The battle of Boris
The bill forbidding a no-deal Brexit is expected to become law today after receiving final approval from the queen. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is then expected to call for an election, again, which opposition parties have vowed to reject, again.
Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s chief aide and the architect of the successful Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum, is said to be urging Mr. Johnson to defy the new law by refusing to ask Brussels for a delay, ministers say. That could trigger a clash with courts.
Regardless of what happens in Parliament, British voters have united on one front: They have lost faith in their politicians. “They’re all idiots,” said one voter. “Stuck up, stupid, useless idiots.”
Reminder: At the end of this week, Parliament will break for party conferences and won’t return until Oct. 14.
Analysis: When rebel Conservative lawmakers staged a dramatic revolt against Mr. Johnson last week, dispirited Republicans across the Atlantic saw a lesson in how a center-right party can stand up to a wayward leader.
What really scuttled the Taliban deal
President Trump cited a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul that killed a U.S. soldier as he announced over the weekend that he had canceled a secret, imminent meeting at Camp David with Taliban leaders and the president of Afghanistan.
But officials told our reporter that the summit fell apart because of the Taliban’s resistance to the U.S. terms, particularly to the idea of talking directly with the Afghans (a Taliban spokesman called it a “stooge government”), and because of the rushed plans for Camp David.
On Sunday, the Taliban warned of consequences. “More than anyone else, the loss will be for the United States,” the group said, “their human and treasure loss will increase.”
Hong Kong erupts again
Protesters are clearly not mollified by the withdrawal of the contentious extradition bill that initially pulled them out into the streets.
Since Friday night, they’ve held singing sit-ins in malls and have demonstrated at rail stations, saying they will stop only if Hong Kong’s government, led by Carrie Lam, agrees to meet their demands for greater democratic representation.
On Sunday, they marched to the U.S. consulate in support for a bill winding through Congress that would penalize officials in Beijing and Hong Kong who suppress freedoms in the semiautonomous city and require that Hong Kong’s special trade and business privilege be justified annually.
But fringe demonstrators turned the peaceful rally violent, smashing windows and setting a fire outside Central Station, a vital transit hub. The unrest later migrated to the Kowloon Peninsula.
Risks: The march to the consulate might play into Beijing’s narrative that the demonstrations have been orchestrated by Washington.
Go deeper: President Xi Jinping is facing criticism for mishandling the unrest in Hong Kong — China’s biggest political crisis in years.
India locates its moon lander
India’s space agency announced it had detected its robotic spacecraft on the moon’s surface, a day after losing contact with the lander.
The director of Indian Space Research Organization, K. Sivan, said it was still unclear whether the lander — which had been aimed toward the moon’s South Pole — was damaged in what appeared to have been a too-rapid descent.
On the ground: The news came to a somber India.
The Chandrayaan-2 mission had stirred up patriotism across the country, with enthusiasts gathered for the landing at viewing parties, and scientists cheering from the control room. Their disappointment was embodied in a widely shared video that showed Prime Minister Narendra Modi embracing a distraught Dr. Sivan.
If you have 15 minutes, this is worth it
Understanding Donald Trump
Our chief television critic, James Poniewozik, argues that Donald Trump is not only a person, but also a role in a decades-long media performance.
“To understand him,” he writes, “you need to approach him less like a psychologist and more like a TV critic.”
Here’s what else is happening
Saudi Arabia: King Salman named a member of the royal family — his son Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman — to oversee the energy ministry, a momentous shift away from technocrats for the world’s largest oil exporter.
M.I.T.: The director of the university’s Media Lab, Joichi Ito, resigned after the disclosure of his efforts to conceal his financial connections to Jeffrey Epstein, the financier who killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell last month while facing federal sex-trafficking charges. He also left the boards of the The New York Times Company and two other concerns.
Hurricane Dorian: In the days since the storm tore through the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas, killing at least 43 people, residents say the archipelago’s government has been largely absent.
YouTube: The platform known for amateur recordings by homegrown celebrities is starting to court the polished world of fashion and beauty, encouraging luxury brands to become content creators.
Recollections: After the death of Robert Mugabe, the former president of Zimbabwe, a veteran Times reporter details how he covered the country’s transition to independence (sometimes by carrier pigeon) and tracks how the strongman became a fearsome despot.
What we’re reading: Cathy Horyn’s introduction to “Bill Cunningham: On the Street.” “Ms. Horyn, who was for many years The Times’s fashion critic, offers a revealing context for a new collection of images from the archives of our beloved fashion photographer, three years after his death,” writes Andrea Kannapell, the Briefings editor.
Now, a break from the news
Cook: This hearty, 20-minute recipe for eggplant and zucchini pasta packs in two pounds of vegetables.
Read: “She Said,” by the New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, who broke the Harvey Weinstein story, which focuses on the complicity machine around him.
Listen: Camila Cabello’s new song, “Liar,” a canny pan-Caribbean and Spanish mélange about uncontrollable desire, is on our critics’ playlist this week.
Smarter Living: It’s important to discuss cyberbullying with children. If it happens to them, take screenshots of the comments (include the website or app name in the image, and a picture of the commenter’s profile) and report it to school or other authorities. Also talk about what to do if they witness the bullying: Don’t participate, do post a positive comment to offset the abuse and tell a trusted adult.
And a new study suggests that aerobic activity affects metabolism substantially more than weight training does.
And now for the Back Story on …
Britain is heaving over Brexit, and the pound is bouncing around near its historic low.
To make matters worse, The Guardian reported in July that the British-Dutch food giant Unilever might be considering off-loading the country’s much-loved, much-hated condiment, Marmite.
In 1902, a German scientist, Justus von Liebig, accidentally discovered that you could make a spread from yeast extract, a byproduct of brewing beer. Marmite has been made in England ever since. (New Zealand makes its own version, and Australia makes a similar product, Vegemite.)
Its popularity was confirmed in 2016, when there was a run on stores by panicked Marmite lovers during a brief tiff between Unilever and the supermarket chain Tesco.
The new concerns over Marmite arose after Unilever’s chief executive said in June that the company would retain only brands that “have a purpose” — meaning, he said, those that “take action and demonstrate their commitment to making a difference” on social or environmental issues.
Marmite lovers now have more than Brexit on their minds.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. Wadzanai Mhute wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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