Unemployment, Protests, Black Hole: Your Friday Evening Briefing


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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. The economic crush of the pandemic took an unexpected turn.

The U.S. added millions of jobs in May, reversing some of the losses from pandemic-induced layoffs, with significant gains in sectors including restaurants, construction, retail and health services.

The data suggests that reopened states and cities allowed some businesses to bring back furloughed employees. Still, the unemployment rate, which fell to 13.3 percent from 14.7 percent in April, remains higher than in any recent recession, with tens of millions of people out of work.

The surprising upswing raised fears that lawmakers could shut off aid prematurely, leaving millions of Americans stranded without work. The line for an A.T.M. in New York City, above, tells a vivid story about the country’s struggle to meet unemployment needs

2. President Trump, citing the positive jobs report, said it was a “great day” for George Floyd.

“Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that’s happening for our country,” Mr. Trump said. “It’s a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody. This is a great day in terms of equality.”

The president’s assertion was remarkable given that the White House has constructed a fortified fence around the complex to deter demonstrations calling for justice for Mr. Floyd, who was pinned by the neck for almost nine minutes as he lay face down and handcuffed on the pavement, saying “I can’t breathe.”

The city of Washington, D.C., countered Friday morning by painting a two-block-long mural on the streets leading to the White House with the words “Black Lives Matter,” above.

New York City officers have charged and swung batons at demonstrators after curfew with seemingly little provocation, and engaged in an aggressive enforcement tactic known as kettling. Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would review any reports of inappropriate enforcement.

4. Protests against police brutality have raged in Louisville, Ky., over the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Now demonstrators have added another name to the list: David McAtee.

Mr. McAtee, who owned a popular barbecue stand, was killed on Monday in a volley of bullets fired by police officers and the National Guard. His death is under investigation by federal and state authorities in Kentucky.

The Times analyzed videos of the shooting to show how the episode unfolded — and how questionable police tactics played a role.

Mr. McAtee is remembered as a man who reached out to his mostly black community through his food — regulars, police officers and the homeless, alike.

5. “If you’re not going to stand, I’d say your only other option is to take a knee.”

That was the advice Nate Boyer, a former Green Beret, gave fellow football players Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reed as a call to end racial injustice, above in 2016. The gesture, performed during the national anthem, quickly became a national rallying cry to end police brutality.

Within a week of George Floyd’s death, kneeling became common among demonstrators. Taking a knee might be a simple gesture, but the fraught, contentious opinions about it are a mirror into the complexity of race in America.

Racial justice, outrage, community and change are among the themes being expressed by scores of artists. Here is a selection.

6. Students are falling behind at alarming rates as they are forced to study from home.

New research suggests that some American children, especially those in low-income households and rural areas, may lose the equivalent of a full year’s worth of academic gains by the time school restarts — if it restarts — in September.

Racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps will most likely widen because of distance learning. That’s not because of parental involvement — rich and poor families spend roughly the same amount of time helping their children with schoolwork — but rather disparities in school resources and access to technology.

Remote education is “maybe a fraction of what they would be learning if they were in an actual school setting,” said Danielle Grady, above, with her daughters in Los Angeles.

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7. Tourist trails led to the death of elephants in Thailand’s oldest nature preserve. The coronavirus lockdown is allowing them to roam freely again.

Khao Yai has been closed to human visitors for the first time since it opened in 1962. Rarely spotted animals, like the Asian black bear or the gaur, the world’s largest bovine, have emerged, too, one of many instances of the pandemic giving nature a breather around the world.

8. Roberta Cowell became famous as the first woman known to undergo sex reassignment surgery in Britain in the 1950s. By the time of her death in 2011 she was all but forgotten.

But Cowell, above in 1954, was more than a trans trailblazer: She also crash-landed her stricken warplane and was taken prisoner by the Germans. Twice she tried to escape and twice she failed. It’s the latest addition to our Overlooked obituary series.

We’ll continue to mark Pride month in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here are 10 comic books that celebrate L.G.B.T.Q. figures and seven films that deliver the spirit of Pride.

9. And now for a black hole blowing bubbles.

Astronomers caught sight of a black hole shooting blobs of electrified gas and energy into space at nearly the speed of light. Each bubble contained about 400 million billion pounds of matter — about 1,000 Halley’s comets’ worth.

The observations will also help astronomers better understand how black holes, often the corpses of stars that have died and collapsed, produce their cosmic fireworks, researchers said.

10. Lastly, rosé for all seasons.

“Drinking rosé this year does not feel like the usual sort of blithe summer pastime,” writes Eric Asimov, our wine columnist. The news is heavy, overshadowing any traditional lighthearted pleasures.

But good wine is still good wine. And yes, it’s pink, but that’s not its only redeeming quality. In his monthly Wine School column, he compares three rosés that differ radically from one another. Here are the bottles he suggests.

Cheers to the weekend.

Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.

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