The drama behind India’s elections
The results of nearly six weeks of voting are set to be announced today, and The Times will have live coverage later this morning at nytimes.com and on our apps.
The election has become a referendum on the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Exit polls suggest he is headed for another five-year term.
Background: Mr. Modi has been casting himself as a strong leader who can protect India, while the opposition argues that his Hindu-first politics have made the country less tolerant and that his economic agenda has failed. Here’s a guide to our coverage of the issues that have shaped the election, the world’s largest democratic exercise.
China’s technology subdues millions
High-tech surveillance has turned the Xinjiang region in its far west into an incubator for automated authoritarianism that could spread across China and beyond.
The system used there, created by a state-run defense manufacturer, uses military cyber techniques to monitor civilians.
Software sorts through billions of records to match faces from surveillance cameras to names, addresses, official identification numbers — and education history, family ties, even recent visits to places like hotels or internet cafes. “It is a virtual cage,” our correspondents write.
Related: The Trump administration, arguing that China is using technology to strengthen authoritarianism at home and abroad is considering limits to Hikvision, a Chinese manufacturer of video surveillance products. As with the telecom giant Huawei, it could be halted from purchasing American software and semiconductors without approval from Washington.
President Trump’s domestic battles intensify
As Democrats weigh impeaching the president, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused Mr. Trump of “a cover-up.”
Infuriated, he walked out of a meeting with her and the top Senate Democrat, Chuck Schumer, and delivered a bristling statement to reporters in the Rose Garden that Democrats should “get these phony investigations over with.”
We’re tracking all the inquiries.
The Mueller report: The Justice Department has agreed to release some intelligence materials related to the Mueller report to the House Intelligence Committee. That staves off Democratic action to try to force compliance.
Mr. Trump’s taxes: The Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, said it would be “unlawful” for him to release the president’s tax returns to Congress — and that he was trying to determine who in the Internal Revenue Service wrote a draft legal memo concluding that he must do so. But New York State passed a bill that could give Congress a new way to gain access to them.
Trump associates: Newly released search warrants detailed Michael Cohen’s communications with an investor tied to Russia.
Source of ozone-harming gas found: Eastern China
Rogue emissions of a banned, ozone-destroying gas were known to be coming from somewhere in East Asia.
International researchers have been able to narrow the source further, to two provinces in Eastern China.
The findings confirm the results of several investigations, including one by The New York Times, which found that factories in Shandong, one of the two named provinces, were making or using the gas to manufacture foam insulation.
The science: CFC-11 is one of a class of compounds called chlorofluorocarbons that act as greenhouse gases and also destroy atmospheric ozone, reducing protections from UV radiation that can cause skin cancer and eye damage in people and are harmful to crops and other vegetation.
The response: China has denied any serious violations of the ban on the chemical. The Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment said it was preparing answers to questions about the new findings that The Times sent last week.
If you have block of time, this is worth it
New forms of anti-Semitism in Germany
Some 200,000 Jews live in Germany, a nation of 82 million people, and many are increasingly fearful. Anti-Semitic crimes have risen sharply, and bullying in schools is rampant.
Some see a connection to “imported anti-Semitism” or “Muslim anti-Semitism” brought into the country by immigrants from the Middle East. Some see the greater peril as coming from an emboldened extreme right that is hostile to both Muslims and Jews, the latter for reminding them of their guilt for the Holocaust.
Here’s what else is happening
New Zealand: The coming budget of the center-left government of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is moving away from traditional bottom-line measures like productivity and economic growth and instead focusing on measures that encourage the “well-being” of citizens.
Bangladesh: The government has imposed a 65-day national ban on coastal fishing, the most restrictive ever in the country. It could help restore depleted fish stocks, but fishermen say it has left them jobless and desperate.
Indonesia: Violence has erupted in the capital, Jakarta, after the newly announced results of April’s voting, in which President Joko Widodo was re-elected.
China: The country’s three biggest airlines and one smaller carrier are demanding compensation from Boeing, having grounded dozens of 737 Max jetliners since a deadly crash in March.
Business: Qualcomm, the giant in the semiconductor industry, violated antitrust laws by charging cellphone makers excessive licensing fees, a judge in the U.S. has ruled.
U.S.: John Walker Lindh, a U.S. citizen captured in Afghanistan in 2001, is set to be released from an American prison today after serving 17 years of a 20-year sentence for providing support to the Taliban.
Snapshot: Above, “Smoke and Lovers,” Memphis, Tenn. 1992. The image is one of many that has been featured in Lens, The Times’s blog devoted to photography, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month.
Game of Thrones: Sophie Turner, who played Sansa Stark on the HBO show, speaks to our television editor about “Dark Phoenix,” the new X-Men film she leads.
What we’re listening to: This CBC podcast about Nxivm, a group often described as a sex cult. Claire Moses, a mobile editor in the London newsroom, says it’s “solid journalism” that provides background, insights and accounts from former members to reveal “the psychology behind joining a cult and how people can end up in these situations.”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: Green goddess salmon with potatoes and snap peas comes together in about a half-hour.
Listen: European music is more than just the glitz of Eurovision. Hear 15 of the continent’s most important acts right now.
Read: In her memoir, “Under Red Skies: Three Generations of Life, Loss, and Hope in China,” Karoline Kan personalizes the great changes occurring in her country. Here’s our review.
Smarter Living: Need help surviving your kid’s sport season? Staying comfortable will help keep you motivated to cheer them on. Our friends at Wirecutter, a New York Times Company, suggest packing extra layers of clothing and other necessities — a blanket, hair elastics, bug spray and sunblock. Embrace wide-brimmed hats and a folding camp chair. And above all, know there are only two things you should say after the game: “Did you have fun?” and “I loved watching you play.”
And we have some tips on being a supportive partner during pregnancy and beyond.
And now for the Back Story on …
Breaking the Ramadan fast
Observers of Ramadan around the world participate in a variety of traditions. One that spans cultures and regions is the way the daily fast is broken: with a date.
The date has been a flourishing crop in the Middle East for thousands of years. It appears at least 20 times in the Quran and hadith, a collection of sayings and traditions attributed to the Prophet Muhammad and other early Muslims. Muhammad even suggested starting each day by eating seven dates.
There’s also a nutritional component. After a long day without any water or food — sometimes up to 20 hours, depending on the region — it’s not advisable to immediately gorge.
Nazima Qureshi, a nutritionist who observes Ramadan, says the date offers electrolytes, including potassium (more than in a banana), magnesium and calcium, as well as fiber, which is filling.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and Kenneth R. Rosen provided the break from the news. Melina Delkic, on the briefings team, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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