Census, Amazon, R. Kelly: Your Friday Briefing

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

Good morning.

We’re covering President Trump’s climbdown on citizenship and the census, the latest charges against the singer R. Kelly, and a storm that’s bearing down on Louisiana.


President Trump said on Thursday that he was abandoning his push to ask about citizenship status in next year’s census. He has ordered officials to compile the data from other federal records instead.

“We are not backing down,” Mr. Trump said, but his executive order appeared merely to reiterate plans that the Commerce Department announced last year.

Why it matters: A citizenship question could have made immigrants afraid to participate in the census. Government experts predicted that about 6.5 million people might have gone uncounted as a result. That would have skewed representation when congressional districts are allocated in 2021, and affected federal funding.

The background: The lineage of citizenship questions in America highlights more than a century of partisan fights over the country’s racial makeup.


For years, governments cut taxes to lure businesses across borders — a particular boon for tech giants like Amazon, Facebook and Google, which could provide digital services in wealthy, high-tax countries through offices in places where the taxes were lower. But the game is changing, and fast.

On Thursday, France became the first country to impose a “digital tax” on the revenues large tech firms earn from its citizens, and Britain has plans to do the same.

ImageJeffrey Epstein’s property in New Mexico, Zorro Ranch, south of Santa Fe.
CreditRamsay de Give for The New York Times

Federal law requires all 50 states to implement sex offender registries. But the requirements vary considerably from state to state.

Jeffrey Epstein, the New York financier who faces federal sex-trafficking charges, registered in Florida, where he pleaded guilty to two state felony charges in 2008. But he avoided check-ins with the authorities in New York by changing his official residence to the Virgin Islands. And in New Mexico, where he had a palatial home, he could skip inclusion in the state registry entirely.

Catch up: Mr. Epstein, 66, has offered some of his wealth — including a private jet and a $77 million Manhattan mansion — as bail collateral before his trial.

CreditBryan Thomas for The New York Times

Tropical Storm Barry is expected to make landfall in Morgan City, La., tomorrow as a Category 1 hurricane. We’re tracking its progress.

Morgan City, population 12,000, has been “dodging the bullet” on hurricanes for a decade, its mayor, Frank Grizzaffi, told our reporter yesterday. But this time, he said, “I think we’re finally going to get it.”

Big picture: A tropical storm’s intensity or wind speed typically gets most of the attention, but climate change is generally increasing the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall storms. That hurts places like Louisiana, where the land is already pretty wet.

Another angle: A weak monsoon and years of draining groundwater have created a severe water crisis in Chennai, a city of nearly five million in India.

CreditJenna Schoenefeld for The New York Times

A ranch in Southern California is at the center of a dispute between its owners, who want to sell it to luxury housing developers, and community members, who treasure it as one of the San Fernando Valley’s last orange groves.

The dispute highlights broader debates about population growth, affordable housing and the character of California neighborhoods.

Troop drawdown in Yemen: The United Arab Emirates, the military linchpin of a Saudi-led war that has killed thousands of civilians, is withdrawing its forces at a scale and speed that all but rules out further ground advances.

Amazon workers: The technology giant said it would spend $700 million to retrain about a third of its American work force for more high-tech tasks by 2025.

Domestic violence decision: The European Court of Human Rights issued its first ruling on a domestic violence case from Russia, awarding about $22,500 to a woman whose ex-boyfriend battered, kidnapped and threatened to kill her.

New charges against R. Kelly: The singer is scheduled to be arraigned in Chicago today, a day after federal agents arrested him on child pornography and other charges. Prosecutors in Brooklyn are expected to unveil more charges today against Mr. Kelly, who is already under indictment in Illinois for aggravated sexual assault and abuse.

CreditJames Estrin/The New York Times

Snapshot: The Rev. Dr. Amy Butler, above, became the first female pastor of New York’s Riverside Church in 2014. But this month, on the heels of charges and countercharges over sexual harassment and mores, the church’s governing council refused to renew her contract.

Late-night comedy: Most shows are in reruns, so our column is taking the week off.

Wimbledon showdowns: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal meet in the men’s singles semifinals today. Serena Williams and Simona Halep will contest the women’s final tomorrow.

No news quiz: The quiz is taking a break but will return July 19.

Modern Love: In this week’s column, two Asian-Americans on a first date grapple with their shared heritage.

What we’re reading: This article from The New Yorker’s archives. Jennifer Jett, a digital editor in Hong Kong, says, “The earthquakes in Southern California last week have renewed interest in this highly alarming 2015 article about ‘the really Big One’ — coming for the Pacific Northwest.”

CreditLinda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Monica Pierini.

Cook: Blackberry corn cobbler should be served warm with cream or ice cream.

Listen: In Mahalia’s “Simmer,” insistent syncopations ping and twang, bonk and buzz.

Watch: The video of “Con Altura,” by the Spanish singer Rosalía, is approaching a half-billion views. Our Diary of a Song explores how the track was made.


Smarter Living: One thing you can do for the climate is talk about it. Find out how your family, friends and colleagues feel about the issue, and tell them what you’re doing to limit your carbon footprint. As Connie Roser-Renouf, a specialist in science communication, puts it, “It’s the people we talk to and care about that persuade us.”

And if you’re off work for a few days, here are some perfect out-of-office messages.

Migratory bird sanctuaries in China. A radio astronomy observatory in northwest England. Burial mounds in Japan. Eight Frank Lloyd Wright constructions.

These are just a handful of the 29 additions Unesco made this week to its World Heritage List of sites that have cultural, natural, scientific, historical or other significance. (The criteria for selection are broad.)

The list began in 1978 with 12 sites, including the Galápagos Islands and Yellowstone National Park. It now has 1,121.

Inclusion can spur preservation and protection. But it can also stimulate tourism, and some sites have struggled to manage an increase in visitors.

CreditMarco Bertorello/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Venice and its lagoon received the designation in the 1980s, enhancing their already extraordinary appeal. It’s now one of the most heavily toured cities in the world, with tens of millions of visitors annually, overwhelming a population of just 50,000.

In fact, this year, Unesco almost added Venice to another list: endangered World Heritage sites.


That’s it for this briefing. My colleague Chris Stanford returns on Monday. See you next time.

— Mike


Thank you
Melina Delkic helped compile this briefing. Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford wrote the break from the news. Stephen Hiltner, an editor on the Travel desk, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is on the Sandy Hook parents taking on the gun Industry.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Dog breed whose butt resembles a loaf of bread, adorably enough (5 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Maggie Haberman, one of our White House correspondents, answered reader questions about covering President Trump.

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply