Written by 9:56 pm New York News

Jacob Blake, Plasma, September Books: Your Friday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. The reckoning over racial justice continues to ripple across the country.

Thousands gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington for a protest aiming to recall the 1963 March on Washington and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Attendees were screened for fevers, and masks and hand-sanitizing stations were ubiquitous.

The N.B.A. and its players’ union announced a plan to use arenas as election polling places as part of a deal to resume the playoffs on Saturday, two days after players staged a dramatic work stoppage in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.

Mr. Blake, a Black man who was shot by a white police officer last weekend, had been shackled to his hospital bed because of a warrant against him for criminal charges from July, the Kenosha police said on Friday. Mr. Blake’s lawyer said he would no longer be shackled in his bed after reaching an agreement with the Kenosha district attorney

2. Two public relations advisers at the Food and Drug Administration were removed after President Trump and the head of the agency exaggerated the proven benefits of a blood plasma treatment for Covid-19.

Mr. Trump and Dr. Stephen Hahn had falsely said that the blood treatment sharply lowered mortality rates. One of the consultants had advised Dr. Hahn to correct his assessment. Scientists were taken aback by the way the administration had framed its data. Above, a plasma donor in Seattle in April.

3. India’s coronavirus outbreak is now the fastest-growing in the world, reporting more than 75,000 new infections per day.

Crowded cities, lockdown fatigue and a lack of contact tracing have spread the virus to every corner of the sprawling country, home to 1.3 billion people. Health experts say the virus reproduction rate is ticking up as more state governments, desperate to stimulate an ailing economy, are loosening lockdown restrictions. Above, a testing center in Jammu.

In other international developments:


4. An extensive fact check of President Trump shows that he is distorting both Joe Biden’s record and his own ahead of the election.

For four days, the Republican National Convention constructed a false image of an America beyond the pandemic, one where Mr. Trump moved quickly and effectively to crush the coronavirus, according to The Times’s analysis of major convention addresses, including Mr. Trump’s acceptance speech from the South Lawn of the White House.

Both the Democratic and Republican conventions gave new meaning to political theater. Our critics discussed what it all means.

Separately, a House committee said it would move to hold Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in contempt for defying Congressional subpoenas.


5. Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest serving prime minister, is leaving office with no clear successor to lead a country in crisis.

Despite his long hold on power — an eight-year stint after earlier holding the post in 2006-7 — Mr. Abe fell short of his ultimate goal of revising the pacifist Constitution installed by the U.S. after World War II. More recently, Mr. Abe has been criticized for his handling of the country’s coronavirus epidemic and his support for an arrested member of his party.

Mr. Abe said he was resigning because of a relapse of a bowel disease. “I don’t want to make mistakes in important political decisions” while undergoing treatment, he said.

This is how Japan may pick its new leader.


7. Some college students will spend this semester in their childhood bedrooms. Others are taking their chances on campuses.

Then, there’s a third option: Rent a giant house with friends and take remote classes from a far-flung locale. It’s an adventure, it’s potentially cheaper than living in a college town and it’s more fun than Zooming from your parents’ basement. Above, Grinnell students outside of Salt Lake City.

Each year, we ask high school seniors to send us college application essays that touch on money, work or social class. Here are four from this year’s incoming college freshmen.


8. In simpler times, divinity schools sent their graduates out to lead congregations or conduct research. Now there is a more office-bound calling: the spiritual consultant.

With social justice readily absorbed into corporate culture, this new arm of management consultants wants to see if more American businesses are ready for faith by providing a range of spiritually inflected services, including employee training and ritual design. Have you considered holding a funeral for a failed project?

“People are showing up in the workplace with these big deficits in themselves when it comes to belonging and connection to the beyond,” said Angie Thurston, who holds a degree from Harvard Divinity School and is a co-founder of Sacred Design Lab. Above, a prototype for a grief ritual at an event hosted by Sacred Design Lab in November.


9. September, the publishing industry’s biggest month, does not disappoint this year.

There’s new fiction from Elena Ferrante, Yaa Gyasi and Marilynne Robinson, a tell-all from Mariah Carey and several deep dives into Cold War espionage, among others. Here are 15 titles our editors are looking forward to.

Books that were bumped from spring and early summer because of the pandemic are now colliding with long-planned fall releases, making this one of the most crowded fall publishing seasons ever. There’s just one problem: Publishers have to figure out how to print all of those books.


10. And finally, making the most of a lost summer.

The pandemic may have left a dent on summer traditions in the Northern Hemisphere, but around the globe, colorful cultural fairs and festivals found a way to persevere. Masked, distanced and streaming, organizers found sometimes ingenious ways to make sure the celebrations could go on safely.

There were drive-throughs selling American fair staples like corn dogs and funnel cakes; an audience-free archery competition near Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; an arts festival in northern England, above; and a mud festival brought indoors in South Korea. Take a visual tour.

Enjoy the last days of August, and have a summery weekend.


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