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Gun Control, Andrew McCabe, Sharks: Your Thursday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

ImageCreditLeigh Vogel for The New York Times

1. Background checks for gun purchases will be “front and center” in a coming Senate debate, Senator Mitch McConnell said after two weekend massacres.

In a radio interview, the Senate majority leader said a background checks bill would most likely be considered in September along with legislation creating incentives for states to adopt so-called red flag laws, which authorize courts to take guns from people who pose a threat to themselves or others. Above, students protested at the Capitol in March.

Mr. McConnell, who has refused to take up a background checks bill passed by the House, said he had spoken with President Trump, describing him as “very much open to this discussion.”

Seventeen states have passed red flag laws. Research is still scant on how many shootings they may have averted.


ImageCreditHotli Simanjuntak/EPA, via Shutterstock

2. The U.N. issued a stark warning overnight: Land and water resources around the globe are being exploited at “unprecedented rates,” threatening humanity’s ability to feed itself.

According to a new report, a half-billion people already live in places turning into desert, and soil is being lost between 10 and 100 times as fast as it is forming. Climate change will make things worse, exacerbating food shortages that could increase a flow of immigration that is already upending politics in North America and Europe.

Draining wetlands in areas like Indonesia, above, to create palm oil plantations is particularly damaging, the report said. Addressing the crisis would require a major re-evaluation of agriculture and persuading people to eat less meat, the report suggests.


ImageCreditDoug Mills The New York Times

3. Andrew McCabe, the former F.B.I. deputy director, sued the agency, alleging his dismissal last year was retaliatory and politically motivated.

In his lawsuit, Mr. McCabe said President Trump “purposefully and intentionally” pushed the Justice Department to demote and terminate him as part of an “unconstitutional plan” to discredit and remove Justice Department and F.B.I. employees who were “deemed to be his partisan opponents.”

Mr. McCabe, pictured above in 2017, was fired in 2018 for statements he made about communications between the F.B.I. and the news media.


ImageCreditCelia Talbot Tobin for The New York Times

4. Federal agents rounded up 680 immigrant workers across Mississippi on Wednesday, separating a number of children from their parents on the second day of school.

Dozens of children were taken to makeshift shelters, and videos showed them crying in corners or in the arms of friends, neighbors and strangers. State officials, immigration advocates, and lawyers say it is still not clear what happened to those children, or who took custody of them.

Back at the U.S.-Mexico border, we went to Ciudad Juárez, where thousands of migrants from Cuba, Central America and elsewhere are adapting to a new reality: Those Mexican border towns may be their final destination, rather than a stop on the journey north. Above, a Guatemalan family at a shelter in Ciudad Juárez.


ImageCreditErin Brethauer and Tim Hussin for The New York Times

5. Uber reported abysmal results, with its worst-ever revenue growth and a loss exceeding $5 billion, renewing questions about the company’s prospects.

The ride-sharing company has been dogged by concerns about sluggish sales and whether it can ever become profitable, which were compounded by a disappointing initial public offering in May.

In other tech news: Google, Tesla, Amazon and other tech companies are hiding quirky software surprises in their products — the Tesla Model X, above, puts on a three-minute dance performance with flashing lights, moving doors and a holiday carol — to give you a chuckle. We went back to the beginning of the phenomenon known as Easter eggs.


ImageCreditAmr Alfiky for The New York Times

6. The thread continues to unravel in the Jeffrey Epstein case.

A senior JPMorgan executive overrode concerns about doing business with the financier because of his lucrative role recruiting new customers, sources told The Times. A spokesman for the bank disputed the claim, but prosecutors say Mr. Epstein retained crucial business connections even as he engaged in the sexual trafficking of girls as young as 14.

Separately, Leslie Wexner, the mogul who owns Victoria’s Secret, accused Mr. Epstein of misappropriating “vast sums of money” from him and his family. Mr. Epstein served as a close personal adviser to Mr. Wexner for over 15 years.


ImageCreditJared Soares for The New York Times

7. “They’re not just kids. They’re kids from Ferguson.”

That’s Raychel Proudie, a state legislator who represents the Missouri city that was upended by a police shooting and set off a national reckoning. Since then a generation has grown up amid uneven progress. David Morrison, above, has fled tear gas and played dead on the asphalt. He’s 7 years old.

Real change in American policing has varied from department to department, city to city, in the wake of Michael Brown’s death. But one thing is for certain: Law enforcement is not the same profession it was five years ago.


ImageCreditMatthew Novak

8. “For me, the whole thing is that I have to create something. I always have the urge.”

The Times’s T Magazine profiled 15 people working across food, fashion, art and design — including a textile artist from the South, a ceramic artist from Sydney and a Tokyo-born chef in Paris — who are reinventing the rules of their professions and recasting the culture in their own image.

In his studio in Harlem, Sourabh Gupta, above, crafts delicate daisies, roses and lady’s slippers from paper, sponge and even bread.


ImageCreditMaximilian Blackley

9. This bread recipe started with 4,000-year-old yeast.

Seamus Blackley, a creator of the Xbox and a self-professed “bread nerd,” extracted yeast from an ancient Egyptian loaf that had been buried beneath a temple during the Middle Kingdom. Then he made the perfect sourdough.

“The aroma and flavor are incredible,” Mr. Blackley said on Twitter. “I’m emotional. It’s really different, and you can easily tell even if you’re not a bread nerd.”

In other breaking bread news: Ricotta will change everything you know about biscuits. Before you start angrily shaking a stick of butter, hear us out.


ImageCreditDavid Gruber/City University of New York, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

10. And finally, glow-in-the-dark sharks.

In the deep darkness of the ocean, swell sharks and chain catsharks glow bright. They’re mostly colorblind, with eyes that can detect only the blue-green spectrum, but they’re projecting a secret code to other sharks: One pattern male, the other female — come and get it.

New research explains how molecules inside their scales turn blue light to green, transforming sharks into neon beacons.

Have an illuminating night. (P.S.: Here’s how we come up with these farewells.)

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