U.S. Protests, Paris Cafes, Ebola: Your Wednesday Briefing

U.S. Protests, Paris Cafes, Ebola: Your Wednesday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering continuing protests in the U.S. over racial discrimination, European allies turning away from America and the return of cafe culture in Paris.

Lawmakers and former military leaders accused President Trump of fanning the flames of division on Tuesday after he threatened to deploy the Army to end widespread protests against police violence and racism.

With protests engulfing American cities and the coronavirus killing more people there than in any other country, European allies are turning their backs on the U.S., no longer trusting its leadership.

As one example, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany turned down a Group of 7 meeting spearheaded by Mr. Trump, citing the threat of the coronavirus. But a German official said the decision had also been made because of Mr. Trump’s unilateral decision to pull out of the World Health Organization, among others.

Viewed from abroad, the unrest has reinforced the sense that the conflicts Mr. Trump seems to sow have caught up with him.

Meanwhile, Beijing is seizing on the moment to promote the strength of its authoritarian system and to portray the turmoil as another sign of American hypocrisy and decline — a narrative that ignores many of China’s own problems.

Quotable: “Now there is a sense of America’s weaknesses being exposed, and a feeling that the emperor has no clothes,” given the virus and the riots, one former Obama official said.

With cafes allowed to seat patrons outside on Tuesday after an 11-week lockdown, Parisians, above, reconnected with a key part of its urban life — a table in the sun with a tiny cup of black coffee on it. “It is a super pleasure,” one patron said. “I’ve been waiting for this moment.”

Philippines: The government backtracked on plans to terminate a longstanding military agreement with the U.S. that President Rodrigo Duterte had sharply criticized. The decision was made “in light of political and other developments in the region,” the foreign secretary said, without elaborating.

Ebola returns: A fresh outbreak of the Ebola virus has flared up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is already contending with the world’s largest measles epidemic and the coronavirus pandemic. Five new cases were discovered just before Congo planned to declare an official end to a nearly two-year Ebola epidemic in its east.

What we’re reading: This article from Vulture on TV police shows. “It’s an interesting dissection of the genre in general, whether you are a devoted fan of police procedurals or don’t watch them a lot,” says Sanam Yar, from the Briefings Team.

Cook: Mashed potatoes and greens come together in this Irish colcannon. Our food writer Melissa Clark says it’s among the most nourishing, comforting, filling dishes you can make.

Watch: Spike Lee’s work can be uneven, but it’s never uninteresting, our co-chief film critic A.O. Scott writes. Here’s a starter guide to the essential Spike Lee.

Cope: Studies show that gay couples, on average, resolve conflict more constructively than different-sex couples. Here are some constructive methods to handle disagreements, as observed by researchers of gay couples.

Do: If you’re starting to exercise again after lockdown, here’s expert advice on taking it slow to prevent injuries.

At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home.

Much remains unknown and mysterious about the coronavirus, but these are some of the things we’re pretty sure of, after half a year of living with this pandemic. Our health and science teams shared their insights. Here are some of them:

1. We’ll have to live with this for a long time. The virus has shown no sign of going away. We will most likely be in this pandemic era for a year or more.

2. You should be wearing a mask. Researchers know that even simple masks can effectively stop droplets spewing from an infected wearer’s nose or mouth. There is also growing evidence that some kinds of masks protect you more than others, like N95 masks.

3. We can’t count on herd immunity to keep us healthy. The idea is simple: If enough of the population develops antibodies, the virus will hit many dead ends when it infects people. But that may not happen, even if a vaccine designed to help your body produce antibodies becomes available.

4. The virus produces more symptoms than expected. At first, doctors focused on the lungs, but in some patients, the virus propels the immune system into overdrive and damages other organs. A loss of the senses of taste and smell, along with gastrointestinal issues, have joined early symptom lists.

That’s it for this briefing. If you’re looking, here are some books to read in this moment. See you next time.

— Isabella

Thank you
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 briefing@nytimes.com.

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the systems that protect U.S. police officers.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: B, on the periodic table (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Nikole Hannah-Jones recently discussed how enduring racial inequalities explain the nationwide protests in the wake of George Floyd’s killing on the CNN show “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”

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