2020年2月17日 星期一

Your Evening Briefing

Coronavirus, Jeff Bezos, George Washington

Your Monday Evening Briefing

Author Headshot

By penn bullock and hiroko masuike

Good evening and Happy Presidents’ Day.

The news was on the slow side, so the briefing is shorter than usual. Here’s the latest.

Philip and Gay Courter, via Reuters

1. “Plastic sheeting and tape.”

That was one passenger’s description of the quarantine zone created on a chartered jet, above, for 14 Americans infected with the coronavirus. They were among the more than 300 Americans who landed in the U.S. today after being quarantined for nearly two weeks on a cruise ship in Japan.

Those infected were not supposed to be flown out, but the test results came in after the evacuation had begun, and U.S. officials decided to proceed — to the surprise of many, including the other passengers.

The quarantine of the ship, our reporters write, “has become an epidemiological nightmare.”

And a fringe theory about the virus as a bioweapon — for which there is no evidence or scientific backing — was repeated by Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, on Fox News.


Mandel Ngan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

2. The Bezos Earth Fund starts big.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive and the world’s richest man, used Instagram to announce a new, $10 billion initiative to address the climate crisis.


He said he expected to begin issuing grants this summer to scientists, activists and nongovernmental organizations to help “amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share.”

His pledge comes as Amazon workers have agitated for the company to tackle its own carbon emissions, which in 2018 were equivalent to burning almost 600,000 tanker trucks’ worth of gasoline.

Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

3. A very big deal in milk.

Dairy Farmers of America, the country’s biggest milk cooperative, is planning to pay $425 million to buy a portion of the ailing milk company Dean Foods. Above, jugs of McArthur Dairy milk, a Dean Foods brand.

The arrangement must be approved by a bankruptcy court overseeing Dean and by antitrust regulators.

Some small farmers support the merger, hoping it stabilizes the milk market amid falling demand. Others say Dairy Farmers of America benefits from keeping milk prices low, which would hurt farmers.

Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

4. Flooding in the South.

Its reservoir filled to the brim, a dam was forced to discharge part of it into the Pearl River in central Mississippi over the weekend, adding to massive flooding that state officials said would only get worse.

Above, flooding near Byram, Miss. Tennessee has also been hard hit by the torrential rains.

Many people seem to have heeded warnings to evacuate, but some had to be rescued as the Pearl River swelled.

Officials were bracing for more water to reach into Jackson, Mississippi’s capital, and other communities along the Pearl River.

Bridget Bennett for The New York Times

5. Democratic candidates are preparing for Nevada.

The state’s caucuses on Saturday will show whether Joe Biden, above in Las Vegas on Sunday, the former vice president, can revive his campaign after his first two finishes sent his national poll numbers plummeting and put his donors on edge.

Mike Bloomberg isn’t in that contest, but he has his hands full anyway. Impolitic and insensitive remarks he made in the past are resurfacing, and he has emerged as a common enemy of the other Democratic candidates. At Bloomberg News, reporters and editors are confronting the dilemma of how to cover their boss.

Alastair Pike/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

6. Beyond the wedding announcement.

Our White House correspondent Katie Rogers put the marriage of two West Wing aides in the context of Washington.

The wedding of President Trump’s aide Stephen Miller and Katie Waldman, above at a state dinner last year, was at Mr. Trump’s hotel in Washington on Sunday, and the president attended.

“Washington’s highly politicized culture — a reality that the president and zealous officials like Mr. Miller have directly contributed to — can be brutal on dating life,” writes Katie. So young, eligible conservatives make their own dating pool.

Among other Trump-circle couples: John Pence, the vice president’s nephew, and Giovanna Coia, a White House aide and the cousin of Kellyanne Conway, and Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, and Max Miller, an official on the White House advance team.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

7. A Presidents’ Day history lesson.

Writing in Times Opinion, Alexis Coe, a biographer of George Washington, punctures some of the myths that her predecessors — overwhelmingly, white men — propagate about the first president.

His relationship to slavery is among them, but there are others.

“Washington’s story — all of it, in its entirety — is full of victory and triumph, inhumanity and catastrophe, often on a grand scale,” Ms. Coe writes.

Suzy Allman for The New York Times

8. And finally, it was such a quiet news day that one of our most-read stories today was this lasagna recipe from 2001, which our food editor, Sam Sifton, wrote about for his “What to Cook” newsletter.

Strangely, another popular article looked at the benefits of intermittent fasting.

Have it your way this evening.

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Your Tuesday Briefing

Tuesday, Feb 18, 2020 | View in browser
Good morning.
The U.S. observed the Presidents’ Day holiday on Monday, so the news has been a little slow from our New York and Washington newsrooms. But we have a host of updates on the coronavirus, a new leaked document about how China tracks detainees and why young Somalis are stepping up.
By Melina Delkic
Americans who were evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship arrived early Monday at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.  Edward A. Ornelas/Getty Images

Diamond Princess evacuations ramp up

Australia, South Korea and other countries were preparing to evacuate their citizens from the cruise ship in Japan that has been quarantined for two weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Fourteen evacuated Americans were found to have the virus shortly before they boarded a chartered flight to the U.S. And the Japanese Health Ministry announced that 99 more cases had been confirmed on the ship, bringing the total to 454.
China signaled a delay of the most important political event of the year, the full meeting of the National People’s Congress — a sign of deepening anxiety within the Communist Party about the threat posed by the epidemic.
The latest: The Tokyo Marathon was canceled for everyone except elite athletes, raising questions about what will happen to the Olympic Games in the city this summer. Separately, a prominent legal activist who accused China’s leader, Xi Jinping, of trying to cover up the outbreak was detained over the weekend, according to his friends.
Impact: Japan’s economy shrank in the last quarter of 2019, its worst contraction in more than five years. The results predated the coronavirus epidemic but were affected by a monthslong slump in Chinese demand for Japanese exports.

China’s critics seize on fringe theory of virus

There’s no evidence for it, and scientists dismiss it. But a rumor about the coronavirus has nevertheless gained traction: that the outbreak was somehow manufactured by the Chinese government as part of a biowarfare program.
It’s the kind of story that resonates with those who see Beijing as a threat to the West. The theory has gained an audience with the help of powerful critics of the Chinese government, including right-wing media outlets and a U.S. senator, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who later walked his claims back.
Reality: Experts dismiss the idea that the virus was created by human hands, saying it resembles SARS and other viruses that come from bats. Here’s a reminder of what scientists know and don’t know.
‘Infodemic’: The World Health Organization is fighting a flood of misinformation about the coronavirus in partnership with tech companies.
Rozinisa Memettohti, an ethnic Uighur, learned from a leaked Chinese government document that some of her family members had been sent to indoctrination camps.  Furkan Temir for The New York Times

How China tracked Xinjiang detainees

Going on religious pilgrimages, praying, attending funerals, wearing a beard, having too many children.
These are all acts, among other signs of piety, that would have been flagged by the Chinese government and warranted monitoring or even detention for Uighurs living in the western Xinjiang region, according to a leaked government document obtained by The Times.
The document, one of numerous files kept on more than one million people who have been detained, illuminates another piece of the Chinese government’s coercive crackdown on ethnic minorities and what Beijing considers to be wayward thinking.
Details: The document, a 137-page spreadsheet, outlines the kind of minute detail that the authorities in Karakax County (also spelled Qaraqash) in southwestern Xinjiang collected on more than 300 detainees and hundreds of their relatives and neighbors from 2017 to March 2019.
Follow-up: Three-fourths of the detainees listed have been released, according to an expert who studied the spreadsheet. But the document also shows that many of those released were later assigned work in tightly controlled industrial parks.

If you have 6 minutes, this is worth it

Young Somalis step up

Brian Otieno for The New York Times
Somalia has endured three decades of crises, making its government incapable of providing even basic services. So young Somalis have sprung into action as volunteer medics, road-builders, educators and more.
After a 2017 truck bombing in Mogadishu killed 587 people and injured 316 others, hundreds of volunteers, like Dr. Amina Abdulkadir Isack, above right, identified victims, created social media campaigns to appeal for global attention and collected tens of thousands of dollars to help with ambulance services.
“It showed us we could do something to save lives,” she said.
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Here’s what else is happening

Burkina Faso shooting: A gunman attacked a church during Sunday Mass and killed at least 24 people in the country’s northwest, security sources said. It was not immediately clear who was responsible, but jihadist groups have been seeking control over rural areas of the country.
Michael Bloomberg campaign: As the billionaire and former New York mayor rises to the upper tier of Democratic presidential candidates, political reporters at his news media outlet are increasingly feeling pressure over a perceived conflict of interest.
Caroline Flack: Fans of the “Love Island” host, who died by suicide over the weekend, are calling for a new law to stop British tabloids from publishing articles that reveal “private information that is detrimental to a celebrity, their mental health and those around them.”
Lauryn Ishak for The New York Times
Snapshot: Above, an orangutan in Tanjung Puting National Park in Indonesia. Our correspondent and his family developed a special understanding of Indonesia’s island jungles with the help of a network of one-man conservationist organizations.
What we’re reading: This collection of letters. “British newspapers’ letters pages are a peculiar sort of joy,” writes Peter Robins, an editor in our London newsroom. “Recently, readers of The Guardian have been debating how old you have to be before it’s eccentric to keep boiling up your annual 18-pound batch of homemade marmalade. Bidding started at 77 and has escalated rapidly.”

Now, a break from the news

David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews
Cook: Cheesy baked pasta with sausage and ricotta is like lasagna, but faster. (Our Five Weeknight Dishes newsletter has more recommendations.)
Read: Apeirogon,” the latest novel from Colum McCann, delves into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the eyes of two grieving fathers. “I think people wouldn’t have trusted it as much if it wasn’t real,” he said.
Smarter Living: We collected a few items that will help you make the most of an off-season getaway.

And now for the Back Story on …

Somalia’s future

Abdi Latif Dahir is The Times’s East Africa correspondent. A Kenyan of Somali descent, he reports in and about some dozen countries. We reached him in Nairobi, to talk about this briefing’s featured read: his story about the young Somalis who are filling in the gaps their government can’t.
This is such a powerful story of resilience and hope. How did you find it?
Late last year, there was a big attack in Mogadishu, the worst by Al Shabab in two years. And one thing stood out. Almost all the news stories mentioned that a lot of university students had died, young people who wanted to be doctors or were studying other specialities that would help the country.
On Jan. 1, I flew to Mogadishu, to follow up on the attack and to write about these students and what they mean to Somalia.
My first story was about that, but also on how things had been getting so much better in Mogadishu — and it was all these young people doing it.
Beydan Pastry, a hip coffee house in Mogadishu, in January.   Brian Otieno for The New York Times
What else inspired you?
I went to this crisis center. They were collecting the names of the victims, and reaching out to their families. I wanted to sit amongst them and see what it was like. They were checking in, asking the families, how are you today?
And maybe they’d hear that the hospital bill had been paid so that was OK but the family hadn’t eaten breakfast that day. So they would corral someone to get food over to them.
I wanted to write about the chutzpah to invent these systems, to stay strong with all that was happening.
People could rattle off all these names of people they’ve known who’ve been killed. But then they would say, we want to stay here and be the ones to fix this country. They’re creating tech hubs, and restaurants and delivery services that are thriving. Because of the attacks on hotels and restaurants, it’s safer to stay home, have friends over and order a meal.
How is it being the East Africa correspondent?
I’ve had the job since November. It’s incredible. This is a dynamic, evolving region that’s changing socially, geopolitically, economically. It’s a great place to be a journalist. Honestly, you could write a story every hour.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
— Melina
Thank you
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. Andrea Kannapell, the briefings editor, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.
• “The Daily” was off for the U.S. Presidents’ Day holiday. But try our “Modern Love” podcast. This week’s is titled “When Cupid Is a Prying Journalist.”
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Part of a navy (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Last week, we told you that our Visual Investigations team would be answering reader questions. Here’s the YouTube video of them doing just that.
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