Another huge turnout in Hong Kong
For the third time in a week, mass protests shut down Hong Kong’s central roads. This time, the focus was on calling for the territory’s executive, Carrie Lam, to step down.
The demonstrators were inflamed by the police’s use of rubber bullets, pepper spray and tear gas last week, and were not appeased on Saturday by Ms. Lam’s indefinite suspension of the extradition bill that had first sparked the protests, or by her rare apology on Sunday for her handling of the situation. Here’s the latest.
Demonstrators fear the bill, which would allow extraditions to the mainland and could expose them to China’s opaque legal system, will simply be reintroduced.
China’s leader: Dropping the vote was the biggest concession to public pressure under Xi Jinping’s rule, suggesting that despite his increasingly iron grip, there are still limits to his power.
The bill’s origins: The case used to justify the bill would have sent a Hong Kong suspect to Taiwan, not mainland China, to face charges of murdering his girlfriend.
U.S. escalates attacks on Russia’s power grid
For years, U.S. security and intelligence agencies have said that Russia has inserted malware that could sabotage U.S. power plants, oil and gas pipelines, or water supplies in any future conflict.
Now, the U.S. is deploying computer code inside Russia’s electricity grid and other targets, in a classified companion to more publicly discussed action directed at Moscow’s disinformation and hacking units around the 2018 midterm elections.
The effort is meant as a warning to President Vladimir Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools.
How we know: In interviews over the past three months, current and former U.S. government officials described the classified program.
What we don’t know: The critical question — impossible to answer without access to the classified details of the operation — is how deep into the Russian grid the U.S. has bored. Only then will it be clear whether it would be possible to plunge Russia into darkness or cripple its military.
Tensions high over tanker blasts
Hard-liners in the U.S. and Iran have been emboldened by the attacks in the Gulf of Oman, with each side able to argue that a longtime adversary is itching for war.
The Pentagon is weighing whether to send as many as 6,000 additional troops to the gulf region, as well as more warships and fighter jets. The Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has joined U.S. officials in blaming Iran for the attacks.
Iran’s semiofficial Tasnim news agency said Tehran would announce further moves today to scale back compliance with the nuclear pact that the U.S. abandoned last year.
A surge of African migrants reaches U.S.
At the southwest U.S. border, record-breaking numbers of Central Americans have been arriving for months. But now hundreds of men, women and children from Central Africa are showing up.
Most are from the Democratic Republic of Congo and from Angola, and many come with horrific stories of government-sanctioned violence at home and treacherous conditions on their long journeys through South and Central America.
Voices: “I cannot go back now,” said a 41-year-old man from Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, who said he had fled with his 10-year-old son after speaking out against government killings. “They will kill me. We prefer to live in freedom. In my country there’s no freedom, no democracy. We’re cornered. We’re prisoners in our own country.”
If you have 10 minutes, this is worth it
Bribes and backdoor deals secured sales to China
Foreign firms have become deeply enmeshed in the corruption pervading China’s health care industry, an investigation by The Times has found. China’s nearly 1.4 billion people ultimately bear the cost, via inflated prices.
What we found: Employees of major international firms like G.E., Philips and Siemens have testified in Chinese courts to bribing poorly paid public hospital officials. Western companies have also signed off on deals involving third-party contractors who paid bribes and sought kickbacks.
Here’s what else is happening
Sudan: Sudan’s ex-president, Omar al-Bashir, was charged with corruption-related offenses, as he appeared in public for the first time since his overthrow in April. His successor, Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan, gave The Times a rare interview last week.
Rohingya: The hate speech and falsehoods about the Muslim minority that proliferated on Facebook and stoked mass killings, rape and the destruction of villages in Myanmar have followed some refugees to India, adding to suspicions of “Muslim infiltrators” inflamed in some areas by the governing Bharatiya Janata Party.
U.S. visa backlog: Hundreds of international students seeking to work in the U.S. are stranded because of increased processing times for authorization. College leaders see one more hurdle created under the Trump administration.
Tariffs: President Trump’s trade representative will begin hearings today on his proposal to impose taxes on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese imports, which American retailers fear. And India announced it would raise tariffs on 28 categories of U.S. imports, including almonds, walnuts, apples and finished metal items.
Snapshot: Above, Buenos Aires on Sunday. Electricity was slowly being restored to tens of millions of people after a widespread power failure struck a large section of the continent, including all of mainland Argentina and Uruguay. The causes were under investigation.
Amanda Knox: The American freed in 2007 after being acquitted in a murder case in Italy received a standing ovation after returning to speak at a conference on wrongful convictions.
Women’s World Cup: The U.S. dominated Chile to win 3-0, and Sweden beat Thailand on Sunday. Today’s matches include China against Spain and Korea against Norway.
Celestial naming: A world organization of astronomers is running a global contest to rename dozens of extrasolar planets, allowing every country in the world to name its own exoplanet and the star it calls home.
What we’re reading: This article from The Takeout. Adam Pasick, our editorial director of newsletters, writes: “Rip open the packet on this investigation into the strange world of collecting vintage Kool-Aid — the powdered drink with the cartoonish mascot known for breaking down brick walls. Oh Yeah!”
Now, a break from the news
Smarter Living: Where’s the line between being a hard worker and a workaholic? You need to find it to avoid burnout. First, stop glorifying stress and start listening to your body (it’ll tell you when things aren’t right). Then make self-care a priority, and delegate tasks that aren’t in your area of particular genius. Elaine Welteroth, author of “More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say),” offers more helpful ideas in our Working Woman’s Handbook.
And we also have some ideas about how to be less indecisive.
And now for the Back Story on …
The live police chase
Twenty-five years ago today, TV audiences in the U.S. were transfixed by a white Bronco moving along the freeways of Los Angeles.
Since that pursuit of O.J. Simpson, car chases have been a fixture of the L.A. zeitgeist. Many viewers are unable to look away from the near-daily helicopter footage on local news and, more recently, on social media feeds.
Geoffrey Alpert, a criminology professor who wrote a book on police pursuits, likened the public fascination to watching Nascar: “Thousands of people in a stadium waiting for a crash.” (Tragically, hundreds of innocent bystanders die as a result of police chases each year.)
But Mr. Alpert held the O.J. chase slightly apart from broader public obsession. “The O.J. chase was a slow-speed chase,” he said. “It was a celebrity issue.”
That’s it for this briefing. On Friday, I misspelled the name of a New York Times editor in London. She is Anna Holland, not Hollande. Alisha, thankfully, will be back tomorrow.
To Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and Francesca Donner for the break from the news. Tim Arango, our Los Angeles-based national correspondent, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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