Above the Fold
A daily news briefing on Medium

The “first daughter” spent years rigorously cultivating her image. But she wasn’t prepared for scrutiny.

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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

By Elaina Plott

You could tell by his eyes, the way they popped and gleamed and fixed on someone behind me. Only one person gets that kind of look from Donald Trump. “Oh!” the president said. “Ivanka!”

Ivanka Trump lifted her hands, astonished. “I forgot you guys were meeting — I was just coming by!” she said. “Uh-oh!”

The first daughter (though not the only daughter), wearing a fitted black mockneck and black pants, her golden hair fastened in a low twist, glided across the Oval Office. It was a Tuesday afternoon, and it was apparently vital to inform Trump, at that very moment, that Siemens had pledged to expand its education and training opportunities to more workers as part of Ivanka’s workforce-development initiative. …

No other matchup would be as riveting — or as revealing — as Harris versus Trump. But first she has to get through the primaries.

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Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks at the National Action Network’s annual convention, April 5, 2019 in New York City. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

By Elizabeth Weil

So here’s the plan:

Kamala is going to walk up to Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ from the left. At 12:50 p.m., Rodney Scott will greet her. She’ll enter through the side door and order at the second register, from the woman in the red shirt. Kamala, Scott, and Maya Harris — that’s Kamala’s sister and campaign chair — will sit and eat. Kamala will then exit through the front door and walk around back to look at the smoker. …

Thea Hunter was a promising, brilliant scholar. And then she got trapped in academia’s permanent underclass.

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Photo: Sanna Stanley/Rykoff Collection/Imran kadir photography/Getty/Frank Fiedler/Shutterstock/Arsh Raziuddin/The Atlantic

A bald eagle in flight is elegance to behold. The sudden, violent flaps of its wings are broken by sublime extension as it locks onto a breeze and glides. Occasionally, 10 blocks north of the George Washington Bridge in Manhattan, you can spot a bald eagle overhead in Fort Tryon Park. There, Thea Hunter could often be counted among the bird’s admirers — typically while walking her dog, Cooper, a black Labrador retriever.

Thea loved the park, a bastion of calm amid the city’s constant hum, and she reveled in the chance encounters she had with eagles there. Often, even in the middle of winter, she would wrestle out her phone to call a friend. Some birds flap, flap, dive, she would explain, while others catch a current and soar. …

A look back through the decades shows the successes and challenges of a divisive social policy

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The commencement for the Class of 1973 at Columbia University. The number of black students admitted to Columbia rose sharply in 1969. About half of those who enrolled graduated four years later. Photo: University Archives, Rare Books & Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York

By Anemona Hartocollis

On cold mornings, Les Goodson shows up early outside the University Club, on a wealthy stretch of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and races two panhandlers he has nicknamed Catman and Pimp-the-Baby for a warm spot in front of a steam vent. He launches into “Take Five” on his saxophone, leaving his case open for bills and coins.

In a good week, it’s a living — enough to pay the rent on his railroad flat in Harlem and put food on the table. …

The tech giant’s ‘growth team’ brought it over a billion users — but did it also sow the seeds for current troubles?

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Photo: Hiroshi Watanabe/Getty Images

By Hannah Kuchler

If you joined Facebook at any time over the past decade, Alex Schultz probably had something to do with it. The 36-year-old from south London, a Cambridge physics graduate and self-taught specialist in online marketing, moved to Silicon Valley in 2004. After three years at eBay, he was appointed to Facebook’s newly formed “growth team” in 2007.

Schultz’s mission — along with seven others — was to pioneer innovative techniques to lure in new users and keep them coming back for more. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and chief executive, would later describe the growth team as the platform’s “most important product feature”. …

The number of female solo travelers has skyrocketed, but amid Instagram-worthy escapades are tales of violence and death, raising questions about how the world is greeting women who travel alone.

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Hannah Gavios in Queens, N.Y. Photo: George Etheredge

By Megan Specia and Tariro Mzezewa

Carla Stefaniak did everything “right,” her best friend said.

On a five-day vacation to Costa Rica in November to celebrate her 36th birthday, Stefaniak, a dual Venezuelan-American citizen, chose a gated Airbnb villa near the airport. It had a security guard. It was in a safe neighborhood. And she made sure to get home before dark.

The night before she was to fly to Florida, she contacted her best friend, Laura Jaime, on the FaceTime app. She showed off the crocheted earrings she had bought in a local market and gave a video tour of her villa. …

Success in forensics is about making yourself vulnerable. Several former competitors accuse a prominent coach of exploiting that vulnerability to sexually harass students.

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Photo: Emily Jan/Zieusin/Rangizzz/MirasWonderland/The Atlantic

By Caroline Kitchener

In the lobby of a deserted student-union building in Peoria, Illinois, the George Mason University speech team falls into formation. Following their coach, a petite, white-haired man in a silk designer tie, they walk single file down an empty hallway and into an empty classroom, where someone plugs in a speaker, turns up the music, and announces that it’s time to dance.

On this rainy Saturday morning in April 2017, no one really wants to dance. It’s 6:30 a.m., and most team members are running on four hours’ sleep and a granola bar for breakfast. Everyone is in a suit. Still, they sway their hips, kick the air, jump up and down, bang on the walls, and belt out their best rendition of Nicki Minaj’s “Starships.” At least one person leaps on top of a chair. …

A former Jehovah’s Witness is using stolen documents to expose allegations that the religion has kept hidden for decades

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Photo: Dave Whitney/Getty Images

By Dougla Quenqua

In March 1997, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the nonprofit organization that oversees the Jehovah’s Witnesses, sent a letter to each of its 10,883 U.S. congregations, and to many more congregations worldwide. The organization was concerned about the legal risk posed by possible child molesters within its ranks. The letter laid out instructions on how to deal with a known predator: Write a detailed report answering 12 questions — Was this a onetime occurrence, or did the accused have a history of child molestation? How is the accused viewed within the community? Does anyone else know about the abuse? — and mail it to Watchtower’s headquarters in a special blue envelope. …

Sophisticated surveillance, once the domain of world powers, is increasingly available on the private market. Smaller countries are seizing on the tools — sometimes for darker purposes.

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NSO, a private company based in Herzliya, Israel, has hired former government hackers to ply their trades for foreign governments and wealthy private clients. Photo: Corinna Kern

By Mark Mazzetti, Adam Goldman, Ronen Bergman and Nicole Perlroth

The man in charge of Saudi Arabia’s ruthless campaign to stifle dissent went searching for ways to spy on people he saw as threats to the kingdom. He knew where to go: a secretive Israeli company offering technology developed by former intelligence operatives.

It was late 2017 and Saud al-Qahtani — then a top adviser to Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince — was tracking Saudi dissidents around the world, part of his extensive surveillance efforts that ultimately led to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. …

As video games get better and job prospects worse, more young men are dropping out of the job market to spend their time in an alternate reality. Ryan Avent suspects this is the beginning of something big.

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Photo: Koron/Getty Images

By Ryan Avent

David Mullings was always a self-starter. Born in Jamaica, he moved to Florida to go to university, and founded his first company — a digital media firm that helped Caribbean content find a wider audience — before finishing business school at the University of Miami. In 2011 he opened a private-equity firm with his brother. In 2013 the two made their first big deal, acquiring an 80% stake in a Tampa-based producer of mobile apps. A year later it blew up in their faces, sinking their firm and their hopes.

Mullings struggled to recover from the blow. The odd consulting gig provided a distraction and some income. Yet depression set in as he found himself asking whether he had anything useful to contribute to the wider world. …

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