Israel-U.A.E. Relations, Belarus, Europe Unemployment: Your Friday Briefing
Israel-U.A.E. Relations, Belarus, Europe Unemployment: Your Friday Briefing
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We’re covering a major diplomatic agreement between Israel and the U.A.E., mass detentions in Belarus and millions struggling with joblessness in Europe.
Israel and U.A.E. strike a major diplomatic agreement
Israel reached an agreement with the United Arab Emirates on Thursday to establish “full normalization of relations” and forgo “declaring sovereignty” over occupied West Bank territory for now to improve ties with the rest of the Arab world.
In a surprise White House announcement, President Trump said he had brokered a deal for Israel and the U.A.E. to cooperate 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 over accusations of 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.”
Mass beatings and detentions in Belarus
Accounts of violent beatings of protesters and mass detentions mounted in Belarus on Thursday as the country’s president, Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, clung to power with brute force.
Protests have gripped Belarus ever since he claimed victory in a presidential election on Sunday that his opponents and international governments widely considered fraudulent.
Dozens of journalists were among the thousands detained; those who were released reported horrific conditions in overcrowded detention centers. The arrests and violence appeared geared at scaring people off the streets. But the protests continued in Minsk, the capital, and across the country.
Catch up: Here’s a guide to what’s happened so far.
On the ground: There was desperation and grief outside a pretrial detention center in Minsk. Hundreds of people gathered, as they had for much of the week, looking for loved ones. Those released from the jail said that they had not been fed. They were not allowed access to lawyers and at night, they heard the sounds of beatings.
Closer look: Who is Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Belarus’s unlikely opposition leader? She spent her summers in rural Ireland, as a “Chernobyl child” sent to the country for respite. Her host family remembers her as a compassionate leader even back then.
Millions of jobless in Europe fall through the cracks
Furlough programs in Europe, widely credited with sparing over 60 million people from layoffs, have a major drawback: They don’t shelter millions of others who aren’t on company payrolls, including the newly self-employed, freelancers and people on precarious short-term contracts that employers use en masse.
Around 15 million people in the European Union were unemployed in June, a rise of 700,000 since April, according to Europe’s statistics agency. Many are those on work contracts, accounting for about four of every 10 workers in the industries hit hardest by Covid-19.
“It’s people like us who are falling through the cracks — and we are many,” said Thierry Hombert, 50, who worried about finding himself out on the street. “We’re the ones being left behind.”
Case study: In Britain, the government’s furlough and other aid programs will soon wind down, and officials are so far resisting pressure to extend them. But with a deep recession already on their hands, what happens if the virus resurges?
In other news:
The first coronavirus infections were reported on Thursday in one of Greece’s overcrowded camps for migrants in the Aegean Islands, prompting officials to lock it down until Aug. 25.
Several cities in China announced this week that they had detected the coronavirus on imported food packaging and in imported frozen food. But experts say that the likelihood of catching the virus from food is exceedingly low.
The British government wants to appoint a “head of pandemic preparedness” to review the government’s approach and to act on “lessons learned” from the coronavirus crisis.
If you have 6 minutes, this is worth it
Inside corporate kidnapping for estranged parents
A few days before Christmas 2013, Stuart Dempster and a security contractor prepared to abduct Mr. Dempster’s daughter from the town of Ban Phai, above, in Thailand. Months earlier, his Thai wife, Atchariya Chaloemmeeprasert, had taken their daughter on a visit there from Australia and decided to stay.
At first Dr. Dempster contacted the Australian attorney general to seek his daughter’s return. Then he began considering the shadowy industry of “recovery agents,” who operate in legal and ethical gray zones, getting children back — for a fee.
Here’s what else is happening
Daimler: The German automaker said Thursday that it would pay $2.2 billion to settle accusations that Mercedes-Benz cars and vans sold in the United States had been programmed to cheat on emissions tests.
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 in the capital.
In memoriam: David Galante, a Holocaust survivor who decades later shared the horrors he had witnessed, died from coronavirus complications in Buenos Aires on July 27. He was 96.
“Jurassic World: Dominion,” filming in England, is one of the few major Hollywood studio films to restart production — a chance to see if the movie industry can move past the financial troubles caused by the pandemic. Above, behind the scenes.
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. Don’t let quarantine envy get you down. Have a lovely weekend.
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 about reopening schools.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: What Britain Brexited from (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Jazmine Hughes, who helped launch our Mag Labs, is moving to a writing role on the Metro desk and the magazine.