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Good morning. A Lithuanian hero is challenged, trade talks resume and Lebanese women enjoy a beach of their own.
Here’s the latest:
• A Lithuanian hero, or a Nazi ally?
Jonas Noreika has been honored as a martyr and anti-Communist hero since his execution by the Soviet secret police in 1947. A stone memorial rests next to the farm where he was born in Sukioniai, Lithuania, above.
But there were always whispers that Mr. Noreika, better known as General Storm, also helped Nazis kill Jews. The rumors were largely attributed to Russian propaganda. But now he stands accused by his own granddaughter of being a fierce anti-Semite and Nazi collaborator.
Her unequivocal verdict has stirred emotional debate in Lithuania.
“Every nation has to have its heroes. I understand Lithuanians on this,” a retired Lithuanian professor said. “But how can we have heroes like Noreika?”
• Senior trade officials from the U.S. and the E.U. met in Brussels to discuss a far-reaching trans-Atlantic trade agreement. Despite attempts to project optimism, chances of failure were high.
The U.S. representative called the talks “constructive,” and his E.U. counterpart described them on Twitter as “forward looking.” But the E.U. appeared to step back from a major concession it made in August when it said it would cut automobile tariffs if the U.S. did the same. Now, the E.U. says it needs the approval of the union’s 28 member states before further talks on the issue.
The conclusion of any negotiations is unlikely to produce the quick wins President Trump prefers, which could jeopardize the fate of the talks altogether.
• In a harsh new attack on an old nemesis of many on the right, the Trump administration threatened sanctions on the International Criminal Court.
John R. Bolton, above, President Trump’s national security adviser, said his comments were prompted by indications the court wants to investigate the conduct of American troops in Afghanistan. He called the court “ineffective, unaccountable and, indeed, outright dangerous.”
Mr. Bolton also announced the closing of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Washington office.
Also out of Washington: The U.S. may impose sanctions on Chinese officials over the treatment of Muslims. It would be a rare rebuke of Beijing’s human rights record.
And separately, the Trump administration wants to make it easier to release methane into the air, its third major step this year to roll back climate rules.
• A beach of their own.
At the height of summer, it’s hard not to be at one of Lebanon’s Mediterranean beaches. But for many observant Muslim women, exposing their bodies at a mixed-gender beach is out of the question.
Enter the ladies’ beach, a dedicated stretch of sand for conservative women. The emergence of women-only beaches in Lebanon offers a short hiatus from the male gaze.
“Here, I’m free to be me,” one housewife said.
• A British labor group says technology has made work more intensive and led to longer days. It’s also giving way to one opportunity: working less. Shorter workweeks have been tested, with mixed results.
• The former CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves made his name as a programmer of shows with clear-cut villains and heroes. We took a look at how his career crashed after allegations of sexual assault.
• Imran Khan, the chief strategy officer for Snap, the maker of Snapchat, is stepping down at a turbulent time for the company.
• Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
• The governor of South Carolina ordered more than one million coastal residents to evacuate as Hurricane Florence gained strength. The Category 4 storm is expected to make landfall by week’s end. [The New York Times]
• 800,000. That’s how many people the United Nations says could be displaced because of the impending offensive on the rebel-held stronghold of Idlib, Syria. The strife could set off “the worst humanitarian catastrophe” of the 21st century, the U.N. says. [The Independent]
• Recent political scuffling has underlined a view that sexism in Australia’s Parliament is rampant, keeping women from entering politics and driving at least one member to step down. [The New York Times]
• The E.U.’s chief negotiator said a deal on Brexit could come as soon as November. [The Guardian]
• When airports in Brazil began charging handling fees based on the value of art pieces, rather than weight, it threatened exhibitions and forced masterpieces to spend nights in airports. [The New York Times]
• Two beams of light pay tribute in Lower Manhattan in the days surrounding the 9/11 anniversary, making it a popular destination for migrating birds. But the Tribute in Light has come up with a solution for birds that become disoriented as they fly at night. [The New York Times]
Tips for a more fulfilling life.
• The Irish playwright J.M. Synge first came to the Aran Islands in the summer of 1898 looking for inspiration and to learn the Irish language. Our writer found that the Arans can still feel like a place lost in time.
• “It was like our punk. It completely changed how people acted.” Thirty years ago, British youth culture was transformed by acid house music and the drug Ecstasy — with, surprisingly, a little help from a group of flier designers. We took a look at the fliers that tell its story.
• After defusing an ugly debate over her French Open outfit, Serena Williams was a model of sportsmanship and dignity until her outburst in Saturday’s U.S. Open final. “It’s all enough to make Arthur Ashe Stadium a vast primal scene for Williams,” our critic-at-large writes.
Pumpkin spice dog treats. Pumpkin spice kale chips. Pumpkin spice beer. Pumpkin Spice cereal, above.
Every fall, the list of pumpkin pie-flavored foods 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, this frothy beverage helped unleash the pumpkin spice deluge, which shows no signs of ever 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 may also include clove, cardamom and mace.
Tasted together, the spices evoke the heady fragrance of a freshly baked pie and trigger 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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