2019年11月20日 星期三

Your Thursday Briefing

Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 | View in browser
Good morning.
We’re covering Beijing’s tougher stance on Hong Kong’s unrest, a crucial day of testimony in the U.S. impeachment inquiry and aesthetics founded on changing seasons in Japan.
By Melina Delkic
Supporters escorted those charged with rioting from a court in Hong Kong under cover of umbrellas on Wednesday.  Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Beijing tightens reins on Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s schools have reopened, and officials are trying to restore a sense of normalcy, though a few protesters remain holed up on the campus of Polytechnic University.
Meanwhile, China’s Communist government took its most decisive steps to intervene in the territory’s political crisis and warned that it would use its authority to overrule Hong Kong’s judiciary.
The warning, issued with criticism of a Hong Kong court’s decision on Monday to overturn a ban on protester face masks, struck at the heart of what has fueled the unrest — concerns about Beijing’s encroachment on Hong Kong’s civil liberties.
“It represents a new stage in Hong Kong’s protest movement,” said a political analyst in Beijing. “It has reached the stage of a very direct conflict over sovereignty.”
Context: The Chinese Foreign Ministry denounced a bill passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate that could authorize the government to impose sanctions on officials responsible for human rights abuses in the territory.
Related: An ex-worker at Britain’s consulate in Hong Kong said that the Chinese secret police tortured and beat him, seeking information about the protests. Britain’s foreign secretary said he had summoned the Chinese ambassador in London to express outrage over the “disgraceful” treatment.
President Trump holding what appear to be talking points in handwritten notes while speaking to reporters in Texas on Wednesday.   Erin Scott/Reuters

Trump donor faces tough questions

Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, testified in the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday that he had pressured Ukraine at the “express direction” of President Trump. Here’s the latest:
■ Mr. Sondland added that he and other top officials were reluctant to work with the president’s personal lawyer on the pressure campaign and agreed only at Mr. Trump’s insistence: “We followed the president’s orders.” And he said that “everyone was in the loop.”
■ But he also described one conversation, which took place after the White House had learned a whistle-blower had come forward, in which Mr. Trump said he wanted “nothing” from Ukraine but to “tell Zelensky to do the right thing.” Mr. Trump seized on the first part of the quote.
■ Mr. Trump also distanced himself from Mr. Sondland, a top donor he appointed, saying, “I don’t know him very well.”
■ The top Democrat of the committee said that it was “among the most significant evidence to date” and that it spoke to “the issue of bribery, as well as other potential high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Go deeper: Read Mr. Sondland’s opening statement, our takeaways from the day’s testimony and our complete guide to the impeachment inquiry.
Protesters near Tahrir Square on Wednesday.  Murtaja Lateef/EPA, via Shutterstock

Protests in Iraq reach fifth week

Iraqi officials say at least 27 protesters were wounded in renewed fighting in central Baghdad early Wednesday.
More than 200,000 Iraqis across the country have gathered on any given day over five weeks to demonstrate against the government. Security forces have killed at least 320 and wounded about 15,000, according to the United Nations office in Iraq.
Protesters are angry about corruption, unemployment and Iran’s influence. They include educated, idealistic and secular young people as well as working-class and poor Shiite Muslims.
On the ground: Our correspondent visited a neighborhood with a history of violent resistance, where residents feel frustrated that having endured Saddam Hussein’s reign, the civil war that followed his overthrow and then the invasion of the Islamic State, their lives have seen little improvement.
Quotable: “What is a pity is that we believed the politicians who said, ‘Vote for us and we will do our best for you,’” said Bassim al-Kaabi, a protester from Sadr City. “But then we found they were liars and so now we are saying, ’Enough.’”

If you have some time, this is worth it

What it means to be home

Laura Nix
“To love, to laugh, to live, to work, to fail, to despair, to parent, to cry, to die, to mourn, to hope: These attributes exist whether we are Vietnamese or Mexican or American or any other form of classification,” writes the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen in an introduction to our Opinion section’s collection of five short documentaries about the immigrant experience.
The stories, including those of a mother just out of detention at the U.S. border and Vietnam War refugees like himself who reunite on the dance floor, writes Mr. Nguyen, “testify to both the depth of our shared humanity and the height of the walls separating us.”
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Here’s what else is happening

Israel: Benny Gantz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s top rival, was unable to form a coalition government, pushing the country toward its third election in a year.
Prince Andrew: The Duke of York has announced he is stepping back from his royal duties in the wake of a catastrophic interview about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, the financier and convicted sex offender.
Myanmar: The country will send a legal team led by Aung San Suu Kyi to the International Court of Justice to contest an accusation of genocide.
Google: The company has hired a firm known for its anti-union efforts, the latest in a tense feud between a group of activist workers and management at the tech giant. Employees discovered the partnership via internal calendar entries.
Democratic debates: Later today, the 10 contenders for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination will face off on a stage in Atlanta. Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders lead the pack. Here’s our analysis of how things stand. Check nytimes.com for real-time updates.
British election: The governing Conservative Party sparked a backlash after it temporarily changed the name of its Twitter account to “factcheckUK,” attempting to counter Jeremy Corbyn's statements during his debate with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Twitter called it misleading.
Malta: The authorities arrested a businessman in connection with the murder of the country’s best-known investigative journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, who had accused companies and politicians tied to him of corruption.
© Rinko Kawauchi, courtesy of RoseGallery
Snapshot: Above, an image by the poetic photographer Rinko Kawauchi. Japanese aesthetics are founded on a “constant, continual recognition of the changing seasons,” writes Hanya Yanagihara, an acclaimed novelist and the editor of T: The New York Times Style Magazine.
What we’re watching: This Vogue 73 Questions video with Cardi B. From her grandmother’s New York City apartment, the hip-hop superstar talks openly and bluntly about everything from her views on the 2020 presidential race to the first time she heard herself on the radio.

Now, a break from the news

Michael Graydon & Nikole Herriott for The New York Times. Prop Stylist: Amy Elise Wilson.
Cook: Alison Roman’s crushed sour cream potatoes are luxurious and less work than traditional mashed potatoes.
Watch: The new season of “The Crown” is a satisfying blend of historical fact and fiction. We break down the true events behind the show.
Read: The latest novel by the nihilistic French writer Michel Houellebecq follows an exhausted man in late middle age on a series of visits to old lovers.
Smarter Living: Research shows that just three hours of exercise a week may help to ward off depression, even in those with a genetic susceptibility.

And now for the Back Story on …

‘In the loop’

Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, repeatedly testified on Wednesday that a number of top officials were “in the loop” about the White House pressure campaign against Ukraine.
“Everyone was in the loop,” he told the House Intelligence Committee. “It was no secret.”
It’s a uniquely American turn of phrase, even serving as the title for a glossary of conversational idioms published by the U.S. State Department. But where does “in the loop” — which in its simplest form simply means “informed” — come from?
Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush campaigning in Union City, N.J., in 1988.  William E. Sauro/The New York Times
The earliest usage dates to the 1950s and 1960s, when it was used to describe aerospace and military systems that kept a human pilot or operator “in the loop” of decisions being made by computers. Usage began to surge in about 1980. One key moment: Vice President George H.W. Bush’s insistence that he was “out of the loop” in the Iran-Contra scandal.
“Now to be in the loop is to be in the circle of power, and to be out of the loop is not to have to worry about a special prosecutor coming after you,” wrote the Times columnist William Safire in 1987.
That’s it for this briefing. We hope you feel in the loop.
— Melina
Thank you
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. Adam Pasick, on the Briefings team, 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 U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, who is running for president.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Something to bid while leaving (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, about the history and impact of slavery in the U.S., is being turned into a series of books by Random House.
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