President Hassan Rouhani’s nuanced speech at the U.N. General Assembly, they say, offered the image of reasonableness in the face of an adversary’s angry ranting.
“It’s especially dangerous because Iran is very skilled at playing the victim, aggrieved by foreign powers for decades,” one analyst said.
• The death toll from the earthquake that devastated Mexico City and surrounding regions this week rose to least 230, as hopes faded of finding more survivors.
We have footage of rescue efforts at a school where 30 children were killed, and photographs from around the earthquake region. (Y tenemos cobertura en español aquí.)
• “Irma gave us a break, but Maria destroyed us.”
That was a man in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria pummeled the island and the U.S. Virgin Islands with winds up to 155 miles an hour, knocking out electricity and causing flash floods and mudslides.
The storm’s projected path is northeast, away from land, as it diminishes.
• In Iraq, pressure is increasing on the country’s Kurds to drop a long-sought referendum on independence that is scheduled for Monday.
Opponents in Washington, Baghdad and Ankara warn that the poll could unleash ethnic violence, tear Iraq further apart and fracture the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State.
But don’t tell the Kurds. “This is their moment,” said a former U.S. diplomat.
• Finally, meet Wetex Kang, a Malay-Chinese immigrant beekeeper who may be the first Asian candidate to represent the Maori Party of New Zealand.
Analysts don’t give Mr. Kang much of a shot, but his campaign — backed by a famous but controversial Maori activist — could be the start of a partnership between New Zealand’s’s oldest and newest ethnic communities.
• Standard & Poor’s downgraded its debt rating on China, warning that the heavy borrowing fueling its economic growth is threatening its stability.
• Facebook said it was submitting 3,000 Russia-linked ads to the U.S. congressional committees investigating election interference. And its chief operating officer promised “more human review and oversight” to make sure offensive terms aren’t used to target ads.
• Google is spending $1.1 billion to hire about 2,000 engineers from HTC, the struggling Taiwanese manufacturer, to bolster its mobile hardware. The two companies are already working on a Pixel phone to be announced in October.
• The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the country’s top securities regulator, said its Edgar corporate filing system had been hacked last year, possibly allowing the attackers to make illicit trading gains.
• U.S. stocks were lower. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
In the News
• Thousands of Filipinos denounced President Rodrigo Duterte and what they called an emerging dictatorship, and several thousand of his supporters held a counter-rally, on the 45th anniversary of Ferdinand Marcos’s declaration of martial law. [Reuters]
• Germany appears likely to re-elect Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday, but for the first time in 60 years, a far-right party may win seats in the federal Parliament. [The New York Times]
• Aaron Hernandez, the former N.F.L. star who committed suicide in April while serving a life sentence for murder, had a severe form of C.T.E., the degenerative brain disease linked to repeated head trauma. [The New York Times]
• From the Op-Ed desk: Kevin Rudd, a former prime minister of Australia, argues that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has not ignored the violent oppression of the Rohingya, but has had to act with restraint to avoid prompting a coup. [The New York Times]
• North Korea’s diplomatic mission to the U.N. owes New York City more than $156,000 for unpaid parking tickets. [NBC]
• Sea turtle numbers appear to be increasing after historical declines. [The New York Times]
• And after looping the sun, NASA’s Osiris-rex spacecraft is headed for a near miss with Earth today. It will use our planet’s gravity to steer toward an asteroid that scientists believe is full of carbon-rich molecules dating back to the birth of the solar system 4.5 billion years ago. [The New York Times]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• Safer cars help older drivers on the road.
• Always a good refresher course: Learn how to protect your information online.
• Recipe of the day: Try this low-and-slow method for spicy red beans, chicken and andouille sausage.
• How do families around the world spend their vacations? The Times Magazine’s Voyages issue takes you on family trips to a volcano in Japan and a wave pool in Chongqing, China.
• Michael Phelps, the swimming superstar who has confronted anxiety and depression, opened his home to Grant Hackett, an Australian Olympian with similar troubles. Mr. Phelps has also lent an ear to Tiger Woods.
• In memoriam: Liliane Bettencourt, 94, the L’Oréal heiress whose final years were complicated by the attentions of a society photographer 25 years her junior.
• And check out an anime version of New York in Netflix’s “Neo Yokio,” a Japanese-American coproduction replete with international pop-cultural references that satirizes the life of the city’s elite.
“The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien was published 80 years ago this week.
The book, and his follow-up trilogy “The Lord of the Rings,” set today, Sept. 22, as the birthday of the two greatest hobbit heroes, Bilbo Baggins and, 78 years later, Frodo. Fans celebrate it as Hobbit Day.
Tolkien said he first wrote of the invented being on an exam he was correcting while a professor at Oxford. He later told his friend, the poet W.H. Auden, “I did not and do not know why.” His inspired scrawl — “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit” — became the opening of his endlessly popular epic.
A British letter writer wondered if the hobbits were modeled after “little furry men seen in Africa” and pointed out a “Hobbit” fairy tale from 1904. Tolkien protested that “my hobbit did not live in Africa, and was not furry, except about the feet.”
He told the Times in 1967 that hobbits were inspired by the people of Sarehole, England, where he grew up. The Oxford English Dictionary included “hobbit” in the 1970s, attributing it to Tolkien.
Two years before his death in 1973, Tolkien reflected: “Oh what a tangled web they weave who try a new word to conceive!”
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