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Opinion | How to Meet Autistic People Halfway



One of the most widely held beliefs about autistic people — that they are not interested in other people — is almost certainly wrong. Our understanding of autism has changed quite a bit over the past century, but this particular belief has been remarkably persistent.

Seventy-five years ago, the first published account of autism described its subjects as “happiest when left alone” and “impervious to people.” Even now, a National Institutes of Health fact sheet suggests that autistic people are “indifferent to social engagement,” and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that some “might not be interested in other people at all.”

There is no question that autistic people can seem as though they are not interested in others. They may not make eye contact or they may repeat lines from movies that don’t seem relevant in the moment. They may flap their hands or rock their bodies in ways that other people find off-putting. But just because someone appears socially uninterested does not mean that he or she is.

As we point out in a paper published last month in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, many autistic people say they are very interested in, and in some cases desperate for, social connection. They experience loneliness, say they want friends and even prefer two-player games to one-player games. As the autistic author Naoki Higashida writes, “I can’t believe that anyone born as a human being really wants to be left all on their own, not really,” adding, “The truth is, we’d love to be with other people.”

So why do autistic people act in ways that make it appear they want to be left alone? Autism is a neurological condition that affects how people perceive, think and move. Autistic people say that some of their apparently unsociable behaviors result from these neurological characteristics. Paradoxically, they may behave in these ways when they are trying to engage with other people.

Take eye contact. Some autistic people say they find sustained eye contact uncomfortable or even painful. Others report that it’s hard to concentrate on what someone is saying while simultaneously looking at them. In other words, not looking someone in the eye may indicate that an autistic person is trying very hard to participate in the conversation at hand. Unfortunately, this attempt to engage often gets interpreted as a lack of interest.

Or consider another common autistic behavior: echolalia. People who say the same thing over and over again can appear socially disengaged, but this does not mean that they are. Sometimes autistic people repeat phrases as a way of connecting at a deep level. For example, one autistic boy repeated, “Chicken Little thought the sky was falling, but the sky is not falling” when his mother was despondent over the death of a friend.

Wrongly assuming that someone is not socially motivated can have devastating consequences. Being sociable is widely considered to be a fundamental part of being human. The presumption that autistic people are not sociable effectively dehumanizes them.

If you assume a person is not interested in interacting with you, then you probably won’t exert much effort to interact in the first place. This can lead to a situation where neither person wants to interact with the other. Or you might insist that he or she interact in the ways you expect socially interested people to interact. Some popular autism interventions recommend that parents and teachers attempt to train autistic children to make eye contact or to stop repeating themselves or flapping their hands. The problem with this is that the neurological makeup of an autistic person may make it difficult or impossible for him or her to do so.

Insisting that autistic people behave in ways that they are unable to can lead to feelings of learned helplessness, self-defeating thoughts and behaviors and, eventually, social withdrawal. As an autistic participant in one study explained: “I have been endlessly criticized about how different I looked, criticized about all kinds of tiny differences in my behavior. There’s a point where you say, ‘To hell with it, it’s impossible to please you people.’”

The danger of being assumed to be socially uninterested is especially acute for the roughly one-third of autistic people who do not use spoken language reliably. Like other autistic people, they behave in ways that get misinterpreted, and they may not be able to correct the record.

For all of us, whether we are socially motivated at any given time depends on much more than our innate predisposition for sociability. It also depends on how we’ve been treated in the past; our ability to tune out distracting sights, sounds, smells, thoughts and feelings; and the attitudes and behaviors of potential social partners.

Autistic people have been making the case for decades that they are interested in other people, and that they do not intend their unusual behaviors to indicate otherwise. So when someone does not make eye contact or repeats something you just said, be open to the possibility that it is just his or her way of trying to connect with you. Improving the social lives of autistic people will require putting aside assumptions about how social interest is expressed and recognizing that it can be shown in unexpected ways.

Vikram K. Jaswal is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. Nameera Akhtar is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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Maria Butina, Suspected Secret Agent, Was in Touch With Russian Intelligence, Prosecutors Say



WASHINGTON — A woman charged with secretly acting on behalf of Russia was working as a covert agent in the United States and was recently in contact with a suspected Russian intelligence official, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

The new details about the woman, Maria Butina, 29, were disclosed by prosecutors in a court filing arguing that she should be held without bond because she was a flight risk. “The defendant is considered to be on par with other covert Russian agents,” prosecutors said.

The authorities disclosed that she was moving money out of the country, had her boxes packed and had terminated her lease.

Ms. Butina was arrested on Sunday in Washington and accused of being an unregistered foreign agent of Russia. She was scheduled to appear in federal court on Wednesday afternoon for a detention hearing.

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Trump Says Those at the ‘Higher Ends of Intelligence’ Loved His Remarks With Putin



WASHINGTON — President Trump said Wednesday that “many people at the higher ends of intelligence” loved his performance during Monday’s joint news conference in Helsinki, Finland, with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. But it was not immediately clear which people Mr. Trump was referring to — very smart, intelligent people or senior officials in the nation’s intelligence agencies.

Mr. Trump’s own director of intelligence, Dan Coats — the most senior intelligence official in the Trump administration — pushed back against Mr. Trump’s remarks during Monday’s news conference and clearly stated, again, that the American intelligence agencies had concluded Russia tried to influence the 2016 election.

Less than a day after Mr. Trump attempted to clarify his position on Russia and election meddling — stating specifically that he does not see why Russia would not be behind it — the president on Wednesday praised the outcome of the summit with Mr. Putin in a series of early-morning Twitter posts and promised, “Big results will come!”

Mr. Trump also denounced his critics.

The details of his two-hour meeting alone with Mr. Putin have yet to be disclosed, even as Russia’s defense ministry announced that it was ready to put in motion the unspecified agreements Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin reached. Critics continue to raise concerns about the lack of details about what was said in the meeting, particularly in light of the deferential stance Mr. Trump appeared to take during a joint news conference with Mr. Putin on Monday.

“The Russian Defense Ministry is ready for the practical implementation of agreements in the area of global security reached in Helsinki between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump,” according to a statement from the Russian ministry’s spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, which was posted on the Russian embassy’s Facebook page.

Mr. Trump returned to the White House on Monday after his summit meeting with Mr. Putin and was confronted with criticism from Republicans in Congress, his own aides and his allies on Fox News.

Reading from written remarks on Tuesday, Mr. Trump assured Americans that he did believe Russia was behind the 2016 election interference and that he accepted the conclusions of his most senior intelligence officials. He blamed the misunderstanding on a failed attempt to use a double negative.

Without further clarification, it may be difficult to decode the meaning of “people at the higher ends of intelligence.”

If Mr. Trump meant members of his own intelligence community, it would raise the question of “who?” — as the president’s own director of national intelligence issued a rare public statement, pushing back against Mr. Trump’s assertions in Helsinki.

If Mr. Trump meant very smart, intelligent people, that would emphasize his preamble on Tuesday leading into his explanation of his grammar mishap, which included subtle jabs at his critics: “It should have been obvious — I thought it would be obvious — but I would like to clarify, just in case it wasn’t.”

In an interview after the news conference on Monday with the Fox News host Sean Hannity — one of few members of the news media whom the president has said he respects — Mr. Trump was cheery. In the interview, Mr. Trump described the meeting with Mr. Putin as productive and the necessary opening for a new era of cooperation with Russia. But as the president flew back to Washington on Air Force One, his good mood began to dissipate, as he saw the negative reactions what he viewed as a very positive summit meeting.

White House aides on Tuesday encouraged him to clarify what he meant, even as he has previously waffled on his confidence in American intelligence agencies, including on conclusions about Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

“I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself,” Mr. Trump said on Tuesday, after he said he misspoke.

Some Republicans who typically defend Mr. Trump on television were silent on Tuesday. Michael Anton, the former communications director for the National Security Council, called off a long-planned appearance on CNN because he could not “defend” how Mr. Trump had conducted himself with Mr. Putin, according to the host, Erin Burnett.

But Vice President Mike Pence and Mr. Pence’s former spokesman, Marc Lotter, publicly praised the president’s performance.

“President Donald Trump will always put the prosperity and security of America first,” Mr. Pence said on Monday during a speech at the Commerce Department after the Helsinki news conference.

During an interview on Tuesday with CNN, Mr. Lotter encouraged people to stop focusing on “what happened two years ago,” and instead focus on the long-term benefits of a good relationship with Russia.

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

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Trump Says He Misspoke About Russian Election Meddling



A day after President Trump’s remarks alongside President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia led to harsh criticism, Mr. Trump said that he accepts the findings of American intelligence agencies that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election.

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California Today: Will a Representative’s Views on Russia Affect His Re-election Campaign?



Good morning.

(Want to get California Today by email? Here’s the sign-up.)

To understand the kind of re-election battle Representative Dana Rohrabacher is facing, take a look at a billboard overlooking Newport Boulevard in Costa Mesa. Larger-than-life images of Mr. Rohrabacher and President Trump face a quote attributed to Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader: “There are two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”

Mr. Rohrabacher’s relationship with Russia is again under scrutiny. On Tuesday, he said that he had met with Maria Butina, who was indicted on charges of conspiracy and acting as a foreign agent, on a 2015 trip to Russia. But Mr. Rohrabacher dismissed the charges against her as “bogus.”

And a day earlier, he gave the most enthusiastic defense of the president’s remarks in Helsinki.

Mr. Rohrabacher’s close ties to Russia have provoked criticism from politicians even in his own party. And Democrats hope his support for the Kremlin will help lead to his defeat this November. But it is unclear whether that support will become a central issue in the campaign. Several voters in the district said they saw the outrage as a side issue propped up by Democrats.

“He’s a good man who shares our values,” said Sandra Leach, 77, a Laguna Beach resident. “I don’t follow every twist and turn in this hunt, but I think it’s a bunch of politics driving it. We can’t become a socialist country with open borders.”

Barry Lowe, 73, a retired aerospace manager, is volunteering for the Democratic challenger, Harley Rouda.

But Russia, he said, is the least of it.

“It’s time to get some liberals representing this area. It’s not the conservative wealthy place it once was,” Mr. Lowe said. “I don’t think Putin is a big factor. It’s part of a long list of things he does wrong. It’s simply that people here are split between the parties.”

There are signs Mr. Rouda is benefiting from the scrutiny: A spokesman for the campaign said Tuesday afternoon that they had already raised more money than in any other week in the campaign. A poll from Monmouth University released Tuesday showed that the race was effectively a dead heat.

If you live in the district, tell us what you think: Will Mr. Rohrabacher’s view of Russia affect your vote? What are your top concerns? Email us at

California Online

(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on news sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)

• President Trump was widely criticized by members of his own party for his comments on Russian meddling in the 2016 election. But nine California Republicans were either restrained in their reactions or silent. [San Francisco Chronicle]

• The man accused of being the San Francisco “ride-share rapist” was a former Lyft driver. The company said it was investigating how he passed a background check even though he was living illegally in the U.S. [The Associated Press]

• Registrations for assault weapons in California increased by 43 percent in the last 11 months, when a state law was enacted after the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino. [The Los Angeles Times]

• It’s official: President Trump is the single biggest political advertiser on Facebook. [The New York Times]

• Federal officials are investigating Uber for discriminating against women in hiring and pay, the latest inquiry into the company’s workplace culture. [The New York Times]

• Mariposa residents gathered to pay their respects to Braden Varney, the firefighter who was killed battling the Ferguson fire near Yosemite National Park. More than 13,000 acres had burned by Tuesday evening. [San Francisco Chronicle]

• Highway 1 reopens at 10 a.m. Wednesday, allowing travelers to drive between Cambria and Carmel for the first time since the Mud Creek landslide in May 2017. [The Tribune]

• The Los Angeles Times was told over the weekend to remove information in an article. The decision sparked a free speech battle, and on Tuesday a federal judge lifted the controversial order. [The Los Angeles Times]

• Senator Kamala Harris will publish a new book on her upbringing in Oakland and her governing principles, hinting that she might enter the 2020 presidential race. [The New York Times]

• In memoriam: Sue Manning, an Associated Press editor who for decades coordinated coverage of some of Los Angeles’s biggest stories, such as the L.A. riots, the Northridge earthquake and Michael Jackson’s death. She was 71. [The Associated Press]

• He thought he was done being a photojournalist. But when he learned he had a rare cancer, the San Rafael-based photographer Mark Richards turned his lens toward his own treatment. [The New York Times]

• San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Authority banned tour buses from the Victorian home featured in “Full House” after neighbors complained of traffic. [ABC 7]

• A few miles south of Montecito, an outpost of the design store Garde overlooks the coast and embodies a distinct brand of craft-focused California minimalism. [The New York Times]

And Finally …

At its core, it’s a tale of two friends — one black, one white.

But set against a backdrop of gentrification and police brutality in Oakland, “Blindspotting” is a look at some of the most pressing social concerns in America today.

The film follows Collin (Daveed Diggs) as he nears the end of his probation for a felony. He and his childhood friend Miles (Rafael Casal) work as Bay Area movers and gripe about hipsters. But their increasingly divergent experiences threaten to pull them apart: “Oakland’s identity issues become their own,” the A.P.’s review notes.

The film was written by and stars Mr. Diggs and Mr. Casal, who are Oakland natives. The Mercury News says it “does Oakland proud,” calling it “one of the best films of 2018.” And it’s a Times critic’s pick: “‘Blindspotting’ ought to be seen by the widest audience possible,” our critic writes.

California Today goes live at 6 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see:

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

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New York Today: Will Green Roofs Get the Green Light?



Good morning on this flawless Wednesday.

A bill being introduced in the City Council today would require green roofs, solar power or wind turbines to be installed on new skyscrapers going up around New York.

The goal: to lower our energy output.

“Right now, the big conversation is around what we can do to combat climate change, and now more than ever, when the federal government is rolling back all the progress we’ve made to reduce our carbon footprint in the country, we have to step up,” Councilman Rafael L. Espinal Jr. of Brooklyn, the bill’s lead sponsor, said in an interview. “We have to look at the infrastructure improvements we can make here to ensure we’re doing our part in reducing our carbon footprint and cooling our city down.”

Today’s measure would apply to commercial buildings like offices, industrial spaces, manufacturing facilities and storage units; two separate bills, introduced last session by Councilmen Stephen Levin of Brooklyn and Donovan Richards Jr. of Queens, would cover residential homes and community sites like schools, libraries, post offices and medical centers.

The resulting package of legislation, then, would mandate these green alternatives for nearly all new construction across New York City. (And for existing buildings undergoing major renovations or remodeling their roofs.)

Developers and homeowners would have several options to choose from — green roofs, solar panels and wind turbines.

“Green roofs are unique in that they will help reduce the amount of heat that buildings are producing and help cool cities,” Mr. Espinal said.

Mr. Espinal acknowledged that green roofs are often considered a luxury and buildings that have them may be sold at a premium. “But passing these bills would make green roofs the norm across the five boroughs, and in turn, make it more cost-efficient for anyone looking to buy or rent an apartment,” he said.

Similar mandates have already been passed in Toronto, Denver and San Francisco. And in New York City, buildings — like the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and Brooklyn Steel — even promote them.

Who’s next?

Here’s what else is happening:


Summer lovin’.

It will reach 87 today but will be 20 degrees cooler tonight.

The rest of the week is looking splendid, but the weekend — questionable.

In the News

Dean G. Skelos, once one of the most powerful political figures in New York, was found guilty in a major corruption case after an earlier conviction was thrown out. [New York Times]

A Chinese billionaire can no longer evade prison, as a federal judge in Manhattan has ordered him to surrender to the authorities from “home detention.” [New York Times]

Four states, including New York and New Jersey, have sued the federal government over a sharp reduction in the deductibility of state and local income taxes. [New York Times]

Joseph Ponte, the city’s former correction commissioner, has agreed to pay $18,500 as a penalty for his misuse of a city vehicle to make personal trips. [New York Times]

In recent weeks, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has been seeking small donors for his campaign. [New York Times]

Citi Bike has expanded its discount memberships to reach more low-income New Yorkers. [New York Times]

One person has died in connection with a cluster of Legionnaires’ disease cases in Upper Manhattan. [New York Times]

“School of Rock” announced that it would be ending its run on Broadway. [New York Times]

A new report shows that about half the neighborhoods served by the subway system are not wheelchair accessible. [am New York]

Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, is proposing the creation of a database that would monitor bad landlords. [Crain’s New York]

Five children died in a five-alarm fire that tore through a home in Union City, New Jersey. []

A new nonprofit is showing the city’s homeless that they’re not invisible: Together Helping Others gives the homeless supplies and something else they may lack — human interaction. [Metro.US]

And Finally…

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority recently hired its first accessibility chief: Alex Elegudin.

Mr. Elegudin is responsible for improving accessibility to the subway and bus systems, among other duties.

We will be interviewing Mr. Elegudin this week to talk about his priorities for improving accessibility for riders.

That’s where you come in. We want to know: what questions do you have for Mr. Elegudin?

Is there an ever-faulty elevator at your stop? Want to know the timetable for more accessible buses in your neighborhood? Or perhaps how the M.T.A. plans to improve Access-A-Ride service?

Let us know what you would like us to ask the new chief by sending your question in an email — along with your full name and neighborhood — to We’ll be selecting a few reader questions to ask him during our interview, and we will feature some in an upcoming column.

New York Today is a morning roundup that is published weekdays at 6 a.m. If you don’t get it in your inbox already, you can sign up to receive it by email here.

For New York Today updates throughout the day, like us on Facebook.

What would you like to see here to start your day? Post a comment, email us at, or reach us via Twitter using #NYToday.

Follow the New York Today columnists, Alexandra S. Levine and Jonathan Wolfe, on Twitter.

You can find the latest New York Today at

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Donald Trump, Barack Obama, European Union: Your Wednesday Briefing



(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)

Good morning.

Here’s what you need to know:

Beware the double negative

• It was, according to President Trump, a “would” that should have been a “wouldn’t.”

Facing a barrage of criticism from both parties over his comments during a news conference with President Vladimir Putin, Mr. Trump said on Tuesday that he had misspoken about whether Russia had tried to influence the 2016 election.

Asked in Finland whether he believed Mr. Putin over American intelligence agencies, Mr. Trump had said: “He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

On Tuesday, he backtracked: “The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia,’ sort of a double negative. So you can put that in and I think that probably clarifies things pretty good.” (Read a transcript of his remarks.)

Mr. Trump didn’t address other comments he made on Monday, including criticism of the F.B.I. and the Justice Department, and his assertion that Mr. Putin had given an “extremely strong and powerful” denial of any election meddling.

The word “treason” enters the debate

• “While the accusation of treason has been thrown around on the edges of the political debate from time to time, never in the modern era has it become part of the national conversation in such a prominent way.”

That’s from an analysis by our chief White House correspondent, who writes about the reaction to President Trump’s defense of Russia on Monday and whether it was a genuine turning point or simply another episode in Mr. Trump’s presidency that seems decisive at first but that ultimately fades.

Europe finds a new partner in trade

• While tensions with the U.S. flare, the European Union signed its largest-ever trade deal on Tuesday, a pact with Japan that will eliminate $1.2 billion in tariffs that European companies pay per year.

The U.S. remains the Continent’s biggest trading partner, but the deal is part of a series of negotiations that one former trade official said “fits the notion that you don’t need the U.S. to do open trade.”

To understand trade, two words can help: loss aversion. The phrase refers to the idea that people feel the pain of losing something more intensely than they do the pleasure of an equivalent gain. Our senior economics correspondent explains.

Pushing mobs to murder

• In India, false rumors about child kidnappers have been going viral on the messaging service WhatsApp, prompting fearful mobs to kill two dozen innocent people since April.

WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, has 250 million users in India. Some of the bogus messages described gangs of kidnappers on the prowl. Others included videos showing people driving up and snatching children.

The Times went to a village where a woman was killed after being mistaken for a “child lifter,” to see how WhatsApp and local authorities have struggled to contain the false messages. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court urged the government to use “an iron hand” against mob violence.

“The Daily”: How Trump withstands controversy

• As the president faces an uproar over his meeting with Vladimir Putin, his supporters are doubling down.

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


Goldman Sachs appointed a new chief executive, David Solomon, but the change probably won’t alter the Wall Street giant’s course.

Papa John’s is trying to distance itself from its founder, John Schnatter, who stepped down after it was reported that he had used a racial slur. Now he’s fighting back, saying he was pressured to resign, including with an extortion attempt.

MGM Resorts International, faced with possible lawsuits from hundreds of victims of last year’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, is suing victims first. The company isn’t seeking money, but it argues that a post-Sept. 11 law protects it from liability because the massacre qualifies as an “act of terrorism.”

When women earn more than their husbands, neither partner likes to admit it, according to new research from the Census Bureau.

Smarter Living

Tips for a more fulfilling life.

Are your friendships giving you a boost or bringing you down?

At these hotels and spas, cancer is no obstacle to quality service.

Recipe of the day: Make swordfish piccata in a buttery pan sauce whenever you need a quick, tasty dinner.


A youth sports crisis caught on video

Belligerent parents have contributed to a severe shortage of referees for youth and high school games across the U.S.

Now some of those parents are being publicly shamed.

“The Simpsons” creator discusses controversy

The long-running animated comedy has been criticized for its supporting character Apu, a convenience-store owner who some viewers see as promoting Indian stereotypes.

The Times recently spoke to the series’ creator, Matt Groening, about the debate, which he says has become “tainted.” Here’s our interview.

A new kind of pie fight

At Una Pizza Napoletana on the Lower East Side, a master of pizza simplicity joins two chefs with a more eclectic sensibility. The results are … complicated. Read our review.

Here’s more from this week’s Food section.

Best of late-night TV

Jimmy Kimmel offered an analogy for President Trump’s comments on Tuesday: “This is like if Bill Clinton had come out and said, ‘Wait, no, I meant to say I did have sexual relations with that woman!’ ”

Quotation of the day

“My mother said we needed to have culture. For her it wasn’t a matter of being rich or poor.”

Daiana Ferreira de Oliveira, a ballet teacher in Rio de Janeiro who kept her dance school running when budget cuts closed the library where she taught.

The Times, in other words

A technical glitch prevented us from including an image of today’s front page, but you can find a list of its contents here, as well as links to our Opinion content and crossword puzzles.

What we’re reading

Lynda Richardson, an editor in our Travel section, recommends this piece from The New Yorker: “This is an absorbing read about a spy who became a beat cop in Savannah, Ga., where he grew up. An expert in counterterrorism with deployments in Afghanistan, he has unique skills, like an ability to memorize license plates backward from mirrors. But his approach to community policing in this Southern town is what gives me a sliver of hope for our country during these uncertain times.”

Back Story

The riders on the Tour de France entered the 11th stage today, having already suffered some spectacular crashes.

Imagine if they tried it with the bikes of the past.

The way bicycles used to be, at a race in Prague last year.CreditMichal Okla, CTK via AP Images

Bicycle makers of yore — meaning those of the 1800s — had yet to discover gearing. In the hunt for speed, “velocipedes” came to rely on one huge wheel, with a second wheel for stability and balance.

That’s the style that Britain called the penny-farthing, because it looked like a giant penny paired with the much smaller farthing coin. They offered a thrilling, but forbiddingly dangerous, ride.

But the 1800s were a time of invention. An Englishman named John Kemp Starley introduced a radical improvement in 1885: the “Rover safety bicycle,” with two same-size wheels.

A few innovations later, he had the basics of what has been called “the most influential piece of product design ever” — a bike with a triangular frame and pedals that power the wheels with a chain and gears.

The bicycle has become the most popular mode of personal transport in the world, and estimates of the number of bikes in use around the globe run upward of two billion.

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Judge Denies Manafort’s Request to Move Trial Away From Washington



A federal judge on Tuesday denied Paul Manafort’s request to move the first of his two criminal trials hundreds of miles away from Washington.

Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, had asked to move his trial to Roanoke, Va., to avoid political bias and intense media coverage.

But Judge T. S. Ellis III of United States District Court ordered that the trial remain in Alexandria, Va., where he said Mr. Manafort could get just as fair of a trial.

In his order, Judge Ellis wrote that left-leaning politics around the nation’s capital was not enough to warrant a venue change. He noted that the Alexandria courthouse selects jurors from across Northern Virginia, an area of about three million people.

He said that it would be “inappropriate” to move trials around the country to try to find a politically-aligned jury pool. “Jurors’ political leanings are not, by themselves, evidence that those jurors cannot fairly and impartially consider the evidence,” he wrote.

Judge Ellis also rejected Mr. Manafort’s argument that media coverage of his case would be especially harmful around Washington, a major media market where people follow the news closely.

In a case with national media coverage, he wrote, publicity “will be the same in Alexandria as it would be in Roanoke or Kansas City or Dallas.”

Mr. Manafort’s lawyers did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday night. A representative for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia also did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Manafort has been charged in two jurisdictions with a host of federal crimes as part of the special counsel’s inquiry into Russia’s influence on the 2016 presidential campaign.

He is scheduled to go on trial on July 25 in the Virginia case. The defense has asked for a delay, and prosecutors are fighting the request.

He is scheduled to go on trial in another case in Washington in September.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A17 of the New York edition with the headline: Judge Denies Manafort’s Request to Move Trial Location. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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In India, Summer Heat May Soon Be Literally Unbearable



NEW DELHI — On a sweltering Wednesday in June, a rail-thin woman named Rehmati gripped the doctor’s table with both hands. She could hardly hold herself upright, the pain in her stomach was so intense.

She had traveled for 26 hours in a hot oven of a bus to visit her husband, a migrant worker here in the Indian capital. By the time she got here, the city was an oven, too: 111 degrees Fahrenheit by lunchtime, and Rehmati was in an emergency room.

The doctor, Reena Yadav, didn’t know exactly what had made Rehmati sick, but it was clearly linked to the heat. Dr. Yadav suspected dehydration, possibly aggravated by fasting during Ramadan. Or it could have been food poisoning, common in summer because food spoils quickly.

Dr. Yadav put Rehmati, who is 31 and goes by one name, on a drip. She held her hand and told her she would be fine. Rehmati leaned over and retched.

Extreme heat can kill, as it did by the dozens in Pakistan in May. But as many of South Asia’s already-scorching cities get even hotter, scientists and economists are warning of a quieter, more far-reaching danger: Extreme heat is devastating the health and livelihoods of tens of millions more.

If global greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current pace, they say, heat and humidity levels could become unbearable, especially for the poor.

It is already making them poorer and sicker. Like the Kolkata street vendor who squats on his haunches from fatigue and nausea. Like the woman who sells water to tourists in Delhi and passes out from heatstroke at least once each summer. Like the women and men with fever and headaches who fill emergency rooms. Like the outdoor workers who become so weak or so sick that they routinely miss days of work, and their daily wages.

“These cities are going to become unlivable unless urban governments put in systems of dealing with this phenomenon and make people aware,” said Sujata Saunik, who served as a senior official in the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs and is now a fellow at the Harvard University School of Public Health. “It’s a major public health challenge.”

Indeed, a recent analysis of climate trends in several of South Asia’s biggest cities found that if current warming trends continued, by the end of the century, wet bulb temperatures — a measure of heat and humidity that can indicate the point when the body can no longer cool itself — would be so high that people directly exposed for six hours or more would not survive.

In many places, heat only magnifies the more thorny urban problems, including a shortage of basic services, like electricity and water.

For the country’s National Disaster Management Agency, alarm bells rang after a heat wave struck the normally hot city of Ahmedabad, in western India, in May, 2010, and temperatures soared to 118 degrees Fahrenheit, or 48 Celsius: It resulted in a 43 percent increase in mortality, compared to the same period in previous years, a study by public health researchers found.

Since then, in some places, local governments, aided by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group, have put in place simple measures. In Ahmedabad, for instance, city-funded vans distribute free water during the hottest months. In the eastern coastal city of Bhubaneswar, parks are kept open in afternoons so outdoor workers can sit in the shade. Occasionally, elected officials post heat safety tips on social media. Some cities that had felled trees for construction projects are busy trying to plant new ones.

The science is unequivocally worrying. Across the region, a recent World Bank report concluded, rising temperatures could diminish the living standards of 800 million people.

Worldwide, among the 100 most populous cities where summer highs are expected to reach at least 95 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050, according to estimates by the Urban Climate Change Research Network, 24 are in India.

Rohit Magotra, deputy director of Integrated Research for Action and Development, is trying to help the capital, Delhi, develop a plan to respond to the new danger. The first step is to quantify its human toll.

“Heat goes unreported and underreported. They take it for granted,” Mr. Magotra said. “It’s a silent killer.”

On a blistering Wednesday morning, with the heat index at 111 degrees Fahrenheit, he and a team of survey takers snaked through the lanes of a working-class neighborhood in central Delhi. They measured temperature and humidity inside the brick-and-tin apartments. They spoke to residents about how the heat affects them.

“Only by 4 a.m., when it cools down, can we sleep,” a woman named Kamal told him. Her husband, a day laborer, suffered heatstroke this year, missed a week’s work, and, with it, a week’s pay.

A shopkeeper named Mohammed Naeem said that while he managed to stay cool in his ground-floor space, his father’s blood pressure rose every summer, as he sweltered in their top floor apartment all day.

Through the narrow lanes all morning, young men hauled stacks of paper to a printing plant that operated on the ground floor of one house. A tailor sat cross-legged on the floor, stitching lining onto a man’s suit. A curtain of flies hung in the air.

A woman named Abeeda told Mr. Magotra that she helped her husband cope during the summer by stocking glucose tablets in the home at all times. Her husband works as a house painter. Even when he is nauseous and dizzy in the heat, he goes to work, she said. He can’t afford not to.

Across town, workers covered their faces with bandannas as they built a freeway extension for Delhi’s rapidly growing number of cars. The sky was hazy with dust. Skin rash, dry mouth, nausea, headaches: These were their everyday ailments, the construction workers said. So debilitating did it get that every 10 to 15 days, they had to skip a day of work and lose a day’s pay.

Ratnesh Tihari, a 42-year-old electrician, said he felt it getting hotter year by year. And why would that be surprising? He pointed his chin at the freeway extension he was helping to build. “It’s a fact. You build a road, you cut down trees,” he said. “That makes it hotter.”

Worldwide, by 2030, extreme heat could lead to a $2 trillion loss in labor productivity, the International Labor Organization estimated.

Delhi’s heat index, a metric that takes average temperatures and relative humidity into account, has risen sharply — by 0.6 degrees Celsius in summer and 0.55 degrees during monsoons per decade between 1951 and 2010, according to one analysis based on data from 283 weather stations across the country.

Some cities are getting hotter at different times of year. The average March-to-May summertime heat index for Hyderabad had risen by 0.69 degrees per decade between 1951 and 2010. In Kolkata, a delta city in the east, where summers are sticky and hot anyway, the monsoon is becoming particularly harsh: The city’s June-September heat index climbed by 0.26 degrees Celsius per decade.

Joyashree Roy, an economist at Jadavpur University in Kolkata, found that already, most days in the summer are too hot and humid to be doing heavy physical labor without protection, with wet-bulb temperatures far exceeding the thresholds of most international occupational health standards.

And yet, walk through the city on a stifling hot day in June, and you’ll find people pedaling bicycle rickshaws, hauling goods on their heads, constructing towers of glass and steel. Only a few people, like herself, Dr. Roy pointed out, are protected in air-conditioned homes and offices. “Those who can are doing this. Those who can’t are becoming worse,” she said. “The social cost is high in that sense.”

Researchers are tinkering with solutions.

In Ahmedabad, city funds have been used to slather white reflective paint over several thousand tin-roofed shanties, bringing down indoor temperatures.

In Hyderabad, a similar effort is being tested. A pilot project by a team of engineers and urban planners covered a handful of tin-roofed shacks with white tarpaulin. It brought down indoor temperatures by at least two degrees, which was enough to make the intolerable tolerable. Now they want to expand their cool-roof experiment to a 1-square-kilometer patch of the city, installing cool roofs, cool walls and cool sidewalks, and planting trees. Their main obstacle now: funding.

Rajkiran Bilolikar, who led the cool-roof experiment, has a personal stake in the project. As a child, he would visit his grandfather in Hyderabad. There were trees all over the city. It was known for its gardens. He could walk, even in summer.

Now a professor at the Administrative Staff College of India in Hyderabad, Mr. Bilolikar can’t walk much. His city is hotter. There are fewer trees. Air-conditioners have proliferated but they spew hot air outside.

Mr. Bilolikar says it’s hard to persuade policymakers, even the public, to take heat risk seriously. It’s always been hot in Hyderabad. It’s getting hotter slowly, almost indiscernibly. Heat, he says, is “a hidden problem.”

At home, he had resolved not to use his air-conditioner. Through his open windows, though, his neighbor’s machine blew hot air into his apartment. His three-year-old daughter became so overheated that her skin was hot to touch. Reluctantly, he shut his windows and turned his machines on.

Somini Sengupta covers international climate issues and is the author of “The End of Karma: Hope and Fury Among India’s Young.” @SominiSengupta Facebook

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Summer Heat in India Becomes a ‘Silent Killer’. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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Martha Roby, Former Trump Critic, Wins Alabama House Runoff



Representative Martha Roby of Alabama prevailed on Tuesday in a Republican primary election that unfolded as a test of fealty to President Trump, defeating a challenger who assailed her for withdrawing her support for Mr. Trump in the last days of the 2016 campaign.

Her criticism of Mr. Trump cost Ms. Roby, a mainstream conservative seeking a fifth term, a clear-cut victory in an initial round of voting last month. She fell short of a majority, forcing her to compete in a runoff election against Bobby Bright, a populist former Democrat who served in Congress and as mayor of Montgomery, Alabama’s capital.

She handily held off Mr. Bright, The Associated Press reported, after overcoming suspicion about her loyalty to the president with help from an unlikely ally — Mr. Trump himself.

Unlike other Republicans whom Mr. Trump has gleefully helped push from office, Ms. Roby was not an eager antagonist during the 2016 presidential election, or since. Though she pronounced Mr. Trump “unacceptable” after the release of the “Access Hollywood” recording that showed him bragging about groping women, she has been an unflagging supporter since his inauguration.

So last month Mr. Trump, who easily carried Ms. Roby’s predominantly rural district in 2016 and remains popular there, extended to her a kind of political clemency that he rarely grants critics on the right. He endorsed Ms. Roby on Twitter, calling her a “consistent and reliable vote for our Make America Great Again Agenda.”

Perhaps just as importantly, Mr. Trump branded Ms. Roby’s challenger as wholly unacceptable. Alluding to Mr. Bright’s tenure in the House before switching parties, Mr. Trump called him a “Nancy Pelosi voting Democrat” — a label Ms. Roby and her allies consistently affixed to Mr. Bright during the campaign.

Ms. Roby wasted little time in expressing gratitude to the White House for its support.

“Sincere thanks to President Trump and Vice President Pence,” she told supporters at a victory celebration, according to the A.P. “I am so humbled that the people of Alabama’s Second Congressional District have again placed their trust and their confidence in me.”

She is now heavily favored to win the general election in the district, a largely rural and conservative seat that also includes Montgomery. The Democratic nominee is Tabitha Isner, a minister and business analyst.

The survival of Ms. Roby, 41, is a triumph for both Mr. Trump and the Republican establishment, and it is a testament to the hand-in-glove cooperation they have recently maintained on campaign matters, even as a range of policy disagreements on issues like tariffs have strained party unity.

Mr. Trump agreed to endorse Ms. Roby after appeals from Paul D. Ryan, the House speaker, and Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader and Mr. Ryan’s possible successor. And even as he set aside older grievances against Ms. Roby, Mr. Trump underscored, by helping rescue her from political oblivion, that he is the dominant personality in the national Republican Party.

Several other Republicans who broke with Mr. Trump in 2016 have seen their political careers wither since then, partly as a result of deliberate score-settling by the president. Representative Mark Sanford of South Carolina, an insistent Trump critic, lost a Republican primary election last month; Mr. Trump urged voters to reject him on the afternoon of the election. And Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, who refused to vote for Mr. Trump in 2016, abandoned his re-election campaign last year amid a series of clashes with the president that poisoned his relationship with Republican primary voters.

Still, Mr. Trump’s endorsements have not been a political cure-all for Republicans. He failed to carry another Alabama Republican, Senator Luther Strange, through a contested primary last year, and his intervention in a special congressional election in Pennsylvania in March did not stop Democrats from capturing a district that Mr. Trump carried easily in the presidential race.

In Alabama, if the charge of perfidy was politically dangerous to Ms. Roby, Mr. Bright, 65, was ill suited to the task of policing party loyalty.

Though he cast few liberal votes as a member of Congress, opposing the Affordable Care Act and other signature legislation backed by the Obama administration, Mr. Bright nevertheless served as a Democrat and voted to make Ms. Pelosi the speaker of the House.

Mr. Bright became a Republican to challenge Ms. Roby, disclosing that he backed Mr. Trump for president and vowing on his website to support the “America First” agenda. And he outpaced two more partisan Republicans in a June primary, finishing with 28 percent of the vote and earning a place in the runoff election against Ms. Roby.

Had Ms. Roby faced a more conventional Republican challenger, it could have complicated the national Republican Party’s efforts to keep her in office. Instead, top Republicans circled around a lawmaker who has been an uncomplaining ally of G.O.P. leaders, and who is one of only a few Republican women seeking re-election in the House.

In a Republican primary runoff for the state’s attorney general post, Steve Marshall, the incumbent, easily held off a challenge from Troy King after a bitter campaign that was briefly suspended after Mr. Marshall’s wife died last month.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A17 of the New York edition with the headline: Republican Who Criticized Trump Wins in Runoff. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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Republicans Scramble to Contain Trump’s Damage, but Path Is Unclear



Near unanimous bipartisan majorities in both the House and the Senate passed tough new sanctions authorities in part to punish Russia for its election interference last year. Mr. Trump only reluctantly signed them.

Senator Cory Gardner, Republican of Colorado, said he would push his own legislation that would require the State Department to consider designating Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. “It is clear that they have met the qualifications,” he said.

Senators Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, and Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, were preparing a nonbinding resolution that would more or less officially endorse the intelligence community’s finding that Russia did interfere in the election. Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, said he would introduce a measure on Wednesday intended to move Europe from Russian to American natural gas, a questionable effort given the challenge of exporting large quantities of liquefied natural gas.

Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, the president picked up more defenders, as members of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus heaped praise on Mr. Trump for meeting with Mr. Putin, accused his critics of undermining him and blamed reporters for asking questions that Representative Andy Biggs, Republican of Arizona, described as “really odd” and “a little bit unsettling.”

“I call that a successful summit,” said Representative Andy Harris, Republican of Maryland, “and I disregard and discount anything that involves the mainstream media press.”

John O. Brennan, the former C.I.A. director who suggested on Monday that Mr. Trump’s behavior had been treasonous, came in for particular scorn. “If there’s anything treasonous that’s gone on,” said Representative Warren Davidson of Ohio, “it’s that operation right now to sow distrust in our duly elected president of the United States.”

Top Democrats in the House and the Senate were not impressed by their Republican colleagues.

“Words are not enough,” Mr. Schumer said on the Senate floor. “Our response to the debasement of American interest before an adversary demands a response, not just in words but in deeds.”

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