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Europe’s Economy, German Police, China: Your Thursday Briefing

2020-09-17 05:06:18

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Good morning.

We’re covering the challenges facing Europe’s economic recovery, a domestic abuse case in China that drew outrage and the German police officers suspended for sharing neo-Nazi propaganda.

Over the summer, European countries seemed poised for an economic revival after a historic plunge. The coronavirus seemed to have been successfully contained in many countries, while the promises of the European Central Bank, which vowed to do whatever it took to stabilize the economy and support lending, helped to inspire confidence.

But wider political concerns and the resurgence of the virus could undo much of that progress. The British government’s threats to abandon Europe without a deal governing future commercial relations would imperil its own economy, as well as those of its major European trading partners like the Netherlands, France and Spain.

At the same time, the virus is regaining strength, yielding an alarming increase of cases in Spain, France and Britain. In turn, consumers have scrapped holidays, limited their exposure to shopping areas and opted to economize in the face of threats to businesses and jobs, further imperiling recovery.

Quotable: “It’s hard to imagine a recovery that’s going to be strong and sustained given the current situation,” said one eurozone economist. “There’s not a lot of engines of growth.”

Here are our live updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other coronavirus developments:

  • An experimental drug, a manufactured copy of an antibody produced by a patient who recovered from Covid-19, markedly reduced levels of the virus in newly infected patients and lowered the chances that they would need hospitalization, the drug’s maker, Eli Lilly, announced on Wednesday.

  • For the first time since it opened its doors in 1958, the Jerusalem Great Synagogue will remain shuttered over the Jewish High Holy Days due to a nationwide lockdown in Israel.

  • The coronavirus is the “No. 1 global security threat in our world today,” the U.N. secretary general, António Guterres, said Wednesday.

  • The U.S. says it plans to start distributing a vaccine within 24 hours of approval. The goal, according to federal officials, is that no American “has to pay a single dime” out of their own pocket.

The numbers: Two of the biggest issues for women in China are the prevalence of domestic violence and a legal system stacked against them. About one in four women has suffered physical or verbal abuse, or had her freedom restricted by her partner, according to a survey by the All-China Women’s Federation in 2011. Activists say the numbers are far higher.

Do you sense any trepidation among the Japanese?

Mr. Abe resigned because of ill health, and he and the Liberal Democratic Party kingmakers effectively handed the reins to his right-hand man. Mr. Suga has said he will keep all of Mr. Abe’s signature policies in place. He has retained the majority of Mr. Abe’s cabinet. So in that sense, it is very much the status quo.

What will be his toughest challenge?

Like virtually every other leader in the world, he has to get the coronavirus under control and help a battered economy. But he also faces rising security threats from North Korea and China, Japan’s largest trading partner.

Then there are the long-term structural issues: a low birthrate, an aging population, climate change and women who had been promised empowerment under Mr. Abe but are still waiting on many fronts.

And his first order of business?

To try to get the economy back on its feet. And to decide whether to call a snap election that could consolidate his power and give him a chance at being more than a caretaker leader.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Have a wonderful Thursday.

— Natasha

Thank you
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected].

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about coronavirus quarantines on U.S. college campuses.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: “Apples and oranges” (Five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The word “gympietides” — a tiny, pain-causing molecule — appeared in The Times for the first time on Tuesday, according to the Twitter account @NYT_first_said.
• Marc Lacey, our National editor, and Shreeya Sinha, our outgoing national operations director for audience growth, wrote about the mission statement shared by the team of 45 journalists covering U.S. news.


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