United States

Your Friday Evening Briefing


(Want to get this newsletter in your inbox? Here’s the sign-up.)

Good evening. Here’s the latest at the end of Friday.

1. The S&P 500 dropped into bear market territory for the first time since 2020, then rallied to close just above that threshold.

The index ended the week with a loss of 3 percent, its seventh straight weekly decline. That’s its longest stretch of losses since 2001. The bear market threshold is 20 percent below the last record, in this case set on Jan. 3. 2020. It’s a marker of investor pessimism and usually, though not always, is followed by recession.

At one point, today’s index was down 2.3 percent but was up 0.57 points after the final hour of trading.

The market drama can be linked to the rise in interest rates and other challenges, like China’s Covid lockdowns, the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. But big tech, though it’s lost over $2.7 trillion in value this year, isn’t worried. Companies like Apple and Google have doubled bonuses and plan more hires. Their confidence suggests they think they’ll emerge from the downturn stronger than ever.


2. Russia said it would cut supplies of natural gas to Finland, just days after Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO.

Finland’s state energy provider, Gasum, said that Russia was suspending gas shipments tomorrow because Finland failed to make payments in rubles. But President Vladimir Putin has a history of using Russia’s energy supply as a political weapon.

Separately, witness testimony and videos obtained by The Times show how Russian paratroopers executed at least eight Ukrainian men in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha in March.

On the ground, Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, is springing back to life after Russian forces were pushed back from its outskirts. But the Russians are close enough to remain a threat, dug in and becoming harder to drive back.


3. In a Times interview, Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, talked about why the U.S. should fully support Ukraine.

He’s pitting himself against former President Donald Trump, who has supported an anti-interventionist stance. McConnell, who secretly traveled to Ukraine, Sweden and Finland last weekend, told Republicans the U.S. would benefit in aiding a young democracy. Trump had spoken out against the $40 billion aid package for Ukraine, approved this week with only 11 Republican senators dissenting.

“There are not many things we agree with this administration on,” McConnell told us. But on Ukraine, he added: “I think they’ve stepped up their game. I think they are fully engaged. And I think the administration shares my view that the outcome of this ought to be victory.”

In other political news, President Biden arrived in South Korea on the first leg of an Asia trip meant to lure countries back into America’s orbit.

4. The C.D.C. is now advising all people 50 or older to get a second booster as Covid cases rise across the U.S.

The second shot is recommended if at least four months have passed since their first booster dose. Previously, only those over 65 or with underlying conditions had gotten that advice.

The C.D.C. said it was changing its advice because of a steady rise in infections over the past month, coupled with “a steep and substantial increase in hospitalizations for older Americans.”

Cases, even if undercounted, surpassed about 100,000 a day again this week, according to a Times database. The U.S. has now officially counted a million deaths, more than any other country. In their wake, the dead have left craters of grief.

5. A day after monkeypox was diagnosed in a Massachusetts man, New York reported a possible case.

The New York City patient was hospitalized yesterday, in isolation, while lab tests are analyzed to confirm whether the illness is monkeypox. Clusters of cases have been reported in Europe and Canada.

Monkeypox is a rare virus, considered a benign form of smallpox. Still, officials say it shouldn’t raise Covid-level alarms as it doesn’t typically lead to major outbreaks. Here’s what to know about monkeypox and the risks it poses.

6. In an unusual move, Princeton may fire a tenured professor. The university’s president says unwelcome sexual behavior is the issue. The professor says he’s being targeted for criticizing a campus protest group.

In July 2020, Joshua Katz, 52, a Princeton classics professor, wrote about proposals to combat racism at Princeton, calling a Black group there “a local terrorist organization.”

Embroiled in a campus free speech debate, he was condemned by some, celebrated by others. But increased scrutiny of Katz led to new details of a consensual affair he’d had with a student in 2007 and the discovery he’d made other female students uncomfortable by buying them pricey dinners. Katz’s wife, 27 and also a former student, said he had received job offers following the campus uproar but “none of them is the job that he has loved doing his whole life.”


President Biden’s new chief spokeswoman was born to Haitian parents, who moved to New York, then scrambled to survive. In a memoir, Jean-Pierre wrote of a troubled childhood, including sexual abuse and family refusal to acknowledge her sexuality. In her early 20s, she attempted suicide. After becoming interested in politics, she worked with several politicians including John Edwards and then in the Obama White House, where she met Joe Biden.

When a new press secretary steps up, there’s a tradition of handing down a gag gift. The new one has a bright yellow twist.


8. After a three-year hiatus, “Stranger Things” is back. It’s a more ambitious (and longer) season from the Duffer brothers.

Matt and Ross Duffer, 38-year-old twins, now helm what’s perhaps Netflix’s biggest, most enduring brand. The first half of Season 4 airs May 27.

At a moment when Netflix is competing with other streaming services and has lost billions in market value, a lot rides on the show. Season 4 will be its second to last. The brothers gave our Times reporter a rare chance to observe them working over two days. One takeaway: Expect tonal shifts. Think “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Hellraiser.”


9. Here’s a secret on pairing food and wine: It’s hard to go wrong.

Well-matched food and wine harmonize in a blend greater than the sum of the parts. But advice on the topic often requires more knowledge of food and wine chemistry than most people have. Over the years, our wine critic, Eric Asimov, has arrived at some easy, basic truths.

Among his suggestions: Work with a wine store, where merchants know their grapes. Remember that the simpler a recipe is, the more options exist for great pairings.

Another weekend idea: “Downton Abbey: A New Era” arrives in theaters this weekend and is an “amiable sequel,” our critic writes.


10. And finally, riding monster waves, without a board.

The Brazilian bodysurfer Kalani Lattanzi — nickname Aqua Gorilla — uses nothing more than swimfins and sometimes a handplane (a serving-platter-sized board). Starting at 12, he has bodysurfed some of the world’s toughest waves and now, at 28, hopes to ride the notorious giant waves at Mavericks in California this year.

Bodysurfing has become increasingly popular, with some devotees hoping to see it part of the 2032 Summer Olympics. But Lattanzi takes it to the next level. “It’s so extreme it’s like hanging from the wing of an airplane,” marveled one big-wave surfer.

Have a tubular weekend.


Eve Edelheit compiled photos for this briefing.

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

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].

Here are today’s Mini Crossword, Spelling Bee and Wordle. If you’re in the mood to play more, find all our games here.



Source link