Trump, U.K. Universities, Germany’s Far-Right: Your Wednesday Briefing
Trump, U.K. Universities, Germany’s Far-Right: Your Wednesday Briefing
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We’re covering the fallout from President Trump’s illness, coronavirus outbreaks in British universities and hundreds of episodes of far-right extremism in Germany’s security services.
Trump’s illness introduces more chaos into the campaign
Four more Trump administration officials have tested positive for the coronavirus, including Stephen Miller, a key adviser. Top military leaders have also gone into quarantine, mostly in their homes, after a senior Coast Guard official tested positive for the virus after attending a White House reception with Mr. Trump 10 days ago, where people sat close together and without masks.
Joe Biden: In an address from the swing state of Pennsylvania, the former vice president on Tuesday delivered an impassioned call for national unity.
Vice-presidential debate: Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris are set to square off tonight at a debate in Salt Lake City. The candidates will sit 12 feet apart, in front of an audience wearing mandatory face masks. Mr. Pence objected to the use of plexiglass dividers separating the candidates, claiming they were unnecessary.
Coronavirus crisis grips British universities
In a scene more akin to a prison than a college, students in a Manchester Metropolitan University dormitory washed clothes in bathrooms sinks, while trash piled up in shared kitchens and security guards stalked the gates.
Under normal circumstances, these same students would have been carousing and merrymaking for Freshers’ Week, Britain’s debaucherous baptism into university life. But when the virus tore through numerous student suites, the university largely left students on their own, imposing a draconian lockdown, in which students had to nurse their roommates back to health, parents drove hours to deliver food and lawyers offered pro bono help.
So far, roughly 90 British universities have reported coronavirus outbreaks, confining thousands of students to their dormitories. The government, fearful of outbreaks far from campus, has warned that students may need to quarantine before returning home for Christmas.
Analysis: Despite the risk, British universities beckoned students to campus, fueling outbreaks that are spreading to surrounding towns. The outbreaks shine a harsh light on Britain’s decade-long campaign to turn higher education into a competitive market.
In other developments:
The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday released updated, stricter guidelines for coronavirus vaccine developers, making it highly unlikely that a vaccine could be authorized by Election Day.
Europeans experiencing second waves of the coronavirus crisis are feeling “pandemic fatigue,” the World Health Organization said. It’s making them less willing to adhere to restrictions.
South Africa will begin allowing some international tourists to enter the country on Thursday, for the first time since a national lockdown took effect in March.
Italy’s government is considering making face masks mandatory outdoors all over the country to curb a steady increase in coronavirus cases over the past nine weeks.
A World Health Organization official said that about 10 percent of the world’s population, or about 760 million people, may have already contracted the coronavirus — far exceeding the confirmed global caseload of about 35 million.
Far-right extremism in Germany’s security services
Germany’s security services recorded more than 1,400 cases of suspected far-right extremism among soldiers, police officers and intelligence agents in the three years ending in March, according to a government report released Tuesday.
It is a first attempt to document the extent of far-right infiltration in the security services, and comes as the number of cases of extremists found in the police forces and the military has multiplied.
Dozens of police officers have been suspended for joining far-right chat groups and sharing neo-Nazi propaganda. In June, the defense minister disbanded a whole company of special forces troops after explosives, a machine gun and SS memorabilia were found on the property of a sergeant major.
Quotes of note: Horst Seehofer, the German interior minister, said that there should be “no tolerance” for extremists and that every case was “shameful,” but insisted that there was no “structural problem.”
If you have some time, this is worth it
Britain’s space race
Cornwall, in England’s far southwest, is known for antique fishing villages and snug, cliff-lined beaches. Soon it may be the scene of something very different: a small but growing space industry, as the United Kingdom steps up its efforts to launch satellites into space. The government is putting money behind several other potential launch sites, including one on the remote north coast of Scotland, which is being tailored for an environmentally friendly rocket to be manufactured nearby.
Here’s what else is happening
Nobel: The physics prize was awarded half to Roger Penrose for showing how black holes could form, and half to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for discovering a supermassive object at the Milky Way’s center. Here’s the list of winners.
Middle East: In a surprising televised monologue, Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, a senior member of the Saudi royal family, accused Palestinian leaders of betraying their people, signaling an erosion of Saudi support for an issue long considered sacrosanct.
Kyrgyzstan: The country descended into chaos on Tuesday after opposition groups seized control of Parliament and released their leaders from prison in protests over parliamentary elections they denounced as rigged.
Snapshot: Pilgrims from the Mouride Brotherhood stand in line, above, as they wait to enter the Grand Mosque in Touba, Senegal, on Monday. Despite the pandemic, thousands of people from the Sufi Islamic order are gathering for an annual religious pilgrimage to celebrate Sheikh Amadou Bamba, the founder of the brotherhood.
Lives Lived: The razzle-dazzle, virtuoso guitarist Eddie Van Halen, whose band, Van Halen, was one of the most popular rock acts of all time, died at 65 on Tuesday.
What we’re reading: This Bloomberg article about Japan’s lost generation — the middle-aged people still unemployed and living with their parents from an employment ice age in the 1990s. It’s a riveting tale of what happens to a society when people lose their economic footing.
Now, a break from the news
Cook: This creamy blue cheese dip with walnuts is built for more than entertaining guests: Slather it on a potato bun in a chicken cutlet sandwich, or use it to dress up a BLT.
Read: Hiroko Oyamada’s novel “The Hole” is a surreal and mesmerizing tale about gaps in memory and a woman’s transformation.
Do: Doctors, nurses and therapists have a prescription for helping all of us to get through this seemingly never-ending pandemic: Try a little laughter.
We can help you fill the holes in your day. 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 …
Why the veep is suddenly a big deal
“The vice presidency is not worth a bucket of warm spit,”John Nance Garner, who served as vice president from 1933 to 1941, once memorably summed up the job. But in this year’s election, the role of the vice president rapidly changing. A debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris on Wednesday promises to be the most watched ever.
The Constitution gives the vice president the role of presiding over the Senate, and voting in the Senate if there is a tie. The vice president’s only other formal responsibility is taking over the presidency if the president dies. He or she is basically a president in waiting.
After President Trump’s hospitalization, Mr. Pence and Ms. Harris are under pressure to use the debate to reassure anxious Americans that they are qualified to step in as president. Mr. Trump’s coronavirus infection — and the fact that he is 74 and his rival, Joe Biden, is 77 — is a reminder that either running mate could end up being president.
It’s happened before. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson assumed the presidency after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Dick Cheney held the title of “acting president” for a few hours when George W. Bush was sedated in 2002 and 2007 for routine medical procedures. And Ronald Reagan transferred power to George H.W. Bush for roughly eight hours in 1985 when he underwent colon surgery.
That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me.
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. Carole Landry wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about how a small bar in California battled to survive the coronavirus.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: “Had a bawl” (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The accidental haiku — “So what we have here / is a rare case of pics and / it didn’t happen.” — appeared in The Times on Tuesday, according to the Twitter bot @nythaikus.
• Aimee Ortiz, a reporter on our Express desk, is joining the Investigations team.