Israel-U.A.E., New Zealand, Kamala Harris: Your Friday Briefing
Israel-U.A.E., New Zealand, Kamala Harris: Your Friday Briefing
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We’re covering a shift in Israel’s ties with Arab nations, the reaction of Indian-Americans to Kamala Harris joining the national ticket and how some theaters are putting on pandemic-friendly shows.
Israel and U.A.E. strike a major diplomatic agreement
Israel struck an agreement with the United Arab Emirates on Thursday to establish “full normalization of relations” and take plans to annex occupied West Bank territory off the table for now to improve ties with the rest of the Arab world.
In a surprise statement issued by the White House, President Trump said he brokered a deal for Israel and the U.A.E. to sign a string of agreements on investment, tourism, security and other areas while moving to allow direct flights between the countries and to set up reciprocal embassies.
If fulfilled, it would make the U.A.E. the third Arab country to establish normal diplomatic relations with Israel, after Jordan and Egypt.
The dynamics: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel needed to remind Israelis why they elected him, amid an increasingly fraught annexation plan. Mr. Trump needed a win. And the U.A.E., under fire for alleged human rights abuses in Yemen, needed to improve its image in Washington.
In Israel: Mr. Netanyahu reposted a tweet from Mr. Trump announcing the agreement and added, in Hebrew: “A historic day.”
In the U.A.E.: Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and de facto ruler of the Emirates, tweeted: “During a call with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, an agreement was reached to stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories.”
Two people in China test positive for the virus again
A 68-year-old woman in the Chinese province of Hubei, where the global coronavirus outbreak was first detected, tested positive again this month after recovering from an infection recorded in February.
Another man who had recovered from an infection in April was also found to be an asymptomatic carrier in Shanghai this week.
The two cases have revived concerns about second-time infections that have baffled experts. Some have blamed testing flaws. Others have said they may be cases of drawn-out illness. None of the woman’s contacts have tested positive.
Quotable: “We would expect that some infected persons could be vulnerable to reinfection, particularly as time passes,” said Benjamin Cowling, an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong.
Indian-Americans say Kamala Harris makes them feel ‘seen’
Upon being named Joe Biden’s vice-presidential pick, Senator Kamala Harris became the first Indian-American, South Asian and Asian-American person to be chosen, as well as the first Black woman on a major party’s presidential ticket.
In interviews, Indian-American leaders and community advocates called Mr. Biden’s choice of Ms. Harris — the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father — a refutation of President Trump’s demonization of immigrants and a powerful statement on American possibility. Below are some of the feelings they described.
Some called it validation of their family’s decisions to come to America. “It’s a reaffirmation of a decision to undertake something that’s really, really difficult,” said Preet Bharara, the former United States attorney for the Southern District of New York.
It’s “about the changing landscape and what becomes possible for so many other people when they see barriers being broken,” said Representative Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat of Washington State.
“It’s a stand-alone milestone, irrespective of who the opponent is,” said Vanita Gupta, head of the civil rights division of the Justice Department under former President Barack Obama. “But it is particularly poignant given what this country has endured for the last several years.”
If you have 6 minutes, this is worth it
Hollywood restarts the blockbuster machine
“Jurassic World: Dominion,” filming in England, is one of the few major Hollywood studio films to restart production since the pandemic led to a global shutdown in March. Above, behind the scenes.
It’s a chance for the movie industry to see if it can move past the financial woes caused by the pandemic, like closed movie theaters and audiences increasingly comfortable watching movies from the couch, while keeping everyone safe. That requires constant testing, and actors and staff members staying clustered together. “We are the guinea pigs,” the actor Bryce Dallas Howard said.
Here’s what else is happening
Thai protests: Students leading anti-government protests are taking the rare and dangerous step of criticizing the monarchy.
Lebanon: The Parliament approved a state of emergency, which vastly expands the army’s powers in Beirut, until at least Aug. 21 in the wake of a devastating explosion.
Hong Kong: After one of the territory’s best-known democracy activists was arrested this week under the national security law, supporters turned her into a “Mulan” meme.
North Korean hackers: Israel claimed Wednesday that it had thwarted a cyberattack by a North Korea-linked hacking group on its defense industry. Israel says the attack was deflected, but a cybersecurity firm says it was successful.
Lives lived: Le Kha Phieu, whose tenure as a hardline leader of Vietnam ended when he was removed from office amid unusually public infighting, died on Aug. 7 in Hanoi. He was 88.
Snapshot: Above, the show “6 Feet Apart, All Together,” held on western Massachusetts farmland. Several companies are trying variations on what is sometimes called promenade theater — outdoor productions in which audiences move as they follow the action. The form, a cousin to street theater, has a long tradition in Europe and now has new appeal in other regions.
What we’re reading: This New Yorker article about tennis right now. “The U.S. Open is supposed to start in a few weeks, and this is a good look at some of the particular challenges,” Jillian Rayfield, an editor, says. “There’s also been a lot of off-the-court drama this year, and the piece ties it all together.”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: Chocolate-flake raspberry ice cream, using powdered milk for richness, honey for smoothness and vodka for creaminess. Any berries, fresh or frozen, will work.
Deal: If we see every mistake as a crisis, then we avoid taking risks, we become less creative, we even learn less deeply. But if we keep in mind that the learning process is crucial, then we’re far more open and able to accept our mistakes. Here’s how to be more resilient.
Listen: We’ve compiled classical music performances worth streaming.
At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the Back Story on …
The mathematician, pianist and author Eugenia Cheng talked to our Book Review in the By the Book column. Here’s what she said about merging art and math, and her new book “X+Y: A Mathematician’s Manifesto for Rethinking Gender.”
Describe your ideal reading experience (when, where, what, how).
My ideal reading experience is epic and uninterrupted. I don’t like reading in small daily installments; I like reading an entire book in one sitting. That’s if it’s a novel anyway, and if it’s any good. Deep nonfiction takes longer to absorb, and math books take years. I love the act of turning pages when I’m reading a novel; when I’m studying a math book I might need to spend several weeks on one paragraph.
Unfortunately this means I’m often wary of starting a new novel because I can be fairly sure it will wipe out the rest of my day (and night).
What’s your favorite book no one else has heard of?
“Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women,” by Susan Burton and Cari Lynn.
At least, nobody to whom I’ve mentioned it has heard of it so far. It’s a bracing memoir in the same vein as “Notes From a Young Black Chef,” about someone almost destroyed by the deep structural racism of our society, but who managed, eventually, to rise up to help others.
You’re a concert pianist as well as a mathematician. Who are your favorite musician-writers? Your favorite memoir by a musician?
I don’t read much about music, actually; I prefer just doing it, or learning by observation, that is, going to many many live performances (in the pre-pandemic world).
You’re the “scientist in residence” at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. How do you bridge science and art, and what’s your favorite book to discuss with your students?
Well I must admit: Mine! I wrote my first book, “How to Bake Pi,” as my dream of a liberal arts math course that I thought I would never have the chance to teach.
It’s easier to “bridge” science and art when you don’t really think there’s a gap between them in the first place, as I don’t. The boundaries between subjects are really artificial constructs by humans, like the boundaries between colors in a rainbow.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
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