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The U.S. pushes allies to block Huawei, Venezuela faces mounting international pressure and India struggles to keep troublemaking monkeys in line. Here’s the latest:

Over the past year, the Trump administration has embarked on a global campaign to pressure allies to prevent Huawei and other Chinese firms from helping build out 5G networks.

The U.S. has suggested to Poland that future deployments of American troops could hinge on whether the country works with Huawei. And in Germany, American officials warned that working with Huawei could pose a security risk to NATO.

Why: The U.S. believes that whoever controls the high-speed 5G internet networks will have an economic, military and intelligence edge for much of this century. The Trump administration has therefore adopted a zero-sum calculus in which Beijing — and companies perceived to be working for the Chinese government — must be shut out.

What’s next? The U.S. campaign may complicate the round of trade talks with China beginning in Washington later this week, particularly as Beijing seeks to free Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Canada at the request of the U.S.

European countries — including the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain and Britain — urged President Nicolás Maduro to hold new elections within eight days.

If Mr. Maduro doesn’t commit to fresh elections, the European governments will recognize the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, as the interim president of Venezuela.

Analysis: The ultimatum presents a new layer of uncertainty in a deepening political crisis. Mr. Guaidó, who proclaimed himself the legitimate leader of the country, urged protesters to keep the pressure on the government “if they dare to kidnap me.”

Mr. Maduro has done an about-face and appeared to be striking a more conciliatory tone. He backed down from demanding that all American diplomats leave the country. And his government has refrained from detaining Mr. Guaidó as support for the opposition leader grows at home and abroad.


The U.S. and the Taliban wrapped up six days of negotiations to end the 17-year conflict in Afghanistan. Both sides reported progress — a first in nine years of intermittent peace efforts.

Details: Though much remains to be ironed out, the deal would kick off a phased withdrawal of American troops in exchange for a Taliban cease-fire. The Taliban would also have to pledge not to allow international terrorist groups to use Afghanistan as a planning hub. How the Taliban would share power with the Afghan government remains to be resolved.

Caution: Most observers don’t believe Afghan forces have the ability to stand up against the Taliban without American support, leaving any truce in a precarious state once the U.S. leaves.

Another angle: The toll of the war has been immense — at least 62,000 Afghan military and police lives, and possibly as many Taliban lives, and more than 24,000 Afghan civilians killed over the last decade alone. One photographer set out to capture the makeshift prosthetics some Afghans use.

Happy Data Privacy Day!

Or, maybe not so happy. In the years since the celebration was born in Europe and then adopted in the U.S. and Canada, digital privacy has become a mainstream concern.

This writer covers personal tech for a living. And I’ve lost count of how many times hackers have breached companies’ computer systems and stolen customer’s credit card numbers, and worse. (Thanks, Equifax, Marriott and Facebook.)

Digital privacy is no joke. If you do one thing to protect your data today — or this week, or this year — set aside a few hours to beef up the strength of your passwords.

Make sure every password you use for logging in to a site or an app is unique and complex. Password management apps like 1Password or LastPass make it easy, by letting you use one master password to access a vault of all your passwords.

Trust me, you’ll feel a lot better.

Brian X. Chen, the lead consumer technology writer at The Times, wrote today’s Back Story.


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