Deficit, Immigration, Mongol Derby: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

Deficit, Immigration, Mongol Derby: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

Deficit, Immigration, Mongol Derby: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.


CreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

1. $1 trillion.

That’s what the federal budget deficit will top next year. It’s growing faster than expected, and President Trump is considering more spending.

The rising projection is the result of sluggish growth in federal revenue after Mr. Trump’s 2017 tax cuts went into effect, and increases for military and nondefense domestic spending.

We also went inside the Trump administration’s push for oil exploration in the Arctic refuge. Records show that the White House pressed scientists for quick findings, dismissed bad news and radically overestimated revenues from lease sales.


CreditMads Claus Rasmussen/EPA, via Shutterstock

2. President Trump added fuel to various fires.

He said Denmark’s prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, above today, had been “nasty” in rejecting his interest in purchasing Greenland as “absurd.” (Mr. Trump was explaining why he abruptly canceled a trip to Denmark next month.)

And he didn’t stop there in remarks to reporters outside the White House. For a second consecutive day, Mr. Trump accused Jewish voters of disloyalty if they voted for Democrats.

“If you want to vote Democrat, you are being very disloyal to Jewish people and very disloyal to Israel,” Mr. Trump said. He began the day by thanking a conspiracy theorist on Twitter for saying Jews in Israel love the president “like he’s the king of Israel.”


CreditIlana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

3. A new Trump administration rule would allow the U.S. to detain indefinitely families who cross the border illegally, abolishing a 20-day limit.

The regulation, which must be approved by a federal judge, would also let the White House set standards for conditions at centers. It is expected to be immediately challenged in court. Above, migrant families at a bus station last year after being released by immigration authorities in McAllen, Tex.

The overhaul issued today would reverse protections set under the Flores settlement in 1997. Here’s how they came to be.



CreditChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

4. An ambitious gun control plan has emerged from some of the survivors of the shooting massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The March for Our Lives group unveiled a plan that would ban assault weapons, raise the minimum age for buying firearms, create a national gun registry and other measures that have faced strong opposition from the gun lobby.

“We know this seems ambitious, given Washington’s apathy to decades of bloodshed in our schools, neighborhoods, and even our houses of worship,” said David Hogg, 19, a founder of the group, pictured above in January. “It’s okay to disagree with us — but we know video games aren’t to blame.”



CreditNASA, via Associated Press

5. Fires in the Amazon rain forest are spreading at record speed.

More than 74,000 fires have been detected so far this year, an 84 percent increase from the same period last year, the country’s space research center said. They are raging in uninhabited areas, but are so widespread that smoke has wafted thousands of miles away to the Atlantic coast and São Paulo, the country’s most populous city. Above, a satellite image.

A professor at the University of São Paulo said the fires were a marker of the final stage of deforestation, in which trees are cut down to be sold and then loggers and farmers burn the rest.



CreditFilip Singer/EPA, via Shutterstock

6. Prime Minister Boris Johnson set off on his first foreign trip as Britain’s leader on his way to the Group of 7 meeting this weekend in France, where he faces a delicate diplomatic dance with world leaders over Brexit.

Ahead of a potentially chaotic no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31, Mr. Johnson needs President Trump’s help to cushion the economic impact. But he also has to keep some distance, given Mr. Trump’s unpopularity among both Europeans and Britons.

Today in Berlin, his first stop, Chancellor Angela Merkel effectively challenged Mr. Johnson to produce a detailed, practical solution within 30 days to avoid a hard Brexit.



CreditAllison V. Smith for The New York Times

7. Here’s an unexpected consequence of widespread consumer DNA tests: Scores of children born through artificial insemination have learned that their biological fathers were the doctors who performed the procedure. Eve Wiley, above, is one of them.

Some women carefully selected sperm donors, while others were told their husband’s sperm was being used. Instead, their doctors inseminated them with their own sperm.

Three states have now passed laws criminalizing this conduct, including Texas, which now defines it as a form of sexual assault.



CreditEmily Kask for The New York Times

8. Our Upshot team looked into a work-life oddity: How is it that female doctors are more likely than other professionals to have children and keep working?

They found it’s because medicine has changed in ways that give many workers more control over when they work, including larger group practices and being on call at predictable times. Women are also more likely to go into specialties with shorter hours and fewer emergencies, like dermatology; areas with long, inflexible hours, like cardiology, have more men. Dr. Britni Hebert, above with her sons, decided to practice internal medicine and geriatrics.

As American employers struggle to adapt to the realities of modern family life that includes more balance, medicine could offer lessons for other jobs.



CreditChang W. Lee/The New York Times

9. The right answer was 8,186,699,633,530,061. He figured it out on an abacus.

At an annual tournament in Kyoto, competitors as young as 8 years old pull off dazzling arithmetic feats on the beads of an abacus. It is still taught in Japanese schools, although not as intensively as it once was. But the centuries-old tool is still popular, and national tournaments attract elite competitors.

“I listen and move my fingers and repeat the numbers in my head,” this year’s 16-year-old winner said, trying to explain how he could possibly do what he does. “As soon as I hear the unit like trillion or billion, I start to move my fingers.”



CreditSarah Farnsworth/The Adventurists

10. And finally, the oldest person to win the world’s longest multi-horse race.

Seventy-year-old Bob Long of Boise, Idaho, won the Mongol Derby, a grueling 1,000-kilometer competition across the steppes of Mongolia. Mr. Long rode about 100 hours in seven and a half days, on 28 different horses, by his tally.

The amateur rider began training in January with previous winners of the race, riding four or five horses a day as far as each could go, and learning how to change horses efficiently. The key to Mr. Long’s success? “Preparation trumps youth,” he said.

See you at the finish line.


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