Could the Beirut explosion be a turning point for Lebanon?

The appalling negligence that left more than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate sitting for more than six years at Lebanon’s port in Beirut, just waiting to explode, perfectly if tragically encapsulates the official corruption and incompetence in a country where almost everything that can go wrong does go wrong.

Commentary: What artificial intelligence is telling us about US-China relations

Recent weeks were eventful in U.S.-China relations, to put it mildly. Spies were allegedly uncovered, consulates were closed after some resistance, TikTok and WeChat are being banned in the United States and China’s fighter jets flew over the Taiwan Strait when Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar made the highest-profile visit by a U.S. official to the island in over four decades. All of this on top of a pandemic and worsening trade ties. While some may debate whether this is the beginning of a new Cold War, it would be misguided to presume that such a war would necessarily remain cold.

Editorial: Why Biden blew it

Joe Biden took his time selecting a running mate, which seemed prudent. But he came up with Sen. Kamala Harris of California, which seems anticlimactic. And, worse than that, weak.

Commentary: Are your seasonal allergies getting worse? Blame climate change

Spending time outdoors is a useful way to fight cabin fever, something many of us are dealing with right now as our lives have changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Being outside reduces the transmission of the virus because of the constant movement of air, and it is often easier to socially distance than it is indoors. However, more time outdoors is not so pleasant for the nearly 19 million Americans who suffer from allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever.

Commentary: New jobs report shows that the US economy is in for a long slog

The U.S. unemployment figures for July send a muddled message to lawmakers struggling to reach a deal on a new coronavirus relief package. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, non-farm employers added 1.8 million jobs — an enormous number in normal times — and the unemployment rate dropped again by nearly a full percentage point. Yet that rate is still higher than it ever was during the last recession, and more than 16 million Americans remain jobless.

Editorial: SpaceX deserves to be celebrated

Elon Musk was entitled to be elated when he welcomed two NASA astronauts back to Earth on Aug 2. His company, SpaceX, had blasted them into space and then brought them safely home 63 days later. The entire mission was a marvel of engineering and a milestone for American enterprise. In its current mood of exhaustion and discord, the country might need reminding that, for all its shortcomings, it’s still capable of stirring achievements.

Editorial: TikTok gambit hits a wall

The social media app TikTok has been downloaded more than 175 million times in the U.S. alone since its global launch in 2018. But now it’s going viral for reasons other than teens dancing or cooking in pajamas.

Editorial: The US needs an airplane mask mandate

In a country where COVID-19 remains out of control, it’s wrong for anyone not to wear a mask on a commercial airplane. Increasing evidence shows that good cloth face coverings significantly lower the spread of the novel coronavirus at close quarters — and that not wearing them is risky, because this germ is so often breathed into the air by people who don’t yet know they have it. One passenger on a flight from Singapore to Hangzhou, China, was infected by neighboring passengers when he merely let his mask slip below his nose while talking with his family.

Commentary: The truth behind Trump’s need to lie

Abraham Lincoln once said, “No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.” To be a good liar you have to keep track of all the lies you’ve told, and to whom, in order to keep the truth hidden. But Honest Abe never knew President Donald Trump, or perhaps anybody like him.