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The Daily

The New York Times

This is what the news should sound like. The biggest stories of our time, told by the best journalists in the world. Hosted by Michael Barbaro and Sabrina Tavernise. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, ready by 6 a.m. Listen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at read less


The Sunday Read: ‘The Unthinkable Mental Health Crisis That Shook a New England College’
The Sunday Read: ‘The Unthinkable Mental Health Crisis That Shook a New England College’
The first death happened before the academic year began. In July 2021, an undergraduate student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute was reported dead. The administration sent a notice out over email, with the familiar, thoroughly vetted phrasing and appended resources. Katherine Foo, an assistant professor in the department of integrative and global studies, felt especially crushed by the news. She taught this student. He was Chinese, and she felt connected to the particular set of pressures he faced. She read through old, anonymous course evaluations, looking for any sign she might have missed. But she was unsure where to put her personal feelings about a loss suffered in this professional context.The week before the academic year began, a second student died. A rising senior in the computer-science department who loved horticulture took his own life. This brought an intimation of disaster. One student suicide is a tragedy; two might be the beginning of a cluster. Some faculty members began to feel a tinge of dread when they stepped onto campus.Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts is a tidy New England college campus with the high-saturation landscaping typical of well-funded institutions. The hedges are beautifully trimmed, the pathways are swept clean. Red-brick buildings from the 19th century fraternize with high glass facades and renovated interiors. But over a six-month period, the school was turned upside down by a spate of suicides.
The Sunday Read: ‘The Great Freight-Train Heists of the 21st Century’
The Sunday Read: ‘The Great Freight-Train Heists of the 21st Century’
Of all the dozens of suspected thieves questioned by the detectives of the Train Burglary Task Force at the Los Angeles Police Department during the months they spent investigating the rise in theft from the city’s freight trains, one man stood out. What made him memorable wasn’t his criminality so much as his giddy enthusiasm for trespassing. That man, Victor Llamas, was a self-taught expert of the supply chain, a connoisseur of shipping containers. Even in custody, as the detectives interrogated him numerous times, after multiple arrests, in a windowless room in a police station in spring 2022, a kind of nostalgia would sweep over the man. “He said that was the best feeling he’d ever had, jumping on the train while it was moving,” Joe Chavez, who supervised the task force’s detectives, said. “It was euphoric for him.”Some 20 million containers move through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach every year, including about 35 percent of all the imports into the United States from Asia. Once these steel boxes leave the relative security of a ship at port, they are loaded onto trains and trucks — and then things start disappearing. The Los Angeles basin is the country’s undisputed capital of cargo theft, the region with the most reported incidents of stuff stolen from trains and trucks and those interstitial spaces in the supply chain, like rail yards, warehouses, truck stops and parking lots.In the era of e-commerce, freight train robberies are going through a strange revival.