2019年11月18日 星期一

Your Monday Evening Briefing

Mike Pompeo, Hong Kong, Iran

Good evening. Here’s the latest.

Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

1. The impeachment hearings resume on Tuesday.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, above, and several other witnesses expected to testify.

And impeachment investigators are also exploring whether President Trump lied in written answers to the special counsel inquiry into Russian election interference, a lawyer for the House told a federal judge. If Mr. Trump did, it could provide the basis for another article of impeachment.

Of particular interest: Mr. Trump’s denial that he was aware of any communications between his campaign and WikiLeaks. Multiple people close to the president have testified to the contrary, and his political adviser Roger Stone was convicted last week for lying to congressional investigators about WikiLeaks.

Mr. Trump announced that he might offer written testimony about his dealings with Ukraine. “Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!” he wrote on Twitter.


Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

2. A pivotal policy shift on Israel.

Above, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S. would no longer consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank a violation of international law.


The change, which reverses four decades of American policy that considered the settlements illegitimate, may doom any peace efforts with Palestinians, for whom the land is central to any hope of a future state.

But it could boost Israelis’ flagging political support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who failed to form a government after two rounds of elections with razor-close outcomes.

Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

3. In Hong Kong, a bloody battle is unfolding at a university.

A cordon of heavily armed riot police officers wielding tear gas and rubber bullets have cornered anti-Beijing protesters at Hong Kong Polytechnic. The protesters have run low on weapons and supplies, and hundreds of them have tried to flee.

Near the university, streets have been engulfed by tear gas and fires, conjuring the feel of a battlefield. At one point, dozens of women who appeared to be the mothers of trapped protesters staged a sit-in directly in front of the police cordon.

Nati Harnik/Associated Press

4. Checking in on the trade war:

News junkies may remember that President Trump announced on Oct. 11 that the U.S. and China had reached a “historic” Phase 1 trade agreement.

Well, no deal has been signed, and the word now is that the two could finalize an agreement in the next few weeks — if negotiators decide to compromise. Above, stockpiled soybeans in Nebraska.

Unpredictability and shifting threats and demands are Mr. Trump’s hallmark approach to trade deals, and it has given him leverage with Mexico, Canada, Japan and elsewhere.

And it brought China to the negotiating table, but may now be discouraging China from bringing the talks to a close.

5. Two major document leaks from abroad.

Secret cables sent by Iran’s version of the C.I.A. in 2014 and 2015 reveal how the country’s operatives infiltrated every aspect of Iraq’s political, economic and religious life.

The reports, obtained by The Intercept and shared with The New York Times, add depth and clarity to the picture of how Iran outmaneuvered the U.S. Iraq has now seen weeks of massive protests against Iranian influence.

And China responded to The Times’s weekend report on hundreds of leaked government documents that detail the creation of Muslim internment camps, how officials were coached to explain the disappearance of family members — and how those who tried to disagree with the campaign were purged.

Beijing said the report smeared the country’s fight against extremism, but it did not dispute the authenticity of the documents.

Gary Kazanjian for The New York Times

6. A shooting in Fresno, Calif., on Sunday night has the police hunting for suspects and a motive.

At least two gunmen entered a yard through an unlocked gate and began firing as about 30 people in a family gathering were watching football outdoors. Four men were fatally shot and six other people wounded. Above, the scene.

Local officials said the victims were ethnic Hmong, members of a large community that arrived as refugees from the wars in Laos and Vietnam starting in the 1970s.

And at an Oklahoma Walmart, the police said, a gunman fired several rounds at a man and a woman in a car in the parking lot and then turned the gun on himself. All three were pronounced dead at the scene.

Francois Mori/Associated Press

7. Eurostar is a high-speed train between Britain and the rest of the European Union, and it was meant to be the embodiment of a borderless world.

But now, as the relationship between the country and the bloc frays, the fate of the train hangs in the balance. It just celebrated its 25th anniversary and reported booming profits in recent years, but its future could fall apart if Brexit happens without a deal.

And in U.S. travel, our writer, a sixth-generation San Francisco native, went on a 17-mile hike across her hometown, or, as she put it — “a walk across a broken city created by people who believed they could put it back together.”

8. Country music fans have been slow to adapt to streaming. That may be changing.

The latest album by the singer Luke Combs, “What You See Is What You Get,” not only reached the top of the Billboard chart, but its songs also were streamed 74 million times.

That’s the biggest number for any country album so far, eclipsing the previous record-holder. We’ll give you a second to guess. Hint: It’s been around for more than 20 years.

Give up?

It’s Gene Autry’s “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Other Christmas Classics,” which racked up almost 44 million streams late last year.

Mark Makela for The New York Times

9. There’s a new way to hack your phone or laptop.

It’s “juice jacking” — and its perpetrators load airport or other public USB ports or USB cables with malware, just waiting for you to plug in and get infected. Sometimes the tainted USB cables are giveaways.

Hackers can then read and export your data, including your passwords, or even lock up the gadget.

So if you’re out and about, use a power outlet rather than a USB charging station, carry your own cords, and maybe keep a portable battery on hand. There are also inexpensive “USB condoms” that disable the cable’s data pin, allowing charging but blocking any flow of data.

Felix Schmitt for The New York Times

10. And finally, a little linguistics.

And we do mean little. German researchers have been working to decode infants’ cries, and are giving new meaning to “mother tongue.”

They’ve established that the “cry melodies” of French and German newborns reflect the languages they heard in utero, and have amassed an archive of around a half-million recordings of babies from Cameroon to China.

But we venture to say that the English poet William Blake (1757–1827) already found the common ground:

Helpless, naked, piping loud;
Like a fiend hid in a cloud.

Hope you sleep better than a baby tonight.

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