Your Monday Briefing

Your Monday Briefing

Good morning.

We’re covering the déjà vu that is Brexit, China’s cryptocurrency plans and American schools with TikTok clubs.

CreditNiklas Halle’n/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, after suffering a stinging setback in Parliament on Saturday that forced him to delay the country’s withdrawal from the E.U., will try again to get his draft plan through this week.

He has a few things going for him, chief among them a divided opposition. The left-wing Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, has always wanted to keep closer economic ties to the E.U. and is now backing a second Brexit vote. But the Liberal Democrats, a smaller centrist force, are wary of ousting Mr. Johnson because they don’t want Mr. Corbyn as prime minister.

Still, the situation is fluid and the math is tight, so the votes this week could go either way.

Conflicting signals: Late on Saturday night, after Parliament’s vote, Mr. Johnson sent two letters to the E.U. — one formally asking for an extension, which he left unsigned, and a signed letter saying that another delay would “damage the interests of the U.K. and our E.U. partners.” It is now up to the E.U. to decide how to respond.

The view from Brussels: E.U. officials who once expressed hope that Britain would somehow end up remaining in the bloc now just want the country to leave already so that they can move on to other pressing issues.

Order! Order! The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, who decided to allow the vote on Saturday that derailed Mr. Johnson’s plans, will soon be stepping down. The hunt is on for his replacement.

President Trump announced on Saturday that he would no longer host next year’s Group of 7 summit at his luxury golf club near Miami, reversing course after two days of intense criticism over conflicts of interest.

“I thought I was doing something very good for our country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 leaders,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter. “But, as usual, the hostile media & Democrat partners went CRAZY!”

Backlash: After Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, announced the plan to host the summit at the president’s club, Democrats portrayed it as a blatant act of self-dealing corruption, and ethics lawyers said payments from the visiting delegations could violate the U.S. Constitution.

Defying a police ban, demonstrators took to the streets on Sunday, passing through the Tsim Sha Tsui neighborhood, a hub for the South Asian community. The march in spite of the ban was a testament to the enduring strength of the pro-democracy movement, now crossing its 20th week.

It followed a familiar pattern, beginning peacefully and eventually erupting into violence. Shops, bank branches and subway stations were vandalized. Protesters threw firebombs and police officers fired multiple rounds of tear gas. A police water canon doused a mosque’s gate and steps with a stinging blue liquid.

Goodbye letters: Young protesters on the front lines have been preparing for the worst — arrest or death — by writing farewell notes to family and friends, which they are calling “Wai Shu,” or “last letters.”

China wants to start replacing the cash that people carry with a digital currency — an effort that went into overdrive this year after Facebook announced a plan to create a cryptocurrency called Libra.

But unlike most cryptocurrencies, which are decentralized and beyond the reach of big banks and government, Beijing’s state-issued version will be used to strengthen its grip on citizens by giving it access to data on every transaction.

Canada: The country heads to the polls today, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in a neck-and-neck race with the opposition Conservative party leader, Andrew Scheer.

France: A far-right politician asked a mother on a school trip to remove her hijab, a request that quickly gained national attention and reignited the country’s heated debate over secularism, religious rights and feminism.

Lebanon: Thousands of people in cities across the country took to the streets over the weekend to protest corruption and a faltering economy.

Chick-fil-A: The fast food chain’s first restaurant in Britain, which just opened, will close in six months, the company said, after facing protests and boycotts over its opposition to same-sex marriage.

Britain: A national television station, Channel 4, announced a raft of new measures designed to support employees going through menopause, including flexible working arrangements and paid leave.

Snapshot: Above, students at a high school in Florida practicing a dance during TikTok club. The wildly popular social media app TikTok has spawned similar clubs at campuses across the U.S., dedicated to dancing, singing and performing skits — essentially drama club for the digital age.

What we’re watching: This TED Talk by the marine biologist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson. Lynda Richardson, a Travel editor, writes: “It is a love story for the coral reef crisis, but even more an ode to her beloved parrotfish, a creature with the amazing ability to ‘poop white sand’ and make changes in its sex and wardrobe.”

Cook: There are few things as comforting as a classic apple pie.

Watch: “Modern Love,” a new Amazon Prime series inspired by the New York Times column that for 15 years has shared personal essays about love, loss and redemption.

Read: New novels by Deborah Levy, Monique Truong and Martin Walser are among the 12 books we recommend this week.

Smarter Living: If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try giving yourself more time to wind down before bed. Sleep experts gave us a few tips, including taking a walk after dinner and some deep breathing exercises. Most crucially, put down your phone — the blue light from the screen is bedtime poison.

And, here’s a guide on how to clean your sneakers. (Yes, you can put them in a washing machine. But that’s only part of it.)

Last week, President Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said that military aid had been withheld from Ukraine to get the country to investigate a conspiracy theory around the 2016 U.S. election — essentially confirming a major piece of the impeachment investigation.

“To be clear,” a reporter in the room said, “what you just described is a quid pro quo.” Mr. Mulvaney replied: “We do that all the time with foreign policy.”

Quid pro quo — Latin for “thing for thing” — is a legal phrase describing an arrangement where you give someone something he or she wants, but only if that person gives you what you want.

It’s most commonly seen in federal bribery trials, where politicians use the power of their office to help someone, in exchange for some sort of personal enrichment. It can also appear in lawsuits involving sexual harassment.

Since the start of the investigation, Mr. Trump has turned “no quid pro quo” into a rallying cry. Mr. Mulvaney’s admission that one might have taken place could have enormous consequences.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Alisha

Thank you
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. You can reach the team at

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