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Good evening. Here’s the latest.
1. The confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh had more uncertainty injected into it after President Trump mocked Christine Blasey Ford at a rally on Tuesday night.
“I wish he hadn’t have done it, and I just say it’s kind of appalling,” said Senator Jeff Flake, above, one of three influential Republicans who could cast the deciding votes on the Supreme Court nomination.
The others were critical as well. Senator Susan Collins told reporters the remarks about the woman who had accused Judge Kavanaugh of sexual assault were “just plain wrong.” And Senator Lisa Murkowski called them “wholly inappropriate and in my view unacceptable.”
Other Senate Republicans continued to challenge the credibility of Dr. Blasey, confronting her with a sworn statement from a former boyfriend who questioned some of her testimony last week.
With senators awaiting the results of the F.B.I.’s investigation, more than 650 law professors signed a joint letter directed at the Senate, asserting that Judge Kavanaugh is not suitable for Supreme Court. It was published by Times Opinion.
2. The president also tweeted his criticism of a New York Times investigation into the Trump family’s use of dubious tax schemes, calling the article an “old, boring and often told hit piece.”
He did not deny any facts included in the investigation, which reported that he received today’s equivalent of at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire and that the president’s so-called self-made fortune dates to his toddler years.
The 18-month Times investigation was based on tens of thousands of pages of confidential records about the Trump family empire, though it did not unearth the president’s own tax returns, which he has consistently refused to release.
Our readers had a lot to say about the revelations.
3. From the moment Melania Trump arrived in Africa for a weeklong visit, the first lady has done her best to smooth over anger many Africans feel toward her husband.
And, our reporter traveling with her writes, Mrs. Trump looked more comfortable striding into a meeting with local leaders in Ghana than she has perhaps ever looked in Washington.
“That’s the first lady I know,” said Mrs. Trump’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham. “She loves meeting people, learning new things and being around kids. This is who she is.”
4. China has swung for 40 years between authoritarian Communist control and pro-business policies that have transformed it into the world’s second-largest economy.
Now some experts see the pendulum swinging back toward the government. Taxes are rising. Regulation is tightening. State-run firms are on the rise.
Many economists believe that shift could crowd out private businesses.
Some struggling entrepreneurs are reversing a two-decade trend and doing what was once considered unthinkable: selling out to the state.
5. She is China’s most famous actress, with roles in “X-Men” and “Iron Man” and branding deals with Louis Vuitton and Mont Blanc. Her monthslong disappearance from public view was breathlessly reported, as were rumors of a government investigation.
So when the authorities accused Fan Bingbing of dodging taxes and fined her nearly $70 million on Wednesday, they also sent a broader signal. The government is stepping up enforcement of tax evasion, which is rampant in China and an increasingly urgent problem in a slowing economy.
The investigation also reflects China’s sensitivity to the influence its stars’ behavior can have — for better or worse — on public opinion. In June, the authorities enforced a cap on salaries of actors, criticizing the film industry for “distorting social values.”
6. “I just got to the point, I said, I’m not going to do it anymore.”
That’s the view of a West Virginia woman who has not voted since 1996 — and who says she has no intention of starting this November.
This year’s election carries enormous political stakes, but it’s likely that the vast majority of eligible voters will stay home on Election Day.
People typically cite one of two reasons for not voting in midterm elections, according to an analysis of responses to the Census Bureau from 2000 to 2016: They are either too busy, or not interested.
7. The New York City Ballet is taking a long look in the mirror. First its leader retired abruptly during an investigation into reports of threats and physical abuse. Then the company forced out three of its 14 male principal dancers after they were accused of sharing texts of sexually explicit photos of women.
Now the country’s premier ballet company is taking steps to change its culture. The company is instituting an anonymous complaint system and annual performance evaluations and will increase counseling for mental health, substance abuse and nutrition.
“We’ve really tried to make it a more nurturing environment, and not a kind of sink-or-swim environment,” the new ballet master said.
8. Seated high above tennis courts in the umpire’s chair, he gained a reputation as an excellent official, if at times a bit rigid. And like most umpires, he scrupulously avoids the limelight.
That all ended the night of the U.S. Open final, when he issued violations to Serena Williams, starting with being coached during the match. So who is Carlos Ramos?
His ruling, and her furious reaction, fueled complicated discussions about gender, race and power dynamics. And they may meet again. Both are scheduled to appear at the Australian Open in January.
9. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has completed the first of seven passes over Venus on its way to getting closer to the sun than any other spacecraft and collecting images like the one above.
The probe gets its name from Eugene N. Parker, a retired University of Chicago professor, who in 1958 described how charged particles streamed continuously from the sun, like the flow of water spreading outward from a circular fountain.
Almost no one believed him.
Sixty years later, NASA is gathering information about how the sun generates that stream of particles, which scientists call the solar wind.
This is the first time that NASA has named a mission for a living person.
10. Finally, the escape scene unfolded like a top-notch thriller. Armed men hijacked a helicopter and swept into a French prison yard in July, scooping up an inmate serving a 25-year sentence for a robbery that left a female police officer dead.
But now, after an intensive manhunt by a special unit of the French National Police, the robber, Rédoine Faïd, is back in custody.
He has told interviewers that he has a passion for action movies — particularly for those involving fantastic escapes.
Have a great night.
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