2019年12月18日 星期三

Your Thursday Briefing

Thursday, Dec 19, 2019 | View in browser
Good morning.
We’re covering the impeachment vote in the U.S., a wide-spanning surveillance system in China and the right way to gift puppies.
By Melina Delkic
Representative Adam Schiff, the head of the House Intelligence Committee, talking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.  Erin Schaff/The New York Times

A final burst of battle before impeachment vote

U.S. lawmakers traded shots for six hours on the House floor on Wednesday, ahead of a vote almost certain to put President Trump on trial in the Senate within weeks over “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
They are expected to vote in the next few hours, on two charges against Mr. Trump: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. A majority of House members support impeachment, largely along party lines. Here’s where every lawmaker stands.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened the debate with a solemn message: “He gave us no choice.” Republicans, as expected, tried to slow down the process, while President Trump mounted an indignant, all-caps defense on Twitter: “SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS.”
Reminder: Drawing on testimony and evidence gathered during a two-month inquiry, Democrats accused Mr. Trump of misusing the power of his office when he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
Yesterday: Mr. Trump denounced the process as an “illegal, partisan attempted coup” in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Read the letter, which The Times fact-checked.
What’s next: If Mr. Trump is impeached, a Senate will follow in the new year. With Republicans in the majority, his removal from office appears highly unlikely — though senators must take an oath to “do impartial justice.”
A camera arching over this street in Zhengzhou, China, is part of a citywide surveillance network that monitors license plates, phone numbers, faces and social media information.  Gilles Sabrié for The New York Times

Beijing’s blueprint for a digital totalitarian state

Phone scanners, facial-recognition cameras and other technologies are heightening the authorities’ ability to spy on China’s nearly 1.4 billion people, according to police and private databases examined by The Times.
Individually, none of the tracking techniques are beyond the capabilities of other countries, including the U.S. But together, they could propel China’s spying to a new level, making its cameras and software smarter and more sophisticated.
The surveillance networks fulfill a longtime goal of ensuring social stability, but it’s unclear how well the police are using the capabilities, or how effective they are.
Big picture: The surveillance push has empowered the police, who are taking a greater role in China under President Xi Jinping and using fears of unrest to win power and resources. They can track criminals as well as online malcontents, sympathizers of the Hong Kong protests, critics of the police and more. It often targets vulnerable groups, like the Uighurs.
Quotable: “You’re uncomfortable with it,” said one technology worker. “But if you don’t do it, then there’s no possibility of living a life. There’s no way out.”
Macau's first casino, the Lisboa, has been joined by dozens more, turning the former Portuguese colony into the world's biggest gambling center.  Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

With an eye on Hong Kong, China rewards Macau

President Xi Jinping of China is visiting Macau this week, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its return to Chinese rule. The territory stands in direct contrast with the more rebellious Hong Kong, a former British holding, just 40 miles away.
A global gambling hub, Macau has been more willing to accept Beijing’s authority, denying entry to Hong Kong residents and even adopting laws that curb dissent, like one in 2009 that made subversion against the Chinese state a crime.
And it’s reaping the rewards. Mr. Xi is expected to announce new measures to knit Macau further into an ambitious project that would make the city a regional hub for tourism and entertainment beyond gambling.
Quotable: “As we used to say, good boys get candy,” said a retired professor in the city. “Macau is a good boy.”
Dissent quelled: Young activists in Macau were denied permission to demonstrate their support for Hong Kong protests. Several who turned out anyway were arrested.
Unrest on the mainland: Dozens of students at Shanghai's Fudan University staged protests against efforts by the Communist Party to extend its control over campuses. Fudan was one of three schools to rewrite its charter to emphasize loyalty to the party over values like academic freedom and independence.

If you have a block of time, this is worth it

The case of the angry daughter

Photo illustration by John Gall. Source photograph: iStock/Getty Images.
Why did the transition from preschool to kindergarten turn a sweet 5-year-old into a screaming bundle of tears?
In a deeply emotional essay for The Times Magazine, the writer Rivka Galchen watches her child grow up.
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Here’s what else is happening

Japan: A Tokyo court sided with Shiori Ito, ordering the prominent television journalist she accused of raping her to pay damages worth about $30,000. Ms. Ito, a feminist icon in a country where few women speak out about sexual assault, called the decision a milestone.
Australia: A confluence of meteorological factors drove the country’s average temperature to a record 40.9 degrees Celsius (105.6 Fahrenheit) on Tuesday. Even hotter temperatures are forecast, increasing the threat of fires.
South Korea: Outrage is spreading over the secret repatriation of two North Korean fishermen to what rights activists said was a certain execution by the North. The details leaked after a photographer captured the texted report of the handover on a presidential aide’s smartphone​.
Haiti: United Nations peacekeepers fathered and left behind hundreds of children in the country, researchers found in a newly released academic study. They sexually abused girls as young as 11, the researchers said, and left women stuck with stigma and poverty.
Auto merger: Fiat Chrysler and PSA of France, which makes Peugeot and Citroën vehicles, said they had reached a deal to create the world’s fourth-largest automaker, overtaking General Motors.
Edward Snowden: A judge ruled that the U.S. government was entitled to the proceeds from his memoir. The former intelligence contractor has been living as a fugitive in Russia since revealing the government’s secret systematic collection of logs of Americans’ domestic phone calls.
Sebastian Modak/The New York Times
Snapshot: Above, one of our best travel photos of the year. It’s a temple in Hampi, India, which is home to more than 1,000 monuments and temples from the Vijayanagara Empire, one of the last southern Hindu kingdoms.
What we’re reading: This self-elegy written with unshrinking clarity by the art critic Peter Schjeldahl. Our obituaries editor, William McDonald, calls it “brave, accepting, self-deprecating, even good-humored,” and says, “Mr. Schjeldahl’s time is short, but remarkably, he seems at peace.”

Now, a break from the news

Craig Lee for The New York Times
Cook: This cheese-filled puffy pancake is perfect with a simple salad.
Eat: Our critic Pete Wells examined how restaurant dining changed in the past decade. One of the top trends: We ate with our cameras.
Smarter Living: Are you considering getting someone a pet as a present? There are a few things to consider first. (Your briefing writer, for the record, wouldn’t mind a puppy.)

And now for the Back Story on …

An approaching North Korean deadline

Kim Jong-un has sent repeated signals that he will abandon diplomacy unless Washington meets his Dec. 31 deadline to return to nuclear negotiations with more concessions.
Over the last few months, he has twice done something to publicize his resolve, visiting a mountain sacred to his people as their mythical birthplace. That’s Mount Baekdu, a 9,029-foot peak near the Chinese border.
In 2013, he traveled there two weeks before he executed his uncle, then No. 2 in his regime.
KCNA, via Reuters
He returned in 2017, shortly after the successful launch of a powerful intercontinental ballistic missile billed as “capable of striking the whole mainland of the U.S.” — and just before beginning a flurry of diplomacy ​that led to his summit meetings with President Trump.
This October, North Korean state media showed Mr. Kim riding a white horse to the mountain to presage “a great operation to strike the world with wonder again.”
He apparently returned a few weeks later, on a horse that galloped “through knee-high virgin snow.” Within days, North Korea had conducted two tests of what appeared to be an advanced missile engine.
That’s it for this briefing. Pet a puppy for me.
— Melina
Thank you
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. Mike Ives, 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 President Trump’s executive order aimed at curbing anti-Semitism.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Killer whale (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Two of The Times’s Op-Docs have been shortlisted for an Academy Award in the documentary short subject category. Watch the contenders here and here.
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