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Germany’s Far Right, Belarus, Coronavirus in Spain: Your Tuesday Briefing

2020-09-08 05:23:06

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Good morning.

We’re covering President Trump’s role in the German far right, the disappearance of a Belarusian protest leader and the return of a long-lost Judean date.

As hundreds of far-right activists in Berlin tried to storm the German Parliament last month, they had a surprising guest star: President Trump.

With large-scale demonstrations showing little sign of winding down, President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s security forces appear to have shifted from mass repression to more targeted measures. Maria Kolesnikova, the last prominent protest leader in Belarus still at large, is the latest to disappear, reportedly grabbed off the street by masked kidnappers in the center of Minsk on Monday, bundled into a dark minivan and driven away at high speed.

In a Twitter post, Linas Linkevicius, the foreign minister of neighboring Lithuania, described Ms. Kolesnikova’s disappearance as a “kidnapping” and suggested that “Stalinist N.K.V.D. methods” — a reference to the predecessor to the K.G.B. — were “being applied in 21st century’s Europe.”

Analysis: By stripping the opposition of its leadership, Mr. Lukashenko apparently hopes to gradually stall the demonstrations’ momentum, allowing his security forces to frighten those who continue protesting with the threat of mass arrests. Other prominent opponents have been pressured to flee to either Lithuania or Poland, both members of NATO, and then painted as traitors working with Western powers to undermine both Belarus and Russia.

It has been hailed as a modern miracle of science. At a kibbutz in Israel, for the first time in hundreds of years, a honey-blond Judean date was plucked from its tree — grown from a 2,000-year-old seed retrieved from an archaeological site in the Judean wilderness — and, eventually, placed into a waiting mouth.

The verdict? “Lucky, it tasted good,” said Elaine Solowey, an expert on arid agriculture who helped bring back the lost fruit. “If it had been awful, what would I have said? That in the old days they didn’t know what a good date was? There’s a lot of literature about how they were the best dates in the world.”

Jacob Blake: In a video recorded from his hospital bed, Mr. Blake, a Black man who was shot in the back by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wis., spoke publicly for the first time. “Every 24 hours, it’s pain — it’s nothing but pain,” he said.

Jamal Khashoggi: A Saudi court has issued final verdicts in the killing of the dissident writer. Five of the eight defendants were sentenced to 20 years in prison each, two were given 17-year sentences and one was given a 10-year sentence. The Saudis have never released the defendants’ names.

Aleksei Navalny: The Russian opposition leader is no longer in a medically induced coma, according to the German doctors treating him in Berlin for a suspected poisoning. They added that it was too early to determine whether he would suffer long-term effects.

California wildfires: For the second time in the U.S. since 2017, a gender-reveal party — at which an unborn baby’s sex is exuberantly revealed — has ignited a wildfire that consumed thousands of acres, the authorities said.

Cook: Jacques Pépin’s take on pissaladiere turns the Niçoise version of pizza into a sandwich on a baguette.

Watch: “Mulan,” now streaming on Disney+, features a cameo appearance by Ming-Na Wen, the actress who originally voiced Mulan in the 1998 animated version.

While that was happening, there was a huge fissure in Indian society between people who had resources who were able to sustain this lockdown and people who couldn’t. During the two-month lockdown, tens of millions of migrant workers walked back or took trucks, basically poured out of the urban areas of India. That made the economic distress even worse. When the lockdown was lifted, there was a lot of labor missing. It also spread the coronavirus, because the virus was the most intense in crowded urban areas, and these people then were carriers and they brought the virus from the cities into every corner of the country.

India’s economy has taken a bigger hit than any other economy in the world because its labor was more disrupted. The Chinese never did a national lockdown. They locked down parts of Wuhan Province and other places at different points. But they never imposed a paralyzing of the national economy. So when the lockdown was lifted, the economy did not just bounce back.

How permanent is this?

We don’t know. The Indian economy is definitely doing better. There’s traffic in the streets, shopping being done at the malls. Many offices are open or partially open. There’s much more economic activity than there was during the lockdown. But there are still many people who are separated from their jobs and don’t want to come back. There are others who have gone hundreds of miles away and are having trouble coming back.

Thanks for joining me for today’s briefing. See you next time.

— Natasha

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

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