North Korea, N.F.L., ‘Arrested Development’: Your Thursday Briefing
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Here’s what you need to know:
Trump pulls out of North Korea meeting
• President Trump has canceled the June 12 summit meeting with Kim Jong-un, citing in a letter to Mr. Kim this morning “tremendous anger and open hostility” from the North Koreans. Read the full letter here.
Earlier today, a top official from the North had said that remarks by Vice President Mike Pence were “ignorant and stupid” and could lead Pyongyang to reconsider the talks.
• Mr. Trump’s decision came the same day North Korea destroyed its only known nuclear test site, inviting a select group of journalists — but no outside nuclear monitors — to bear witness. It is unclear if the mountainous Punggye-ri test site, where North Korea has conducted all six of its nuclear tests, was dismantled in a way that would allow it to be used again.
Kushner gets top clearance
• “If I were Jared Kushner, I’d be sighing a breath of relief today.”
That was a veteran Washington lawyer summing up the news that President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser had been granted his security clearance after an extended F.B.I. background check. Mr. Kushner had spent the first year of the administration working under provisional clearances.
White House officials had said the long process was not unusual, but some observers had wondered if Mr. Kushner faced problems because of the special counsel’s investigation of his meetings with Russians.
• Separately on Wednesday, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled that Mr. Trump’s practice of blocking Twitter users who criticize him is unconstitutional, a decision that will have implications far beyond the president. We spoke to some of those blocked.
No more kneeling, N.F.L. insists
• In an attempt to quell a political controversy of nearly two years, the league’s owners voted on Wednesday to fine teams whose players don’t stand during the national anthem. Players will have the option of staying in the locker room, however.
The debate, which has included President Trump calling the kneeling players unpatriotic, has shaken the league, in part because TV ratings are down significantly.
• Our football columnist’s take: “The league has set itself up to take criticism both from those who want it to require that all players stand for the national anthem — including President Trump — and those who feel the league is trying to silence players who have chosen that moment to protest social injustice.” Read more here.
Seeking a verdict on “post truth” culture
• Alex Jones, the online conspiracy theorist whose Infowars website is viewed by millions, has long said that the 2012 shooting that killed 20 first graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax invented by “gun grabbers.”
Now, the families of some of the victims are confronting Mr. Jones in court, seeking damages for defamation.
“When anybody’s behind a machine, whether it’s a gun or a computer or a car, a dehumanization takes place that makes it easier to commit an act of violence,” the mother of one victim said.
• Mr. Jones did not respond to requests for comment for our article.
Populists get a green light
• A little-known lawyer with no government experience is the latest threat to Europe’s establishment.
The lawyer, Giuseppe Conte, is poised to become Italy’s next prime minister, heading the coalition of parties that led elections in March by vowing to crack down on illegal immigration, challenge budget rules from Brussels and lift sanctions against Russia.
• The markets have been nervous about the prospect of a populist government in Italy, which has enormous debt and is too big to bail out. If the Italian economy crashes, the European economy could tank, too.
• Europe’s new online privacy law affects you even if you’re not in Europe. Here’s how.
• Recipe of the day: Have a fish fry with caramelized ginger and garlic, browned coriander seeds and red chile.
• A sitcom’s cast gets serious
After a five-year hiatus, the cult show “Arrested Development” returns for a new season next week. We interviewed the cast, who discussed the accusations of sexual misconduct against one of their own, Jeffrey Tambor.
• The boundaries of B.D.S.M.
Politicians accused of abusing their sexual partners have brought scrutiny to the practices of the bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism community.
• Sign up for summer
The season is nearly upon us, and we want to help New Yorkers make the most of it.
Our new limited-run newsletter, Summer in the City, offers fresh and fun ideas on what to eat, drink, see and do. You can subscribe here.
• Best of late-night TV
President Trump is accusing the F.B.I. of embedding a mole in his presidential campaign, calling it “spygate.” Stephen Colbert suggested another name.
• Quotation of the day
“It’s like the AIDS crisis; we’ve had people dying for a decade and nobody cared.”
— Joe Cressy, a member of the Toronto City Council who advocates supervised injection sites to save the lives of heroin users. New York is considering opening up to four such centers.
• The Times, in other words
• What we’re reading
Lynda Richardson, an editor for our Travel section, recommends this piece from Slate: “It turns out the generation that may be the most ‘woke’ is also the generation that is the most broke. In a new study, economists examined whether Americans are now wealthier or poorer than previous generations were at their age. The study says it is millennials, the 1980s babies, who are in the most dire financial shape of all.”
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups have long claimed to be “two great tastes that taste great together,” the result of a semi-magical pairing of chocolate and peanut butter. Their origin is hardly so felicitous.
Harry Burnett Reese, who was born on this day in 1879, tried his hand at fishing, farming and factory work before landing a job on a dairy farm owned by the Hershey Chocolate Company in Pennsylvania.
Inspired by Hershey’s sweet success, Reese started making candy in his basement, naming his confections after his children (he and his wife had 16). After many stops and starts, he hit gold in 1928 with a product he called peanut butter cups or “penny cups,” named for the cost of a single piece.
Seven years after Reese’s death in 1956, Hershey bought his company for $23.5 million. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups soon became its best-selling product.
The brand’s appeal has been out of this world: In 1982, Reese’s Pieces had a role in Steven Spielberg’s “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.” The director and his team originally wanted the alien to snack on M&Ms, but the parent company, Mars, turned them down.