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Here’s what you need to know:
Carolinas brace for a storm
• More than a million residents and tourists are being urged to evacuate the shores of North and South Carolina, as Hurricane Florence gains muscle over the Atlantic Ocean and barrels toward the coast.
The authorities warned that the storm, now of Category 4 strength and with winds of 140 miles per hour, could make landfall Thursday night and pummel the area with life-threatening storm surges and flooding. We’re tracking the hurricane’s progress, and will have updates here.
• The North Carolina governor has requested a federal state of emergency, and his South Carolina counterpart said that two highways would be made one-way to help people leave. “We do not want to risk one South Carolina life in this hurricane,” he said.
Relaxing the rules on methane emissions
• In a victory for energy companies, the Trump administration is planning to allow far more of the greenhouse gas to leak from oil and gas drilling operations, the third major move this year to roll back federal efforts to fight climate change.
Industry groups praised the expected changes, with one representative calling the methane rule “the definition of red tape.” Environmental campaigners warned that looser restrictions would increase the risks of harmful leaks.
• Separately, the U.N. secretary general, António Guterres, warned that climate change was reaching a dangerous tipping point. “Scientists have been telling us” of the risks for decades, he said. “Far too many leaders have refused to listen.”
U.S. weighs sanctions against China
• Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Uighurs in China have been sent to camps as part of a campaign to remove any devotion to Islam, the country’s most sweeping internment program since the Mao era.
Now, Washington is said to be considering economic penalties, one of the first such moves by the Trump administration in response to China’s rights record. If approved, they could fuel an already bitter standoff over trade and North Korea policy.
• Separately, John Bolton, the national security adviser, issued a scorching condemnation of the International Criminal Court on Monday, after suggestions it might investigate American troops in Afghanistan. He also announced the closing of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington.
Ousting ISIS from Syria
• Members of an American-backed coalition said today that they had begun a final push to expel the insurgents from Hajin, the remaining sliver of territory under the militant group’s control.
• The assault is the final chapter of a war that began more than four years ago after the Islamic State seized enormous tracts of land in Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate.
A bridge sweetener
• The eastbound span of the Mario Cuomo Bridge in the New York City suburbs could open today, after a short delay because of a problem with the neighboring old Tappan Zee Bridge.
That’s a bit later than Gov. Andrew Cuomo had been hoping for, however. According to information obtained by The Times, the governor was so eager to get the bridge open by late August that he offered the contractor enticements including the possibility of absorbing extra costs and reducing the responsibility for potential traffic accidents.
• Mr. Cuomo has made a big play of his infrastructure-related achievements, and his political opponents have accused him of pushing for the bridge to be fully open before New York’s primaries on Thursday. He denies playing any role in the timetable.
• The former CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves made his name as a programmer of shows with clear-cut villains and heroes. We look at how his career crashed.
• Senior trade officials from the U.S. and the E.U. met in Brussels to discuss eliminating tariffs.
• Prices are rising in China — and that could complicate things for Beijing.
• Ready for the midterm elections
Voting is eight weeks away. With so many important races, The Times is introducing a newsletter called “On Politics With Lisa Lerer.” The first edition is here.
Lisa is new to The Times, but not to national politics. She’ll look at the people reshaping U.S. politics, and highlight conversations with voters across the country. You can sign up here.
• Serena Williams debate rumbles on
An Australian cartoonist defended his depiction of the tennis player at the U.S. Open, saying it was “not about race.” But experts strongly disagreed.
And in an Op-Ed for The Times, the former champion Martina Navratilova agreed that there was a double standard in tennis, but said that didn’t make Ms. Williams’s reaction in the final acceptable.
• Lithuanian hero or Nazi ally?
Jonas Noreika has been honored as a martyr and an anti-Communist hero since his execution by the Soviet secret police in 1947.
But now his own granddaughter is accusing him of being a fierce anti-Semite and Nazi collaborator.
• Tackling the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
A boom designed to clear up as much as 150,000 pounds of plastic in the Pacific Ocean has been deployed from San Francisco Bay.
Here’s more from this week’s Science section.
• Knife violence in New York
How did a 15-year-old end up getting stabbed to death outside a Bronx convenience store? We pieced together interviews and security camera footage to trace the last moments of Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, known as Junior.
• A deadly mix-up
A Dallas police officer who was charged with manslaughter after fatally shooting her neighbor in his own apartment, claiming she mistook the unit for her own, said he had ignored her commands.
• Best of late-night TV
Trevor Noah heralded President Barack Obama’s return to the campaign trail. “It’s onnnn! President Obama versus President Trump. The leader versus the tweeter. ‘Yes we can’ versus ‘way too tan!’”
• Quotation of the day
“Every family has its ugly things, but they don’t talk about them. It is better to stay silent.”
— Jolanda Tamosiuniene, a teacher at a school in Lithuania named for Jonas Noreika, who has been implicated in helping the Nazis kill Jews.
• The Times, in other words
• What we’re reading
Kim Severson, our national food correspondent, recommends this from Thrillist: “It’s the stuff of lawsuits, speculation and for some, obsession: Who started Taco Tuesdays? Gustavo Arellano, the former publisher of The OC Weekly and the author of the blisteringly funny ¡Ask a Mexican! column, goes deep on what he calls the greatest couplet in the restaurant industry.”
Pumpkin spice dog treats. Pumpkin spice kale chips. Pumpkin spice beer. Pumpkin spice cereal.
Every fall, the list grows longer and weirder. This year, Starbucks didn’t even wait for September to bring out its wildly popular pumpkin spice latte. It’s been on sale since Aug. 28, much to the delight of #PSL lovers everywhere.
Now in its 15th year on the market, the frothy beverage helped unleash the pumpkin spice deluge, which shows no signs of ebbing.
So you may well wonder: What is pumpkin spice, anyway?
Originally marketed by the U.S. spice giant McCormick in the 1950s as a convenient way to season pumpkin pie, the mix consists of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice. Other blends also include clove, cardamom and mace.
Tasted together, the spices evoke the heady fragrance of a freshly baked pie and have other cozy, autumnal associations — chunky knit sweaters, colorful fallen leaves, hot apple cider.
What the mix doesn’t taste like, however, is pumpkin. Because pumpkin spice mix contains none.
Melissa Clark wrote today’s Back Story.
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