Israel, California, Federal Reserve: Your Wednesday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering election results in Israel, today’s expected announcement by the Trump administration revoking California’s authority to regulate its own air quality, and a proposal by New Mexico to offer free college tuition.

The country’s election remained too close to call today, a setback for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was seeking enough support to form a majority coalition government.

Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party appeared to have come in second behind the Blue and White party of the former army chief Benny Gantz. Israeli exit polls have often proved unreliable, but if projections hold, Mr. Gantz would be given the first chance to form a government.

The voting comes five months after an inconclusive ballot and threatens the political future of Mr. Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister.

What’s next: In a few days, President Reuven Rivlin will give the mandate to form a government to the candidate with the best chance of forming a viable coalition.

The widely expected move has national significance: 13 states — roughly a third of the country’s auto market — follow California’s tighter rules.

What’s next: California has promised to fight the change all the way to the Supreme Court. The outcome could split the domestic vehicle market, a nightmare scenario for automakers that would see some states adhering to stricter standards than others.

Another angle: President Trump’s descriptions of California’s homeless problem often match those of the state’s most liberal politicians. But that’s where the agreement ends.

The secretary of state’s trip to Saudi Arabia today could result in the release of an American report on the attacks against oil facilities in the kingdom last weekend.

American investigators have been studying satellite imagery and analyzing missile and drone parts in an effort to bolster the U.S. claim that Iran was responsible. One theory is that missiles were launched from Iran but programmed to fly through Iraqi airspace.

News analysis: President Trump’s fractious relationship with America’s allies could make it harder to assemble a coalition to respond to the attacks, our national security correspondent writes.

Related: Iran’s president and other officials might not attend a United Nations gathering in New York next week because of obstacles raised by the U.S., an Iranian state news outlet reported today.

The state is set to introduce a plan today that would make tuition at its public colleges and universities free for all residents, regardless of family income.

The proposal, which still needs legislative approval, is one of the boldest state-led efforts to address the rising cost of higher education. New Mexico would cover much of the outlay using oil revenue.

Related: Cornell University’s medical school announced this week that students who qualify for financial aid would have all their costs covered.

In a series of essays, The Times is exploring office culture with some true-life confessions.

Topics include the awkward, but essential, art of office chitchat, how young people could fix the troubles of the workplace and … poop shame.

Corey Lewandowski testimony: In a testy congressional hearing, the former Trump campaign manager said that the president had once urged him to help limit the Russia investigation but that he hadn’t been asked to “do anything illegal.”

Abortion rate drops: Abortion in the U.S. has decreased to its lowest level since becoming legal nationwide in 1973, according to new research. The decline may be driven more by increased access to contraception and fewer women becoming pregnant than by the proliferation of abortion bans.

Provocative gun ads: A TV commercial being released today is part of a stark marketing campaign by gun safety activists, who are making ads that are uncomfortable to watch.

Federal reserve meeting: The central bank is expected to cut interest rates today. Here’s what to watch for in the announcement at 2 p.m. Eastern.

Global health: From 2000 to 2017, almost all of the countries that accounted for most of the deaths of young children lowered their child mortality rates, according to a report by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

From The Times: Debatable, a newsletter from the Opinion section, provides a range of perspectives on the most talked-about disagreements. Today’s topic: the obesity epidemic. You can sign up for the email here.

Snapshot: Above, Hunters Point Community Library in Queens, opening next week. The $40 million structure is “among the finest and most uplifting public buildings New York has produced so far this century,” our architecture critic writes.

In memoriam: Cokie Roberts was a pioneering, award-winning journalist in Washington for NPR and ABC. She died on Tuesday at 75.

Eli Manning takes a seat: After leading the New York Giants for 16 seasons, the Super Bowl-winning quarterback lost his starting position to the rookie Daniel Jones.

A bachelor-free “Bachelor in Paradise”: Two women got engaged in the show’s finale, the franchise’s first same-sex couple since it debuted in 2002.

52 Places traveler: In his latest dispatch, our columnist travels to Orcas Island, off the coast of Washington State, where he reflected on loneliness.

Late-night comedy: Several of the hosts addressed Sean Spicer’s new gig: “Somehow ‘Dancing With the Stars’ found a way to humiliate Sean Spicer more than the president of the United States,” Jimmy Kimmel said.

What we’re reading: This HuffPost piece. Our Magazine writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner writes: “I loved this piece by Emily Peck on the revolutionary way that ‘Succession’ treats women, which is as people who keep their clothing on. I love Emily, and on Monday mornings, I listen to her and Felix Salmon on their special ‘Succession’-focused episodes of the Slate Money podcast. It’s the balm I require after Sunday nights.”

Cook: Citrusy roast chicken with pears and figs is a superb dish for late summer.

Watch: “Midnight Traveler” documents a refugee family’s search for safety. At its best, our film critic writes, it reminds you that those of us with homes make choices every day that affect the lives of others.

Read: In “Red at the Bone,” a new novel from Jacqueline Woodson, the effects of an unplanned pregnancy ripple through three generations of a Brooklyn family.

Eat: Hutong, in Midtown Manhattan, has a flashy interior and a menu that excels when it plunges into fiery Sichuan cuisine, our restaurant critic writes.

Smarter Living: As advances in smartphones grow more incremental, our tech columnist recommends a new rule: If your phone is less than five years old, there’s no rush to upgrade.

If you have an older phone, here’s some advice on extending its life.

Nearly 100 years ago, a fashion faux pas led to bedlam in New York City.

The Straw Hat Riot emerged from the idea that they should not be worn very far into September. (Men usually wore hats outdoors in those days, and straw was popular for summer.)

Every year after the cutoff (which moved around a bit), men would lose their hats to rowdies, so newspapers printed reminders. On Sept. 13, 1922, with the date still two days away, some gangs went further. They knocked straw hats off men’s heads, stomping on them and even starting “straw hat bonfires.”

For days, the mobs “terrorized whole blocks,” The Times wrote. Some carried sticks with nails at the end to snatch hats. Others stood along train tracks and swiped hats off passing riders. There were injuries and arrests before the trouble died down.

Three years later, President Calvin Coolidge essentially put an end to the cutoff rule by going for a mid-September stroll in the “tabooed headgear.”

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Chris

Thank you
Melina Delkic helped compile today’s briefing, and Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected].

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is the first of a two-part series about a new book about Harvey Weinstein by two Times reporters.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Claus subordinates (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times won three awards at last weekend’s Online News Association’s conference, for an interactive examination of the legacy of the lynching of Emmett Till; a visual investigation of the conflict in Gaza; and “The Privacy Project” from our Opinion section.