Hong Kong, Stimulus, Huawei: Your Thursday Briefing


The U.S. is considering slapping tariffs on exports from Hong Kong — the same as those applied to goods from mainland China — in response to Beijing’s plan to enact new security laws and tighten its grip on the city.

A strong police presence prevented the protesters from surrounding the city’s government offices. Demonstrators who chanted slogans in malls were quickly rounded up and herded onto police buses.

The police appear more determined to quash the protests and better equipped to do so, our correspondents report. This raises questions about the future of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, which has relied heavily on marches and outdoor rallies to drum up support.

The National People’s Congress, meeting in Beijing today, is expected to adopt a resolution calling for the new security legislation, which democracy advocates say will target dissent.

Dive deeper: Here’s a guide to the protests, which have increasingly become a direct challenge to China’s ruling Communist Party rather than to the territory’s leadership.

The Japanese cabinet approved more than $1 trillion in stimulus funding that includes a combination of subsidies to companies and to people. Parliament is expected to approve the measure next month.

In Brussels, the European Union’s executive arm said it wanted to issue bonds in capital markets to raise 750 billion euros, or $860 billion, to finance the bloc’s economic recovery.

The fund will distribute €500 billion worth of grants — free money that will not be added to national debt — to all 27 member states, with Italy getting the largest slice, followed by Spain.

Related: The main partners in the world’s largest automaking alliance — Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi — announced a plan to survive the coronavirus’s devastating impact on the car industry. Under the new arrangement, Nissan will be the dominant partner in Japan, China and the United States, while Renault will take the lead in Europe, Russia, Africa and Latin America. Mitsubishi will be in charge of the rest of Asia.

A Canadian court ruled that prosecutors had satisfied a critical legal requirement to extradite Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the Chinese technology giant, to the U.S., where she would face trial on sweeping fraud charges.

Mrs. Meng will have another chance to fight for release at a June 15 hearing on the argument that her rights were violated during her arrest.

She was arrested in Vancouver in December 2018 at the request of the United States and indicted the following month.

Background: The case has thrust Canada into the middle of a diplomatic struggle between the U.S. and China: over trade, theft of technology secrets and whether Huawei’s efforts to help countries build 5G mobile networks present a threat to national security. The court decision is expected to further strain Canada’s own relations with China.

The Michelin-starred chef has overcome logistical hurdles, corruption and unwanted marriage proposals to send food packages and hot meals to those in need in his home country.

SpaceX launch: Two NASA astronauts are scheduled to blast off from U.S. soil to the International Space Station, the first U.S. launch of a crewed mission in nearly a decade. Liftoff is scheduled for 4:33 p.m. Eastern at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday (that’s 6:33 a.m. today in Sydney).

Anime studio fire: Shinji Aoba, 42, recovered enough from the injuries he suffered in a fire at an animation studio in Kyoto last July to be arrested on suspicion of setting it. The attack killed 36 people and injured dozens more, and further shocked Japan for its targeting of a symbol of the country’s popular culture and a major soft-power export.

Locusts in India: With coronavirus infections steadily rising, a heat wave in the capital, and 100 million people out of work, the country now has to fight off a new problem. Scientists say a locust invasion blanketing half a dozen states in western and central India is the worst in 25 years.

Trump tweets: In a first, Twitter has added information to refute inaccuracies in some of President Trump’s tweets, after years of pressure over its inaction on his false and threatening posts.

Snapshot: Above, the Quai d’Anjou in Paris during the coronavirus lockdown. Our photographer Mauricio Lima has followed in the footsteps of Eugène Atget, an early 20th-century father of modern photography who shot an empty city, getting up early to capture Paris’ architecture during a moment of stillness.

What we’re reading: This essay by Marilynne Robinson in The New York Review of Books. Steven Erlanger, our chief diplomatic correspondent for Europe, writes, “The author of ‘Gilead,’ one of the best American novels, tries to think through what this virus shows about the United States, and asks what kind of country we want it to be.”

Watch: “Douglas” is the new Netflix special by the comedian Hannah Gadsby. The Times Magazine interviewed her about life on the autism spectrum, online trolls and how trauma plays into comedy.

Listen: Here are seven works of music that speak to the coronavirus time warp, in which days creep along but months vanish in a flash.

Maggie Astor, one of our political reporters based in New York, and her husband became sick with Covid-19 in late March and managed to recover at home.

Maggie wrote about the ordeal and shared some valuable advice, especially on how to maintain a healthy state of mind during the illness. Here’s an excerpt:

Having Covid-19 is intensely stressful. It’s not unusual to feel depressed or anxious, or to have panic attacks. Don’t be embarrassed to talk to your doctor about your mental health — it’s just as important as your physical health.

It’s also OK to not be OK. You don’t have to handle this “well,” whatever that means. You just have to get through each day. So go ahead and cry, binge Netflix, do a jigsaw puzzle, reread the entire “Animorphs” series — whatever gets you through the day.

Some people have mild symptoms for the first few days and then suddenly get sicker. Some have fevers that go up and down repeatedly. Some are sick for two weeks straight, then have a few symptom-free days, then relapse. Some have lingering symptoms for months.

This is both maddening and very common. Give yourself as much time to rest as your job and financial situation will allow. For me and for several colleagues, that meant nearly three weeks of sick time.

Since tweeting about my experience last month, I’ve received many emails from people in the “this will never end” phase. I share the same screenshot with all of them: a text I sent to a friend on April 5.

“Why do I even bother giving good news when it’s only going to last a few hours?” I wrote. “I’m just so tired of this. I don’t know how to keep dealing with it.”

Every day, more people will hit that wall — and every day, more people will find their way past it. They will feel alone, but they won’t be.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Carole

Thank you
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the threat that the coronavirus is posing to the U.S. Postal Service.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Prize for Malala Yousafzai (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Jeffrey Gettleman, our South Asia bureau chief, recently appeared on CBS News to talk about the coronavirus in Mumbai.

Source : Nytimes