Wuhan Coronavirus, Australia Firefighters, Myanmar Ruling: Your Friday Briefing
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We’re covering a lockdown in China to prevent the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus, a resurgence in Australia fires after a brief reprieve and the gentrification of Paris.
Tens of millions on lockdown in China because of a viral outbreak
The authorities imposed strict travel restrictions on five cities, including Wuhan, the epicenter of a deadly respiratory virus that has already spread to Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and the U.S. Here are the latest updates.
Experts said the size of the lockdown, which affects roughly 20 million people, was unprecedented. A patient also died in the province of Hebei, 600 miles north of Wuhan, in the first confirmed death outside the epicenter.
The World Health Organization decided not to declare a global health emergency — yet. Several members thought it was “still too early,” the W.H.O. said in a statement.
What’s next: The Lunar New Year holiday, when hundreds of millions travel across China, begins today. Epidemiologists fear it could make the outbreak harder to contain.
Three more firefighters die in Australia
Several U.S. firefighters were killed on Thursday when a plane carrying fire retardant went down in the mountains south of Canberra. They were not immediately identified.
The fiery crash, on a hill near a wildlife sanctuary, ended a brief lull in the country’s summer of deadly wildfires. Rain had offered a reprieve, but temperatures roared back on Thursday to over 100 degrees.
“We’re devastated because those Americans, they’re not going home,” said Alison Myers, a deputy captain with the Numeralla fire brigade, which covers the surrounding district.
Context: At least five firefighters have been killed this season, and the death toll from the fires now exceeds 30. More than 2,500 homes have been destroyed, and millions of acres have burned.
Myanmar must protect Rohingya, Hague court rules
The International Court of Justice ruled on Thursday that Myanmar must “take all measures within its power” to protect Rohingya Muslims, who have been killed and driven from their homes in what the country’s accusers have called a campaign of genocide.
The court said the Rohingya faced “real and imminent risk” as it put Myanmar under judicial oversight. The move essentially rejected the defenses offered by the country’s civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Impact: Some observers noted that because the court did not outline specific steps and does not have enforcement power, it would take more action to protect the ethnic minority group. “The chances of Aung San Suu Kyi implementing this ruling will be zero unless significant international pressure is applied,” said the director of one human rights group.
Background: In 2017, Myanmar’s military waged a brutal assault against the Rohingya in the western state of Rakhine, prompting more than 700,000 to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.
If you have 7 minutes, this is worth it
The gentrification of Paris
When the brothers Ali and Amar Sitayeb, above, opened a convenience store in 1984 in the Marais, Paris’s historically Jewish quarter, the neighborhood had plenty of textile and metal factories.
Today, their shop is among the independent businesses being swept away by gentrification. A Japanese-owned lingerie chain will take the space.
“How is a bra going to replace my orange juice?” asked a retiree who has lived next to the shop for two decades.
Here’s what else is happening
Angola: Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of the country’s former president, is set to face charges after an investigation into the embezzlement of millions from the state oil company, which she once headed. A banker who managed the company’s account was found dead at his Lisbon home in what was most likely a suicide, a police source said.
Impeachment: House managers laid out their legal case against President Trump. The Senate is expected to meet for an abbreviated session on Saturday. Follow our updates here.
Jungle prince, epilogue: For those of you who were as obsessed as we were with Ellen Barry’s story about a Delhi family that presented itself as royalty, here’s an update based on leads from readers’ letters and emails.
Snapshot: Above, world leaders coming together in Israel for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. They talked about rising anti-Semitism.
What we’re reading: This profile of Lizzo in Rolling Stone “reveals how hard the Grammy-nominated singer fought to become a new kind of superstar,” writes Remy Tumin on the Briefings team. “The photos by David LaChapelle alone are worth the read.”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: Pasta alla vodka is a 30-minute dinner that leaves enough time to make a salad and pour a glass of wine. Skip the pancetta to make it vegetarian.
Watch: Twenty-five years after the release of “Before Sunrise,” the film’s stars and creators spoke to The Times about how they made movie magic out of a tiny budget and capricious trains.
Read: “Leadership Strategy and Tactics,” by the former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink, is a No. 1 debut on our advice, how-to and miscellaneous best-seller list.
Smarter Living: Our Climate Fwd: newsletter usually brings us a weekly tip on “One thing you can do for the environment,” but this week, its team is looking at the bigger picture.
And now for the Back Story on …
The impeachment diet
Of the many rules that govern the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump, there is none more incongruous than the food and drink allowed on the floor during the marathon proceedings: water, milk and candy. That’s it.
The candy is thanks to the “candy desk,” a historical relic that is currently assigned to Senator Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania. It’s on the Republican side of the chamber, in the back row on the aisle.
The tradition of the candy desk started in 1965 with Senator George Murphy, a sweet-toothed California Republican, and in recent years has been controlled by lawmakers from Pennsylvania, which has the country’s biggest confectionary industry. It’s currently stocked with Hershey bars with almonds, Rolo caramels, Milky Ways, 3 Musketeers bars, Palmer Peanut Butter Cups and Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews.
As for beverages, only water is permitted — either still or sparkling — though a legislative rule book does refer to a lawmaker being permitted to ask for a glass of milk in 1966. Unfortunately for everyone involved in the proceedings, which have so far made for some very long days, coffee is not allowed.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and Chris Harcum provided the break from the news. Adam Pasick, on the Briefings team, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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