U.S. Protests, Europe’s Reopening, J.K. Rowling: Your Monday Briefing
U.S. Protests, Europe’s Reopening, J.K. Rowling: Your Monday Briefing
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We’re covering protests around the world against racism and police abuses, Europe’s plan to welcome tourists and backlash against J.K. Rowling.
Despite warnings from some leaders about the coronavirus, thousands turned out in Australia, Britain, France, Italy and other nations, denouncing not only the killing of George Floyd in the custody of the Minneapolis police but also racism in their own countries.
U.S. response: Some lawmakers are preparing sweeping legislation that would make it easier to prosecute police misconduct and to recover damages from officers found to have violated civil rights. One proposal, to be released today in Congress, would create a national registry to track police misconduct and ban certain chokeholds.
Local response: Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City pledged on Sunday to cut the budget for the Police Department and spend more on social services in the city. Nine members of the Minneapolis City Council also pledged to dismantle that city’s Police Department, promising to create a new system of public safety.
Quote of note: Attorney General William Barr, the nation’s top law enforcement officer, said he believed racism was not a systemic problem in policing because so much progress had been made since the 1960s.
But, he added, “I think we have to recognize that for most of our history, our institutions were explicitly racist.”
Europe’s journey to reopening
With summer tourist season approaching, leaders in Western Europe are embracing a patchwork of strategies to lift border restrictions.
Italy and Germany, for example, are reopening more widely. Others — like Switzerland, Denmark and the Baltic States — are opting for “travel bubbles,” a selective list of countries from which travelers can enter. Both strategies have drawn criticism, with caveats that borders will close again if cases surge.
And while over half of Europeans view their government’s response favorably, people in France are not pleased with President Emmanuel Macron, who remains unpopular despite the country’s relative success in battling the crisis.
Details: Germany, France and Belgium will allow entry to E.U. nationals, as well as visitors from some other European countries, with some rules, beginning June 15. Other countries like Spain, Netherlands, Hungary and Greece have more tailored plans.
Related: With Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany declining to attend a Group of 7 meeting in Washington, D.C., and news that about 9,500 American troops will leave the country, analysts say trust in the trans-Atlantic alliance is slipping away.
The coronavirus, so lethal to the old, has accelerated the loss of a generation’s historical memories, which saw conflicts that turned Europe into a killing field.
It has hastened the deaths of witnesses to the Holocaust and the birth of fascism, and canceled anniversary commemorations that would have offered them a final chance to share their experiences.
And it means political forces may recast history, as radical right-wing parties have moved from the fringes and into parliaments.
Context: The Alternative for Germany is looking to capitalize on economic frustration from the shutdowns. France’s hard-right National Rally was strongly represented in the last European Parliament elections. And in Italy, fascism’s birthplace, stigma against Mussolini has faded.
Quote of note: “We are losing the people who can tell us in first person what happened,” said one Italian woman. “And it’s a shame, because when we lose the historical memory we lose ourselves.”
If you have 6 minutes, this is worth it
Profiteers raze the Amazon as the virus rages
Illegal loggers, miners and land grabbers have cleared vast areas of the Amazon in recent months as the pandemic has hobbled law enforcement efforts in Brazil, which is now reporting the highest daily number of coronavirus deaths in the world.
Our reporters take a look at the increased deforestation, which the government has enabled. “If state entities don’t adopt very decisive measures, we’re looking at a likely tragedy,” said one environmental crimes investigator.
Here’s what else is happening
Germany: The police said they had broken up a sophisticated child pornography ring that peddled “unfathomable images” over the internet. Eleven people were arrested on suspicion of severely abusing at least three boys.
Iranian women’s rights: The decapitation of a 14-year-old girl by her father in a so-called honor killing has shaken Iran, prompting a nationwide debate over the rights of women and children, and the failure of the country to protect them.
J.K. Rowling: The creator of the “Harry Potter” series faced backlash on Sunday for taking aim at an article that referred to “people who menstruate.” Critics have called her comments anti-transgender.
Snapshot: Above, soccer practice in Berlin. As the city has emerged from its lockdown, children now train individually with their own balls two meters apart, and the goals are disinfected after use — among the many measures that our correspondent noticed.
Soccer: On shirts, on social media and even on one knee, players are challenging racism by lending their high profiles to the protests sweeping the world.
What we’re reading: This piece in The Atlantic. “Anne Applebaum looks at our current moment in the light of 20th-century history to explore the question of why many prominent Republicans have abandoned their deeply held principles to stick with President Trump,” Kathleen Flynn, one of our editors, said.
Now, a break from the news
Cook: These chewy, salty butterscotch brownies call for browned butter and an entire one-pound box of dark brown sugar.
Watch: “Momma, I Made It!,” the first comedy special by Yvonne Orji, finds the Nigerian-American comic riffing on life, love, finances and a return trip to Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city.
Listen: These 12 field recordings featuring chattering animals and roaring weather systems can help satisfy your need for nature, or for whale songs.
Zolan Kanno-Youngs, our Homeland Security correspondent, has been covering the protests against police brutality and racism in Washington, D.C. He spoke to Times Insider about what the past weeks have been like. Here’s an excerpt.
What strategies do you use while reporting at these protests?
You have to be willing to get a bit uncomfortable in pursuit of actually documenting the reality, the truth, of a situation.
You’re going to have many people there who are suffering trauma, who are perhaps distrustful of the news media, and I think one thing I needed to accept was getting over that wall of going to someone who didn’t want to speak to me and convincing them to.
How has your identity posed challenges as you cover a story that is so intensely driven by issues of racial inequities?
Being a black journalist, I’m going to come to the situation with a perspective and a background that other reporters may not have. I think that approaching these situations with that perspective can actually get at one of the more crucial necessities when it comes to this reporting, which is empathy — to have the ability to understand, not just transcribe, where a person who is experiencing the trauma of the situation could be coming from.
Why is it so important to cover a story like this so deeply and comprehensively?
I have to acknowledge that there have been documented reports of abuses of authority and violent incidents. I think it’s ever more important to be present to this situation in order to document any of those incidents against anybody.
But speaking generally, there’s that cliché that reporting is documenting the first draft of history. Protests are the early seeds of a movement that could shape the future of this country, that could determine policy change, that could determine who will be in power. But at the very root of it, it also shows the mind-set and the feelings of the people in this country right now. This really is the root of our reporting. This is a prime example of why we do what we do.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode features professor Claudia Rankine reflecting on the precariousness of being black in America.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: Witherspoon of “Big Little Lies” (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Tara Parker-Pope, our Well editor, hosts a Times Event on smart ways to live your life while staying safe during the pandemic on Monday at 1 p.m. Eastern time (6 p.m. in London).