Belarus, Portland Protests, U.K. Schools: Your Monday Briefing
Belarus, Portland Protests, U.K. Schools: Your Monday Briefing
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We’re covering the third Sunday of protests in Belarus, the challenges of reopening Britain’s schools and the best way to vote in the U.S. elections from abroad.
The start of a fourth week of protests in Belarus
For the third Sunday in a row, tens of thousands of people marched on the palace of President Aleksandr Lukashenko, demanding he resign.
The turnout, at least as large as those of the previous two Sundays, indicated that an explosion of popular fury that began with the Aug. 9 presidential election is nowhere close to abating. Mr. Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory that is widely believed to have been falsified, and initially responded to the mass demonstrations that followed with an aggressive crackdown.
On Sunday, the demonstrators deployed an angry wit but virtually no violence. The authorities refrained from widespread use of force or mass detentions, though the police said more than 100 people had been detained in the capital, Minsk.
Voices: “People have gotten tired of everything and stopped being afraid,” said a protester, amid cries of “Shame!” Other demonstrators chanted, “Go away!” in the direction of the palace. Since it was the president’s birthday, there was also: “Lukashenko, come out! We will congratulate you!”
Closer look: For most of Mr. Lukashenko’s time in office, Belarusians have tolerated the authoritarian leader’s eccentricities. But the coronavirus and the presidential election have together changed the equation.
Can Britain reopen its schools safely?
Britain is at a critical moment in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic as millions of pupils return to classrooms, many for the first time since March, when the country went into lockdown.
Few deny that children need to be back in school, particularly those from poorer backgrounds with inadequate internet access or none at all. But the move also risks a new spike in infections, as young people and teachers mix. (In Scotland, where schools began reopening on Aug. 11, a total of 27 cases last week, mostly involving staff members, were linked to one school.)
The relationship between the government and teachers is fraught, compounded by the chaotic awarding of examination results this summer. Though ministers have promised to make mobile testing units available in the event of an outbreak, the government has struggled to establish an effective testing, tracking and tracing system.
The big picture: “The question, ‘Will schools be safe?’ is a slightly crazy question because nothing in life is safe,” one school principal said. “The real question is, ‘How far have you reduced the risk?’”
Global confirmed cases have surpassed 25 million, according to a Times database, and at least 842,700 people have died from the virus.
Though “Covid toe” is now a well-documented symptom of the coronavirus, almost all of the images available depicted glossy pink lesions on white skin, even though people of color have been affected disproportionately by the pandemic.
A protest of thousands of people against coronavirus restrictions in Berlin was shut down by the police after an hour for failing to adhere to social distancing rules.
Outcry over the racist portrayal of a French politician
The conservative French magazine Valeurs Actuelles is under fire after it published a fictional seven-page narrative that included an illustration depicting a French lawmaker as an enslaved African put up for auction in the 18th century.
The legislator, Danièle Obono, an antiracism activist who is Black and was born in the former French colony of Gabon, called the narrative “an insult to my history, to my family and ancestral histories, to the history of slavery,” and described it as a “political and racist attack.”
By Saturday, French politicians from across the political divide had criticized the magazine for its highly offensive portrayal of Ms. Obono. “This revolting publication calls for unambiguous condemnation,” Prime Minister Jean Castex wrote on Twitter. President Emmanuel Macron sent Ms. Obono a message of support.
Official response: “I regret that people might have thought that we were racist,” Tugdual Denis, the deputy editor of the magazine, said on Saturday. “We are nonconformist, we are politically incorrect. That is the DNA of this paper.”
If you have 6 minutes, this is worth it
A guardian of Africa’s migrant dead
When the bodies of unidentified migrants wash up on the beaches around Nador, a city on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast, they usually go unclaimed at the local morgue. Boubacar Wann Diallo, above, a migrant from Guinea, has made it his life’s work to see that they are identified and get proper burials.
He reaches out to families for photographs, seeks help from consulates and embassies, and has set up a Facebook page with postings to remember the dead. “It’s a joy for me to bury them,” said Mr. Wann Diallo in this profile that highlights the racism and danger faced by migrants, even before they reach Europe.
Here’s what else is happening
Portland shooting: A man wearing a hat with the insignia of a right-wing group was shot and killed on Saturday as a large group of supporters of President Trump drove a caravan into Oregon’s largest city, where demonstrators have gathered nightly in protests against police violence and racism. Mr. Trump reiterated his call for the National Guard to be brought in.
Banksy migrant rescue ship: A rescue vessel funded by the British street artist became overloaded and had to evacuate more than 200 migrants in the central Mediterranean — most of them to another humanitarian vessel. Banksy accused European officials of ignoring maritime distress calls from non-Europeans.
Shinzo Abe’s successor: The eventual replacement for the prime minister of Japan, who cited ill health in his decision to resign on Friday, will be confronted with many challenges. But there is no shortage of hopefuls for the role.
Taiwan’s military: With tensions surging as Taiwan becomes a focal point in the confrontation between China and the U.S., the island’s leaders have taken steps to increase military spending.
Snapshot: Above, a health worker administering a test for the coronavirus takes a sample from a woman at a testing camp on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in India on Sunday. With more than 75,000 new infections per day, India’s virus caseload is growing at a faster rate than that of any other country.
What we’re reading: This article in Soundings about how U.S. boaters made it home from the Caribbean as the coronavirus outbreak closed islands and their waters. “This opened a window on another world,” writes Gina Lamb, a Special Sections editor. “Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop.”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: These skillet meatballs with peaches, basil and lime have a tangy brightness and can be made with any kind of ground meat.
Do: You can build your own tossing game from newspaper and tape. Here’s how to make a catapult launcher and a basket target.
Our At Home collection has lots of great ideas about how to stay occupied while staying safe at home.
And now for the Back Story on …
How Americans abroad can vote
Of the 4.8 million Americans who live abroad, 2.9 million are eligible to vote, but their turnout is consistently low. This year, the pandemic is making voting more complicated.
Canada, Britain, Israel, France, Australia and Japan have large numbers of eligible U.S. voters. Here’s a look at how to vote from abroad in the November elections.
Request your ballot as early as possible — like, today.
If you’re an overseas voter, it’s good practice to fill out a Federal Post Card Application at the start of each calendar year to ensure you’re on the rolls for all primary, general and special elections in your state. (Overseas Americans generally vote in the state where they last lived, even if they no longer have any ties to that location.) But if you haven’t done that yet, it’s not too late.
Cutoff dates for requesting your ballot vary by state, but they are as early as Oct. 3, so don’t put this off.
Do as much online as possible.
At a time when both international and U.S. mail services are in a state of disarray, it’s best to avoid them altogether. Submitting your ballot request online is a good start, and it is allowed in almost every state.
Have a backup plan.
If you don’t receive your ballot by Sept. 19, contact your local election official (check your spam folder, too). In the meantime, you can fill out the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot, which serves as a backup specifically for overseas voters, and send it by mail, fax or email according to the same rules as your official ballot.
That’s it for today’s briefing. Wishing you a great start to the week.
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, to Jennifer Jett for the Back Story and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is on Donald Trump Jr’s journey to Republican stardom.
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• The August issue of The New York Times for Kids, which was published on Sunday, featured a package centered on race and racism.