An outbreak in Beijing rattles China
Some residential compounds in Beijing were under lockdown on Monday and tens of thousands were tested for the coronavirus as the government rushed to contain a new cluster of infections.
The outbreak has jolted China, after President Xi Jinping had said that Beijing should be a fortress against the pandemic. It pointed to challenges that governments worldwide will face as they reopen economies.
Details: City officials said Monday that they had tracked down 79 infections in Beijing over the previous four days, including 36 confirmed cases on Sunday. Nearly all of the cases appeared traceable to the Xinfadi food market, which was shut down over the weekend.
Disease experts said limited bursts of infections were likely to become part of the “new normal” for China. Still, it led to the firing of two local officials and the manager of the food market.
Travel returns in Europe, but what next?
Europe’s internal borders, closed three months ago, are opening again as politicians and scientists warn of potential new waves of coronavirus infections.
France, Germany and Switzerland were among the nations that welcomed arrivals from the European Union on Monday — joining Italy, Belgium and other countries in a new phase of balancing public health, economic realities and public frustrations.
Context: Lifting internal border restrictions has important financial implications and deep symbolic resonance. Open borders are at the heart of the European project to build a unified and free continent.
Details: Of about eight million known infections and over 430,000 confirmed Covid-19 deaths worldwide, about two million cases and more than 170,000 deaths have been in Europe.
Also: As statues fall in Europe in symbolic revolt against the histories of slavery and colonialism, local leaders and historians are working out how exactly they should be remembered.
In other news:
Britain’s leader agrees to trade talks with E.U.
In his first direct talks with European Union leaders about Brexit since Britain left the European Union, Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed on Monday to try to reach a trade deal by the end of the year.
“The faster we can do this, the better,” Mr. Johnson said. Negotiations have been at an impasse during the pandemic, and both sides agreed to intensify talks in July and August.
Bigger picture: Europe wants a comprehensive agreement, but Britain wants a more modest free trade agreement, with side deals to handle issues like fishing. The transition period will last until the year’s end and both have said they are open to a no-deal outcome. But a brutal break would be economically disruptive.
It would probably be worse for Britain, which sends more than 40 percent of its exports to the European Union and gets more than 50 percent of its imports from the bloc.
If you have 5 minutes, this is worth it
In Russia, migrant workers come last
As the coronavirus batters Russia, migrant workers from Central Asia have been hit especially hard — first losing their jobs, then often being refused medical care if they became ill. Now, they are unable to return home because of a reduction in flights. Above, migrants from Central Asia in cramped housing in Moscow.
Despite the country’s reliance on them, the crisis has highlighted the inferior status of migrant workers. Desperate to get home, migrants have been banging on the doors of their embassies in Moscow.
Here’s what else is happening
The Philippines: The journalist Maria Ressa and a former colleague at the news site Rappler, which Ms. Ressa founded, were convicted of cyber libel by a court in Manila. It was another blow to press freedoms in a country where journalists have been threatened and bullied.
U.S. rights: In a stunning victory for the L.G.B.T.Q. movement, the Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, applies to gay and transgender workers and protects them from workplace discrimination.
Ireland politics: Four months after an election, Ireland’s two main parties agreed on Monday to govern together for the first time, opening an unpredictable chapter as the country handles the coronavirus pandemic’s economic fallout.
U.S.-Russia spying: A court in Moscow sentenced an American, Paul Whelan, to 16 years in prison on espionage charges. Mr. Whelan, who served in the Marine Corps until 2008, was arrested in 2018 after being handed a flash drive that he says he thought contained pictures of churches but was instead loaded with classified information.
Snapshot: Above, a barbershop in Rajkot, in Gujarat, a state in western India. From our series “The World Through a Lens” comes a collection of portraits from Gujarat, a place that defies easy generalizations, says the photographer Michael Benanav.
European soccer: As clubs try to take stock of the damage of the coronavirus shutdown, this summer’s deals could herald a transformation in the balance of power.
What we’re reading: This list from Vox on habits that people want to keep post-lockdown. More working from home is an obvious one on that list, but there are also some thoughts about less consumerism and slowing down.
Now, a break from the news
Cook: These chocolate chip cookies are about as adaptable as cookies get. You don’t even need chocolate chips — pack them with dried fruit, nuts or a chopped-up chocolate bar.
Watch: The comedian Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special “8:46” addresses police brutality, the death of George Floyd and nationwide protests. There aren’t really any jokes, our culture reporter writes, but instead “a raw accounting.”
Read: Take a look, or perhaps a second look, at Robert Frank’s eye-opening book of 83 photographs, “The Americans,” published in 1959. Frank had crossed America by car, seeing it as an outsider, a Swiss who left Zurich in 1947 in search of broader horizons.
At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the Back Story on …
Confronting South Korea’s beauty standards
Frances Cha’s novel “If I Had Your Face” is an unflinching look at how four young women pursue their dreams and ambitions in Seoul. Ms. Cha confronts South Korea’s social norms, including its impossibly high beauty standards. Here’s what she told our In Her Words newsletter:
What inspired you to write a book about contemporary South Korea?
I wanted to write about the people I encountered every day in Korea. I have read “The Joy Luck Club” so many times that both my covers have fallen off. And reading it, I realized it was possible to have an Asian protagonist and explore themes like filial piety. I wanted to write a story about young women that is very specific to modern Korea.
Explain the connection between filial piety and elective plastic surgery.
Filial piety — “hyo” in Korean — is the age-old historical and traditional virtue of deep respect and support and love toward one’s parents and elders. To say “he is a hyo-ja” or “she is a hyo-nyeo” means someone is a good son or daughter, exhibiting and living by respect that is born of gratitude to your parents. I know many friends of my parents have lived with their in-laws for many decades, supporting and providing for them, despite the fact that these relationships are often strained.
The cosmetic surgery industry is practically its own character in your book. Can you help us understand more about the obsession with plastic surgery in South Korea?
When I tell people I’m Korean, people always ask if I’ve had plastic surgery. Plastic surgery runs very counter to American and Western ideas about remaining true to yourself — that you shouldn’t have to change anything about yourself because of anyone’s judgment.
But in South Korea, there are very real and practical reasons people have plastic surgery. I ask readers to reserve their judgment on that. The reality in 21st-century South Korea is how you look does matter, especially if you don’t come from wealth and status. Until recently, job applicants had to submit a photo with their job application.
That’s it for this briefing. Here are some thoughts on emotional resilience in a crisis. See you next time.
Melissa Clark provided the recipe, and Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh wrote the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about taking stock of where we are six months into the coronavirus.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: Inbox message (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Jamie Stockwell, a deputy National desk editor, will expand her role to include Race/Related, a cross-desk team aimed at producing thoughtful stories about race.