Russia, Apple, Ernest Hemingway: Your Friday Briefing
The Trump administration on Thursday put forth its plan to freeze antipollution and fuel-efficiency standards for cars, significantly weakening one of former President Barack Obama’s signature policies to combat global warming.
Opponents include environmentalists, consumer groups, individual states, and automakers, which say the planned rules go too far.
The plan would also challenge the right of states to set their own pollution standards, setting the stage for a legal clash that could divide the U.S. auto market.
Death penalty is always wrong, pope says
Francis said executions were unacceptable in all cases because they were “an attack” on human dignity, the Vatican announced on Thursday. Roman Catholic Church doctrine had previously accepted the punishment if it was “the only practicable way” to defend lives.
The decree is likely to hit hard in the U.S., where a majority of Catholics support the death penalty.
Most countries — including nearly every nation in Europe and Latin America — have banned capital punishment, according to Amnesty International.
Democracy “is in the cross hairs”
That was a warning from Kirstjen Nielsen, the Homeland Security secretary, who was among several officials who vowed Thursday to defend American elections against what they called real threats from Russia.
President Trump has said that the idea of any meddling by Moscow was “all a big hoax.”
Christopher Wray, the F.B.I. director, said the intelligence agencies did not believe that Russian efforts to interfere this year had reached the same level as in 2016. But he warned that efforts to meddle could escalate overnight.
Former wrestlers say #UsToo
More than 100 men have come forward to say they were molested by Dr. Richard Strauss, a team doctor at Ohio State University from the late 1970s to the 1990s, according to an independent investigation commissioned by the university.
The men, many of them wrestlers, have been left to deal with the lingering anguish and are struggling to find their place in the #MeToo era.
Separately, Ohio State’s inquiry into whether its football coach, Urban Meyer, knew about domestic violence allegations against a longtime assistant shows that a stellar record no longer covers all sins, our columnist writes.
The Rohingya are returning
At least, that’s the official line from the Myanmar government. Last year, 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled the country in an exodus that the U.S. and other countries condemned as ethnic cleansing.
What we’re reading
Prashant Rao, our deputy Europe business editor, recommends this article in the London Review of Books: “My mother tells the story of how, as a child, I was terrified of escalators, once letting go of her hand just as she stepped on one going up. I was left alone at the bottom — in a city we had just moved to — but a kind Samaritan waited with me till my mother could rush back. This essay is, in theory, supposed to answer the question of why it takes so long to repair an escalator. In reality, it is a wonderful tribute to a feat of engineering.”
If anyone could prove that age is nothing but a number, it was Maggie Kuhn.
The founder of the Gray Panthers, an American advocacy organization for older adults, was born on this day in Buffalo in 1905.
In 1970, after working for the Presbyterian Church in New York for a quarter of a century, Miss Kuhn retired, having reached the mandatory retirement age of 65.
Soon after, she worked with fellow retirees to start a group that would be called the Gray Panthers (a reference to the Black Panthers), which worked to bridge the gap between the young and the old and addressed other social issues.
Miss Kuhn remained involved with the organization until her death at age 89 in 1995.
“I’m an old woman,” she told The Times in 1972. “I have gray hair, many wrinkles and arthritis in both hands. And I celebrate my freedom from bureaucratic restraints that once held me.”
On her 85th birthday, she told a group of seniors in Vermont: “I made a sacred vow that I would do something outrageous, at least once a week.”