President Trump, Hong Kong, Summer Camp: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing


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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. The battle between President Trump and Congress over the Constitution’s separation of powers is escalating.

The president claimed executive privilege to block Congress’s access to documents about how a citizenship question was added to the 2020 census. The move came before a House committee voted to recommend that two cabinet secretaries be held in contempt of Congress over the matter.

“This begs the question,” said Representative Elijah Cummings, above, the chairman of the Oversight Committee. “What is being hidden?”

2. Protesters clashed with the police in Hong Kong as the legislature prepared to debate a contentious bill that would allow extradition to mainland China. Above, riot police clearing the street near the Legislative Council building.

The mass demonstrations have delayed the process, but they are unlikely to prevent the law from being enacted, as the relationship between Hong Kong and mainland China has tilted decisively toward Beijing. The bill is seen as a threat to civil liberties, drawing some of the largest protests in Hong Kong’s history. Here’s why.

A wave of concern is also spreading through a community of foreign consultants, investors and executives who have made the territory their home and regional headquarters.

3. Bernie Sanders is making his case for his brand of socialism.

In a formal address, the Vermont senator issued a robust defense of his core political beliefs, centered on terms of economic justice. What is democratic socialism? We unpacked the term.

And how do you unite a fractious base and defeat President Trump? None of the 23 Democrats running for president seem to know, but that isn’t stopping a “Why not me?” stampede, writes Mark Leibovich in The Times Magazine.

Separately, Planned Parenthood will hold a forum for the 2020 Democrats, the first event in the campaign focused specifically on women’s health.


4. A former Stanford sailing coach was sentenced to home confinement in the college admissions scandal, becoming the first person sentenced in the sweeping scheme.

John Vandemoer’s sentence, far lighter than what prosecutors had sought, raised questions about the role of universities, who have been described as victims. Mr. Vandemoer, who did not personally pocket any of the money, said in an interview before his sentencing that he had believed that he was helping his team by securing the donations.

Separately, a Wisconsin city is due to vote next week on a bill that would impose fines on parents whose children bully others, a measure several municipalities have already tried.


5. New York City taxi drivers mired in debt will get a break on $10 million in fees amid efforts to prevent a repeat of a loan crisis revealed by The Times.

Lawmakers also plan to introduce a package of bills to protect medallion owners and drivers from predatory lenders, and are set to hold a hearing this month to examine the city’s role in the crisis.

Also out of New York: A bill to legalize paid surrogacy has found opposition from prominent feminists, including Gloria Steinem. The state is one of the last in the country to prohibit the arrangement.


6. We read 150 privacy policies. They were incomprehensible.

In the latest from Opinion’s Privacy Project, one writer analyzed the length and readability of policies from popular websites and apps (including The Times’s). Facebook’s privacy policy, for example, takes about 18 minutes to read. And Google’s evolved over two decades — from a two-minute read in 1999 to a peak of 20 minutes by 2018.

“You’re confused into thinking these are there to inform users,” one privacy expert said, “as opposed to protect companies.”


7. Your weather forecast is about to get more precise.

For the first time in 40 years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration introduced a major software upgrade at the heart of its weather prediction capability. The change is aimed at reducing errors like the one the agency made in 2012, when it wrongly forecast the track of Hurricane Sandy, pictured in the model above, into the New York area.

“We are confident the upgrade will provide an overall improvement,” the director of NOAA’s Environmental Modeling Center said. Specifically, he added, it should help produce more accurate forecasts of temperature and the amount of rain and snow.


8. Tourism saturation in European hot spots can quickly ruin a vacation. But there are quieter alternatives, if you know where to look.

Instead of Santorini, head to Tinos; skip Barcelona and head to Valencia, above. Here are six places in Europe that offer shelter from the crowds.

Should tourism be limited in overcrowded European cities? Our Rome bureau chief ponders the question as he explores Treviso, Venice’s quieter neighbor, where canals also flow.

And our 52 Places traveler knows a thing or two about finding the quiet charms of his destinations. Such is the case on the island of Texel in the North Sea.


9. We have arrived at the intersection of a new psychedelic movement in health and wellness.

Three authors — Michael Pollan, Ayelet Waldman and T.C. Boyle — weigh in on the effects of LSD and magic mushrooms infiltrating the self-care market.

“There’s just something that makes me uncomfortable about a bunch of white people overrunning all these shaman experiences,” Ms. Waldman said.

Separately, marijuana residue found in tombs deep in a Chinese mountain range suggests that strong specimens were used in ancient burial rites. All to say that weed has been a thing for at least 2,500 years.

10. And lastly, don’t forget to send a care package.

Children have been dropped off at camp since the 19th century, and Times photographers have captured the reunions, adventures and, of course, tears along the way. In the latest from our Past Tense team, we looked back at 85 years of the summer tradition. Above, wood carving in 1954.

“Camp communities are intense,” one camp director said. “It’s the 24/7, the community, the sense of purpose, the sense of — in many camps — building a better world together and the deep, deep friendships that extend for years and years.”

Hope your night is happy, camper.


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Source : Nytimes