Virginia, Trade, Stonewall: Your Weekend Briefing

Here are the week’s top stories, and a look ahead.


1. “This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach.”

That was Mayor Bobby Dyer after 12 people were killed in a shooting at a municipal center there. Most of the victims worked for the Virginia Beach government, several of them for decades.

The gunman, who also died, was identified as a longtime city worker, and was “still employed” by the city at the time of the attack, said David Hansen, the Virginia Beach city manager. Officials did not discuss a motive for the attack, but said the shooting left “a horrific crime scene.”

2. President Trump added a new issue to the global trade war: immigration.

Overruling several top advisers, he threatened to impose escalating tariffs on imports from Mexico in an effort to force action on illegal immigration. Trade tensions had already led American companies to shift operations to Mexico from China. Now that strategy may be upended.

It’s not just avocados. These products could be affected by new tariffs on Mexican imports. Above, trucks waiting in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, to cross the border into the U.S.

This week, the president and first lady head to Britain, Ireland and France for official visits. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is also in Europe.

3. Benjamin Netanyahu has rebounded from so many political defeats that he is called a magician. This time, there may be no more tricks.

Just seven weeks after one nationwide vote, Israel fell into unprecedented political chaos when Mr. Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, failed to form a governing coalition. He was one parliamentary seat short of starting a fourth consecutive term, but he may not get any closer, our reporter writes in an analysis.

President Trump’s stake in the region is also at a crossroads. The president’s Middle East peace plan could end up becoming a vehicle to bolster Mr. Netanyahu’s political fortunes.


4. Back in the U.S., Democratic candidates are hoping to go viral.

With voters increasingly getting information online and from TV, candidates are traveling to a wide range of states, viewing them as sound stages for delivering their messages. And within the crowded Democratic field of presidential hopefuls, a series of primaries-within-the-primary along lines of race, gender, age and ideology are developing.

Do you love town halls as much as our reporters? They’ll be analyzing an appearance by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, pictured above last week, on Fox News on Sunday at 7 p.m. Eastern time, on the NYTimes app or at

5. Severe weather affected millions of Americans this past week.

Tornadoes left at least seven dead in May alone, and a small town in Oklahoma became a virtual island after floods. Above, tornado debris in El Reno, Okla.

It’s been a particularly challenging time for American farmers. First it was the trade war with China. Then, historic flooding made things really complicated. The House is expected to act on a long-delayed disaster relief package when it returns from recess on Monday.


6. The fatal flaws with Boeing’s 737 Max, pictured above in Renton, Wash., can be traced to a breakdown late in the plane’s development.

A year before the plane was finished, Boeing made an overhaul to a key automated flight system, making it more aggressive and riskier. But many people who helped create or approve the MCAS system on the jet did not fully understand the changes made to it, employees said. The system ultimately played a role in two deadly crashes.

In other business news, the Justice Department is said to be exploring an antitrust case against Google. The renewed scrutiny comes amid growing criticism about the power of big tech firms.

7. There are 472,000 words in the dictionary. For the Scripps National Spelling Bee, that may not be enough.

This week, the national competition announced it had crowned eight co-winners after it ran out of challenging words. All of the champion wordsmiths had more in common than an aptitude for spelling: Six of the eight used the same coaching program.

That program, SpellPundit, was started last year by two former competitive spellers.

We made a Spelling Bee quiz for you. Try your luck.


8. Your briefing writer was recently asked, “How many beaches can one person really go to?” Her response: “The limit does not exist.”

We have 25 travel writers on their favorite beach vacations. Their picks? Paddleboarding in Colorado, bachata music in Puerto Rico, above, and many more. Our Travel desk also has all of your family summer vacation plans covered.

Check out a special print-only section in today’s paper on all things summer — escaping the desert heat in Utah; bonfires by Lake Texoma; the requisite fudge shop in Michigan, and more.


9. Fifty years ago this month, a small group of gay, lesbian and transgender people began a national movement outside a New York City bar.

No one knows for sure who threw the first brick at the Stonewall Inn uprising, or even if a literal brick was thrown. But our video journalist wanted to try to find out.

Millions of people are expected to gather in New York at the end of June to celebrate the anniversary of that uprising. But some in the Midwest say there’s still much work to be done.

How do you identify yourself? We want to capture the ever-evolving ways in which we describe ourselves. You may also want to try making this rainbow cake.

10. And finally, check out one of our Best Weekend Reads.

This week our reporters published a yearlong investigation into North Carolina Children’s Hospital, went on the trail of Tupelo honey and visited with a longtime employee of General Motors who recently lost his job, above.

For more on what to read, watch and listen to, may we suggest these nine new books our editors liked and our music critics’ latest playlist. The first episode of our new TV series, “The Weekly,” airs on FX tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern time and tomorrow on Hulu. First up, a Louisiana school scandal.

Have you been keeping up with the headlines? Test your knowledge with our news quiz. And here’s the front page of our Sunday paper, the Sunday Review from Opinion and our crossword puzzles.

Happy June. Have a sweet week.


Your Weekend Briefing is published Sundays at 6 a.m. Eastern.

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