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Syria, Germany, Comic Sans: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

The assailant live-streamed his attack, spewing anti-Semitic hatred as he tried to invade the synagogue. At least 51 congregants, including 10 Americans, were inside for services on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. It bore a striking resemblance to the more lethal rampage on two mosques in New Zealand more than six months ago. Above, a vigil in the city’s central square.

The attacker broadcast at least parts of the attack via Twitch, a live-streaming platform owned by Amazon. Twitch scrambled to remove it and issue an apology.


3. Joe Biden called directly for President Trump’s impeachment for the first time, saying he “betrayed this nation and committed impeachable acts.”

In an effort to rebut Mr. Trump’s unfounded claims about Mr. Biden’s actions regarding Ukraine, he escalated his language in an appearance in New Hampshire, accusing the president of “shooting holes in the Constitution” and invoking the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

4. Pacific Gas & Electric, the largest utility in California, intentionally cut power off for 500,000 customers as a precaution against sparking wildfires.

Once fully implemented, the outages will span from Silicon Valley to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Peak wildfire season has arrived in the state, with a combination of high winds and low humidity, creating conditions for potentially catastrophic fires. Four generators provided power to keep the Caldecott Tunnel near Oakland open, above.

PG&E anticipates that it will begin turning power back on starting Thursday, when winds subside. Live power lines owned by PG&E were blamed for several large wildfires in recent years.


5. Montgomery, Ala., a city with a challenging racial history and a former capital of the Confederacy, has elected its first black mayor: Steven Reed.

“This is our season,” one lifelong resident of Alabama’s capital said. “We’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”

A probate judge and the son of a prominent political family, Mr. Reed captured 67 percent of Tuesday’s vote, according to unofficial results.

Montgomery now joins Birmingham and Selma, two other monumental civil-rights battlegrounds in Alabama, in selecting young, African-American men as mayors.


6. A woman who accused Matt Lauer of sexual assault is speaking out in a new book by Ronan Farrow, including an account of rape.

The book, “Catch and Kill,” is expected to be released on Tuesday, but advance copies are circulating among reviewers and journalists.

In it, Brooke Nevils details her interactions with the former “Today” host. The rape, she said, occurred in an encounter in Sochi, Russia, when NBC was covering the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Mr. Lauer, who was fired for sexual misconduct in 2017, denied the allegation in a letter provided by his lawyer to the news media.


7. The ubiquitous lithium-ion battery, which revolutionized portable electronics, electric cars and lifesaving medical devices, emerged from the work of three scientists starting in the 1970s. Today, they won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

The trio was recognized for research that “laid the foundation of a wireless, fossil fuel-free society,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Science said.

Looking ahead to tomorrow, the Nobel Prize in Literature will be awarded to two winners — one for this year, and one for 2018. The prize wasn’t given out last year because of a sex-abuse scandal involving the group that chooses the winner.


8. Katelyn Ohashi’s joyous floor routine went viral earlier this year. But despite the millions of views on YouTube, she was not allowed to benefit from her name and likeness because of an old N.C.A.A. rule.

In a new Op-Ed video, she talks about how California’s initiative to allow college athletes to profit from their talent is a boon, especially for women and competitors in sports without pro leagues.

On Tuesday, Simone Biles won a record 21st medal at the world gymnastics championships in Stuttgart, Germany, as the U.S. women retained their team all-around title. During the competition, she landed two new moves that are now named for her.

9. Lyon is beautiful. Marseille is gritty. Our 52 Places Traveler loved both.

“Experiencing both places back to back felt like crossing continents, and it was proof that you can have an unforgettable trip to a French city without ever stepping foot in Paris,” he writes. Above, the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière in Lyon.

And it’s almost time to get spooky: For Halloween this year, why not spend a night or two at a hotel frequented by the dearly departed? We rounded up five haunts celebrated for their haunted histories around the U.S.


10. And finally, happy birthday to a typeface.

Twenty-five years ago this month, a software developer sketched a talk bubble for a cute dog and had an epiphany: “Dogs don’t talk in Times New Roman!” So he designed Comic Sans, a zanier, more childlike script for which he took inspiration from comic books and graphic novels.

The font attracted eye rolls and cringes from its inception, and has “long been the default punch line in the design community,” one designer said. And yet, it persists.

The font’s creator, Vincent Connare, has this to say: “If you love Comic Sans you don’t know much about typography. And if you hate Comic Sans you need a new hobby.”


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