2019年12月16日 星期一

Your Tuesday Briefing

Tuesday, Dec 17, 2019 | View in browser
Good morning.
We’re covering Beijing’s renewed warning to Hong Kong, a violent crackdown in India’s protests and something that might help you understand Britain’s election results.
By Melina Delkic
Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's leader, and President Xi Jinping of China meeting in Beijing on Monday.  Hong Kong Government Information Services, via Associated Press

Beijing backs Lam with a warning to Hong Kong

President Xi Jinping backed Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, despite monthslong protests that have rocked the city and a recent landslide defeat in local elections of political parties aligned with her.
Mr. Xi praised her “courage and responsibility,” but he also offered an implicit warning to protesters, saying that Beijing had an “unwavering determination to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.”
Context: The visit to Beijing over the weekend and on Monday was an annual year-end event for Hong Kong’s leaders, at which their performance is assessed by China’s leaders. The trip is being closely watched for signs of her fate.
Related: Mrs. Lam also met with China’s No. 2 official, Premier Li Keqiang, who also praised her but called on her government to continue working to “stop the violence and curb disorder.”
Students of a majority-Muslim university are stopped by police during a protest in Lucknow on Monday.   Reuters

Deadly protests spread across India

Days of violent demonstrations against a new citizenship bill represent the most widespread challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he came to power five years ago.
Several people have been killed as the police cracked down around the country. Dozens of students were reportedly hospitalized, some with broken bones, after the police responded to a large demonstration over the weekend at a primarily Muslim university in New Delhi. Protests tied up several areas of the capital on Monday.
The citizenship bill, part of Mr. Modi’s Hindu-centric agenda, would give special treatment to Hindu and other non-Muslim migrants. The country’s 200 million Muslims worry that the government intends to marginalize them if they can’t prove their family’s lineage in the country, and some Hindus in the northeast also object, fearing a flood of poor migrants.
Quotable: “This is pushing the country to the brink, to the brink of chaos,” said B.N. Srikrishna, a former judge on the country’s Supreme Court.
Crackdown details: Videos widely circulated on social media show officers beating students with wooden sticks, smashing some on their heads even after they had been knocked down. Others who rushed to seek shelter in a library were tear-gassed.
The New York Times

The decade when tech lost its way

In 2010, technology offered the promise of new connections, cars that could drive themselves and social networks that could take down dictators.
Since then, its flaws have become abundantly clear. To find out what happened, The Times spoke to Mark Zuckerberg, Edward Snowden, Ellen Pao and other leading figures in the tech world. Here, in their own words, are their explanations.
Another angle: Amazon has used its cloud computing arm to copy and integrate software that other companies created, rivals say, fueling scrutiny of its market dominance.

If you have 7 minutes, this is worth it

Explaining Britain’s election

Adrian Dennis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The pro-Brexit Conservatives won last week’s parliamentary elections by a landslide, and the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats were humiliated. But looking into how the popular vote played out reveals something else: the power of a system that goes by regional races rather than proportion of the national vote.
By that measure, each Conservative vote had 10 times the effective power of each cast for the Liberal Democrats. Our Interpreter columnist says that skew may be the answer to Brexit, the Conservative Party’s election victory and everything in British politics.
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Here’s what else is happening

U.S. impeachment: President Trump “betrayed the nation by abusing his high office,” the House Judiciary Committee said in a 658-page report that is one of the last mileposts before a Senate trial.
Boeing: The company is weighing suspending the production of its troubled 737 Max plane, which has been grounded for nine months after two crashes killed nearly 350 people. A shutdown would likely send shock waves through the U.S. economy.
Afghanistan: A warlord in the hub of Mazar-i-Sharif escaped capture in a dramatic and deadly raid that turned a relatively safe city into a battle zone. It was an embarrassment in the country’s often-politicized crackdown on militias.
BBC: Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly barred cabinet ministers from appearing on a radio program on the British broadcaster, and he has questioned its fundamental source of funding — the license fee paid by each owner of a television set in the country.
Saudi Aramco: The world’s biggest oil company ended its fourth day of trading with a market value of over $2 trillion — the Saudi crown prince’s initial projection.
Sara Fox
Snapshot: Above, a sail around the Exuma Islands. Our writer took an unguided journey à la Robinson Crusoe.
What we’re reading: This Twitter thread from a reporter for South Carolina’s Post and Courier, highlighting some of the blockbuster reports from U.S. local news outlets this year. It’s a welcome reminder of the crucial work happening in Colorado, Alabama, Arkansas, California and beyond.

Now, a break from the news

Michael Graydon & Nikole Herriott for The New York Times. Prop Stylist: Kalen Kaminski.
Cook: These panko-crusted pork cutlets have just a one-step breading procedure. (Our Five Weeknight Dishes newsletter has more recommendations.)
Watch: The “Shrill” pool party. The “David Makes Man” pilot. The quietest installment of the final “Game of Thrones” season. These are the TV episodes that stuck with our critics this year.
Smarter Living: Do you suffer through encounters with compulsive talkers? Or are you, just possibly, one of them? We have help.

And now for the Back Story on …

A secret diplomatic incident

We wanted to take a deeper dive into the surprising news this week that the U.S. had secretly expelled two Chinese Embassy employees this fall on suspicion of espionage, after they had driven without approval onto a U.S. base near Norfolk, Va., that is home to Special Operations forces. Such expulsions haven’t happened in decades.
Edward Wong, our former Beijing bureau chief who now covers U.S. foreign policy, wrote the story with Julian Barnes, who covers intelligence and national security. Edward responded by email.
Can you say anything about how you got the story?
I first heard about the expulsions in October, a couple of weeks after the episode. My original source said diplomats in the Chinese Embassy were shocked because it was the first time in their memory that this had happened. The story took me two months to report, in part because I traveled to Hong Kong for two weeks last month to cover the protests, and I’ve been involved in coverage of the impeachment inquiry of President Trump.
By last week, I had spoken with enough people briefed on the expulsions and gathered enough details to give us confidence. Julian then spoke to a couple of sources who gave us final confirmation.
Had you already been aware of episodes of Chinese officials showing up uninvited at secure locations?
American intelligence and counterintelligence officers have been tracking such appearances for some time. And on Oct. 16, the State Department announced new rules on visits to official sites by Chinese diplomats — a sign that Chinese officials had been doing things in their travels that were making the administration uncomfortable.
What would they gain by being able to enter the Virginia base?
Some American officials think that at least one of the two detained Chinese men was an intelligence officer, and that they were doing a test run at the base, to see if they could penetrate far into the perimeter without consequences. If they had gotten away with it, then a more senior intelligence officer might have tried to get onto the base using a similar tactic.
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. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about a secret history of the war in Afghanistan.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Annual internet award (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Our photo editors explained the painstaking selection process that produces the Year in Pictures.
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