The quiet spread of a lethal fungus
A tenacious fungus called Candida auris, which can kill people with weakened immune systems, has appeared in countries around the world over the past five years. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has deemed it an “urgent threat.”
Hospitals and governments are reluctant to disclose outbreaks, and a hushed panic is playing out. Here are some basic facts about the fungal infection.
Big picture: Antibiotics are credited with saving tens of millions of lives. Health experts have long warned that their overuse was helping spawn drug-resistant bacteria, and now scientists are seeing an explosion of resistant fungi as well.
Another angle: Antibiotics have never been more accessible to the world’s poor, thanks in large part to the mass production of generics in China and India. But in an impoverished community in Kenya, their cheapness and prodigious use have fueled the evolution of deadly infections like salmonella.
The app bolstering Communist control
A smartphone app in China called Study the Great Nation is becoming a potent instrument of control for President Xi Jinping and the ruling Communist Party.
Users earn points by staying current on news about Mr. Xi. More than 100 million people have registered as users since its release this year, according to the state news media. That wide adoption stems, at least in part, from coercion.
Related: A lurid online campaign that has targeted a Chinese activist now living in Canada appears to have the hallmarks of an attack by the Communist Party.
Honduran women flee for their lives
On a monthlong trip in Honduras, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and a photographer explored the rampant corruption and gang violence that is leading thousands of women to seek asylum in the U.S. Our Opinion section published their collaboration.
The country is one of the world’s deadliest for women. Domestic murders are common, and many women are killed by drug cartels and gangs, often in gruesome ways intended to spread terror. Nine out of 10 murders of women never go to court or result in a sentence.
Border concerns: The facts contradict President Trump’s characterization of the growing flow of migrants to America’s southern boundary.
Another angle: The U.S. government said in court documents that it might take two years to identify what could be thousands of immigrant children who were separated from their families at the border.
Learning from Australia’s economic miracle
The housing market has cooled, and a sense of pessimism colors conversations about the economy in Australia, especially among the young. And that can seem strange, since the country is nearing 28 years without a recession.
Our Upshot columnist, pondering the U.S.’s approach of 10 recession-free years, visited Australia to see whether it had lessons in resilience to offer the rest of the world.
Conclusions: The idea of the “business cycle” may be a misleading way to think about economic growth. Recessions may not be inevitable or productive. Smart choices can make them rarer and less damaging.
If you’re following the Indian elections
The farming vote
In 1981, a lawmaker strolled into India’s upper house wearing a garland of onions to protest the staple’s rising price. The vegetable necklace has been a popular protest accessory ever since.
Across India, onions are among the few ingredients used in almost every dish, alongside salt and potatoes, making them economically and politically important.
Governments can fall when crop failures, price fixing or inflation sends costs up.
Such factors contributed to the demise of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government in 2014.
In this year’s election, though, low prices are the problem. Onion and potato prices have plunged along with those of other foods, and the country’s 100 million farmers are suffering. That’s a big voting sector.
Both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress Party are offering farmers loan relief in the states they govern, and say they will have more solutions if they win in national elections. But some farmers aren’t interested in giving the B.J.P. and its leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, another chance.
In a new book about Indian voters’ moods, “Democracy on the Road,” the investor Ruchir Sharma writes: “Lately, farmers have told us they planned to vote against their incumbent government” because of “frustration over depressed crop prices.” — Alisha Haridasani Gupta
Send us feedback or questions here.
Here’s what else is happening
Britain: Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to seek another delay to Brexit from already exasperated European leaders, who meet on Wednesday. And she signaled a willingness to compromise with the Labour Party in talks over passing a departure plan, though those talks remained stalled.
Rwanda: Twenty-five years since the start of the Rwandan genocide, in which an estimated 800,000 to one million people died as the Hutu majority massacred members of the Tutsi minority, President Emmanuel Macron of France said that he wanted to create a national day of commemoration in France, whose handling of the genocide remains controversial.
Libya: The U.S. military evacuated its small contingent of troops from Tripoli, the capital, as rival militias raced to stop the forces of an aspiring strongman, Gen. Khalifa Hifter, from taking control of the city.
Naomi Osaka: On the tennis star’s 22nd birthday, in October, she will have to choose between her U.S. and Japanese citizenship. The looming deadline is raising questions about whether she can continue to represent Japan on the international tennis circuit, and putting pressure on the Japanese government to change the law that forces the choice.
What we’re reading: This first-person piece in The Cut. John Schwartz, a climate reporter, recommends it. “Lizzie O’Leary, one of my journalism heroes, recently resurfaced this 2017 essay about the sexual harassment she’s experienced,” he says. “I’m thinking maybe I should read it at least once a year, and maybe you should, too.”
Now, a break from the news
Smarter Living: Our smartphones tend to occupy hours of our time, but Androids and iPhones have tools to reduce your tap tally. For executing tasks, voice assistants are pretty reliable. Set your alarm by saying “Wake me at 7:30 a.m.” Or try “Turn on the flashlight.” And saying “Do not disturb” as you enter a movie theater or a meeting is an easy way to save yourself embarrassment.
We also have advise about how to deal with jerks, without being a jerk back.
And now for the Back Story on …
The place for diplomacy
Latin American ministers are descending on Quito, Ecuador’s capital, today, to discuss Venezuela’s migration crisis.
The choice of location raises a question: When problems erupt on the continent, is there a dominant city where they’re hammered out?
The city with the largest population is Mexico’s capital. The regional finance capital is Panama City. Brasilia is the capital of Brazil, which has the continent’s biggest economy. Latin America’s exiles — from the Cubans to the Venezuelans themselves — head north to Miami, where Spanish is often more commonly spoken than English.
A peace agreement with Colombia’s rebels was even hammered out in Havana, a capital which had longstanding ties to both the rebels and the Colombian government.
While other parts of the world have centers of gravity — think of Beijing, Brussels, Washington — Latin America is still searching for its own.
That’s it for this briefing, the second in our new format. We’d love to hear your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you next time.
To Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and James K. Williamson for the break from the news. Nicholas Casey, the Andes bureau chief for The Times, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
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