E.U. Deal, U.K. Extradition Treaty, Google: Your Tuesday Briefing
E.U. Deal, U.K. Extradition Treaty, Google: Your Tuesday Briefing
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We’re covering the E.U.’s landmark stimulus deal, the suspension of the U.K.’s extradition treaty with Hong Kong and the last days of a famous Parisian store.
E.U. agrees on a groundbreaking stimulus package
After days of intense talks in Brussels, European Union leaders on Tuesday stepped up to confront one of the gravest challenges in the bloc’s history, agreeing on a 750 billion euro spending package to rescue their economies from the ravages of the pandemic.
The deal, spearheaded by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Emmanuel Macron of France, was notable for its firsts. European countries will raise large sums by selling bonds collectively, not individually. And much of the money will go to hard-hit member nations as grants, not loans.
Leaders agreed that the scale of the crisis required groundbreaking measures to ensure the E.U.’s legitimacy, stability and prosperity. But the negotiations were notable for their rancor, and it was clear that the pooling of resources and sovereignty had come at a cost. At one point, Mr. Macron slapped the table and yelled at Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of Austria for impeding the deal, and for leaving the room to take a call.
Details: Unusually for a German leader, Ms. Merkel sided with the bloc’s southern countries — and did battle with the nations she once championed, the northern members less affected by the virus, which have been wary of the vast sums being discussed.
Misplaced confidence: Our reporters explored how Europe became an epicenter of the pandemic. Experts say European leaders became complacent after containing the 2009 swine flu, scaling back stockpiles of gear and equipment and shifting to “just in time” contracts — overlooking the possibility that a pandemic could disrupt global supply chains.
U.K. suspends its extradition treaty with Hong Kong
In response to the national security law imposed by China on Hong Kong, Britain on Monday suspended its extradition treaty with the territory.
The foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, cited concerns that under the sweeping new law, anyone extradited to Hong Kong from Britain — which ruled the territory as a colony until 1997 — could easily be sent to mainland China. Australia and Canada suspended their own extradition treaties with Hong Kong earlier this month.
China is expected to be high on the agenda this week when Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, who has called on allies to draw a firm line with Beijing on a number of fronts. Last week, Britain barred equipment from the Chinese tech giant Huawei from its 5G network.
Response: A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang Wenbin, urged Britain to “stop going further down the wrong path.”
For some, Google’s virus app code can track location
When Google and Apple announced plans in April for free software to help alert people to possible coronavirus exposure, the companies said it would not track users’ locations.
Since then, Germany, Switzerland and other countries have used the code to develop national apps that have been downloaded more than 20 million times. But users of the Android operating system must first turn on the device’s location setting, which means Google can still find out where they are.
Some government agencies that use the software seemed surprised that Google could detect Android users’ locations. Others said they had unsuccessfully pushed the company to make a change.
What this mean: Many Android users in Europe feel misled by their governments, and privacy and security experts say they are troubled that the issue might deter some people from using public health apps.
Response: A Google spokesman said the virus alert apps that use the company’s software did not use device location. The apps use Bluetooth scanning signals to detect smartphones that come into close contact with one another — without needing to know the devices’ locations. Once Android users turn on the location setting, however, Google can determine exactly where they are.
If you have 5 minutes, this is worth it
A famous Paris store will shut its doors
Tati, the department store that revolutionized postwar shopping in France and stamped its pink gingham bag on the vibrant Paris neighborhood of Barbès, will be gone by next year. It is a victim of Covid-19, its latest owners say, and sharply declining sales.
Our Paris bureau chief described it as “a once-thronged wonder of Paris more visited than the Eiffel Tower.”
“Equality, for everybody” was how one shopper described it. “This is a place where everybody can shop. You never leave with your hands empty.”
Here’s what else is happening
Climate change: Polar bears could be close to extinction by the end of the century due to shrinking Arctic sea ice if global warming continues unabated, according to a new study.
U.S. presidential election: Former Vice President Joe Biden led President Trump by 15 percentage points in the latest poll by ABC News and The Washington Post, and he has held a nearly double-digit advantage in an average of surveys for more than a month. Such big leads tend to erode — will this one be different?
Snapshot: Above, people foraging for clams, crabs and shrimp in Bali in June. The tourist-dependent Indonesian island is struggling to get back on its feet. The pandemic has forced many resort workers to return to their villages and take up traditional ways of making a living.
What we’re listening to: This Armchair Expert podcast about aging research, featuring the Australian biologist David Sinclair. “The way we age affects our response to disease, and the work Mr. Sinclair’s team is doing at Harvard might make your jaw drop,” says Melina Delkic of the Briefings team.
Now, a break from the news
Cook: This heirloom tomato tart celebrates juicy, vibrant tomatoes in a cheesy, herby, custard-filled, flaky crust, with pesto punctuating each bite.
See: Museums in Europe are reopening, and masks festooned with art by masters like Van Gogh and Rembrandt are hot souvenirs.
Deal: Are you a people pleaser? Learn how to shift course and say no to something you’re not comfortable with during the pandemic.
We may be venturing outside, but we’re still spending lots of time inside. At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do to make it fun.
And now for the Back Story on …
Music and activism
Meshell Ndegeocello, Brandi Carlile and Hayley Kiyoko, artists of varying backgrounds, found shared experiences in a conversation about music, activism and queer identity, part of The Times’s “Live at Home” series. Here’s an excerpt from their exchange.
When did activism start for each of you? When did you become politically awakened?
Hayley Kiyoko: I was on my own journey. For me, it’s been out of necessity. I think that for most people who have lived their lives being activists, it is through necessity. When I released my music video for “Girls Like Girls,” that was out of necessity for myself.
Meshell Ndegeocello: In my youth, I wasn’t very aware of it. I was very singularly focused on making music. Music is something where I feel genderless and raceless. But being a person of color, I think every day of my existence is pretty much making a statement, and I’ve only come to understand that as I now am 52.
How do you integrate queerness into your music?
Brandi Carlile: Music is such an expression that your sexuality comes out. It just does. Whether you’re writing about it or not. The people that need to know, know. I write songs with guys and sometimes they’ll have written a song or a narrative and they’re singing about a woman, but the perspective is so male I can’t put that on me. “I don’t feel that way, I feel really female about this,” and that’s just where I am with my gender identity so I kind of need to change this — keep the pronoun where it is, but I need it to be me.
So how do you balance activism and being out with threats of violence that still exist?
Meshell: I have to say your safety is much more important, your life. I’m a very passive, nonviolent person, and I hope you can find the peace within yourself, so perhaps do your activism through other channels that don’t jeopardize your safety. That’s the most important thing.
Hayley: Survival is key and without you, there is no change.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode features a look at the life and legacy of John Lewis, the civil rights icon.
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• Eshe Nelson is joining our London bureau as a business reporter covering Brexit, the economy and more.