George Floyd, Hong Kong, SpaceX: Your Weekend Briefing

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Here are the week’s top stories, and a look ahead.

1. Outrage over the death of George Floyd has incited a wave of demonstrations and unrest across the country.

From the streets of Minneapolis, where Mr. Floyd went limp after a police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes, to outside the White House gates and more than two dozen besieged cities like New York, above, protesters re-energized the street uprisings that gave rise to the Black Lives Matter movement six years ago. Here’s the latest.

Rallies and looting bordered on civil meltdown, as scenes of peaceful protest and violence played out against the dystopian backdrop of a pandemic that has kept much of the nation at home for months. Curfews were imposed in some of America’s largest cities.

Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota activated thousands of National Guard troops — up to 13,200 — to control protesters in Minneapolis who turned out in droves for the fifth night in a row. He declined the Army’s offer of military police.

2. President Trump criticized the authorities in Minnesota over the protests, saying “they have to get tougher, and by being tougher they will be honoring his memory” — a reference to Mr. Floyd.

Attorney General William P. Barr also issued a stern warning to protesters, saying “groups of outside radicals” were exploiting the situation for their own agenda.

3. Twitter had been drawing a line for months when President Trump crossed it.

The final straw came when Mr. Trump implied that protesters in Minneapolis could be shot. A group of more than 10 Twitter officials quickly gathered virtually to review Mr. Trump’s post and ultimately decided to hide it with a warning label that said the message violated its policy against glorifying violence.

The decision was the culmination of months of debate inside Twitter. For more than a year, the company had been developing a protocol to limit the impact of objectionable messages from world leaders — and what to do when Mr. Trump inevitably broke it.

4. The coronavirus continues to wax and wane.

New York City is on track to start reopening on June 8 after being under one of the country’s strictest lockdowns. Under the first phase of reopening, nonessential stores could open for curbside pickup, and nonessential construction and manufacturing could resume.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said state officials were focusing on controlling hot spots in the city and preparing its hospitals to deal with a potential second spike. Above, people line up outside a food pantry in Jackson Heights, Queens.

That mirrors global developments, as the virus caseload surpassed six million. A number of countries have moved to ease restrictions, even as new outbreaks continue to flare up, in some cases in regions where it had been contained.

5. While unrest simmered across the U.S., protesters in Hong Kong considered what move to make next — if any.

The Chinese government tightened its grip over Hong Kong this week, enacting sweeping national security laws that democracy advocates fear will target dissent. The protest movement found that the tactics it had used to push officials in Beijing to retreat at times last summer were suddenly inadequate.

6. A new era of human space travel.

NASA astronauts lifted off in a SpaceX capsule in the first launch into orbit from American soil with a crew since the space shuttles were retired in 2011. Two American astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, left the same Florida launchpad that once served Apollo missions. Rewatch the launch.

The rocket and capsule that lifted them out of the atmosphere were built and operated by SpaceX, the company founded by the billionaire Elon Musk to pursue his dream of sending colonists to Mars.

7. After months of pessimism, nearly every major sport is preparing to come back.

The N.B.A. wants to start up again in late July; the N.H.L. announced a playoff tournament through the summer; Major League Baseball is hoping to hammer out a deal with players by Monday for a shortened season; the N.F.L. is moving toward opening training facilities. Above, the brand-new Texas Rangers stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The sudden shift resulted from a mix of dramatic changes few could foresee a month ago, most notably the promise of widespread testing. And with the potential for billions of dollars in losses across the leagues, they’re now willing to take the risk.

8. Tracee Ellis Ross knows what you’re thinking: that a movie in which she plays a glam pop diva must remind her of her mother, Diana Ross.

But that’s not what the star was thinking. Really. “The High Note,” a new comedy out on video on demand, was the culmination of a lifelong dream for Ms. Ross. It deals with inequality, sexism, ageism and racism. And in the wake of George Floyd’s death and subsequent protests, she was also grateful that it might be an escape.

If you’re looking for other viewing choices, here are 15 summer TV shows our critic is looking forward to.

9. We’re dreaming of a park bench and a book.

One of the things our Book Review team misses most this summer is the sight of readers in public — on stoops and under trees, solo or perched alongside a partner. Out of this wistfulness, our photo editor dove into the archives for images of bygone summers, like one in Weehawken, N.J., above, in 1983.

In the meantime, here are 13 new titles our editors are looking forward to next month. Among them are an important history of gay civil rights, the story of human migration, and a slew of summery novels from Kevin Kwan, J. Courtney Sullivan and Ottessa Moshfegh.

10. And finally, dig into one of our Best Weekend Reads.

This week we spoke to the Central Park bird watcher Christian Cooper, above, about a racist confrontation; re-examined the use of personal chopsticks in China in the age of coronavirus; remembered the activist Larry Kramer; and more.

For more ideas on what to read, watch and listen to, may we suggest these 11 new books our editors liked, a glance at the latest small-screen recommendations from Watching, and our music critics’ latest playlist.

Here’s to a bright June.


Your Weekend Briefing is published Sundays at 6 a.m. Eastern.

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