New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Apple: Your Tuesday Briefing


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Good morning.

New Zealand investigates how the massacre could have been avoided, China gets a toehold in Europe and Apple prepares to unveil its next big thing. Here’s the latest:

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ordered an inquiry into whether government agencies could have prevented the attacks at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday that left at least 50 dead.

Her cabinet also agreed “in principle” to overhaul the country’s gun laws and will announce reforms “within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism,” she said at a news conference.

The victims: New Zealand’s deputy police commissioner said specialists had worked through the night to identify the people killed at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques. Islamic leaders and victims’ families have been discussing holding a burial for all victims, possibly on Wednesday.

Officials arrested a suspect — a 37-year-old Turkish-born man — after an eight-hour manhunt, but it’s still unclear whether he was the only person involved in the attack.

The authorities initially said they were looking into the possibility that the shooting was an act of terrorism, with the counterterrorism agency raising its threat assessment to the highest level. They had also ordered the evacuation of all mosques in the city, but it’s unclear if that move stems from a specific threat or as a precaution in the wake of the attack in New Zealand.

Context: The city of Utrecht has a large immigrant population, with more than 30 percent born outside the Netherlands. The attack took place in the Kanaleneiland neighborhood, which is home to a large Muslim community, largely Moroccan and Turkish.

This week, President Xi Jinping is expected to arrive in Rome to sign a deal that would make Italy the first Group of 7 nation to participate in Beijing’s global Belt and Road initiative.

The deal would open Italy to greater Chinese infrastructure investment in exchange for favorable customs conditions and a faster trade route into the heart of Europe.

The vast project is already underway in the port city of Trieste. Construction workers in scuba gear have been laying foundations near the site of a new pier. Other cities up for a transformation include Genoa and Palermo.

Concerns: The U.S. and E.U. powers like Germany and France have been wary of Beijing’s Belt and Road project, casting it as an economic and perhaps even military threat.

Supporters of the plan in Italy, however, have few reservations, saying the country’s laws protect its autonomy.

The kingdom has a history of going after dissidents and other Saudi citizens abroad, but the efforts escalated sharply after Prince Mohammed bin Salman was elevated to crown prince in 2017.

The prince authorized a clandestine campaign that included the surveillance, kidnapping, detention and torture of Saudi citizens, according to American officials who have read classified reports about the efforts.

Since then, Saudi security forces have detained dozens of clerics, intellectuals and activists who were perceived to pose a threat, as well as people who had posted critical or sarcastic comments about the government on Twitter.

Details: At least a dozen missions were carried out by the same team that killed Jamal Khashoggi in October, suggesting that the gruesome murder was part of a broader push, according to officials and associates of some of the Saudi victims.

The group behind Mr. Khashoggi’s killing, which American officials called the Saudi Rapid Intervention Group, also forcibly repatriated Saudis from other Arab countries and detained and abused prisoners in palaces belonging to the crown prince and his father, King Salman.

Afghanistan: Three months after the country’s soccer chief, Keramuddin Keram, was accused of sexually abusing members of the women’s national team, an investigation has stalled, amid fears it will never proceed.

The Philippines: A beached whale died with 88 pounds of plastic trash inside its body, an unusually large amount that brought renewed attention to ocean pollution.

India: Gauri Lankesh, a journalist who railed against the right-wing Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P., was shot dead in September. We take a deep look at her story and what it reveals about the country’s increasingly intolerant politics.

#MeToo: Nearly 100 female economists in the U.S. say that a peer or colleague has sexually assaulted them, and nearly 200 say they were the victims of an attempted assault, according to a new survey that reveals deep evidence of gender and racial discrimination in the field.

Lyft: The ride-hailing app — and Uber’s main rival in North America — hopes to be valued at up to $23 billion, according to filings ahead of its initial public offering, most likely the year’s biggest.

The Prado: As Spain’s national art museum celebrates its bicentennial, our writer — who has visited more than 200 times — returned to every gallery, vestibule and passageway.

Apple: The tech giant’s next big product isn’t a new device, but a billion-dollar-plus foray into streaming video. The company is expected to reveal details of the project next week.

Spain: A bar in Madrid celebrating the dictator Gen. Francisco Franco and catering to the radical right is run by a Chinese man — an irony that has not gone unnoticed by patrons. “We used to joke to him,” one said. “If Franco was still alive, he would kill you.”

Tips for a more fulfilling life.

The ceremonial dance originated with the Maori, the country’s indigenous Polynesian inhabitants. Warriors danced to intimidate opponents with grimaces, chanting and aggressive postures. But there are also hakas of welcome and hakas for funerals.

The form has been embraced by New Zealanders of all origins, most famously by the national rugby team, the All Blacks. Many schools have haka groups, and every two years, there’s a national competition hosted by one of the country’s iwi, or tribes.

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