Texas, Wells Fargo, Russia: Your Thursday Evening Briefing


The capital of the world’s petroleum industry was built on boundless entrepreneurialism, the glories of air-conditioning and a fierce aversion to regulation.

Many experts now say that unbridled development — and city planning that failed to account for environmental issues — helped lay the groundwork for disaster.

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Mike Blake/Reuters

3. For years, Wells Fargo employees struggling to meet aggressive sales goals secretly signed up customers for credit cards without telling them.

The bank was caught. But the tale seemed to be over only in September, when it agreed to pay $185 million in settlements. Now an internal review has found there were 3.5 million such accounts — about 1.4 million more than previously estimated.

The review also found a new problem: the unauthorized enrollments of possibly half a million customers in the bank’s online bill payment service.

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Eric Risberg/Associated Press

4. The Trump administration ordered Russia to close its San Francisco consulate, above, and two other sites in New York and Washington in a diplomatic tit for tat.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson informed Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, of the move by phone. American officials said it was a fair move after Russia ordered the U.S. to cut hundreds of embassy employees in Moscow.

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Aamir Qureshi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

5. Pakistan’s most controversial murder trial ended in a verdict that stunned many.

A terrorism court acquitted five suspected Taliban and Qaeda militants in the 2007 assassination of the former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, above, and declared the former ruler, Pervez Musharraf, who is living in Abu Dhabi, a fugitive in the case.

He rejects any involvement in her death, and her party intends to appeal. The long-running case has been dogged by intimidation and threats to the judiciary from militants.

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Divyakant Solanki/European Pressphoto Agency

6. A building collapsed in rain-ravaged Mumbai, killing at least 14 people, according to a local official. It was the latest in a series of disasters involving substandard buildings in the city.

Our South Asia bureau chief writes that epic floods are “part of the landscape” in Mumbai, a megacity of 18 million built on a peninsula. This year’s monsoons have been especially heavy — not only for Mumbai, but across India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Tens of millions of people have been affected by months of flooding and mudslides, and more than 1,000 people have died.

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Yonhap, via European Pressphoto Agency

7. The U.S. and South Korea wrapped up their annual joint military exercises, flying some of their most powerful warplanes in live bombing drills. (Above, a meeting between military leaders from the two countries in Washington.) The drills were a big show of force just two days after North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan.

Tomorrow is the deadline for all U.S. citizens to leave North Korea to comply with new rules issued by the White House. Aid workers say the ban imperils their work fighting disease and teaching in the sealed, impoverished country, but its brutal government has repeatedly detained Americans for mild offenses. One U.S. student was returned this year in a coma, and died.

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Peter Nicholls/Reuters

8. “The mood was febrile, angry, reckless. Flowers were piled knee-deep at the gates of the royal palaces; grown men wept openly in the streets.”

That’s our writer recalling the scene in London after the death of Diana, 20 years ago today. One unlikely part of the princess’s legacy, she writes, is how she reshaped the monarchy that rejected her, and the country as well.

Other correspondents offered their recollections, including of the widespread rancor the royal family’s initial aloofness provoked. And one who was at the Paris hospital when Prince Charles arrived to take Diana’s body home answered readers’ questions in a Facebook Live segment.

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9. Think Christmas creep, but orange. Pumpkin spice products are already showing up on shelves, before many consumers have even changed out of their summer shorts.

This year’s offerings include Pumpkin Spice Cheerios and pumpkin-flavored coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, which says it is “doubling down on fall flavors.”

For the record, fall officially begins on Sept. 22.

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Continental Distributing/Photofest

10. Finally, Warner Bros. reportedly reached a deal to remake the 1954 novel “Lord of the Flies,” as a movie, but featuring girls, not boys, set free on an island with no adults. Above, the 1963 version of the film.

The news set off criticism from online commenters who said an all-girl island would never devolve into the kind of chaos seen in the story, which of course, is frequently assigned in schools and examines the inherent evil of humanity. (It didn’t help that the film will be written and directed by two men.)

Others questioned the notion that girls don’t fight, in real life or on the big screen. Many invoked “Mean Girls.”

Have a great night.

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

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