Facebook, Manafort, Homemade Guns: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing

Facebook, Manafort, Homemade Guns: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing
Facebook, Manafort, Homemade Guns: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. “We face determined, well-funded adversaries who will never give up and are constantly changing tactics.”

Facebook announced that its investigation into election interference had uncovered an ongoing coordinated influence campaign ahead of the midterms.

The company worked with the F.B.I. to investigate the fake accounts involved, on Facebook and Instagram. The accounts dealt with divisive issues like #AbolishICE and fanned sentiments against white supremacists.

Facebook officials said it wasn’t yet clear “who may be behind this” but that Russia might be involved.

2. There’s a race against the clock to keep blueprints for “ghost guns” from going online.

Those are weapons made using a 3-D printer. Largely made of plastic and without serial numbers, they are invisible to metal detectors, circumvent background checks and are untraceable by law enforcement.

A deal with the government allows Defense Distributed, a nonprofit group in Texas, to publish the instructions as of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. Eight states and the District of Columbia joined a federal lawsuit to block it, and President Trump said in a tweet that he was looking into the issue.

3. As migrant families are reunited, many parents say their children aren’t the same.

More than 1,800 children have been returned to their parents in recent weeks. Many show signs of anxiety, regression and other mental health issues, according to reports from lawyers, immigrant advocates and volunteers working with reunited families.

One mother was separated from her 5-year-old son for 50 days.

He used to love playing with Minions, the impish characters from “Despicable Me.” Now his favorite game is patting down and shackling “migrants” with plastic cuffs.

4. Paul Manafort’s trial got off to a quick start, with a jury seated in a single day. The proceedings — focused on charges of bank and tax fraud — are expected to last at least three weeks.

The judge is working hard to keep questions about Russian influence out of the proceedings, as those are part of a different set of charges facing Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s one-time campaign chairman.

But, as our investigative reporter writes, “the subtext — whether Mr. Manafort knew about Russian efforts to influence the election, and whether the threat of conviction could lead him to cooperate with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III — weighs not just on the prosecution and defense, but on the White House as well.”

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5. Britt Grant, a Supreme Court justice in Georgia, was narrowly confirmed to a federal appeals court. It was President Trump’s 24th circuit court appointment, an extraordinary number that underscores his ever-expanding imprint on the judiciary.

Mr. Trump and Senate Republicans still have their eyes trained on seating Brett Kavanaugh, above, on the United States Supreme Court.

But it’s worth noting that federal appeals appointments also have lifetime terms, and their judges hear far more cases.

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6. Woe the king penguin.

The world’s largest colony, on a remote Indian Ocean island, appears to have lost 90 percent of its population. In 1982, the island had roughly 500,000 breeding pairs, above; now, using satellite imagery, researchers estimate those numbers have dwindled to 60,000 pairs.

Scientists suspect climate change has played a role, but diseases or competition for resources could also be to blame.

Researchers won’t be able to reach the island to do a real head count until late 2019. But if their current estimates are accurate, it could push the global population into endangered status.

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7. Our climate reporter returned to Kolkata, India, her birthplace, to see how the city is faring. In short? Not very well.

The city’s natural resources — the Ganges River, lakes and creeks that could contain heavy rain, soft soil that could hold groundwater — are being destroyed.

Kolkata — once a city of empire, then a city of jazz, then a city synonymous with destitution — is becoming a casualty of climate change, she writes.

8. A novel journalistic experiment: New Jersey lawmakers are dedicating public funds for local newsgathering, a first-of-its-kind initiative.

New legislation set aside $5 million from the sale of old public television licenses, creating a nonprofit consortium that would fund reporting projects and bolster civic engagement.

Years ago, public officials and journalists may have been wary of any state intrusion into reporting. But times are changing, and there has been little outcry.

“I think it’s one of the smartest investments that government can make to protect our democracy and our rights,” a state lawmaker said.

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9. “It helps to keep moving.”

Alan Alda announced he had been found to have Parkinson’s disease more than three years ago.

The actor, whose TV hit “M*A*S*H” may never leave reruns, said he wanted to reassure people that they do not have to be fearful after a diagnosis. “I’ve had a full life since,” he said on CBS’s “This Morning.”

After the interview, he tweeted a video of himself juggling.

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10. Finally, Stephen Colbert had harsh words for his boss, the CBS chief Les Moonves, who was accused of sexual misconduct. (Despite the allegations, Mr. Moonves is staying in place, at least for now.)

“He has stood by us when people were mad at me, and I like working for him,” Colbert said.

“But accountability is meaningless unless it’s for everybody — whether it’s the leader of a network or the leader of the free world.”

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

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