2019年5月28日 星期二

Your Wednesday Briefing

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 | View in browser
Good morning,
We’re covering the fate of China’s access to Wall Street, a shocking stabbing in Japan and budding tea growers in Nepal.
By Alisha Haridasani Gupta
Vehicles on fire on the night of the June 4 crackdown in Tiananmen Square in 1989.  Peter Charlesworth/LightRocket, via Getty Images

A military insider speaks out about Tiananmen Square

Next week is the 30th anniversary of the June 4 crackdown in Tiananmen Square, when soldiers shot into crowds of protesters who were demanding a more open government.
Jiang Lin — back then a lieutenant in the People’s Liberation Army and a military journalist who had a firsthand view of the decision-making behind closed doors — broke her silence in an interview with The Times in Beijing. She has since left China.
Details: She tells of being in the square as soldiers attacked, being injured and watching the wounded and the dead pour into the hospital. Her account sheds new light on how senior generals and military commanders tried to resist orders to use armed force, signing letters officially pushing back against martial law. One checked himself into a hospital.
Quotable: “How could fate suddenly turn so that you could use tanks and machine guns against ordinary people? To me, it was madness.”
Context: Authorities in Beijing still work to erase any traces of the massacre from history, resisting efforts to acknowledge that it was wrong and imprisoning former protest leaders and even parents of students and residents who were killed.

Trade war’s next front? China’s access to Wall Street

Trade hawks, like the former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon, are urging an even greater decoupling of China and U.S. financial markets, especially given the lack of transparency about the ultimate owners of Chinese companies.
Adding to a broad rethinking of the relationship, Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant that had a hugely successful initial public offering in New York five years ago, is considering listing in Hong Kong’s stock exchange as well, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The Trump administration hasn’t announced any moves yet, but if the trade war intensifies, cutting off Chinese companies from Wall Street would be a potent option that could rattle stock markets on both sides of the Pacific.
Context: China and Wall Street have largely been allies. Chinese companies have raised tens of billions of dollars through U.S. financial markets in recent years, and Wall Street banks have earned big fees in advising them on I.P.O.s and acquisitions.
A memorial for the victims of a knife attack southwest of Tokyo on Tuesday.  Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Stabbings shock Japan

A man wielding two large knives stabbed 17 schoolgirls and two adults at a bus stop southwest of Tokyo on Tuesday morning, according to the police. An 11-year-old girl and a 39-year-old man died in the assault, and the attacker fatally stabbed himself.
A motive hasn’t been identified yet. Officials at Caritas, the Roman Catholic school in Kawasaki that the children attended, said they had received no prior warning. NHK, the public broadcaster, identified the attacker as Ryuichi Iwasaki, 51.
Context: The attack stunned a country where violent crimes are rare and the streets are widely considered safe enough for children as young as 6 to head to school on their own.
The assault came three years after the worst mass killing in Japan since World War II in which a man fatally stabbed 19 people at a center for disabled people.

Google’s shadow work force

As of March, the company worked with roughly 121,000 temporary workers and contractors around the world, compared with 102,000 full-time employees, according to an internal document obtained by The Times.
Although they often work side by side with full-timers, Google’s temps are usually employed by outside agencies and make less money, have different benefits and have no paid vacation time in the U.S., according to more than a dozen current and former workers.
Response: Google has said it will improve conditions for its temps and contractors.
Context: While the reliance on temporary help has generated more controversy inside Google, the practice is common in Silicon Valley.

If you have 7 minutes, this is worth it

China chokes on takeout plastic

Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times
The astronomical growth of food delivery apps in China is flooding the country with takeout containers, utensils and bags. The online takeout business is estimated to have generated 1.6 million tons of packaging waste in 2017, a ninefold increase from two years before.
People in China still generate less plastic waste, per capita, than Americans, but researchers estimate that nearly three-quarters of China’s plastic waste ends up in poorly managed landfills or out in the open, where it can easily make its way into the sea.
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Here’s what else is happening

Amazon: MacKenzie Bezos, whose stake in Amazon will be worth about $36 billion once her divorce from the founder Jeff Bezos is finalized in July, promised to give more than half of her fortune to charity.
Afghanistan: Attacks on schools by the Taliban and other extremist groups tripled from 2017 to 2018, according to a Unicef report, and the number of children not attending school also increased — yet more signs of the deteriorating security situation in the country.
Climate fight: The Trump administration is hardening its position against climate science, eliminating future, worst-case effects of a rapidly warming planet from its climate models. The effort is part of the White House’s broader rollback of environmental regulations and policies.
South Korea: Jeju Island, which was the site of a government-led slaughter after World War II, is now inviting visitors to learn firsthand about one of the ugliest chapters in modern Korean history.
Africa’s “agripreneurs”: A growing number of young, college-educated entrepreneurs are using apps and technology to increase yields and profits across a continent where most agriculture is still subsistence.
Bachan Gyawali
Snapshot: Above, workers hand rolling green leaf tea in Nepal. Entrepreneurial farmers and factory owners are developing remarkable loose-leaf teas that are a fraction of the price of tea from across the border in India’s famous tea-growing hub, Darjeeling.
College costs: In the U.S., student debt has reached $1.5 trillion, but in many parts of the world recent graduates are debt free. We asked people from dozens of countries to explain how they paid for college.
52 Places traveler: In his latest dispatch, our columnist seeks out the old-school spots in Aalborg, Denmark’s fourth-largest city, which has replaced faded factories with a high-design waterfront.
What we’re reading: This article in The Los Angeles Times, which our national food correspondent, Kim Severson, calls a revealing meditation on food gentrification. “In L.A.’s Chinatown, people wait for hours to get Nashville-style hot chicken,” she says. “But the people who live there either can’t afford it or can’t spare the time. An enterprising Mandarin-speaking food writer decided to do it for them.”

Now, a break from the news

Jessica Emily Marx for The New York Times
Cook: A jar of pesto in the refrigerator gives you dinner options: a sauce for pasta, steak, chicken, fish or a tomato salad. (Our Five Weeknight Dishes newsletter has more recommendations.)
Watch: Seven songs from Tony-nominated Broadway shows, including “The Cher Show,” “Oklahoma!” and “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations.”
Listen: A bare-bones blues shuffle is all Mavis Staples needs to carry her lifelong message — “Things gotta change around here” — in her track “Change,” writes our critic.
Read: In “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” Ocean Vuong, who was born in Vietnam and raised in the U.S., speaks solemnly to his experiences as an immigrant and a gay man.
Smarter Living: It’s easy for healthy lifestyles to fall by the wayside when you’re traveling. But small amounts of exercise — like a 10-minute high-intensity routine in your hotel room or active sightseeing activities such as walking or biking tours — can help maintain your fitness and keep your energy levels high. Bringing your own healthy snacks, and being mindful of indulgent detours, will keep your diet balanced.
And we talked to travel health experts to learn how to stock your portable first-aid kit.

And now for the Back Story on …

The blight threatening bananas

Banana specialists from around the world are arriving in Miami this week for the eighth International Banana Congress. A primary discussion point is Panama disease, a fungus that rots bananas from the inside.
It’s been spreading for decades across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Australia, threatening one of the world’s most valuable fruit crops. Growers have tried containing it, mostly to no avail.
Bananas at a market in Karachi, Pakistan.  Shahzaib Akber/EPA, via Shutterstock
Part of the problem is that cultivated bananas are a single variety — the Cavendish, which replaced the Gros Michel, a monoculture destroyed by a related fungus in the 1950s.
Biodiversity would offer disease resistance. But industry supply chains prefer monocultures, which offer uniform growth patterns, harvest times, shipping resilience and ripening processes.
“If the banana industry sticks to a single breed that is susceptible to this incurable disease, they’re going to run into trouble,” Dan Koeppel said, a banana historian who also writes for Wirecutter, a product review website owned by The New York Times.
Scientists are studying the fungus and mapping its pathways. And trying to keep Latin America from being next.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
— Alisha
Thank you
Chris Stanford helped compile today’s briefing. Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and Kenneth R. Rosen provided the break from the news. James K. Williamson wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about a Times investigation of the New York taxi industry.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Large piece of fried chicken (5 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• More than 5,000 people applied to be in the inaugural class of The New York Times Fellowship, a one-year work program aimed at cultivating the next generation of journalists. The 23 selected arrive next week.
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