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Elections, Xi Jinping, Facebook: Your Wednesday Briefing

Category: Asia,World

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Good morning. America waits for answers, a Xi painting depicts a propaganda shift and children on Nauru express emotional distress. Here’s what you need to know:

A guide to the U.S. Election Day.

As you read this, voters in large numbers are casting their ballots, capping a tumultuous campaign for congressional seats and statehouses that touched on immigration, violence, gender issues and health care.

We’re collecting dispatches from our reporters here.

Will the Republican Party hold on to its majority in the House and the Senate? Or will the so-called blue wave happen? People on both sides seem to agree on one thing: They’re anxious.

Polls start to close at 6 p.m. Eastern. These maps show when the polls close across the country, and counts will start to emerge.

→ At The Times: We’ve removed our paywall for the elections. Register or log in to nytimes.com for unlimited access to the entire site.

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Xi paints himself bigger than Deng.

In the artwork above, President Xi Jinping stands front and center amid a crowd. A statue of Deng Xiaoping recedes into the golden sunset.

Deng was the mastermind behind China’s new capitalist era and is second only to Mao in the pantheon of Communist China’s leaders.

The large painting, which is touring museums around China, encapsulates what some see as Mr. Xi’s concerted propaganda shift to elevate his role in the party’s official history, largely at Deng’s expense. The effort could have profound impacts on China’s politics and policymaking.

Mr. Xi saw his image enhanced outside China too. At a recent celebration for North Korea’s 70th anniversary, his face was depicted in the same style as portraits of Kim Jong-un and his father, Kim Jong-il. One analyst saw it as a sign of the country’s “assiduous fence-mending campaign” toward China.

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Lion Air plane was cleared four times despite troubles.

The new Boeing Max 8 jet that crashed into the Java Sea last week had problems with its airspeed indicator during its last four flights, Indonesian investigators said, but was cleared each time for takeoff. Above, colleagues of the crash victims.

While it’s still unclear if unreliable airspeed data caused the crash, investigators are looking into why and how the jet was repeatedly approved to fly.

There are more than 200 Max 8s in fleets around the world, all so new that any possible systemic problem would not yet be evident.

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“One day I will kill myself.”

Those are the words of an 8-year-old girl who fled war in Sri Lanka and was stuck for five years on Nauru — a small island nation that, along with Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island, houses thousands of refugees and asylum seekers at Australian offshore detention centers, pictured above.

Their situation, which has long been criticized internationally, hit a new low recently — in part because of the U.S.

President Trump reluctantly agreed to resettle up to 1,250 refugees from the offshore camps. So far, about 430 refugees have been settled in the U.S. but at least 70 have been rejected over the past few months, crushing hope for those on the island.

With their fate in constant limbo, the children’s mental health has deteriorated, with signs of suicidal thoughts emerging since August, according to doctors and asylum seekers.

In Japan, very different anxieties — among them school pressure and bullying — have caused suicides among children to spike to their highest level in three decades.

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• China granted Ivanka Trump, President Trump’s daughter, initial approval for 16 new trademarks for an array of items — from shoes and sunglasses to voting machines and semiconductors — reviving questions about the Trump family’s conflict of business and political interests.

• Facebook acknowledged that its platform was used to “foment division and incite offline violence” in Myanmar, where the military unleashed an online campaign targeting the Rohingya Muslim minority that led to murder, rape and forced migration. “We agree that we can and should do more,” said one of the company’s executives.

• Amazon is finalizing plans to split its second headquarters between two locations — Long Island City in New York and Arlington, Va., according to people familiar with the decision-making process.

• The Shanghai Stock Exchange will test a U.S.-style system for new listings, in a bid to open it up to high-stakes technology public offerings.

• U.S. stocks were up. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

• Indian animal rights activists and some politicians are protesting the recent killing of a man-eating tiger and threatening legal action against the hunters. [The New York Times]

China rebuffed calls to end its mass detention of Uighur Muslims at the U.N., calling concerns over human rights violations “politically driven.” [The New York Times]

• Six men in London were arrested in connection with a widely circulated video in which a group laughed as they burned an effigy of Grenfell Tower — where a blaze last year killed more than 70 people — to mark Guy Fawkes Night. [The New York Times]

• Bill Gates, the billionaire software tycoon who spent seven years and $200 million researching safe sanitation, pledged another $200 million to reinvent the toilet. [The New York Times]

• Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a 4,500-year-old sophisticated ramp system that may help explain how the pyramids of Giza were constructed. [CNN]

• Cross Counter won the Melbourne Cup, becoming the first British-trained racehorse to claim the top spot. [BBC]

Tips for a more fulfilling life.

• The scientist David Hu studies oddball topics like how snakes slither, the ideal eyelash length for mammals and why mosquitoes can fly in the rain, all to glean inspiration for human-made engineering feats.

• Charles Dickens’s “Great Expectations” begins in the marshes of the Hoo Peninsula near London. More than 150 years later, a traveler goes back there to retrace the footsteps of the novel’s memorable characters.

• Breathe. Amid the high-stakes, stress-inducing news cycle, we’ve created a quick and easy way for you to calm down. Indulge a little.

We finally reviewed the 1978 horror classic “Halloween” last month, which got us thinking about the newspaper strike in New York City that prevented coverage of the movie’s release at the time.

Forty years ago, The New York Times was just resuming publication after a shutdown of 88 days during a strike by press workers and other labor disputes. The Daily News was also affected, but Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post resumed printing about a month earlier.

A parody “Not The New York Times” published a single, sparkling edition.

The Times returned on Nov. 6 with an “88 Days in Review” special section. In the time the newspaper was away, turmoil in Iran intensified, the Camp David accords were signed and a new papacy began and ended. There was also arts news (a Nobel in Literature to Isaac Bashevis Singer).

Sports ran a brief roundup of what was missed: Three paragraphs were devoted to the World Series (the Yankees won), with just one each for the Muhammad Ali-Leon Spinks fight (Ali won) and the U.S. Open (Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert won).

But then it was back to business in baseball, with a column that began: “More than ever, the Mets are the tragedy of New York sports.”

Sarah Anderson wrote today’s Back Story.

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