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Your Thursday Briefing - The New York Times

Financial jitters were felt worldwide after new data showed the German economy hurtling toward a recession and factory output in China growing at its slowest pace in 17 years.

The ominous data sent Wall Street stocks into one of their worst declines of the year, and the ripples continued today with Asia markets down in early trading.

Details: Germany’s economy shrank 0.1 percent from April through June, and it has been treading water for the past year, the government’s official statistics agency said. Deutsche Bank analysts predicted that the economy would continue to shrink in the current quarter, which would meet the technical definition of a recession.

Impact: The numbers are among the most tangible consequences of President Trump’s global trade tariffs for China as well as for Germany, which sets the tone for the rest of Europe. Mr. Trump is inflicting pain on countries he accuses of unfair trade practices, but economists warn that the pain is likely to boomerang onto the U.S.

Reminder: China is the world’s largest exporter of goods and services, just ahead of the U.S. Germany is No. 3, and exports account for almost half of its gross domestic product.

Antigovernment demonstrators apologized on Wednesday for their increasingly confrontational tactics, which a Chinese government spokesman denounced as “conduct close to terrorism.” Two days of protests plunged the city’s international airport into chaos and caused hundreds of flight cancellations.

“We apologize for our behavior but we are just too scared,” read one post that was widely distributed on social media. “Our police shot us, government betrayed us, social institutions failed us. Please help us.”

The airport said it would limit terminal access to ticketed passengers and workers.

Bigger picture: A major undercurrent of the protests is an identity struggle over what Hong Kong means as a place, a culture and a political entity.

Related: The clashes at the airport, one of the world’s busiest transportation hubs, could cast further doubt on Hong Kong’s future as a business capital.

Parliament is set to reconvene in September, not long before the country is scheduled to leave the E.U. on Oct. 31, and some lawmakers have suggested passing a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government.

Lawmakers would then have 14 days to try to pull together a new government. If they cannot, the prime minister is then supposed to call a general election.

But reports that Mr. Johnson might simply refuse to step down have set off a debate about the limits of the British Constitution, which is a medley of laws and customs, some unwritten.

Quotable: “I think this is an entirely new constitutional situation,” one scholar said. “The British haven’t thought it necessary to think seriously about the Constitution for quite a long time.”

Theories: Armchair constitutional theorizing is suddenly in vogue, with some suggesting that Queen Elizabeth II could step in and fire Mr. Johnson, if needed — an unlikely, but not impossible, scenario.

The police officers were taken to Philadelphia hospitals after a gunman opened fire on Wednesday night. Their injuries were not life-threatening, the police said.

They had tried to serve a narcotics warrant, the authorities said. Other officers were being treated for “non-gunshot injuries,” Sgt. Eric Gripp of the Philadelphia Police Department said on Twitter.

Shortly after 9:30 p.m., Sergeant Gripp said two officers who had been inside the house had been safely evacuated, but that the gunman remained holed up.

Details: The shooting began at about 4:30 p.m., prompting SWAT teams to converge on the home.

In August of 1619, a ship appeared near Point Comfort, a port in the British colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists. America was not yet America, but this, The Times Magazine argues, was the moment that it began.

The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The Times about how slavery has shaped the United States in the 400 years since. An essay by Nikole Hannah-Jones anchors the project: “Our founding ideals of liberty and equality were false when they were written,” she says. “Black Americans fought to make them true.”

Canada: The federal ethics commissioner found that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had violated an ethics law in his handling of a corporate criminal case — a conclusion that could imperil Mr. Trudeau’s bid for a second term just months before the election.

Bulgaria hack: A giant hacking attack has raised serious concerns about the state of the country’s cybersecurity in the face of potential Russian meddling.

Jeffrey Epstein: A New York woman who said Mr. Epstein groomed her for sex starting when she was 14, then raped her a year later, has sued his estate. Many more such lawsuits could follow in the wake of Mr. Epstein’s death last week, apparently by suicide. She tells her own story in an Op-Ed.

U.K.-Iran relations: A British-Iranian academic was arrested at his home in Tehran over the weekend, again roiling relations between the two countries just as they seemed to be making progress on the release of an Iranian tanker seized in Gibraltar.

Snapshot: Skip and Ping, two gay king penguins, are enchanting crowds at Zoo Berlin. They have adopted an egg and could hatch Germany’s first penguin chick in almost two decades.

ASAP Rocky trial: The rapper, whose case was championed by President Trump, was found guilty of assault in Sweden, but he will not serve more jail time. Swedish prosecutors had sought a six-month sentence for his part in a street brawl in Stockholm.

Greta Thunberg: The 16-year-old Swedish climate activist began a two-week journey across the Atlantic Ocean, trying to limit her carbon footprint on her way to a U.N. climate summit in New York.

What we’re reading: This article in The Texas Tribune about livestock deaths linked to plastic bags. Mark Getzfred, a Times News Desk editor, says that “on a very practical level, it shows the difficulty we have as a country understanding and dealing with how problematic stray plastic bags can be.”

Watch: The creators of the HBO series “Our Boys” discuss its story, which dramatizes the aftermath of the 2014 murder of three Jewish teenagers by Hamas militants.

Smarter Living: Are you driving your child’s day care workers crazy? Our Parenting site lists six things they really wish parents would not do. For starters, make the drop-off ritualized and rapid — nix the long, tearful goodbyes. And if there are major disruptions going on at home, let the staff know; it will help them understand if your child is acting out.

On another subject: If your device is seized by ransomware, Europol, the E.U.’s law enforcement agency, has free tools to help you reclaim your data.

Seventy-two years ago today, India was freed from British rule.

Most people know that Mohandas Gandhi played a major role in the country’s struggle for independence. But so did Queen Laxmibai of Jhansi in the 19th century.

The queen, or rani, was an unconventional leader. She could read and write — very rare for a woman in that era — and she refused to abide by the norms of purdah, which concealed women behind curtains or veils, when speaking with her advisers and British officials.

She was widowed without a natural-born heir, and the East India Company used that as pretext to annex her kingdom. So she fled to the nearby state of Gwalior, trained an army and led it into battle against the British. She was killed in action in 1858.

In India, she is immortalized in history books, movies, songs and even nursery rhymes. And in the 1940s, the Indian National Army formed an all-female unit to help in the battle for freedom. It was named the Rani of Jhansi regiment.

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

— Melina

Thank you
Alisha Haridasani Gupta helped compile today’s briefing. Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford wrote the break from the news. Alisha 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 the Hong Kong protests.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: Get a puppy from the pound (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Jeffrey Gettleman, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 for international reporting, is The Times’s South Asia bureau chief, based in New Delhi.

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