Your Monday Briefing – The New York Times


The Swedish authorities said today that they would resume their investigation into rape accusations against Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder. The move could complicate U.S. efforts to extradite him.

President Trump has long insisted that tariffs on Chinese imports — which now cover $200 billion of products — are mostly a one-way payment to the U.S. Treasury.

But Mr. Trump’s chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, told Fox News on Sunday that “both sides will suffer” from the trade war. Experts say that American businesses and consumers will face higher prices on everything from computers to toilet paper.

It may be the start of decades of economic conflict, as both countries battle for global dominance, stature and wealth, our reporters write.

Another angle: Chinese subsidies for homegrown industries are a major sticking point in the negotiations.

What’s next: Mr. Trump may meet President Xi Jinping of China next month at the Group of 20 summit meeting in Japan.

The Syrian president is closing in on victory after an eight-year revolt. One key to his success: a secret, industrial-scale network of dungeons where thousands of prisoners have been tortured and killed.

Of the civilians held there, nearly 128,000 never emerged, and nearly 14,000 were “killed under torture,” an independent monitoring group found.

The Syrian government denies the existence of systematic abuse, but recently discovered memos show that officials who report to Mr. al-Assad ordered mass detentions and knew of atrocities.

How we know: Over seven years, The New York Times interviewed dozens of survivors and relatives of dead and missing detainees, examined hundreds of pages of witness testimony, and reviewed government documents detailing prison deaths and crackdowns on dissent.

Mike Pompeo is scheduled to make his first trip to Russia as secretary of state this week. On his agenda: A discussion with President Vladimir Putin about disinformation efforts before European elections this month.

Investigators say Moscow used many of the same digital tactics to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential vote. But a former F.B.I. analyst said that the Kremlin’s ultimate goal extends beyond any one election: “It is to constantly divide, increase distrust and undermine our faith in institutions and democracy itself.”

Responding to accusations of meddling in European elections, the Russian prime minister, Dmitri Medvedev, said in March that “suspecting someone of an event that has not yet happened is a bunch of paranoid nonsense.”

Related: RT America, a Russian network known for sowing disinformation, links 5G network signals to brain cancer, infertility and other health problems. The claims lack scientific support.

Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh went to the same Jesuit high school and, as appeals court judges, captured the attention of the same conservative legal groups. They were widely expected to express similar views after joining the Supreme Court.

But President Trump’s two nominees have so far taken opposing stances in cases involving the death penalty, Planned Parenthood, criminal defendants’ rights and other issues. “They’re disagreeing more than we would have expected,” one law professor said.

Closer look: Justice Gorsuch, who joined the court in 2017, tends to lean further right, whereas Justice Kavanaugh, who started in October, is often allied with Chief Justice John Roberts, the court’s ideological center.

Looking back: Research suggests “freshman effects” make it hard to predict long-term trends. (One is that new justices are less apt to dissent.)

For six years, New Orleans had an old-fashioned newspaper war, with competing newsrooms and more journalists than some larger cities can sustain. Now, with one paper buying the other, it appears to be over.

Our correspondent looked at the state of New Orleans journalism, after the owner of The Advocate bought The Times-Picayune and then laid off its employees.

Hardship in Iran: President Hassan Rouhani compared the country’s economic distress under hardening American sanctions to the miseries that Iran endured during its war against Iraq in the 1980s.

Attack on Saudi tankers: Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said this morning that two of the country’s oil tankers had been sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. One had been scheduled to carry oil to the United States.

Pete Buttigieg speech: At a fund-raiser for L.G.B.T. causes, the presidential candidate drew on his experiences as a gay man and warned that identity politics was corrosive.

What we’re reading: This article in The Atlantic. Michael Roston, a science editor, writes: “Astronauts are heroic, but they’re also like us. This delightful article delves into their binge-watching habits as they orbit our planet aboard the International Space Station.”

And offering better products or adopting more efficient processes are two ways to take your business to the next level.

And you thought the Met Gala was big.

Several thousand guests, most of them very rich but not necessarily famous, are preparing to gather tonight in New York for the Robin Hood Foundation’s annual benefit.

It’s the party of the year for the Wall Street set.

Last year’s event saw the charity’s founder, Paul Tudor Jones, in feathered cap and tights, elicit million-dollar pledges from his audience (total raised: more than $54.5 million). Since 1988, the foundation has raised and distributed about $3 billion to fight poverty in New York City.

The Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga and the Who have headlined in the past. This year, Shawn Mendes is set to perform “If I Can’t Have You,” timed to a light show on the Empire State Building and simulcast on iHeartMedia (whose chief executive, Robert Pittman, is on the Robin Hood board).

Also on its boards are Jeff Bezos’s mother and stepbrother; Michael Bloomberg’s daughter; Katie Couric; a host of hedge-fund billionaires; and Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund.

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

— Mike

Thank you
To Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and Kenneth R. Rosen for the break from the news. Victoria Shannon, an editor on the briefings team and onetime business editor, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at [email protected].

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about John Bolton, the national security adviser, and Iran.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Word before Ranger or toast (5 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The New York Times’s publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, noted in his annual State of the Times speech that readers have started fund-raising campaigns in response to our coverage, including for Iraqi orphans, struggling rural schools, hurricane victims, starving Venezuelans and families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Source link