Bush Funeral, Emissions, Facebook: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)

Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. Five living presidents, plus family, friends and dignitaries from around the world, gathered in Washington National Cathedral, above, for a memorial service to honor George Bush, the 41st president.

In a eulogy for his father, former President George W. Bush remembered him as an imperfect, but beloved man who bestowed wisdom. “To us, his was the brightest of 1,000 points of light,” Mr. Bush said, invoking a phrase the elder Mr. Bush used.

A generation of Cold War-era leaders has now receded. Only Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union’s last leader, is alive — and he was too ill to attend the funeral. With those leaders, our White House correspondent writes, the world order they helped build is also fading.

In addition to winding down the Cold War, the elder Mr. Bush is credited by historians with helping in the reunification of Germany and Europe and the peaceful dissolution of the Soviet Union, and laying the groundwork for the World Trade Organization.

But critics argue that he didn’t do enough to address the AIDS epidemic raging during his time in office.

_____

2. Facebook gave special access to users’ data to favored companies like Airbnb, Lyft and Netflix, emails and other internal Facebook documents show.

The documents, released by a British parliamentary committee investigating the company, shine a light on Facebook’s internal workings from roughly 2012 to 2015, as it determined how to manage the mountains of data it was accumulating on users. Above, Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

In a statement, Facebook said the documents were part of a “baseless” lawsuit and “only part of the story.”

In Opinion: A historian of Silicon Valley argues that the end of privacy began in the 1960s, when Congress made choices that allowed tech giants to become as powerful as they are.

_____

3. Emissions are rising faster.

Worldwide carbon emissions are expected to rise by 2.7 percent this year, according to studies in three scientific journals. Emissions rose by 1.6 percent last year.

The spike was driven primarily by stronger demand for natural gas and oil, which surprised the researchers. “We thought oil use had peaked in the U.S. and Europe 15 years ago,” one said. Above, fracking near Epping, N.D.

The world’s largest polluters are still China, India and the U.S., which together produce almost half of the world’s carbon emissions. And U.S. emissions are expected to rise this year after several decades of declines.

_____

4. Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin pushed through bills that strip power from the state’s incoming governor, a Democrat.

The legislation, which was the subject of protests and vehement opposition by Democrats, passed early this morning after hours of closed-door meetings. Now it awaits the outgoing governor’s signature. Above, tallying the final votes at the capitol in Madison, Wis.

The bills limit early voting and give lawmakers — not the governor — the majority of appointments on an economic development board. They also shift more authority to lawmakers that would ordinarily be held by the state attorney general, another position about to be filled by a Democrat.

_____

5. Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, helped substantially with the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference and should receive little to no prison time, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Mr. Flynn was the first person from Mr. Trump’s inner circle to strike a deal with Robert Mueller, the special counsel. He pleaded guilty a year ago to lying to the F.B.I. about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

_____

6. Les Moonves, the former chief executive of CBS, destroyed evidence and misled investigators in an attempt to save his severance deal, according to a draft of a report prepared for the company’s board.

The report, by lawyers hired by the network, said CBS would be justified in denying $120 million in severance to Mr. Moonves, who was forced to step down in September.

Among the revelations: Multiple people told the outside lawyers that CBS had an employee “who was ‘on call’ to perform oral sex” on Mr. Moonves. Above, CBS headquarters in Manhattan.

The report, our business columnist writes, shows that senior executives and even board members were aware of Mr. Moonves’s alleged misconduct — and did nothing to stop him. The repercussions for that failure in corporate governance are likely to reverberate at CBS for years.

_____

7. Eritrea is one of the world’s most closely controlled nations, where citizens aren’t allowed to leave and foreign journalists are rarely allowed in.

But now, after the end of a 20-year war with its neighbor Ethiopia, the country is slowly opening up. Above, family members reuniting.

Our reporter, whose father was born in the reclusive nation, shares the signs she found of new beginnings in photographs, video and words.

_____

8. “You just go until you reach your own finish line.”

Ridiculously long races are growing in popularity, and female runners appear able to hold their own with men. At longer distances, experts say, the biological advantages that men have grow smaller.

Courtney Dauwalter, above, a 33-year-old with a reputation for outrunning men and shattering course records, will try to break the women’s world record for the most miles run in 24 hours this weekend, at a competition in Phoenix. She will have to run more than 161.55 miles to do so.

She already holds the American women’s record: 159.32 miles.

_____

9. Coming soon: “Clueless, The Musical.”

Amy Heckerling, the writer and director behind the hit 1994 comedy, always thought the film should be a musical. “Two people falling in love,” she said, “well, they got to sing.”

For years, an adaptation of the movie, which was based in part on Jane Austen’s “Emma,” was considered too expensive. But Ms. Heckerling never stopped trying, and now it’s in previews Off Broadway, opening next week.

As a female director, Ms. Heckerling, above, was a woman who was somehow able to join a fraternity and thrive in it. She directed touchstone ’80s comedies like “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Look Who’s Talking.” Our writer takes a look at her career and examines the ways she — like her masterpiece’s main character, Cher — has grown.

_____

10. Finally, what’s the best movie you’ve seen this year?

Our two chief film critics share their picks, with links to reviews. One singles out “Roma,” above, a Mexican remembrance of things past; the other has a four-way tie for first place.

Separately, our chief classical music critic shares his favorite performances, accompanied by a Spotify playlist of best surprises.

Have an outstanding evening.

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

And don’t miss Your Morning Briefing. Sign up here to get it by email in the Australian, Asian, European or American morning.

Want to catch up on past briefings? You can browse them here.

What did you like? What do you want to see here? Let us know at [email protected].

Source: Read Full Article

Donald Trump, Melania Trump pay respects to George H.W. Bush at U.S. Capitol

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump paid their respects to former president George H.W. Bush at the U.S. Capitol on Monday night.

Trump and Melania arrived at the Capitol, where the body of the 41st president of the United States is lying in state, around 8:30 p.m. ET.

The Trumps stood in front of the casket for several moments, their heads bowed. The president then saluted, while the first lady placed a hand over her heart, before the pair left.

Trump skipped an earlier service at the Capitol, where Bush was eulogized by Vice-President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan, among others.

Trump is expected to attend Bush’s state funeral Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral.

Follow @Kalvapalle

Source: Read Full Article

George HW Bush: The making of a president

Few men have arrived at the White House with a longer CV than George HW Bush. Besides his wartime exploits, he ran an oil company and the CIA and had been US ambassador to the United Nations as well as serving as US vice-president for eight years.

It was in 1948 when George Herbert Walker Bush, newly graduated from Yale and the scion of an eastern establishment family, rode into Odessa, Texas, in a red Studebaker car to start a new career as an oilman.

Initially, he worked as a salesman for Dresser Industries, a company which manufactured oil drilling equipment and which was owned by a friend of Bush’s father.

The years following World War II were a boom time for both the US economy and the Texas oil industry and, despite slumming it for a time in a shotgun shack, Bush and his family soon found their feet, developing a taste for Texan food and country and western music.

Within three years, he had founded his own firm, the Bush-Overbey Oil Development Company, the first of a number of highly successful drilling ventures.

The transition from wealthy Connecticut boy to wealthy Texan had been accomplished. Now Bush looked to secure himself a political career.

In 1964 he ran, unsuccessfully, for a US Senate seat in Texas, which was then solidly Democratic. At the time, Bush was a radical Republican who supported the right-wing firebrand and presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, denounced civil rights and backed military action in Cuba.

Two years later, running on decidedly more moderate policies, he was elected to the US House of Representatives as member for Texas’s 7th District.

That election saw Bush steer away from ideology and, as he would do in every campaign from then on, talk mainly about his personal qualities and not, as he later called it, “the vision thing”. At the time, he told one reporter: “Labels are for cans.”

Bush’s progress in Congress was rapid and he soon found himself on the influential Ways and Means Committee, which oversees taxes.

Although he was again defeated for one of the Texas seats in the Senate in 1970, his closeness to then-President Richard Nixon soon secured him high office.

In 1971, Bush became US ambassador to the United Nations, where he was involved in Nixon’s policy to build bridges to China and also extricate the US from Vietnam.

And 1973 saw Bush take over from Senator Bob Dole as chairman of the Republican National Committee. It was the time of Watergate and, as Richard Nixon’s hold on the White House grew weaker, George Bush’s position as a leading member of his party became ever stronger.

As the Watergate crisis reached its climax, Bush wrote to Nixon, telling him bluntly: “It is my considered judgement that you should now resign.”

The following day, 8 August 1974, Nixon did just that. George HW Bush had proved a decisive player in the greatest downfall in US political history.

Nixon’s successor, Gerald Ford, rewarded Bush with two plum jobs. In 1974, when the US and China had no official diplomatic ties, he was appointed chief of the US Liaison Office in Beijing, where he co-ordinated a renewing of relations between the US and China.

Two years later he became director of the Central Intelligence Agency. At the time, the CIA was being battered by revelations of illegal covert operations, assassination attempts on foreign leaders such as Fidel Castro, and the secret testing of LSD on unsuspecting subjects.

Many in the agency were concerned that Bush, a career politician with one eye still on the White House, might use his position for partisan ends.

However, in his short time in the role he gave the CIA a renewed focus, and emphasised the growing strength of the Soviet military. It would be a theme which would dominate his time as vice-president and president.

Ousted from the job at the CIA by a Democrat, Jimmy Carter, Bush was now able to devote himself to running for the highest office.

Within three years he was on the campaign trail, denouncing Mr Carter for cosying-up to the Soviets.

However, it was not the pragmatic liberal George Bush – the man, according to the press, with “the biggest resume in America” – who won the day in 1980, but the relatively inexperienced conservative ideologue, Ronald Reagan.

During the Republican primaries, the two men viewed one another with suspicion.

Reagan, who privately questioned Bush’s ability to “stand up to the pressure of being president”, initially asked former President Ford to be his running mate and chose Bush only after Ford declined the offer.

For his part, Bush denounced Reagan’s policy of tax cuts combined with increased military expenditure as “voodoo economics”. And he was uncomfortable with Reagan’s social policies, especially his anti-abortion beliefs.

In the end, though, Bush signed up “wholeheartedly”, as he diplomatically put it, to the Reagan ticket, spending eight frustrating years a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Source: Read Full Article