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Your Monday Briefing

The coronavirus pandemic is taking a nasty flip in elements of Asia. Circumstances are climbing quickly in Japan and South Korea, which had lengthy managed to keep away from the worst. And since Hong Kong is grappling with a spike, a plan for a travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore has been placed on maintain.

Japan has had its worst-ever soar in new instances, breaking data on 4 consecutive days, with at the very least 2,508 new instances on Sunday. Its earlier worst spike dropped off after peaking at practically 2,000 instances in early August.

South Korea has had a smaller improve, with 5 straight days of greater than 300 instances. Final week new restrictions have been introduced for Seoul and surrounding areas, together with limiting the variety of individuals at occasions like live shows, conferences and festivals to 100.

Dr. Li-Meng Yan, a researcher in Hong Kong, became a right-wing media sensation after showing within the U.S. on Fox Information to make the unsubstantiated declare that the coronavirus was a bioweapon manufactured by China.

The way it occurred: Two more and more allied teams that peddle misinformation collaborated on Dr. Yan’s rise. One is a small however lively nook of the Chinese language diaspora, the opposite the extremely influential far proper within the U.S.

The gamers: Guo Wengui, a fugitive Chinese language billionaire, and Stephen Bannon, a former adviser to Mr. Trump, have been on a mission for years to, as they put it, carry down the Chinese language Communist Occasion. They put Dr. Yan on a airplane to the U.S., gave her a spot to remain, coached her on media appearances and helped her safe interviews with well-liked conservative tv hosts.


The U.S. determination to elevate the parole restrictions on Jonathan Pollard, the American convicted of spying for Israel within the Nineteen Eighties, will free him to maneuver to Israel, the place he’s considered as a hero. It is usually one of many many presents from the Trump administration to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

President Trump’s treatment of Mr. Netanyahu has been nothing short of lavish, our Jerusalem bureau chief writes.

Mr. Trump broke sharply together with his predecessors’ approaches to the Israeli-Palestinian battle, taking Israel’s facet. His Center East staff piled stress on the Palestinians to get them to contemplate a lopsided peace proposal, then brokered accords for Israel with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan — offers that shattered Arab solidarity behind the Palestinian trigger.

Pollard historical past: A former Navy intelligence analyst, Jonathan Pollard served 30 years in a U.S. jail for stealing American secrets during the Cold War. His case, which the Justice Division addressed on Friday, had lengthy been a sore level within the relations between the 2 international locations. The U.S. continues to view Mr. Pollard, 66, as a traitor who did large quantities of harm.

The Kolyma Freeway within the Russian Far East as soon as delivered tens of hundreds of prisoners to the work camps of Stalin’s gulag. However for a lot of Russians, together with former prisoners, the horrors of the gulag are fading.

Our reporter and photographer drove alongside the freeway to the remote settlements that are now shrinking and in ruins. “Every part right here is constructed on bones,” mentioned Andrey Kolyadin, a regional official.

U.S. elections: President Trump’s authorized efforts to challenge election results in Pennsylvania have been met with defeat and a pointy judicial rebuke on Saturday, and a few fellow Republicans started to acknowledge that he had misplaced each the state and his bid for re-election.

Afghanistan talks: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met in Qatar with Afghan and Taliban negotiators who’re making an attempt to interrupt a impasse of their stalled peace negotiations. On Saturday, a rocket assault in Kabul killed at the very least eight individuals and the Islamic State group claimed accountability.

G20: A closing assertion launched on Sunday by the Group of 20 summit served as maybe the Trump presidency’s last reminder of the large gulf between the U.S. and its allies on dealing with world threats just like the coronavirus pandemic and local weather change.

Pompeii discovery: Excavations at a suburban villa outside the ancient city frozen in time by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius practically 2,000 years in the past have recovered the stays of two dwellers, tentatively recognized as a rich landowner and a youthful enslaved particular person.

Snapshot: Above, kimchi classes for the Shin Tae-sook household in Goesan. November is kimchi-making season, however within the age of meal kits and on-demand grocery supply, the tradition is in decline. Some households have began making pilgrimages to the countryside the place they will discover ways to put together it on their very own.

What we’re watching: The Guardian’s video report on North Korean girls working in Chinese language factories producing P.P.E. for export worldwide. It’s a chilling take a look at what could quantity to fashionable slavery.

Prepare dinner: The important thing to mastering a primary French omelet is controlling the warmth so the eggs don’t brown, and whisking the eggs within the skillet so that they set on the outside however stay fluffy inside.

Learn: Our editors from the Guide Overview have launched this year’s list of 100 notable books, spanning each style, that will help you choose your bedside studying for the approaching months.

Do: A ninth-century Viking journey, a recreation about robots and an escape from hell: Right here’s what’s new in video games.

Begin off your week with a brand new challenge. At Home has ideas on what to learn, cook dinner, watch, and do whereas staying secure at residence.

We created our personal A.I. system to grasp how straightforward it’s to generate completely different faux faces. Kashmir Hill, a tech reporter, and Jeremy White, a graphics editor, labored on a gallery of portraits of people that could look actual, however aren’t.

There at the moment are companies that promote faux individuals. If you happen to simply want a few faux individuals — for characters in a online game, or to make your organization web site seem extra numerous — you will get their photographs without cost on a web site. These simulated individuals are additionally utilized by spies to infiltrate the intelligence neighborhood, right-wing propagandists who disguise behind faux profiles and on-line harassers who troll their targets with a pleasant visage.

You’ll be able to spot a few of the errors and patterns we discovered that our A.I. system repeated when it was conjuring faux faces. Earrings, for instance, may look related however usually could not precisely match. Summary or blurry backgrounds are sometimes giveaways.

“It was fairly attention-grabbing to arrange our personal A.I. system and generate a whole lot of faces to see the way it’s completed. This story explores how good the know-how is getting and how one can spot the fakes,” Jeremy wrote.

“The arduous factor about overlaying tech is that it’s each amazingly highly effective and unexpectedly flawed on the similar time,” Kashmir wrote.

Have a look.


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

— Carole (an actual particular person)


Thanks
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the information. You’ll be able to attain the staff at [email protected].

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our newest episode is in regards to the pandemic in a rural space of the U.S.
• Right here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Idea of common justice (5 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• As a result of phrases with dangerous connotations have been baked into tech communication, The Occasions is re-examining the language we use to explain our know-how.

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