Hurricane Michael, Georgia, Stock Markets: Your Friday Briefing
Pope accepts resignation of Washington archbishop
Pope Francis this morning accepted Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s offer to step down, a moment many victims of clerical sexual abuse had hoped would demonstrate the pontiff’s commitment to holding accountable bishops who have mismanaged cases of sexual misconduct.
But instead of making an example of Cardinal Wuerl, who was named in a recent Pennsylvania grand jury report that accused church leaders of covering up abuse, Francis held him up as a model. The pope cited Cardinal Wuerl’s “nobility” and announced that the 77-year-old prelate would stay on as the archdiocese’s caretaker until the appointment of his successor.
• In an interview: Cardinal Wuerl said that he would continue to live in Washington and that he expected to keep his position in Vatican offices that exert great influence, including one that advises the pope on the appointment of bishops.
Disinformation, Made in the U.S.A.
Before the 2016 election, Russian operatives exploited Facebook and Twitter to try to sway U.S. voters. Now, weeks before the midterm elections, such influence campaigns are increasingly being created by Americans, for Americans.
Facebook said on Thursday that it would remove around 800 pages and accounts run by Americans, many of which amplified false and misleading content in a coordinated fashion. And Twitter took down 50 accounts this month thought to be run by Americans posing as Republican lawmakers.
Separately, advocacy groups in Georgia have filed a lawsuit after reports that Brian Kemp, the secretary of state and the Republican nominee for governor, stalled more than 53,000 voter registrations, including a disproportionately high number of black voters.
• From the soul: Kanye West delivered a 10-minute monologue to President Trump at the White House on Thursday.
• The first lady: Melania Trump said in an interview that she is “the most bullied person” in the world.
What next for the markets?
The performance of Asian markets suggested that investor fears may be calming today, after a spate of bad news on Wall Street and beyond this week. Futures markets that track U.S. stocks are rising this morning, while those tracking Europe are mixed.
Stocks on Wall Street fell for a sixth day on Thursday, setting the stage for another bad October.
President Trump responded to the news by lashing out at the Federal Reserve, calling it “crazy,” “loco,” “going wild” and “out of control” for slowly raising interest rates. The intensity and frequency of Mr. Trump’s attacks on the Fed have some experts worrying about its independence.
• “The Argument”: new from our Opinion section. Three columnists from across the political spectrum — Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt — make sense of the news, without pretending that they agree about it. This week: the future of the Supreme Court and the future of #MeToo.
• China’s road into Europe
A Chinese state-owned company is building a bridge in Croatia with European Union funds. The project will be a test case for the bloc, which is worried about Beijing’s growing influence.
• The week in good news
Anthony Mancinelli, 107, is the world’s oldest barber. He’s been cutting hair for close to a century, and he’s not done yet. His was one of seven stories that inspired us.
• Best of late-night TV
Trevor Noah summed up his view of Kanye West’s visit to the White House: “I really enjoyed seeing Kanye make Trump feel the way Trump makes us feel everyday.”
• Quotation of the day
“These were all block and stucco houses — gone. The mother of all bombs doesn’t do any more damage than this.”
— Tom Bailey, the former mayor of Mexico Beach, Fla., on the damage from Hurricane Michael.
• The Times, in other words
Here’s an image of today’s front page, and links to our Opinion content and crossword puzzles.
• What we’re reading
Our Interpreter columnists Max Fisher and Amy Taub recommend this Twitter thread: “Erin Ruberry, a writer, posted a series of images showing how zoo professionals weigh various baby animals — baby panda, baby penguin, baby giraffe, you name it.”
Quite a few readers wrote to us last week to take issue with this sentence at the end of a briefing: “His whereabouts is unknown.”
Surely, they wrote, it should be “whereabouts are.”
Well, yes and no.
Times editors consult an in-house style guide for grammar and spelling questions like this. And the entry for “whereabouts” tells us to “construe it as a singular.”
While “whereabouts” is commonly used as a noun, it began as an adverb (“Whereabouts are you from?”). That means the “s” at the end is an adverbial suffix — think of “always” or “besides” — and not an indicator of a plural noun.
Historically, “whereabouts” has been considered both singular and plural when used as a noun, though in recent years the plural has been winning out.
Philip Corbett, our top editor for standards, said that in cases of two acceptable usages, the Times stylebook often specifies one, and sometimes the more traditional one.
“At some point,” he said, “we may have to consider whether to change our stylebook guidance, if only to avoid distracting readers who may believe that the singular usage is wrong.”
Interested in grammar and usage questions? Check out our copy editing quizzes.
Jennifer Jett wrote today’s Back Story.
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