China, Boeing, Uber Drivers: Your Friday Briefing

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Good morning,

We’re introducing a new format. Let us know what you think at [email protected].

We start today with signs of a trade deal between the U.S. and China, a crash report that casts doubt on Boeing’s guidance, and the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe and the U.S.

President Trump met China’s special envoy at the White House but stopped short of announcing a final trade deal, saying it may take another four weeks or more to secure an “epic” trade agreement.

Before the meeting, Mr. Trump said the U.S. and China were headed toward an agreement that might be “the biggest deal ever made.” There had also been hints that a summit meeting would be announced between Mr. Trump and President Xi Jinping. None was.

The talks are expected to continue for weeks.

Points of contention: Mr. Trump’s advisers prefer to keep tariffs in place as long as possible, an arrangement the Chinese oppose. The U.S. also wants more foreign intellectual property protections.

Boeing dismissed concerns about a powerful new anti-stall system on the 737 Max for months, saying pilots could avoid problems by following a checklist.

Now, preliminary findings in a new crash report from Ethiopian investigators cast doubt on whether Boeing’s guidance was enough. Investigators found that pilots in the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March initially followed Boeing’s safety procedures, but were unable to regain control.

Boeing’s chief executive acknowledged the role of MCAS, the anti-stall software, in the crash. “It’s our responsibility to eliminate this risk,” he said. “We own it and we know how to do it.”

In the cockpit: The steps that pilots took included shutting off the electricity that allows the automated software to push the plane’s nose down, and taking manual control of the jet. They then tried to right the plane, with the captain telling his co-pilot three times to “pull up.”

A centuries-old prejudice has become a section of today’s political Venn diagram, where the far right can intersect with parts of the far left, Europe’s radical Islamist fringe and even politicians from America’s two main parties.

Polling suggests that anti-Semitic attitudes may be no more widespread than in the past, particularly in Western Europe. But bigots have seemingly become more brazen, creating a climate that has made anti-Semitism far more permissible and dangerous.

It’s being used for political ends by ideologies that otherwise would have little overlap. That fusion is new, and dangerous, experts say.

Scope: In 2018, France reported a 74 percent spike in anti-Semitic incidents compared with the previous year, with more than 500 attacks. In Germany, violent anti-Semitic attacks — there were 62 — rose by 60 percent over the same period.

Many of us who summon an Uber or similar ride-shares via apps hop into the car without a second thought.

But the killing of a South Carolina student last weekend has brought national attention to a rash of kidnappings, sexual assaults and robberies carried out largely against young women by assailants posing as ride-share drivers.

There have been at least two dozen such attacks in the past few years, according to a tally of publicly reported cases, including instances in which suspects have been charged with attacking multiple women.

The attacks show how bad actors can exploit the vulnerabilities of a ride-sharing culture that so many people trust to get them home safely.

How to stay safe: Ask the driver, “What’s my name?” Check the license plate, make and model of the car. Share your trip details with a friend. You can find more ways to stay safe in our guide.

The opposition Congress party has put out the first concrete policy proposal of the campaign. A caution: Trying to impose a Western prism on the elections could lead you astray.

The Congress “manifesto” covers issues including social and environmental. One standout: a minimum income plan that would guarantee 72,000 rupees a year, about $1,000, to India’s poorest 20 percent.

It sounds like a classic left-wing response to five years of market deregulation and austerity under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, right?

Wrong. Sure, in 2014, Mr. Modi campaigned on a promise to help business and cut back bloated government, but he rolled out his own version of a handout in February: a payment of 6,000 rupees, or about $85, for farmers, along with other sweeteners.

“When it comes to the economy” in India, observed Milan Vaishnav, a South Asia expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, “almost all parties are clustered around the center left.”

With so many Indians still relatively poor, he said, swinging too far toward fiscal conservatism would be political suicide.

So if and when the B.J.P. puts out its own policy proposal, the economic ideas may not be all that different from the Congress party’s. — Alisha Haridasani Gupta

Send us feedback or questions here.

Yemen: The U.S. House gave final passage to a resolution to end U.S. military assistance for the war in Yemen, sending the bipartisan rebuke of President Trump to his desk for a promised veto.

France: The assault of a transgender woman during a demonstration in Paris has prompted outrage and debate about transphobic attitudes in the country. The woman, Julia, said her attackers were “simply ignorant people, who do not understand our situation.”

Belgium: Prime Minister Charles Michel apologized for the kidnapping, segregation, deportation and forced adoption of thousands of children born to mixed-race couples during its colonial rule of Burundi, Congo and Rwanda.

Another Brexit mess: Just a week before Britain faces a potentially chaotic departure from the European Union, a leak in Parliament sent a torrent of water into the press gallery and derailed a debate in the House of Commons.

Whales: Russia is preparing to release an unprecedented number of whales, seized to keep them from being exported to Chinese marine parks. A hundred have been kept in watery pens until the plan for their release could be developed.

Science: The ancient ancestors of seals lived and walked on land. Now, scientists have a few more clues about how seals first took the evolutionary dive into the oceans more than 30 million years ago.

What we’re reading: This short story in The New Yorker, recommended by Gillian Wong, our editor specializing in China coverage. She writes, “Te-Ping Chen, a Wall Street Journal reporter until recently based in Beijing, imagines a pair of Chinese twins in the internet era whose lives take them in vastly different directions.”

Smarter Living: Intending to part ways with your laptop, tablet or cellphone? Provide them a second life: Sell them online, give them to people you know or donate them to nonprofits. If they’re too old to reuse, send them to a smelter to be reclaimed by “urban mining” — they’re often made of copper, silver, gold and lithium.

Also, if you don’t feel like you have the time to read, try some bite-size books.

The Times has been covering the Chinese government’s internment of hundreds of thousands — perhaps a million or more — of Uighurs and other Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang. We asked Chris Buckley, one of the reporters on the story, to explain the leadership’s rationale.

The cost of internal strife is a major concern to China’s leaders, who have only to look to the Taiping Rebellion of the 1850s. That internal war, which claimed 20 million or more lives, remains one of the world’s bloodiest.

The mass internments in Xinjiang reflect the leadership’s view that the religion and culture of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are widely “infected” by antigovernment sentiments that could foment unrest and terrorism.

Uighurs — a Turkic people — have had an uneasy, sometimes violent, relationship with the Chinese Communist authorities since 1949.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the government allowed more space for the Uighurs’ language and customs. But policies became increasingly hard line, especially after ethnic rioting erupted in 2009, killing at least 200 people. In 2014, more than 30 people were killed in an attack by Uighurs in southwest China. There were many smaller-scale attacks as well.

Thanks for reading the briefing in our new format. We’d love to hear your thoughts at [email protected]. See you next time.

— Melina

Thank you
To Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and James K. Williamson for the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected].

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our most recent episode is about the special counsel’s report.
• Here’s today’s mini crossword puzzle, and a clue: coffee holder (3 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The New York Times has had a Chinese-language website since 2012 and a Spanish-language website since 2016.

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