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Hong Kong, Dominic Cummings, New Zealand: Your Monday Briefing

2020-05-25 05:19:03

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Good morning.

We’re covering protests in Hong Kong as China tightens its control, outrage against a top British aide who violated lockdown, and The Times’s front page on the loss of nearly 100,000 lives in the U.S. to the coronavirus pandemic.

The protest underscored the outrage of residents after Beijing on Friday proposed new security laws that would tighten its control over Hong Kong.

The police have shown that they plan assertive action to stop mass gatherings from gaining force.

Quote of note: “I wouldn’t use optimistic,” one resident said of her outlook on the protests. “But I would say that if we do not insist, we will not see hope. It’s because we insist, that hope will remain out there.”

In Germany, for instance, where religious houses of worship have been reopened for weeks, 40 churchgoers have tested positive for the coronavirus after a Baptist church service in Frankfurt.

Other places are just now lifting restrictions. In France, a court last week ordered the government to allow in-person religious services, making the country one of the last in Western Europe to reopen churches, mosques and synagogues.

Mr. Cummings had driven 260 miles to his parents’ house in Northern England after he had contracted the coronavirus. A statement released by Mr. Johnson said that Mr. Cummings had been unable to line up care for his young child after he and his wife began showing virus symptoms.

Official remarks: “I believe that in every respect, he has acted responsibly, and legally, and with integrity,” Mr. Johnson said. But a spokesman for the opposition Labour Party disagreed, saying, “The British people do not expect there to be one rule for them and another rule for Dominic Cummings.”

What we’re listening to: The “Terrible, Thanks for Asking” podcast. “This episode,” says Lance Booth, a photo editor, “is about a writer who becomes unemployed after landing her dream job, and the ever-revolving gate of unemployment.”

As the United States approaches 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus, our editors wanted to mark the grim milestone. So, instead of the articles, photographs or graphics that normally appear on the front page of The New York Times, on Sunday there’s just a list: a long, solemn list of people whose lives were lost to the coronavirus pandemic.

The names, nearly 1,000 of them, were gleaned from obituaries in hundreds of U.S. newspapers and conveyed both the vastness and the variety of lives lost.

But Ms. Landon and her colleagues realized that “both among journalists and perhaps in the general reading public, there’s a little bit of a fatigue with the data.” Putting 100,000 dots or stick figures on a page “doesn’t really tell you very much about who these people were, the lives that they lived, what it means for us as a country,” Ms. Landon said. She came up with the idea to compile obituaries and death notices of Covid-19 victims from newspapers large and small across the country and selecting vivid passages from them.

“I wanted something that people would look back on in 100 years to understand the toll of what we’re living through,” Marc Lacey, the National editor, said.

That’s it for this briefing. For those celebrating, Eid Mubarak. See you next time.

— Isabella

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 on how a woman named Genie Chance covered the biggest earthquake to hit North America in recorded history.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: Poker action (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Last year, The Times published around 900 articles about the climate, including dispatches from around the world showing the effects of climate change and identifying solutions.


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