California, Trump, CBS: Your Monday Evening Briefing(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)
Good evening. Here’s the latest.
1. In Northern California, the death toll from the Carr Fire rose to six, and seven people are missing. The fire is only 20 percent contained, and it’s just one of about a dozen that emergency response crews have battled around the state in recent days. Above, a scene in Redding.
Scientists link the new frequency and intensity of the state’s fires to climate change, which is also a driver of record-breaking heat waves around the world.
We talked to people experiencing extreme temperatures on four continents, including a worker at an Algerian oil plant who walked off the job as the temperature hit 124 degrees Fahrenheit. “We couldn’t keep up,” he recalled. “It was impossible to do the work. It was hell.”
On Wednesday, The Times Magazine comes out with a special single-story issue about the science of climate change. Sign up here to be notified when it’s published.
2. President Trump reiterated a threat to shut down the federal government if Congress doesn’t grant his demand to build his long-promised wall with Mexico.
“I would have no problem doing a shutdown,” Mr. Trump said during a 40-minute news conference held with Giuseppe Conte, the visiting Italian prime minister, above. “We’re the laughingstock of the world.”
He also said that he would meet with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran “with no preconditions.” Such a meeting is exceedingly unlikely, given the anger among Iranian leaders over Mr. Trump’s abrupt withdrawal from the nuclear deal.
3. The Trump administration is also considering bypassing Congress to grant a $100 billion tax cut mainly to the wealthy.
The idea is that the Treasury Department could change the definition of “cost” for calculating capital gains, allowing taxpayers to adjust the initial value of an asset, like a home or a share of stock, for inflation when they sell. Above, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
The legally tenuous maneuver would fulfill a long-held dream of many investors and conservatives — and face a near-certain court challenge.
4. There’s just 99 days to go until the midterms.
The battleground is broader than expected, and includes a fair share of pro-Trump districts. That’s a good sign for Democrats. Our Upshot columnist broke down each party’s prospects.
There are oddities. In one House race in Virginia, a Democratic nominee accused her Republican opponent of campaigning with white supremacists and being the author of Bigfoot-themed erotica.
Yes, you read that correctly.
5. The trial of Paul Manafort starts on Tuesday. The veteran Republican political operative is facing financial fraud charges, but questions about Russian involvement in the 2016 Trump campaign hang heavily over the proceedings. Here’s what’s at stake.
And here’s how an American media celebrity in Italy helped put Mr. Manafort in jail.
6. A $100 billion Los Angeles-to-San Francisco bullet train has moved off the drawing board and on to 21 construction sites spread across five Central California counties.
It’s still nowhere near fully funded, however, and most Californians oppose the project.
Beginning construction without all of the financing in place represents a strategic gamble by the state’s rail authority, and by Jerry Brown, the outgoing governor, who has championed the project.
7. Leslie Moonves, the embattled chief executive of CBS Corporation, is keeping his job. (At least for now.)
Days after the publication of a New Yorker article detailing six women’s allegations against Mr. Moonves of sexual harassment, the company’s board of directors met for three hours. Afterward, the company said it was “in the process of selecting outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation.”
There was no immediate action against Mr. Moonves, who draws an annual pay package worth $69.3 million.
8. An investigation by the Malaysian authorities into the fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was unable to determine what happened to the plane.
The disappearance four years ago is one of the enduring mysteries of aviation history, and has promoted all manner of conspiracy theories. Above, a mural in Kuala Lumpur.
The chief investigator said the evidence, including the plane’s change of course and the switching off of a transponder, “irresistibly point” to unlawful interference. But he said there was no indication of who might have interfered — or why.
9. One day, a robot might make your bed.
Inside the world’s top artificial intelligence labs, researchers are getting closer to creating robotic hands that can mimic the real thing.
Our tech reporters paid a visit to learn how it all works — and you can see the robot hands in action in their article.
10. Finally, it’s dog vs. cat on the internet, and our souls may be at stake.
In a new episode of her video series “Internetting With Amanda Hess,” the host investigates how dogs seem to be moving in on cat territory as the mascot of our online lives.
Have a great night.
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