Also, the Nobel Prize in Literature. Here’s the latest at the end of Thursday.
Confronted with a surge of migrants, the Biden administration has decided to waive more than 20 federal laws and regulations, including environmental ones, to build barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border. The move is a remarkable reversal for a president who campaigned vociferously against a wall and halted its construction on his first day in office.
President Biden said today that he still believed that the border wall was ineffective, but he insisted that he had no choice but to use money that was already appropriated for the wall’s construction. The homeland security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, argued that there was “an acute and immediate need” for the barriers “in order to prevent unlawful entries into the United States.”
The move is one of the starkest signs yet of the challenges Biden is wrestling with, as humanitarian crises across the world drive more migrants to the border, and while a deeply divided Congress leaves in place an outdated, dysfunctional immigration system.
News that the wall would be expanded broke as three members of Biden’s cabinet were traveling to Mexico for meetings with the country’s leader on a host of issues, including migration and border security. Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, denounced the new construction, saying it stands “contrary” to what Biden had been arguing.
In related news, the Biden administration will start deporting Venezuelans who crossed into the country illegally.
Opposition to Ukraine aid has become a litmus test for the right
The Republican meltdown that toppled the House speaker this week has highlighted a sharp decline in G.O.P. support for continuing to send aid to Ukraine. A small group of rebellious House Republicans joined with Democrats to remove Kevin McCarthy after accusing him of making a “secret side deal” with Biden over funding for Kyiv. And now opposition to aid has become a key issue in the race to replace McCarthy, making clear that the right-wing message is gaining momentum among Republicans.
The shift is striking for a party that has long defined itself by a belief in a muscular U.S. military defending democracy around the world. Republican intransigence could greatly hamper the ability of the Biden administration to fulfill its promise to support the Ukrainian military for the long haul.
In Ukraine, at least 51 people were killed when a rocket struck a wake at a shop in the northeastern village of Hroza. It was one of the biggest losses of civilian life since the war began.
Big chip makers are pushing back against Biden
For the last year, the Biden administration has been working to restrict China’s access to semiconductor technology. Now the administration is drafting additional limits on Beijing’s ability to make modern-day weapons.
But their efforts have been delayed by complaints from Nvidia, Intel and Qualcomm, three of the world’s largest chip makers. The companies have warned that cutting sales to China would gut their businesses and ultimately derail the administration’s plan to build new semiconductor factories in the U.S.
Alabama’s new voting map likely boosts Democrats
A federal court ordered Alabama to use a new congressional map that increases the percentage of Black voters in a district long dominated by white voters. The order could lead to the election of two Black representatives for the first time in the state’s history and also to the pickup by Democrats of another seat in the House.
More top news
George Santos: The representative’s treasurer, who oversaw his campaign finances, pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Economy: Sharply rising borrowing costs have led many investors and economists to worry that the U.S. debt could be unsustainable.
Donald Trump: His lawyers asked a judge to postpone the former president’s documents trial until after the 2024 election.
Wisconsin: A man armed with a handgun was taken into custody after asking to see the governor. He posted bail and returned hours later with a rifle.
Guns: The rate of firearm deaths among U.S. children increased by 87 percent from 2011 through 2021.
Tupac’s murder: Grand jury witness testimony describes how hyperlocal clashes between warring gang factions led to the killing of the rapper.
Space: Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, said the company could land a spacecraft on Mars three to four years from now.
France: The country began a mass vaccination of 64 million ducks to protect the country’s flocks (and foie gras) from bird flu.
Media: The Wall Street Journal’s new top editor is moving away from some of the organization’s traditions.
TIME TO UNWIND
Jon Fosse was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature
The Nobel Prize in Literature, widely considered to be the most prestigious prize in the field, was awarded to the Norwegian novelist and playwright Jon Fosse. He is best known for an 800-page, seven-novel series with no sentence breaks, and was lauded by the Swedish Academy for his “plays and prose which give voice to the unsayable.”
Although his plays are widely staged on the continent, they rarely make a dent in London or New York, and Anglo-Saxon audiences can find them obtuse. For those new to Fosse, we have a guide to his work.
The genius behind Hollywood’s most indelible sets
In a film industry dominated by soundstages or computer-generated imagery, Jack Fisk stands apart.
Since the 1970s, he has been one of Hollywood’s most sought-after collaborators — legendary among writer-directors for his ability to help them realize their most ambitious projects. He prefers to build his sets from scratch, with exacting historical detail, and brings the past to life through a composition of landscapes, buildings, paint and props.
Fisk’s latest triumph: Martin Scorsese’s much anticipated feature “Killers of the Flower Moon,” where he created a replica of a 1920s boomtown.
Dinner table topics
Embracing color: During Paris Fashion Week, our photographer spotted almost every color on the streets and the runways.
Sharing a shower: A think tank says the best way to convert offices to apartments is “flexible co-living,” with communal kitchens and bathrooms.
Move over Machu Picchu: Peru has engaged in a grass-roots effort to elevate other well preserved or culturally significant archaeological sites.
Humans are scary: When mammals on a South African savanna were confronted with recordings of human voices, 19 species fled instantly. They were less frightened by lion sounds.
WHAT TO DO TONIGHT
Cook: This loaded baked frittata is just as good alone as it is in a sandwich.
Drink: Our wine critic recommended 10 zinfandels with varying price points.
Watch: These are the best movies and TV shows coming to Netflix this month.
Listen: Here are 15 streaming highlights from the vast catalog of Tzadik, an experimental label.
Compete: Coup and Cascadia are two of our favorite board games for adults.
Hunt: Which Los Angeles home would you buy with a $1.7 million budget?
Play: Here are today’s Spelling Bee, Wordle and Mini Crossword. Find all our games here.
ONE LAST THING
20- and 30-somethings aren’t giving up their tween pop
The volume is cranked up, theme songs from early 2000s Disney Channel hits are playing, and people are dancing. No, the setting is not a living room in 2006. It’s a bar in 2023.
From Disney Channel bops to Nickelodeon theme songs, tween pop from the 2000s is proving to be an unironic draw at parties across the country. For many adults, songs from Hannah Montana, the Jonas Brothers and the Cheetah Girls represent a less complicated time of childhood innocence.
“Whenever I hear that music, I forget that I’m an adult,” one 24-year-old partygoer said.
Have a youthful evening.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Matthew
Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox.
We welcome your feedback. Write to us at email@example.com.