2019年11月11日 星期一

Your Tuesday Briefing

Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019 | View in browser
Good morning.
We’re covering the most violent day in Hong Kong in recent memory, Australia’s week of historic and devastating fires and an attempt to foment Hindu nationalism through pop music.
By Melina Delkic
Protesters clashing with riot police in Hong Kong on Monday.   Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

An especially violent day in Hong Kong

Confrontations continued into the night after Carrie Lam, the chief executive, condemned Monday’s unrest, saying the protesters were bringing the territory “to the brink of no return” and vowing not to answer their demands.
From the early morning, Monday’s demonstrations were ugly. A police officer shot an antigovernment protester at point-blank range, the third police shooting since the protests began, while across town a man arguing with protesters was set on fire. Both were in critical condition.
Escalation: Clashes spread in ways they had not before — including onto the campuses of the territory’s universities — as protesters hurled petrol bombs and the police fired tear gas during working hours.
A vast network of volunteers, mostly ordinary people, sustains the movement. Some hand out bottled water and red bean soup and drive stranded protesters home late at night.
Many have brought their professional skills to the table: Psychologists provide free counseling, and doctors and nurses work in secret in clandestine clinics.
The ruins a bushfire left behind north of Sydney on Monday.   Peter Parks/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Australia declares state of emergency

Fires were raging north of Sydney this morning, after a lengthy drought, rising temperatures and high winds created what officials called the worst fire conditions the country has ever seen.
The fire threat in New South Wales is expected to remain for days, with homes from Sydney’s outer suburbs up the southeastern coast to Byron Bay, 500 miles away, at risk. But conditions should improve somewhat on Wednesday, with cooling temperatures and slowing winds.
Climate change: The country’s deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, dismissed public concerns about the impacts of the warming planet on Australia’s fires; he said it was a concern of “raving inner-city lunatics.”
Firefighters and scientists responded en masse, with one former fire and rescue commissioner writing in The Sydney Morning Herald: “Fires are burning in places and at intensities never before experienced.”
Rohingya refugees from Myanmar after crossing into Bangladesh in September 2017.  Adam Dean for The New York Times

Myanmar genocide goes to court

An arsenal of international laws has failed to confront the Myanmar government’s role in an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya Muslims.
But on Monday, Gambia filed a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice in The Hague accusing Myanmar of genocide.
The suit was filed on behalf of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which is paying for the team of top law experts handling the case.
Context: Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya, a religious minority, fled to Bangladesh two years ago to escape systemic rape, torture and killing. The Myanmar government, which denies the Rohingya exist, has tried to cover the ethnic cleansing up.

If you have 10 minutes, this is worth it

Adam Dean for The New York Times

The hidden cost of gold

The mercury trade, which is intertwined with the lucrative and illicit production of gold, is highly dangerous: It can cause birth defects, neurological problems and even death.
But a global effort to curb the toxic element has backfired in Indonesia, where illegal backyard manufacturers, like the one above, have boomed. Now, it produces so much black-market mercury that it is a major global supplier.
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Here’s what else is happening

Bolivia: Former President Evo Morales urged resistance to a new government amid violent protests in the wake of his resignation. At the same time, an opposition leader, Jeanine Añez Chavez, said she was ready to take the reins of power.
Turkey: The authorities opened an investigation into the death of a British man in Istanbul who provided training and equipment for the Syrian group known as the White Helmets. The volunteer group is known for rescuing civilians wounded in the country’s civil war.
World Bank: The bank is scaling back development in China’s Xinjiang region after speculation that a $50 million loan it granted in 2015 was being used to fund Muslim detention camps.
Singles Day: Despite calls from Hong Kong protest leaders to boycott the Chinese anti-Valentine’s Day holiday that has become a retail bonanza, Alibaba sales on Monday totaled nearly $38.3 billion worth of merchandise.
SpaceX: The private rocket company founded by Elon Musk launched 60 satellites as it moves ahead on plans for internet service from space. Astronomers have been surprised by how extremely bright the company’s satellites are: “I felt as if life as an astronomer and a lover of the night sky would never be the same,” one said.
Uber: Dara Khosrowshahi, the ride-hailing company’s chief executive, walked back his comments after he compared the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi operatives to the death of a woman hit by a self-driving car, saying both were “mistakes.” Saudi Arabia is Uber’s fifth-largest shareholder.
Rebecca Conway for The New York Times
Snapshot: Above, Laxmi Dubey, the Indian pop star, performing last month in the town of Tumgaon, near Raipur, India. She and other artists have been driving the rise of Hindutva pop music, a hyper-patriotic genre that promotes Hindu culture, nationalism and even violence against nonbelievers.
What we’re reading: This essay from the Brookings Institution. “Constanze Stelzenmüller is one of the best analysts of Germany we have,” says Steven Erlanger, our chief diplomatic correspondent for Europe. “Here she explores what 1989 means to her, to Germany and to us.”

Now, a break from the news

Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott for The New York Times. Prop Stylist: Kalen Kaminski.
Cook: Lighter than traditional stew, this lemony chicken soup includes fennel and dill. (Our Five Weeknight Dishes newsletter has more recommendations.)
Watch: Melina Matsoukas, who has directed music videos for Beyoncé, now has a feature film to her credit.
Go: “Akhnaten,” a work by the composer Philip Glass, is a “spellbinding 1984 meditation on the tumultuous rule of the Egyptian pharaoh,” our critic writes. It’s at the Metropolitan Opera, where we went behind the scenes of the production.
Smarter living: New experiences can be great. But don’t dismiss repetition — there’s usually room for novel discoveries.

And now for the Back Story on …

Naming the planets

The planet Mercury just made news by traversing across the sun — at least from the point of view of the Americas.
It’s the closest planet to the sun, orbiting in a zippy 88 days. Ancient Romans named it after the speedy messenger of the gods (Hermes to the Greeks). The word “planet” is drawn from the ancient Greek for “wandering star.”
Mercury passing between Earth and the sun on Monday.  NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory, via Associated Press
But the Greeks and Romans weren’t the only ancient cultures fascinated with that planet and the four others we now call the “naked-eye planets,” those visible without magnification.
For instance, the Chinese named the five after their primary elements. Jupiter is the wood star (木星), Mars the fire star (火星), Saturn the earth star (土星), Venus the metal star (金星) and Mercury the water star (水星).
Eventually, humans realized that what they were standing on was also a planet. What the West ended up calling Earth, the Chinese called Dìqiú (地球), meaning “ball of earth” — or as some jokers put it, “dirt ball.”
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.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about American military aid to Ukraine.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Friend, to an Australian (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• James Dao, our Op-Ed editor, answered reader questions in September of last year about how he decided to publish the anonymous Op-Ed describing resistance within the Trump administration. We’re resurfacing it ahead of the publication of a book by the writer on the same topic.
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