Two crises collide in the U.S.
Cities across the U.S. were smoldering on Sunday after a largely peaceful day of protests on Saturday turned into a night of chaos and violence.
Hundreds of people were arrested as the police clashed with demonstrators angry over the death, a week ago today, of George Floyd, a black man who was handcuffed and pinned to the ground by a white police officer in Minneapolis.
Emotions were already running high over the toll of the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. has the world’s highest death count — more than 100,000 — and has shed tens of millions of jobs.
A first in decades: At least 75 American cities have seen protests in recent days, and mayors in more than two dozen have imposed curfews. It was the first time since 1968, after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that so many local leaders have issued such orders in the face of civic unrest.
President Trump on Friday said he would begin rolling back the special trade and financial privileges that the U.S. extends to Hong Kong after Chinese leaders pushed through their plan to enact a national security law that broadens their power in the territory.
Lawyers, bankers, professors and other professionals interviewed by The Times described a growing culture of fear in offices across Hong Kong. Employees face pressure to support pro-Beijing candidates in local elections and echo the Chinese government’s official line. Those who speak out can be punished or even forced out.
Uncertainty: Hong Kong’s success as a global financial hub stems from its status as a bridge between China’s economy and the rest of the world. Now that balance is looking increasingly precarious.
Quotable: “This looks like a new Cold War, and Hong Kong is being made a new Berlin,” said Claudia Mo, a lawmaker in the city’s pro-democracy camp.
Indian and Chinese troops fought with rocks, clubs and fists in recent episodes along their disputed border in the Himalayas. No shots were fired and no one thinks the two giants are about to go to war, but the escalation is troubling.
Here’s what else is happening
SpaceX docking: The capsule carrying two NASA astronauts docked at the International Space Station on Sunday, less than a day after a launch that marked the first time humans had ever traveled to orbit in a spacecraft built and operated by a private company.
G7 postponed: President Trump pushed back a Group of 7 meeting in the U.S. to September from next month after Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said she would not attend in person over concerns about the coronavirus. Mr. Trump said he wanted to include Russia, Australia, South Korea and India to discuss the future of China.
What we’re reading: This essay in The Harvard Review. Lynda Richardson, a story editor, writes: “In a meditation on contact and distance in this age of quarantines, an eloquent writer finally comes to terms with a brutal attack in New York City many years ago.”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: For these crisp-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside scones, you can use an old banana or any frozen or fresh fruit.
Watch: Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s martial-arts movie “The Assassin” played widely, but here’s a look at some lesser-known works by Taiwan’s greatest filmmaker.
Listen: Money is a stressful subject at the best of times, and only more so in these worst of times. These seven podcasts will help you weather the financial storm.
Check out our At Home collection for more ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the Back Story on …
My world: a decade working from home
Mike Hale, a Times television critic, has spent 10 years working at home, binge-watching the newest television series. So when the pandemic hit, not that much changed for him. In fact, he discovered, other lives were becoming more like his.
This sense of sameness was buttressed by the ability of the TV industry, relatively speaking, to maintain some semblance of business as usual. Colleagues who covered arts that depended on the physical proximity of audiences — theater, dance, live music, art museums and galleries, even movies, which is to say just about all of them — suddenly found themselves scrambling to find things to write about. On TV, meanwhile, new shows kept coming out.
But the truth, of course, is that everything is changing, and change is quickly catching up to TV. The absence of live sports has been the most obvious effect of the pandemic, but the near-total shutdown of production on most non-news programming is already rejiggering schedules and playing havoc with the fall season (if that designation even means anything now).
Creators are just beginning to explore new and safe methods of making shows. (A leading-edge example, the dramatic anthology “Isolation Stories,” made it on the air this month in Britain and comes to BritBox in America in June.) The next time we do a TV preview, it will probably look a lot different.
And while TV critics have had it easier than just about anyone during this troubling and sometimes terrifying period, we haven’t been untouched. No matter how well-practiced you are at sitting on a couch and staring at a screen, you’re not doing it with the same level of comfort that you had before.
The urge to check the news is stronger. Any susceptibility you might have to feelings of general uselessness is doubled. Worst of all, everyone else in your building is now home during the day too, and instead of watching TV, they’re doing dance aerobics or practicing the cello.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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