinese-owned video app, which President Trump insists must be in U.S. hands shortly.

Other potential buyers are still in play, people close to the talks said, suggesting that TikTok would most likely make a decision in the coming days. On Wednesday, Kevin Mayer, TikTok’s chief executive, said he was resigning after dealing with months of pressure from the Trump administration.


6. The first coronavirus vaccines may arrive fast, but may not be the best.

So some research groups are placing bets on vaccines that are still months from clinical trials, which they believe may be cheaper or more effective.

Schools that are reopening face a new health consideration. In the past week, nine have detected the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, a dangerous respiratory illness. It can thrive in water left to stagnate in plumbing, a common occurrence during lockdown.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease scientist, has said yes to virtually every media opportunity, however small. That may be why, last week, he had surgery to remove a polyp on his vocal cords. “Essentially I was talking all day without interruption for six months,” he wrote in an email afterward.


7. “I want to at least have Beirut on its feet before I go.”

Young volunteers like Sara el-Sayed, above right, working to clean up the city after a devastating explosion there, are no strangers to the struggle for a better Lebanon. Mostly in their 20s and 30s, educated and underemployed, they were in the streets calling for change before the blast.

Few now say they want to stay in their country to see whether that change will come. An exodus seems inevitable. “I don’t have hope,” Ms. el-Sayed said. “I’ve always wanted just to leave.”

8. The Met, but not the same Met.

With valet bicycle parking, timed ticketing and no foreign tourists, the country’s largest museum has made significant adjustments ahead of opening its doors on Saturday. It’s among many U.S. museums preparing to reopen soon, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of the City of New York.

Our art critic calls the Met’s latest rooftop installation — the curved wall of terra cotta bricks above, by Héctor Zamora — a monument to transience over permanence.

The British Museum is grappling with other challenges. To better reflect its links to slavery and colonialism, the museum has altered several exhibits. But both traditionalists and Black Lives Matter protesters have expressed disappointment, arguing that the moves either go too far, or not far enough.


9. Can a return to travel be smarter and greener?

Some in the tourism industry are betting on it. The new frontier, they say, is “regenerative travel” — leaving a place better than you found it.

For now, vacations are a flash point. “I had to stop myself from shouting at friends who told us they’d be ‘quarantining at the beach,’” said Lindsay Chambers, a writer and editor who lives in Nashville. “Traveling to another state and staying in a rented condo in the middle of a raging pandemic is not how quarantine works. At all.”

In the meantime, our photojournalists can transport you, virtually, to some of our planet’s most beautiful and intriguing places, including the Canary Islands and the enchanting Italian village of Panicale, above.


10. And finally, baby dinosaurs.

The smuggler who illegally snatched dino eggs from Argentina some 20 years ago probably didn’t know one held the best-preserved skull of a dinosaur embryo ever found. Many fossils have been flattened by time and the elements, but this titanosaur found in a grape-size egg was preserved in three dimensions.

The more scientists examined the fossil, the stranger it got. The titanosaur — which, had it matured, could have weighed 70 tons and measured 122 feet — sports a horn on its nose, and its eye sockets face forward, like human eyes.

“This little embryo is one of the cutest dinosaurs I’ve seen,” one researcher said, “and at the same time, one of the weirdest-looking.”

Have a marvelous night.


Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.

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