2019年11月24日 星期日

Your Monday Briefing

Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Deepfakes
Morning Briefing, Asia Edition

November 24, 2019

Good morning.
We're covering the pro-democracy gains in Hong Kong elections, a new leak about China's internment camps and Spain's victory in the revamped Davis Cup.
(And an apology — we're having technical problems that are throwing off our formatting. We're working to fix it before your next Briefing.)
Voters celebrating early word of gains made by pro-democracy candidates in Hong Kong on Sunday. Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Hong Kong: What to watch for

Record-setting throngs turned out Sunday for local elections, and early results show that Hong Kong's pro-democracy campaigners have taken a strong lead.

The polls closed at around 10:30 p.m. Sunday in Hong Kong, and the final outcome is expected within hours. Large numbers of police officers have been deployed.

The seats in question are for the district council, a lower rung of elected office focused on community issues like noise complaints and bus stop locations. But with the city in its worst political crisis in decades, the race has become a referendum on the months of protests against Beijing's growing influence.

Closeup: The photographer Lam Yik Fei captured the faces of individuals on both sides of the struggle over Hong Kong's autonomy.

Claim of intervention: An asylum seeker who says he is a disillusioned Chinese intelligence operative has told the Australian authorities that China's military intelligence agencies are directly intervening in politics in Hong Kong as well as in Taiwan, buying media coverage, infiltrating universities and funneling donations to favored candidates.

A second major leak on China's internment camps

Six internal documents obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists have shed new light on China's crackdown in the Xinjiang region, where a million or more ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and others have been detained over the past three years.

The documents were provided by Uighur overseas networks and scrutinized for authenticity by dozens of journalists in 14 countries.

The most significant is a secret directive on managing the camps that describes their inner workings: round-the-clock video surveillance to prevent escapes, a scoring system for inmates to determine whether they would be released, and blanket secrecy, including a bar on employees bringing in mobile phones.

Beijing's position: The government rejects criticism of the camps and describes them as job-training centers that use humane methods to fight the spread of Islamic extremism.

The first leak: A member of the Chinese political establishment shared a different, 403-page set, of internal papers with The Times earlier this year, expressing hope that the revelations would make it more difficult for party leaders, including President Xi Jinping, to escape culpability for the mass detentions.

More documents: A Washington-based researcher writes in our Opinion section that he was able to obtain a massive cache of local government files from within Xinjiang that reveal the extraordinary scale of the internment campaign and its devastating impact on the region's communities and families.

Google filmed actors, then digitally altered them to begin learning how to spot "deepfakes." The top picture is the actual image, the deepfake is on the bottom. Google

Can A.I. save us from faked videos?

Google and Facebook are running contests for researchers to build artificial intelligence systems that can detect videos doctored with cutting-edge artificial intelligence, known as deepfakes.

The contests are showing how hard that will be.

The danger: Researchers and lawmakers worry deepfakes could become a new, insidious method for spreading disinformation in the lead-up to the 2020 U.S. presidential election, but the implications go everywhere the internet reaches.

If you have 15 minutes, this is worth it

Lion Air's failings escape post-crash scrutiny

Adam Dean for The New York Times

Two crashes of the new 737 Max jet focused attention on the plane's maker, Boeing — giving cover, a Times investigation found, to the poor safety record of the operator of one of the fatal flights, Indonesia's ambitious Lion Air.

"The Boeing issue was an absolute godsend for Lion Air," said an aviation safety expert. "It means Lion Air doesn't have to deal with what is clearly failure after failure after failure and make the changes needed."

Here's what else is happening

Washington: The impeachment hearings in the House have laid out the evidence against President Trump, but the outcome of a Senate trial remains uncertain. Our White House correspondent writes that framing the information for the public will now take center stage, since the 2020 election may provide the final verdict.

Vietnam: The grieving families of 39 people found in England last month in the refrigerated trailer of a truck say neither the British nor the Vietnamese governments are helping them pay to repatriate the dead. A second man from Northern Ireland charged in the case is due in court today.

Luxury squared: LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world's largest luxury goods company, is close to completing a deal to buy Tiffany & Company, according to people briefed on the acquisition. The combination would be worth $16.7 billion, a record in the luxury sector, and could be announced today.

Goo Hara: The former member of the early K-pop sensation Kara was found dead in her home in Seoul, five months after a reported suicide attempt. She was 28.

Anti-Semitism in London: A man who quoted Bible passages to a Jewish man and boy wearing skullcaps in the Underground has been arrested, after a video of the incident circulated on social media. The video also showed a woman in a hijab intervening.

Susana Vera/Reuters

Snapshot: Above, Rafael Nadal battling Canada's Denis Shapovalov in Madrid. Nadal won, clinching the Davis Cup for Spain.

Roger Federer: The 20-time Grand Slam tennis champion is taking a big step toward life after tennis with On, a small Swiss running shoe brand with a cult following and global ambitions.

In case you missed it: For 40 years, journalists chronicled the tragic, astonishing story of the eccentric royal family of Oudh, deposed aristocrats who lived in a ruined royal hunting lodge in India's capital. But was it true? Our correspondent, reporting across continents, found the secret the family tried so hard to keep.

What we're reading: This review in The American Interest of a new biography of David Ben-Gurion, Israel's founding prime minister. Steven Erlanger, chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe, writes: "The book, by the fine Israeli historian Tom Segev, gets a thoughtful, personal consideration by the journalist Ben Judah."

Now, a break from the news

Michael Graydon & Nikole Herriott for The New York Times

Cook: Alison Roman's deep-dish honey apple galette has a flaky, buttery crust that envelopes apples sweetened with honey.

Watch: In "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," Tom Hanks plays Mister Rogers, the beloved children's television host, as he comes to the aid of a suffering magazine writer. Here's our review.

Smarter Living: For some, the benefits of weight lifting go far beyond the well-documented physical and mental improvements.

And now for the Back Story on …

The revamped Davis Cup

The Davis Cup, one of the premiere events in men's tennis, was overhauled this year. It hasn't been seamless.

Founded in 1900, the tournament evolved over the years, but urgency for change had been building. The moment came after the International Tennis Federation sold the rights to Kosmos, a Spanish investment firm whose president is Gerard Piqué, the Spanish soccer star.

The changes condensed the elite World Group from four rounds of five best-of-five-set matches into two rounds with an intense finals week involving 18 teams playing best-of-three-set matches in a single location. This year, that's Madrid — where Spain happened to make its way into the final against Canada.

Fan ire is nothing new to the Davis Cup. In 1935, when some of the tournaments' matches were being played at Wimbledon, rain delays prompted those in the stands to fling their seat cushions onto the court. Associated Press

Tennis.com listed the complaints: "Empty seats, late finishing times, fans waiting in cold weather, a confusing format, sparse TV coverage, a controversy over a forfeited doubles match, withdrawals by several Top 10 players, Piqué's ongoing feud with Roger Federer: This is what has made headlines from Madrid."

You can't say the organizers are unresponsive. Last week, after a U.S. doubles team's match against Italy ended after 4 a.m. the following day, they moved back start times and shrank the break between matches.

That's it for this briefing. Congratulations to the Davis Cup winner (and the dedicated competition).
— Andrea

Thank you

To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.


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