Iran, Supreme Court, Giant Squid: Your Friday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. President Trump said that the U.S. military was “cocked and loaded” for a strike against Iran but that he called it off when told, with just minutes to spare, that 150 people would probably die.

In a series of tweets on Friday morning, Mr. Trump said the military action was 10 minutes out when he decided the death toll would not be “proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”

It was unclear why Mr. Trump, pictured at the White House on Thursday, would have received this information so late in the process, something that is typically discussed early in the deliberations between a president and national security officials. Here’s what we know about the escalation overnight.

As diplomats try to ratchet down tensions, some of them worry that hard-liners in Iran could be emboldened to further test Mr. Trump’s resolve.

2. A white Mississippi prosecutor violated the Constitution by excluding black jurors from a trial of a black man, the Supreme Court ruled.

Curtis Flowers, a death row inmate who was convicted of murdering four people in 1996 in a furniture store, has been tried six times by the same prosecutor with a record of striking black potential jurors. The ruling clears the way for a seventh trial of Mr. Flowers should prosecutors wish to pursue one.

3. The partisan split on climate policy has become stark.

As a growing number of blue states have adopted sweeping new climate laws, Republican-led states have largely resisted enacting aggressive new policies in recent years. Our climate reporter takes a broad look at how that may cement an economic and social divide for years to come.

Separately, an Indian city of nearly five million people is running out of water. Satellite photographs reveal the stark shrinking of one of the main rain-fed reservoirs, above, that serves Chennai, one of the biggest cities in the country.


4. On the surface, all seemed warm as North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, above left, played host to his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, above right, this week. But its brevity — 24 hours — suggests that all was not so smooth, analysts say.

“It took 14 years for China’s leader to take the two-hour flight to the capital of its closest ally,” one analyst said. “North Korea has long schemed to survive as an independent entity rather than be China’s sidekick.”

Both leaders were seeking leverage in their separate disputes with the U.S., analysts said, and the meeting seemed hastily arranged to precede Mr. Xi’s expected talks with President Trump in Japan next week.


5. A phantom of the deep has re-emerged.

Seven years after scientists caught the elusive giant squid on video, the same camera system has captured the deep-sea cephalopod for a second time. About 20 hours into a recording, just 100 miles off the coast of New Orleans, sharp points of tentacles began sneaking into the submerged camera’s view.

“My heart felt like exploding,” one researcher said. Watch the video here.

In other rare sightings: On New York’s Fire Island, the piping plover population has nearly doubled since Hurricane Sandy in 2012, scientists report. The birds, above, have been the focus of intensive conservation efforts for decades.


6. Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street banks have highly rated corporate policies for accommodating trans employees. But what is it really like to come out as trans at a big bank?

This is how Maeve DuVally, above, an employee in Goldman’s buttoned-up communications department and one of the bank’s few trans employees, became herself at work.

Separately, a new study found that the computer science gender gap won’t close for 100 years. Women and men will produce the same volume of medical research by 2048, but that won’t happen in computer science until 2137.

7. The N.B.A. is in for an extreme makeover this summer.

Two-thirds of Thursday’s draft picks were traded, and the real drama hasn’t even begun, our basketball reporter writes. It was just a prelude to the looming free-agent frenzy. Here’s our analysis of every pick in the first round.

It wasn’t all about the game: This year’s draft class wore gold chains, purple pinstripes and a snakeskin suit. But, as stars, will they be allowed to feel as good as they looked? Wesley Morris explains.


8. It’s time to paint the town rainbow: WorldPride arrives in New York City next weekend.

There’s no shortage of things to do in the city during Pride month, and for our latest 36 Hours installment, we’ve rounded up 13 ways to spend a June weekend during the height of celebrations.

9. Ariana Grande was updating pop. Then Billie Eilish, above, came along.

From a distance, the musicians represent divergent approaches to the genre’s superstardom. But concerts by the two singers this week showed how they’re grappling with the same questions, our music critic writes.

For something a little more esoteric, our Opinion section considers the legacy of the pianist Sviatoslav Teofilovich Richter, who died in 1997. Tormented by depression, he began to believe he needed a plastic lobster to perform. The filmmaker Errol Morris investigates.


10. And finally, fire up the grill.

Flank steak is a summer grilling standard. Melissa Clark recommends flavoring the brawny, beefy cut with tangy Worcestershire sauce, garlic and herbs, and topping it off with charred ripe tomatoes.

“It’s as satisfying and summery a meal as any steak lover could want,” she writes. If you’re in the mood for something else — from pizza to asparagus — our grilling guide has just the ticket.

Happy summer solstice, happy weekend.


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