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Good evening. Here’s the latest.
1. The fall theme in Congress: Gun control and name-calling.
House Democrats introduced a new package of gun restrictions and then traded accusations with Republicans about who was playing politics with a life-or-death issue. Above, protesters outside the Capitol on Tuesday.
New Jersey isn’t waiting for a federal mandate. Our reporter broke the news that the state planned to wield its buying power, about $70 million, to force gun companies and financial institutions to adopt gun control policies.
Schoolchildren across the U.S. routinely perform active shooter drills. Debatable, a new Opinion series, explores the range of views and their pros and cons.
2. President Trump abruptly fired John Bolton, his third national security adviser, with whom he had fundamental disagreements over Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan.
Mr. Bolton, above in July, objected to Mr. Trump’s attempts to pursue diplomatic avenues with players long considered American enemies. And he angered Mr. Trump with a last-minute battle against a peace agreement with the Taliban, which the president dropped for other reasons.
The disruption came on the same day that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel shook the world of international diplomacy. Citing U.S. support, he pledged to annex parts of the occupied West Bank if he won re-election next week.
3. The 2020 candidates want to limit executive powers in response to the Trump era. We surveyed them on just how far they thought a president could go.
Many called for new laws that would require presidents to disclose their tax returns and divest from significant assets, and would bar them from appointing close relatives to White House positions. Here’s what they said.
We’re also watching the tight race in a special election in North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District, one that has been solidly red since the early 1960s. It could be a test of President Trump’s clout ahead of 2020 and Democrats’ ability to make inroads in suburban areas.
4. The share of uninsured Americans increased in 2018 for the first time since Obamacare took full effect.
About 27.5 million people, or 8.5 percent of the population, lacked health insurance for all of 2018, up from 7.9 percent the year before, the Census Bureau reported. The increase was the first since 2014 and at least partly caused by efforts to weaken the Affordable Care Act.
That’s a striking contrast to the signs of a strong economy. The same report showed the share of Americans living in poverty fell to 11.8 percent, the lowest level since 2001.
5. Elite universities have made a public show of trying to admit more low-income and racially diverse students.
In private, admissions officials tell a different story, one of shrinking tuition revenue, operating deficits and rejection letters to deserving students who can’t pay for college.
Staying “elite,” one enrollment expert explained, depends not just on admitting a lot of high-scoring students. It also depends on admitting a lot of rich ones.
And wait, is that Grandma playing Frisbee on the quad? As more schools grapple with reduced funding, some have turned to an unlikely source of revenue: building retirement homes on campus.
6. Apple dropped its annual goody bag of new gadgets and updates on old standbys, including three new iPhones aimed at drumming up sagging demand.
Apple rebranded the iPhone line, making the entry-level option the iPhone 11 (priced at $700, compared with $750 for the comparable model last year), while adding a “Pro” label to its pricier models. Those high-end models will include a triple-lens main camera. We followed the event live, above with Tim Cook.
Apple’s unveilings earn lots of free publicity every year. But our reporters dig a lot deeper than that. In case you missed it, here’s how Apple’s apps topped rivals’ in the Apple app store.
7. A jar of sand, ballet slippers, a scarf: What happens to the thousands of Sept. 11 tributes left behind at the memorial in Lower Manhattan? They’re cleared nightly and saved.
One victim’s sister left leis and other items, some of which ended up on display at the memorial’s museum. “These beautiful things that were left for our own personal closure are touching people that never met her,” she said.
Wednesday is the 18th anniversary of the attacks. The twin towers stayed in some movies and TV shows filmed beforehand, but were excised from others. Either way, the melancholy endures.
8. Goodbye, Rachel Green. Hello, Alex Levy. Jennifer Aniston is returning to TV.
In the 15 years since “Friends” ended, the actor has tried to escape from the shadow of her title character with independent films, mainstream movies, product endorsements and some outright flops. Now, as she turns 50, she’s entering what feels like “one of the most creatively fulfilling periods of my life,” and is starring as a fictional news anchor in Apple’s “The Morning Show.”
And why did Joaquin Phoenix, known for playing emotionally wrung-out loners or killers, decide to take on a cackling, comic-book criminal in a high-profile blockbuster movie? “It’s so stupid to talk about,” he said in an interview. “I’m not going to talk about it.”
9. In memoriam: Robert Frank, 94.
One of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, Mr. Frank was best known for his groundbreaking book, “The Americans.” It documented the scenes and people he encountered during cross-country road trips in the mid-1950s.
In “Trolley — New Orleans,” above, his signature style can be seen: immediate, cinematic and grainy, capturing everyday Americans in authentic moments. His approach was a rejection of the idealized, saccharine portrait of the country prevalent in films and magazines at the time.
The author Jack Kerouac wrote that Mr. Frank, “with agility, mystery, genius, sadness, and strange secrecy of a shadow photographed scenes that have never been seen before on film.”
10. And finally, a bit of good news.
When nearly 2,000 acres in the Princess Louisa Inlet in British Columbia went on the market, a parks foundation crowdsourced help to buy it, to protect it from loggers. It worked: Three million Canadian dollars poured in from more than 1,000 students, philanthropists, sailors and more to save the pristine land known as the “Yosemite of the North.”
“One day, we might all have the chance to visit this beautiful piece of wilderness,” a class of fifth-grade students wrote with their $1,109.38 check, “knowing that we played a role in saving it for future generations.”
Have an inspiring night.
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