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Justin Trudeau, Donald Trump, San Francisco: Your Thursday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering the emergence of a photograph of Canada’s prime minister in brownface, the latest on Israel’s election results and a threat by President Trump against San Francisco.

Mr. Trudeau, who began his re-election campaign last week, confirmed that he was in the image, dressed as Aladdin. The picture was taken during a gala at a school where Mr. Trudeau, then 29, was a teacher.

Reaction: Canadians of South Asian and Middle Eastern descent have been an important source of support for Mr. Trudeau’s Liberal Party. Andrew Scheer, the Conservative leader and Mr. Trudeau’s main challenger in the Oct. 21 vote, said the picture reflected “someone with a complete lack of judgment and integrity, and someone who is not fit to govern this country.”

Background: The episode drew comparisons to the scandal this year involving Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia, when a photograph of a man in blackface surfaced from his medical school yearbook 35 years earlier.


Mr. Trump on Wednesday discussed a range of responses to the recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities, from “the ultimate option” of retaliatory strikes against Iran to welcoming the country’s leader for a visit. He also promised to impose more sanctions.

To help sort through the options, Mr. Trump named Robert O’Brien as national security adviser, replacing John Bolton. Mr. O’Brien, a former lawyer with limited government experience, was most recently the State Department’s chief hostage negotiator.

Related: During a visit to Saudi Arabia, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of an “act of war,” the strongest American condemnation yet of last weekend’s strikes. Mr. Trump has indicated that he would like to avoid a military conflict over an attack that killed no Americans.


“While the country remains deeply divided, the forces of unity have gained an edge,” our correspondents write in a news analysis.

Near-final results of this week’s voting showed the centrist Benny Gantz with a slight edge over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose government had been beholden to the hard right and the ultra-Orthodox.

The details: The coalitions of Mr. Gantz and Mr. Netanyahu each took the same number of seats, according to unofficial results. But Avigdor Liberman, Mr. Netanyahu’s former deputy, won a kingmaker’s role.

What’s next: Mr. Gantz and Mr. Liberman have advocated a broad coalition and said they would not join a right-wing government that depended on ultra-Orthodox support.


Since 2017, two men have died at the home of Ed Buck, who was a fixture in Democratic political circles in Los Angeles. The authorities said both had suffered accidental drug overdoses.

This week, a third man survived an overdose in Mr. Buck’s West Hollywood apartment. Prosecutors charged Mr. Buck with operating a drug house and accused him of being a “violent, dangerous sexual predator.”

Background: Mr. Buck gave tens of thousands of dollars to California Democrats, though not enough to be classed as a major donor. He also contributed to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2016, and to both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

“Victim-1” sues Epstein estate: A woman who said she was the first victim listed in the federal indictment of Jeffrey Epstein offered a graphic account of abuse at his hands.

Snapshot: Above, spotted lanternflies on a flytrap in Pennsylvania this week. Hordes of the invasive insects, which attack vineyards, have led the state to quarantine 14 counties and offer advice to residents: “Squash it, smash it … just get rid of it.”

Overlooked obituaries: Elizabeth Gloucester operated boardinghouses in Brooklyn and beyond, and was widely considered the richest black woman in America when she died in 1883. She’s the latest entry in our series about people who didn’t receive obituaries in The Times.

Late-night comedy: President Trump noted that Saudi Arabia paid in cash for American weapons. “Wait, they paid you $400 billion in cash?” Seth Meyers asked. “I think they’re scamming you, dude.”

What we’re reading: This Vice piece about a cooking legend. Our food writer Tejal Rao writes: “Cecilia Chiang immigrated to San Francisco in the 1960s and opened a restaurant that expanded the American understanding of Chinese cuisine with the super sophisticated dishes of her youth. I love that her big life lessons, at the age of 99, include drinking Champagne at lunch.”

The first lightweight nylon backpacks appeared around 1967, designed by JanSport and Gerry Outdoors for hikers and, uh, backpackers. But college students soon started to adopt them. By the 1980s, backpack companies were making them specifically for textbooks.

The packs filtered down through the grades and around the world, replacing the book straps, satchels and school bags of earlier eras as an indelible part of a student’s identity.


That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Chris


Thank you
Melina Delkic helped compile today’s briefing. Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and Chris Harcum provided the break from the news. Victoria Shannon, on the briefings team, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is the second of a two-part series about a new book on Harvey Weinstein by two Times reporters.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Game for which there are more possible iterations than atoms in the universe (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times’s Travel section has a new column, Tripped Up, that offers advice on travel disasters.


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health news headlines provided courtesy of Medical News Today.

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