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Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Megan Rapinoe: Your Wednesday Briefing


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Good morning.

We’re covering escalating clashes in Hong Kong, a surprise announcement about the Xinjiang camps and a campaign to grow trees in Ethiopia.

The charges, which carry a prison term of up to 10 years, were a distinct escalation in the government’s response to protests that have shaken Hong Kong for weeks. The demonstrators are expected to appear in court today.

Go deeper: Dozens of demonstrators were attacked at Yuen Long train station earlier this month by men armed with sticks and metal bars. A visual investigation by The Times reconstructs what happened.

Related: Tensions in Hong Kong have spilled onto campuses in Australia and New Zealand, where Chinese nationalists have used violence to bully Hong Kong supporters.


Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren will share the stage for the first time tonight in the first of two back-to-back presidential debates in Detroit. The two liberals are quite close personally and ideologically, but they also have some key differences in policies, strategies and the types of voters who support them.

For about half of the candidates, these two debates may be their last time on the national stage in this election: Short of a breakout moment, many are in danger of missing the qualifying threshold for the next round. Here’s what else to watch for.

Details: The debate starts at 8 p.m. Eastern and can be seen on CNN, CNN en Español, CNN International and streaming platforms. The Times will also have live coverage.


“China is dying to make a deal with me. But whether or not I’ll do it — it’s up to me,” President Trump said on Tuesday, even as his negotiators sat down for dinner with their counterparts in Shanghai.

The president took credit for weakening the Chinese economy and suggested Beijing would get a better deal if a Democrat wins the 2020 election.

Business impact: Faced with American tariffs and other uncertainties, Apple, Nintendo and Samsung, are beginning to consider making their products in Vietnam instead.

Political impact: Lawmakers from both parties are questioning whether the Trump administration is delaying an $8 billion sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan to maintain a bargaining chip with Beijing.

Two Beijing-backed leaders from the Xinjiang region said most inmates had “returned to society” from a sprawling network of re-education camps.

But experts and members of targeted Muslim minority groups said there was no evidence of mass releases, and it’s unclear how much freedom released inmates actually have. One researcher said the government was moving Muslim minorities into coercive labor programs, and “transitioning from internment to society-wide control,”

Reminder: Detention centers in Xinjiang have held an estimated million or more people from Muslim minority groups since 2017, drawing global condemnation. Chinese officials claim the camps are benign facilities that offer vocational training and language classes.

The U.S. soccer star pulled off a monumental victory at this summer’s World Cup — all while suing the soccer federation for gender discrimination and publicly opposing President Trump.

Rapinoe spoke to our Talk columnist about politics, activism and the pressure to win: “You want us to be role models for your kids. You want us to endorse your products. You parade us around. It’s like, we’re not just here to sit in the glass case for you to look at.”

Snapshot: Above, Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, planting a tree on Monday. The country said it put a total of 350 million seedlings in the ground in one day, breaking a world record, as part of a campaign to plant four billion trees by the fall to combat deforestation and global warming.

Austria: A cyclist who faced being murdered said she escaped a tragic end by connecting with her kidnapper over his orchids.

Filipino cuisine: Years after her death, Doreen Gamboa Fernandez is gaining a following among Filipino-American chefs for championing food that has long been maligned and misunderstood.

What we’re reading: This story in the Verge by Amanda Chicago Lewis about Big Alcohol’s plans for cannabis. Brewing giants struggling with declining sales are all making big bets on drinkable marijuana products. “But there’s one big problem,” writes Adam Pasick on the briefings team, “Nobody really wants or likes them.”


Smarter Living: Don’t let the bed bugs bite when you check into a hotel room. Stash your luggage in the bathroom until you’ve had a good, hard look at the bed and luggage rack for bed bugs. And don’t assume that a luxury hotel couldn’t possibly have them — it can happen anywhere. Here are other tips for a cleaner and safer hotel stay.

We also have advice on how to keep your bedroom cool as summer heats up.

The tourist traps are open, but it’ll be hard to find a baker, plumber or dry cleaner in Europe next month, as much of the Continent races off to the beach for all of August. How did that happen?

Before the 1930s, paid vacation was rare. Then, between the world wars, European unions and political parties from across the ideological spectrum pushed for the idea, calling for “total and sustained freedom from toil” and “an absolute rest from work.”

The nascent travel industry picked up the gauntlet, especially as the spread of the automobile and improved roads made skipping town easier.

In the United States, President William Howard Taft said in 1910 that a worker (meaning a man) should get two to three months off every year, “in order to continue his work next year with the energy and effectiveness that it ought to have.”

But nothing came of his proposal. There is still no U.S. law requiring paid days off, and many Americans don’t even use all the time they have.

Despite the extended holiday, or perhaps because of it, The Economist notes that Europeans are the most productive workers in the world.


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

— Alisha


Thank you
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. Victoria Shannon, on the Briefings team, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about Boeing’s 737 Max crisis.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Stylishness (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Jodi Rudoren, an associate managing editor at The Times, is leaving to become editor in chief of The Forward. We’ll miss you Jodi — mazel tov!


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