Powerball, Spain, Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Your Thursday Briefing

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Several barriers run along the U.S. border near Tijuana, Mexico. President Trump has pushed his contentious pledge to build a wall and force Mexico — or Congress — to pay for it. Credit Bryan Denton for The New York Times

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Good morning.

Here’s what you need to know:

First, if you were at the Handy Variety convenience store in Watertown, Mass., and picked 6, 7, 16, 23 and 26, with a Powerball number of 4, congratulations. $758.7 million is all you need to know.

• The wall between Trump and his party.

President Trump is threatening to shut down the government in a matter of weeks if the Republican-led Congress doesn’t fund his long-promised wall along the border with Mexico.

That complicates an already ambitious congressional to-do list, including resolving the budget, avoiding a default on the country’s debt and overhauling the tax system.

The president also attacked lawmakers, notably Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, whose votes he’ll need when Congress returns next month.

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Mr. Trump promised on Wednesday to improve medical care for veterans, in a speech that contrasted sharply with his rally the night before.

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• More Spanish speakers than Spain.

That would be the U.S., which by some counts has more than 50 million “hispanohablantes.”

At the same time, more than 20 states have passed laws making English the official language, President Trump’s plans for a border wall were central to his campaign, and his push for limits on legal immigration would require some applicants to speak English.

Our correspondent explored the durability of Spanish in the U.S. (He also describes growing up in New Mexico speaking Spanglish.)

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A shop in Albuquerque, where fortune seekers on horseback laid claim nearly four centuries ago to one of Spain’s most remote possessions. Credit Adria Malcolm for The New York Times

• Public lands under review.

Parts of the Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah could lose federal protection under an Interior Department recommendation expected to be issued today.

Reopening the land to mining and drilling would be the first major test of a century-old conservation law.

• A master of deception.

Abdelbaki Essati, the imam believed to be behind the terrorist attacks in Spain, had deep links with Islamic extremists and seems to have learned their methods well.

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The mosque in Ripoll, Spain, where Abdelbaki Essati worked as an imam until June last year. Mr. Essati died on Aug. 16, when the explosives he was manufacturing with the help of some of his young recruits blew up. Credit Samuel Aranda for The New York Times

Separately, a warning from the police in Spain led to the cancellation of a rock concert in the Dutch city of Rotterdam on Wednesday. Two people are in custody.

• The world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Little is functioning in Yemen after more than two years of war, and cholera has infected more than half a million people in only three months.

Our correspondents explain how things got so bad.

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A camp for displaced Yemenis in Hajjah Province. Credit Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

• “The Daily,” your audio news report.

In today’s show, we discuss a surprising discovery related to North Korea’s recent success in missile tests.

Listen on a computer, an iOS device or an Android device.

Business

• Is Samsung’s leader a criminal mastermind or just naïve? Lee Jae-yong’s fate depends on which portrait of him the judge in his bribery trial believes.

Separately, the South Korean manufacturer announced the Galaxy Note 8. You’ll be pleased to know it’s unlikely to explode.

• Despite a series of corporate scandals at Uber, its business jumped in the second quarter.

• U.S. stocks were down on Wednesday. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

Smarter Living

Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.

• Avoid the common pitfalls of being a roommate. (Communication is crucial.)

• Recipe of the day: Salmon with sesame and herbs is salty, sweet and sour at once.

Noteworthy

• 12 hours of story, song and dance.

In today’s 360 video, join a performance in New York City that takes place overnight and under the sky.

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12 Hours of Story, Song and Dance

Emily Johnson’s “Then a Cunning Voice and A Night We Spend Gazing at Stars” was an overnight performance art piece led by indigenous women.

By BENJAMIN NORMAN, SAMANTHA QUICK, NEETI UPADHYE and JOSHUA THOMAS on Publish Date August 24, 2017. Photo by Benjamin Norman for The New York Times. Technology by Samsung. . Watch in Times Video »

• Hunting a killer: the return of syphilis.

The sexually transmitted infection, which can lead to blindness, paralysis, dementia and even death, is spreading around the U.S.

It’s another consequence of the heroin and methamphetamine epidemics, as users trade sex for drugs.

• The limits of affirmative action.

Black and Hispanic students are more underrepresented on U.S. campuses than they were 35 years ago, according to a Times analysis.

How’d your school do? We have interactive charts with data from more than 100 colleges and universities.

• #happybirthday.

Ten years ago, the use of hashtags was first proposed in a Twitter post.

Best of late-night TV.

Conan O’Brien found himself in an unusual spot. “In Saudi Arabia, a 14-year-old boy was detained for dancing to the Macarena. You know, I don’t say this often, but I gotta side with the Saudi government on this one.”

• Quotation of the day.

“There’s a massive amount of carbon that’s in the ground, that’s built up slowly over thousands and thousands of years. It’s been in a freezer, and that freezer is now turning into a refrigerator.”

Max Holmes, deputy director of the Woods Hole Research Center, on the thawing permafrost in Alaska.

Back Story

We often go back in history for our back stories, but today we’re going way back.

Mount Vesuvius erupted on this day in 79 A.D., burying the Roman town of Pompeii under a heap of ash, rocks and pumice.

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Casts of victims of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Pompeii, Italy. Credit Gianni Cipriano for The New York Times

Most of what we know of the event we owe to Pliny the Younger, who described it in a letter to the Roman historian Tacitus. According to the account, in the early afternoon that day, Pliny’s mother told his uncle, Pliny the Elder, that “a cloud which appeared of a very unusual size and shape” was approaching.

“I cannot give you a more exact description,” Pliny the Younger wrote of the cloud, “than by likening it to that of a pine tree, for it shot up to a great height in the form of a very tall trunk, which spread itself out at the top into a sort of branches.”

Pliny the Elder set off by boat to explore the cloud’s source, encountering “black pieces of burning rock” along the way. Yet he continued onward, reportedly telling his pilot, “Fortune favors the bold.”

The maxim, however — at least that day — proved false.

“He suffocated,” his nephew wrote, “by some gross and noxious vapor.”

Evan Gershkovich contributed reporting.

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