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Good evening. Here’s the latest at the end of Thursday.
1. The gunman who killed 21 people in Uvalde, Texas, freely entered the elementary school, the authorities said.
As angry, grieving parents continued to question the school’s security protocols today, more information was released. New details about the gunman’s entry, revealed at a news conference, contradicted initial reports that a school district police officer had intervened.
The first 911 call came in at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, an official said. The police were there by 11:45 a.m. but were fired at and took cover, he said. A sharpshooter from the U.S. Border Patrol killed the gunman at about 1 p.m.
Witnesses said parents of students inside had desperately urged the police to storm the school. The father of one 9-year-old victim told The Times: “They said they rushed in and all that. We didn’t see that.” Rather, he said, they were “just standing out there.” An official at the news conference said that the scene was chaotic and that the investigation was continuing.
The husband of Irma Garcia, a teacher killed in the shooting, died today of a heart attack; this is what we know about the 21 victims so far. Check back here for more updates.
2. We asked every Republican senator how he or she would vote on gun control.
Democrats want a fast vote on measures passed by the House to strengthen background checks, which would expand criminal checks for purchasers on the internet and at gun shows, and allow the F.B.I. more time to investigate flagged buyers. Would any G.O.P. senators support them?
Of the senators who responded, most took no position or said they’d oppose the bills. Only four, including Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah, said they were open to such checks.
Republicans blocked action on a bill, introduced after the Buffalo shooting, to strengthen government efforts to combat domestic terrorism.
Why are Republicans so adamant about guns? Our chief Washington correspondent examined the question.
3. How will the Ukraine war end?
Some Ukrainian officials have vowed to fight until the country is free of Russian troops. Many European leaders support them, though France and Italy have suggested a territorial compromise. Henry Kissinger, a former secretary of state, said Ukraine should cede territory to win peace; Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, compared that proposal to appeasing Nazi Germany. Talks between Russia and Ukraine ground to a halt in March.
In Russia, the war’s economic toll is unmistakable. The prices of consumer goods are skyrocketing, and essentials like paper and buttons are in short supply. President Vladimir Putin pledged to implement social welfare measures like minimum wage and pension increases, and Russia’s central bank cut interest rates again.
4. Newly disclosed documents shed light on secret executive branch plans for apocalyptic scenarios — like the aftermath of a nuclear attack.
These classified directives, detailing wartime powers that may be invoked by the president, have in the past included steps like imposing martial law and censoring news from abroad. It has not been clear what is in the modern directives, but the new disclosures offer clues.
Some newly disclosed files relate to efforts to revise the draft orders during the George W. Bush administration after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, focusing on a law that permits the president to take over or shut down communications networks in wartime. The government may have developed or revised such an order in light of the explosive growth of the internet.
5. When it comes to monkeypox, many of us are asking: Am I at risk?
Experts said that most children and adults with healthy immune systems are likely to dodge severe illness. There are two high-risk groups: infants younger than 6 months and older adults, though the latter may retain immunity from smallpox vaccinations.
“The bottom line is that even those that were vaccinated many decades before maintain a very, very high level of antibodies and the ability to neutralize the virus,” said Dr. Luigi Ferrucci, scientific director of the National Institute on Aging. “Even if they were vaccinated 50 years ago, that protection should still be there.”
6. Kevin Spacey was charged with sexual assault in Britain.
The country’s Crown Prosecution Service said that criminal charges had been authorized against the American actor for four counts of sexual assault against three men, and that Spacey had “also been charged with causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.”
The charges concerned incidents dated from 2005, 2008 and 2013, when Spacey was artistic director of the Old Vic theater in London. A spokesman for the service said Spacey could not be formally charged unless he entered England or Wales, but he declined to comment on whether the service would pursue extradition proceedings if that did not occur.
In other crime news, Nancy Brophy, a 71-year-old romance novelist who wrote about “How to Murder Your Husband” was convicted in her husband’s killing.
7. College enrollment dropped this spring, even as the effects of the pandemic ebb.
The latest enrollment figures indicated that 662,000 fewer students enrolled in undergraduate programs in spring 2022 than a year earlier, a decline of 4.7 percent. Graduate and professional student enrollment, which had been a bright spot during the pandemic, also declined 1 percent from last year.
“It suggests that there’s a broader question about the value of college,” said Doug Shapiro, the executive director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, “and particularly concerns about student debt and paying for college and potential labor market returns.”
8. South Korean workers are turning the tables on their bosses.
The country has one of the longest workweeks among wealthier nations, and abusive behavior from bosses is often cited as a reason for its miserable work conditions. Bullying language, bribes, late pay and other forms of abuse are so common that the country now has a name for it: “gapjil.”
Recently, it’s led to a backlash. Government agencies, the police, civic groups and corporations are now offering “gapjil hotlines” encouraging citizens to blow the whistle on officials and bosses who abuse their authority.
9. Can Tom Cruise, in “Top Gun: Maverick,” still bring it? Yes.
The long-awaited sequel to the ’80s action blockbuster, opening tomorrow, is a defense of old-fashioned movie values in the face of streaming-era nihilism. The action sequences are tense and exuberant, and Cruise retains his “cocky, perennially boyish charm,” our critic A.O. Scott says. But on the ground, its world is textureless and generic.
Also opening tomorrow: “The Bob’s Burgers Movie,” a breezy, engaging big-screen adaptation of the beloved sitcom.
Streaming: Season 4 of the Netflix megahit “Stranger Things” premieres tomorrow, but our critic writes that it falls flat.
In other film news, Ray Liotta, who played the intense gangster Henry Hill in “Goodfellas” and “the nicest guy in the world” on the soap opera “Another World,” died at 67.
10. And finally, the not-so-simple ice cream cone.
When you order an ice cream cone, whether from Mister Softee, Dairy Queen or a local shop, there’s a good chance it’s a product of Joy Baking Group, which by one estimate makes 60 to 70 percent of cones sold in food service. Its philosophy: People want familiarity, not creativity.
Even so, said David George, the company president — his grandfather Albert co-founded Joy in 1918 — “a whole lot of engineering” goes into it. Our detailed piece on cones, part of our “Great Read” series, will (forgive us) give you the scoop.
Have a sweet evening.
Eve Edelheit compiled photos for this briefing.
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