Stimulus, Beirut, National Seashores: Your Thursday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. Another disappointing monthly job report is looming over lawmakers locked in stimulus talks.

The Labor Department will report Friday on how many jobs the economy created in July as America climbs back from the depths of the pandemic recession. New claims for unemployment benefits have exceeded 1 million a week for 20 straight weeks, though the latest figure was not as dire as in some weeks early in the pandemic. Above, a job center in Helena, Ark.

There is a good chance that senators will not reach a deal on an economic rescue package before they leave Washington on Friday for a one-month recess. President Trump threatened to act unilaterally by issuing a series of executive orders, which may have helped lift the S&P 500 near a record high.

Separately, Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio tested positive for the virus as he was screened to greet Mr. Trump in Cleveland. He did not meet with the president.

2. America’s failure to control the virus has set it apart among wealthy nations. We investigated to try to understand why, and two themes emerged.

First, the U.S. faced longstanding challenges in confronting a major pandemic, including the prioritizing of individuals over government restrictions and an unequal health care system. The second is the Trump administration’s defiance of expert advice.

Meanwhile, schools continue to open on shaky ground. Photos of a packed school in Dallas, Ga., above, have quickly come to symbolize a chaotic first week back in U.S. classrooms.

And experts are revising their views on the best methods to detect infections, saying quicker but less accurate testing may be the best chance to rein in the sprawling outbreaks.

3. Europe is a facing a viral resurgences.

The scale is nowhere near that in the U.S., but France reported 1,695 new cases on Wednesday, and Germany reported more than 1,000 on Thursday — higher numbers than either had seen in months. Other Western European countries, like Spain and Belgium, are also experiencing surges.

Some health experts said Germans were becoming lax about upholding social-distancing and mask-wearing requirements. Above, Berlin this week.

And a French scientific panel warned that a second wave of infections by the fall was “highly possible,” urging cities to prepare for new lockdowns.

4. International rescue teams arrived in Beirut as Lebanon entered a period of official mourning over the huge explosion that brought the capital to its knees.

Here’s what video footage tells us about the blast.

Public anger is growing over evidence that government negligence allowed more than 2,000 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate seized from a ship to be stored in the port for years. The port, a crucial economic hub, has been destroyed, and with it the nation’s grain supply, raising concerns about food security in a country of 6.8 million people.

President Emmanuel Macron of France visited the area, but no major Lebanese politicians did so.

In an essay in Times Opinion, Lina Mounzer, a Lebanese writer and translator, connects the disaster to the warlords who have warped Lebanon for decades. “Yet I couldn’t imagine how spectacular and lethal the incompetence of the Lebanese state could be,” she says.

5. New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, filed a civil suit seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association over claims of corruption. The battle may take years.

Ms. James charged that years of improper action and misspending that enriched officials and their friends, families and allies had irreparably undermined the N.R.A.’s ability to operate as a nonprofit and cost the organization $64 million over three years.

Ms. James, who has regulatory authority over the group because it is chartered in New York, also sued four current or former top N.R.A. leaders, seeking tens of millions of dollars in restitution and the ouster of the group’s chief executive, Wayne LaPierre.

The lawsuit will leave the 148-year-old N.R.A. — long the nation’s most influential gun-rights lobby — fighting for survival. The group has recently been hobbled by financial woes and infighting.

6. This year is shaping up to be one of the most active hurricane seasons on record.

Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there could be 19 to 25 named storms (those with sustained winds above 38 miles an hour) by the time the season ends on Nov. 30. Seven to 11 could be hurricanes.

Forecasters originally predicted 12 to 19 named storms, but the season has already brought nine — the most on record for the first two months of a season — including Hurricane Isaias, above, which dealt a powerful blow to the Bahamas and much of the East Coast of the U.S. this week.

7. Aug. 6, 1945.

Setsuko Thurlow was 13 years old and in Hiroshima when the U.S. dropped the first of two atomic bombs on Japan. Ever since, she has been fighting for the abolition of nuclear weapons, sharing a Nobel Peace Prize for the work in 2017.

Our Tokyo bureau chief’s profile of Ms. Thurlow, now 88, comes on the 75th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing and serves as a reminder of the urgency of hearing the stories of a dwindling number of survivors.

A new book documents the human impact of the bombings, which ended World War II, with photographs that the U.S. once banned both at home and in Japan.

8. Professional athletes voicing exasperation in the heat of the moment is nothing new. Doing so without the sound buffer of a live crowd is entirely different.

As Major League Baseball stages an untraditional 60-game campaign amid the pandemic, players and coaches are trying to be more mindful of their colorful language. They’re doing so with varying levels of success.

The league also tightened its safety protocols in an effort to slow virus outbreaks among teams. Players and staff members must restrict their travel and, in the ballpark, wear face coverings when they aren’t on the field, such as in the dugout and the bullpen.

9. A slice of summer by the (national) seashore.

From California to Cape Cod, federally protected coastlines offer a different kind of outdoor experience: The primary attraction is water and uncrowded stretches of sand. Today, the National Park Service protects 809,000 acres of shorelines abutting thousands of miles of oceans and lakes. Here are eight of the most scenic ones, like Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia, above.

Public pools have been more subdued than usual. We visited a popular pool complex in the East Bay area of California that lacked the normal flap of flip-flops and splashy entrances. Still, a small group of kids had enough time during family swim hour to pretend to be mermaids.

10. And finally, a different kind of back to school.

Giuseppe Paternò graduated with honors last week from the University of Palermo, with a degree in history and philosophy. Mr. Paternò is 96.

That he reached his lifelong goal — despite an impoverished childhood, World War II and family demands — drew attention across Italy, resonating as millions of schoolchildren faced extraordinary uncertainty amid the pandemic.

“Don’t get lost because you find obstacles — because there will always be obstacles,” Mr. Paternò said after donning the traditional red-ribboned laurel wreath. “You have to be strong.”

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