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Dispatches Human Race

What happened in 1993?

Tara Reade (Max Whittaker/The New York Tim​es)

Accused

Former Senate staffer Tara Reade told journalist Megyn Kelly during an on-camera interview that former Vice President Joe Biden “should not be running on character for the president of the United States.” Reade accuses the presumptive Democratic nominee of sexually assaulting her in 1993 when she worked in his Senate office. Biden has denied the accusation. So far, most Democrats have met Reade’s account with skepticism. But more supporting details have emerged: A 1996 court document from Reade’s ex-husband, Theodore Dronen, referenced “a problem [Reade] was having at work regarding sexual harassment in U.S. Senator Joe Biden’s office.” Also, Reade’s brother and a former neighbor both say Reade told them of the harassment at the time. But PBS reported that 74 former Biden staffers say they never heard of harassment accusations against Biden.

Died

Ravi Zacharias, the Christian author and apologist who traveled the world teaching others to defend the faith, died of cancer on May 19 at age 74. Born in Delhi, India, Zacharias converted to Christianity as a teen. He studied theology in Canada and went on to found Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in 1984. The organization now employs about 75 apologists who train Christian leaders around the world. His wife of 48 years, Margie, survives him, as do three children and several grandchildren.

Linked

Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani communicated with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in the months leading up to his shooting rampage at a Florida naval base that killed three American sailors. U.S. officials said May 18 that the Saudi air force officer had been radicalized for at least five years and meticulously planned his Dec. 6, 2019, attack on Naval Air Station Pensacola. The agency broke the encryption on cell phones that Alshamrani had tried to destroy before sheriff’s deputies killed him in a shootout. The agents found contact between Alshamrani and al-Qaeda operatives, along with a will that matched a document al-Qaeda released taking responsibility for the attack. U.S. Attorney General William Barr criticized the tech company Apple for not helping the FBI unlock the phones.

Recovered

Maria Branyas, age 113, has recovered from the coronavirus. Branyas is the oldest living person in Spain. She was born in Mexico in 1907 and arrived in Spain with her journalist father during World War I. She has lived through the flu pandemic in 1918-19, two World Wars, the Spanish Civil War, and now COVID-19. Branyas was diagnosed with the virus soon after Spain went into lockdown in March. For the last 20 years, she has lived in a care home in Olot, Spain. She stayed in isolation there for weeks, suffering from mild symptoms. Seventeen residents of the same care home reportedly died of the disease, but Branyas, recovered. She told The Guardian that she would live “until God wants.”