John Brennan, Paul Manafort, ‘Crazy Rich Asians’: Your Thursday Briefing

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Good morning.

Here’s what you might want to know:

A report 72,000 overdose deaths

• The variety of Americans who died from drug overdoses final yr surpassed the best annual dying totals from H.I.V., automobile crashes or weapons, in keeping with new estimates from the Centers for Disease Control. That’s a rise of practically 10 p.c from a yr earlier.

Analysts level to 2 foremost causes for the surge: More Americans are utilizing opioids, and medicines have gotten extra lethal. The epidemic was initially concentrated in rural, white populations, nevertheless it’s changing into extra widespread.

According to the C.D.C., overdose deaths involving artificial opioids like fentanyl rose sharply, whereas deaths from heroin, prescription opioid tablets and methadone fell.

Trump cuts off a critic

• President Trump revoked the security clearance of John Brennan, a C.I.A. director below President Barack Obama, on Wednesday and threatened to do the identical to different former nationwide safety officers who offend him.

The president accused Mr. Brennan of “erratic” habits and “increasingly frenzied commentary.” In an Op-Ed for The Times this morning, Mr. Brennan stated that Mr. Trump was attempting to silence those that problem him, and that the president’s assertions that there was no collusion between his marketing campaign and Russia had been “hogwash.”

Separately, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York mocked Mr. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan on Wednesday, saying that America “was never that great.” Republicans pounced.

“Right now it’s really hard to be a Catholic”

• Members of the Roman Catholic Church are grappling with new revelations concerning the sexual abuse of greater than 1,000 younger folks by a whole lot of monks in Pennsylvania.

We spoke with Catholics across the U.S., lots of whom expressed frustration with the church’s management. “As far as priests and nuns being believed, that’s gone,” one parishioner stated. “The authority is gone.”

We additionally clarify why the report is unlikely to lead to criminal charges.

An unsurprising disaster in Italy

• Years earlier than a bridge collapsed in Genoa this week, the construction required fixed restore, and specialists raised quite a few alarms that it might be harmful.

The collapse, which brought about not less than 39 deaths, prompted an intense round of finger-pointing on Wednesday and raised questions on how a lot of Italy’s ageing, usually uncared for infrastructure is in danger.

“We are tired of crying for the dead,” one resident stated. Read more reaction from Genoa here.

The catastrophe poses a problem to the nation’s new governing coalition, which rode to workplace on populist discontent however is led by folks with little or no authorities expertise.

Noteworthy

A free press wants you

The Times joined a whole lot of newspapers at present in publishing editorials concerning the worth of America’s free press, when a number of the most damaging assaults towards the information media come from authorities officers. Read our editorial, as well as excerpts from others.

Madonna at 60

Power. Innovation. Identity. Madonna has blended all of those and extra right into a singular, boundary-crossing profession in music, style, motion pictures and extra.

For her 60th birthday at present, our writers listed 60 ways she has influenced our culture.

Saving us from our telephones

Having secured our consideration extra utterly than anybody anticipated, Silicon Valley now concedes that it might be time to present a few of it again. Our author explores the rise of the “attention economy.”

The Times, in different phrases

Here’s a picture of today’s front page, and hyperlinks to our Opinion content and crossword puzzles.

What we’re studying

Kevin Roose, our tech columnist, recommends this Reuters investigation: “Facebook’s struggles against misinformation and hate speech in America get a lot of attention. But outside the U.S., it’s often much worse. This report breaks down what happened in Myanmar, where viral hoaxes on Facebook fueled ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims. And it shows how Facebook tried but failed to rein in the lies, underscoring how deep its issues run.”

Back Story

Charles Bukowski, the prolific poet and novelist whose work has been known as “aggressively vulgar and clandestinely sensitive,” provided loads of musings on drinking, love and cats.

But the perfect recommendation from the “King of the Underground,” who was born in Germany on today in 1920, could be “Don’t try.”

The poet Charles Bukowski in 1980.CreditAssociated Press

Those phrases seem on Mr. Bukowski’s tombstone, and a few followers really feel they align with recommendation from the Chinese thinker Lao Tzu: “The world is won by those who let it go! But when you try and try, the world is then beyond the winning.”

With that philosophy, nevertheless, it could be tough to supply as a lot as Mr. Bukowski did.

Abel Debritto, who has written extensively about him, stated Mr. Bukowski wrote about 5,000 poems. When he died in 1994, he left his writer a trove of unpublished works, which have since been steadily launched.

Mr. Debritto stated the poet’s earliest written reference to the motto is a letter from 1963: “You don’t try. That’s very important,” Mr. Bukowski stated in explaining the artistic course of.

“It’s like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks you make a pet out of it.”

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