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Your Thursday Briefing

Good morning.

Here’s what you need to know:

• Debris from Flight 370?

Officials were cautious today, reluctant to fan hopes after the discovery of possible wreckage from a Malaysian plane that vanished last year with 239 people on board.

Investigators are going to Réunion, an island in the Indian …

Angry Birds

Bail Set at $1 Million for Ex-University of Cincinnati Officer Charged With Murder

A judge set bail at $1 million on Thursday for the former University of Cincinnati police officer who shot and killed a motorist, after a traffic stop over a missing license plate.

The former officer, Ray Tensing, appeared briefly in court in Cincinnati, in gray-and-black striped jail garb, …

‘Too Early’ to Conclude Debris Is From Missing Malaysian Jet, Australian Official Says

SYDNEY, Australia — Government officials and families of passengers lost on a Malaysian jet that vanished last year with 239 people aboard responded warily on Thursday to the discovery of possible wreckage from the aircraft, reluctant to fan hopes after more than a year of fruitless searching and …

Malaysia Airlines

Taliban Confirm Death of Mullah Omar and Weigh Successor

The Taliban confirmed on Thursday that their supreme leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, had died. But the struggle to succeed him as head of the Afghan insurgency already seemed well underway.

With the future of political negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government up in the air, two …


A Psychologist as Warden? Jail and Mental Illness Intersect in Chicago

CHICAGO — Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia, who runs the sprawling Cook County Jail here, has an indelible childhood memory of police officers pounding on the aluminum walls of the family’s double-wide trailer home in North Carolina, rifling through cupboards and drawers, and arresting her father on charges …


Boy, 15, Is Charged With Murder in Killing of Madyson Middleton

LOS ANGELES — A 15-year-old boy has been charged with murder as an adult for the killing of an 8-year-old girl, a neighbor of the boy in Santa Cruz, Calif., the county district attorney announced on Wednesday.

The boy, Adrian Jerry Gonzalez, was charged with one count of murder, including special …

Tears for Fears

U.S. Economy Grew 2.3 Percent in 2nd Quarter

The American economy regained its footing last quarter, expanding at an annual rate of 2.3 percent amid a better trade picture, growing consumer spending and a resilient housing sector.

The rebound in April, May and June was largely expected, after a dismal performance in the first quarter of …


Mexican President’s Ties to Contractor Raise Questions

SAN FRANCISCO XOCHICUAUTLA, Mexico — Armando García has filed lawsuits, joined protests and gotten arrested trying to stop a highway from slicing through his hilly backyard in a nature reserve.

But even with a court order on his side, bright green pines have been stripped away and tree stumps dot …

Mexico City

American Who Killed Cecil the Lion Closes Dental Practice

An American dentist who admitted that he killed a well-known lion this month in Zimbabwe and planned to mount the head has closed his practice near Minneapolis as the furor online has turned vitriolic and, at times, threatening.

Dr. Walter J. Palmer’s neatly groomed property, adjacent to a …


Stakes for Donald Trump in First G.O.P. Debate (in a Word): Huge

The most pressing question that Donald J. Trump could face next week in the first debate of the 2016 presidential race may not be about Iran or immigration, but this: Can he deploy enough adjectives (“huge!”), superlatives (“the worst!”) and invectives (“loser!”) for him to use up his time without …

Border Security

2016 Endorsements: How and Why They Matter

William “Boss” Tweed captured the importance of the nominating process when he said that he didn’t care who did the electing, as long as he got to do the nominating. The choice of nominee can determine the future course and fortune of a party — such as whether it tilts right or left — and the …

Jeb Bush

Benedict Cumberbatch, a Hamlet Who’s One Hot Ticket in London

LONDON — Clare Newman was not taking any chances. If Benedict Cumberbatch was going to play Hamlet, she was going to be there.

The theater where he would be performing — the Barbican — was offering tickets first to its supporters, so she and two friends signed up for top tier memberships. The …


Royal Dutch Shell Profits Continue to Fall, Prompting 6,500 Layoffs

LONDON — Royal Dutch Shell said on Thursday that its profit fell sharply in the second quarter as a strong performance in marketing and refining failed to offset the brunt of lower oil and gas prices.

The oil giant also said it would cut its capital investment and eliminate 6,500 jobs as the drop in …

Royal Dutch Shell

Cyclists’ Positive Drug Tests Suggest Use of Chemical Meant for Lab Research

Recent positive drug tests by two cyclists suggest there is a new, cutting-edge substance making its way to athletes looking for performance-enhancement: FG-4592, an experimental drug that increases production of red blood cells but has not been approved for human consumption.

Athletes have long …

Pan American Games

Former University of Virginia Fraternity Members Sue Rolling Stone

Three former members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at the University of Virginia filed a lawsuit against Rolling Stone on Wednesday for defamation and infliction of emotional distress, saying the magazine’s discredited article on a campus gang rape had a “devastating effect” on their …

University of Virginia

Vietnam Floods Kill 17 and Threaten to Pollute Ha Long Bay

Flooding in northern Vietnam has killed at least 17 people, with the continuing rain prompting concerns of landslides and of pollution from inundated coal mines reaching one of the country’s most famous sites of natural beauty.

A Vietnamese Navy vessel was dispatched to Co To Island, off the …


Does a New La Guardia Demand a New Name?

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has declared that the $4 billion rebuilding planned at La Guardia Airport in Queens will amount to replacing the airport “in its entirety.”

So is it time, after 76 years, to replace the name, too?

Patrick J. Foye, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New …


A Legacy for Cuomo? It May Be Big New York Projects

It is a commonly held belief among political leaders: Long after they have left office, they will be remembered in large part for legacy projects that outlast their political lives, if not their natural ones.

In less than five years, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, a Democrat, has managed to move …

Illuminating the Plight of Endangered Species at the Empire State Building

TRAVIS Threlkel was standing on the roof of a building on Fifth Avenue and 27th Street looking uptown at his canvas. It’s hard to miss: It’s the Empire State Building, and on Saturday evening he and his collaborator, the filmmaker and photographer Louie Psihoyos, will project digital light images …

Empire State Building