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Your Wednesday Briefing - The New York Times

Category: Asia,World

And by some miracle of timing, the copper sculptures on the spire also escaped a fiery end — they were removed for restoration just days before the blaze.

Go deeper: As France struggles to cope with recent social and political unrest, the symbolism of the blaze was hard to miss, our architecture critic writes.

One of the world’s largest countries heads into presidential elections today, facing an important choice: Continue with the low-key, steady leadership of President Joko Widodo or switch to his opponent, Prabowo Subianto.

Mr. Joko, a former furniture seller who was born in a slum, has risen to the top of Indonesia’s political sphere. As president, he expanded health care for the poor and built thousands of miles of roads, bridges, airports and a subway in the capital city of Jakarta.

Mr. Prabowo is a former general and the son-in-law of the country’s former dictator, Suharto. Mr. Prabowo’s human rights record earned him a yearslong ban on entering the U.S. This election cycle, he has transformed himself into a populist, wooing hard-line Islamists and the poor.

Forecast: Personality often prevails over ideology in Indonesian elections, and the policy differences between the two candidates are not great.

A victory for Mr. Prabowo would most likely mean advancing measures to promote Islam in daily life and greater military spending to rebuild the armed forces; a victory for Mr. Joko offers continuity, though the country is notoriously hard to govern.

Mr. Trump has referred to their country as “our enemy” and “a major threat,” but some of China’s intellectual and business elite are semi-seriously cheering on the U.S. president as he confronts their country.

True reform would have to come from within China, but if its trade dispute with the U.S. forces the Communist Party to step back from the economy, it might also have to loosen its grip on the rest of society.

Related: Mr. Trump has used his unpredictability as a source of leverage in trade discussions with Europe, Canada, Mexico and others. But business groups and foreign officials worry that his negotiating style has a cost.

Looking ahead: Beijing is expected to release economic growth data today.

The French automaker still controls Nissan, but with their former leader, Carlos Ghosn, in a Tokyo jail, the union he stitched together seems to be teetering on the edge.

In recent weeks, Renault has scrambled to keep its Japanese partner happy. It created a new leadership board that gives Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors equal weight, and has largely let Nissan dismantle the power structures that they say Mr. Ghosn put in place.

But there’s still one source of tension: Renault’s outsize stake in the more successful Nissan.

Looking ahead: A Tokyo court has ruled that Mr. Ghosn — who was rearrested earlier this month while out on bail — will remain in custody until Monday at least.

The Times ran publicly available images of people who work near a New York City park and a day’s worth of surveillance camera footage through a commercially available facial recognition service. It cost less than $100 and was all completely legal.

We’ve deleted the data, but the experiment, part of our Privacy Project, highlights just how easy it is to track people without their knowledge.

Myanmar: Thangyat, a kind of satirical poetry that is often aimed at the authorities, is the latest form of expression to be restricted by the country’s government.

Sudan: A week after a protest-driven coup ousted the autocratic president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the military and civilians are grappling with a familiar question: Who takes the reins?

Mueller report: The Justice Department is expected to release the special counsel’s report on Russia’s election interference to Congress and the public on Thursday. Secret grand jury testimony, classified information, material related to continuing investigations and other delicate information will be blacked out.

Snapshot: Above, a frozen Lake Superior in Duluth, Minn. A proposed economic plan would declare the U.S. city a climate refuge for people looking to pre-emptively escape the catastrophic consequences of global warming.

Astrology: Horoscopes — once seen as “shady” — are having a resurgence, with new start-ups tapping into a growing appetite for the mystical, and drawing serious interest from investors.

Britain: A decision by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to skip the ritual photo opportunity when their newborn arrives is the latest bump in a rocky relationship with the press.

Times Insider: Paul Mozur, who has traveled to the Xinjiang region in China to report on the detention of the Uighur minority, writes about how the authorities followed his every move.

What we’re reading: This report from our archives. “The New York Times was inside Notre-Dame in 1853 for Napoleon III’s wedding,” writes Tina Jordan, our Books columnist. “The description includes ermine, jewels, lavish drapes of gold-lace-trimmed crimson velvet, ‘festoons of flowers’ and chandeliers filled with thousands of wax tapers.”

Smarter Living: Kids misbehaving? If you intend to punish them, it should be consistent and in small doses. Pick your battles because big punishments don’t always translate to better behavior. Look for ways to remove a privilege for a short time like no screens for two days, establish clear expectations for improved behavior and go over alternative strategies for when they’re feeling frustrated in the moment.

Putting premium gas in a car that doesn’t demand it? Stop. Regular works, and premium doesn’t offer any benefit, it just costs more. If you’re not sure, check your owner’s manual. You may save a lot of money.

The comedian Hannah Gadsby and the Times Op-Ed columnist David Brooks are among those taking the stage at the flagship TED Conference in Vancouver this week.

Since TED’s inception 35 years ago, it’s become a household name, and TED speakers have racked up billions of views online.

But what was the first conference like?

It was 1984, in Monterey, Calif. Steve Jobs brought the first Apple Macintosh. Lucasfilm showed 3-D graphics. And a Sony executive gave a musical demonstration of the compact disc (with samples).

The designers Richard Saul Wurman and Harry Marks organized the gathering around the convergence of technology, entertainment and design — TED. Mr. Wurman welcomed attendees to “the dinner party I always wanted to have but couldn’t.

Financially, it was a flop. There wouldn’t be another for six years. But backstage, Mr. Marks recalled recently, he saw Nicholas Negroponte — who co-founded the M.I.T. Media Lab — exchanging numbers with Herbie Hancock and thought, “this works. This is a good thing.”

That’s it for this briefing. Au revoir.

— Alisha

Thank you
Chris Stanford helped compile today’s briefing. Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and James K. Williamson provided the break from the news. Jake Lucas wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about Carlos Ghosn, the former head of Nissan.
• Here’s our mini crossword puzzle, and a clue: Exaggerate one’s fall, in soccer (4 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Images of climate change taken by Josh Haner, a photographer for The New York Times, will go on display at Photo London, an international photography fair, May 16-19.

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