Afghanistan, United Airlines, Syria: Your Thursday Evening Briefing


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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

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Eric Thayer/Reuters

1. In a sign of intensifying American military operations, the Pentagon said “the mother of all bombs” — the largest conventional bomb in the U.S. arsenal — had been dropped on a cave complex used by the Islamic State in Afghanistan.

The U.S. military is investigating a friendly fire case that killed 18 allied fighters in Syria. It was the third time in a month that American-led airstrikes had killed allies or civilians.

And a U.S. naval strike force is being joined by Japanese warships off the Korean Peninsula, amid signs that North Korea could be planning a nuclear test as early as Saturday. Above, Defense Secretary James Mattis.

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Shaam News Network, via Associated Press

2. Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, mounted a counterpropaganda campaign, asserting that videos of a chemical attack against his people showed child actors pretending to suffer and die.

Our analyst looks at the forces prompting Mr. Assad to use chemical weapons.

The attack has sent relations with Russia, Syria’s backer, to a new low.

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Wojtek Radwanski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

3. President Trump has shifted on more than just Russia. This week he also embraced NATO: “I said it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete.”

And he determined that China is not a currency manipulator after all, spoke well of the formerly unnecessary Export-Import Bank and suggested he might not replace Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman.

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Al Drago/The New York Times

4. A tough moment for Planned Parenthood: President Trump signed legislation aimed at giving states the ability to cut off federal funding for it and other groups that perform abortions.

A women’s rights expert warned of “very real and damaging consequences for millions of women and their families.”

Above, Mr. Trump headed to Mar-a-Lago for the holiday weekend.

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Joshua Lott/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

5. The 69-year-old passenger who was dragged off a United flight on Sunday suffered a broken nose, lost two teeth, injured his sinuses, sustained a concussion and will likely need reconstructive surgery, his lawyer said, blaming the airline and Chicago’s aviation police.

“What happened to my dad should have never happened to any human being regardless of the circumstances,” said the passenger’s daughter, above.

The video showing the manhandling of Dr. David Dao prompted outrage around the world and made United a punch line on late night TV.

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Hans Pennink/Associated Press

6. “We’re all just shocked,” a former chief judge said. “No one has any idea what happened.”

The body of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first black woman to serve on New York State’s highest court, was found in the Hudson River on Wednesday. Officials noted that her brother committed suicide about three years ago and her mother died last year.

The police are treating the case as a suicide, while detectives hunted for possible video.

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Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

7. Sculptors, not financiers and regulators, are waging Wall Street’s latest battle.

Arturo Di Modica, who made the iconic “Charging Bull,” wants the newly placed “Fearless Girl” removed, arguing that her defiance turns the bull into a “negative force and a threat.”

Removing the statue might prove difficult: It has garnered support from Mayor Bill de Blasio and many others.

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Brent N. Clarke/FilmMagic

9. The Fox News superstar Bill O’Reilly is on vacation. The question is, for how long?

Facing a boycott by advertisers and protests outside Fox News headquarters after the latest sexual harassment scandal embroiled Mr. O’Reilly and the company, Rupert Murdoch and his sons, Lachlan and James, are trying to decide whether Mr. O’Reilly will stay or go.

The calculation rests in part on the family’s generational divide.

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Chris Roussakis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

10. Recreational marijuana took a step closer to becoming legal in Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced legislation that is expected to make his country only the second nation, after Uruguay, to completely legalize the drug as a consumer product.

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NASA/JPL-Caltech, via Space Science Institute

11. Finally, intriguing news. Scientists say they may have found the conditions for life in the icy moons of the outer solar system.

Data collected by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft suggests that moons like Saturn’s Enceladus may allow hydrothermal chemical reactions that can give rise to microbial life.

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Photographs may appear out of order for some readers. Viewing this version of the briefing should help.

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

And don’t miss Your Morning Briefing, posted weekdays at 6 a.m. Eastern, and Your Weekend Briefing, posted at 6 a.m. Sundays.

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