Your Wednesday Briefing

Trump, pandemic fatigue, Kyrgyzstan unrest: Here’s what you need to know.

By Melina Delkic

Good morning.

We’re covering President Trump’s plans to continue with the campaign, a display of solidarity against China in Tokyo and scenes from one of Asia’s largest women-run markets.

Trump moves ahead with election campaign

A day after leaving the hospital, President Trump said that he intended to debate former Vice President Joe Biden next week in Miami despite his continued struggle with the coronavirus.

“I am looking forward to the debate on the evening of Thursday, October 15th in Miami. It will be great!” the president tweeted Tuesday.

Questions surround any possible return to the campaign trail. Medical experts said that the course of the illness is unpredictable in a man of Mr. Trump’s age and weight. It was unclear who from his staff, of which many have tested positive, would accompany him.

The latest: The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking military officer in the U.S., and other leaders at the Pentagon are quarantining after being exposed to the virus.

VP debate: Vice President Mike Pence will debate Senator Kamala Harris on Wednesday. Despite being around Mr. Trump, Mr. Pence has tested negative for the virus.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

Europeans in second waves of the coronavirus crisis are feeling “pandemic fatigue,” the World Health Organization said. It’s making them less willing to adhere to restrictions.

President Trump said he was ending talks on an economic stimulus package many in the country had hoped for. U.S. stocks immediately dropped.

Facebook removed a post from President Trump falsely claiming that more people had died from the flu than from the coronavirus, saying it violated a policy against sharing misinformation.

Singapore has been trying for years to bolster its low birthrate by offering parents a “baby bonus” payment. Now it plans to offer an additional one-time payment to help couples have more babies during the pandemic.

Pandemic drives distrust of China, study finds

The illness, deaths and disruption caused by the coronavirus in many countries have intensified already strong distrust of China, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.

The rise in negative opinions of China was starkest in Australia, which has had several diplomatic flare-ups with Beijing in recent months. For China’s leaders, this could make it harder to expand Beijing’s influence. Public opinion could push leaders to be more vocal against China, experts say.

Details: In all 14 countries surveyed — including Japan, South Korea, Canada and Germany — a majority have an unfavorable opinion of China. In the U.S., negative views about China increased by 13 percentage points compared with a similar survey last year.

An average of 61 percent of respondents said China had done a bad job of responding to the crisis. Many more respondents — 84 percent — took an even dimmer view of the U.S. handling of the pandemic.

Pompeo’s message in Japan

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met in person in Tokyo on Tuesday to highlight their strong bond in the face of rising challenges from China.

After Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong, India-China border clashes, cyberattacks and tensions over maritime boundaries, Japan and the U.S. hosted a meeting attended by India and Australia to look at new ways of cooperating to counter China.

Mr. Pompeo said that the four countries needed to protect their people from China’s “exploitation, corruption and coercion.” Japan’s tone was more muted, with strong economic ties to China and geographic proximity in mind.

Related: Robert Lighthizer, President Trump’s trade negotiator and a prominent China critic, is now cautioning against actions that could anger Beijing. He has argued that those efforts could disrupt a U.S.-China trade pact.

If you have 4 minutes, this is worth it

A huge pilgrimage during the pandemic

West Africa’s largest religious gathering has drawn huge throngs of people to the holy city of Touba, where they slept, ate and prayed together. Many people wore masks, many did not. Above, at the Grand Mosque on Monday.

Millions traveled in recent days to Touba, 120 miles west of Senegal’s capital of Dakar, for the Magal, which honors the founder of the Mouride Brotherhood, the country’s most influential religious order. Senegal has so far been praised for its coronavirus containment efforts, but the government did not try to ban the event.

Here’s what else is happening

Kyrgyzstan: The country descended into chaos on Tuesday after opposition groups seized control of Parliament and released their leaders from prison in protests over parliamentary elections they denounced as rigged. The country’s election commission annulled the results of the vote, but it remained unclear who was in control.

British space race: The United Kingdom is stepping up its efforts to launch satellites into space, putting money into several launch sites and backing companies that will haul them into orbit.

Nobel: The physics prize was awarded half to Roger Penrose for showing how black holes could form, and half to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for discovering a supermassive object at the Milky Way’s center. Here’s the list of winners.

Snapshot: Above, Nupi Keithel, or Women’s Market, in the Indian state of Manipur. The bazaar’s vendors are all women. It has served as a conduit for social and political discourse, allowing women, emboldened by their roles as drivers of the economy, to assert themselves in new ways.

What we’re reading: This Bloomberg article about Japan’s lost generation, or the middle-aged people still unemployed and living with their parents from an employment ice age in the 1990s. It’s a riveting tale of what happens to a society’s makeup when people lose their economic footing.

Now, a break from the news

Cook: This creamy blue cheese dip with walnuts is built for more than entertaining guests: Slather it on a potato bun in a chicken cutlet sandwich, or use it to dress up a BLT.

Read: Hiroko Oyamada’s novel “The Hole” is a surreal and mesmerizing tale about gaps in memory and a woman’s transformation.

Do: Doctors, nurses and therapists have a prescription for helping all of us to get through this seemingly never-ending pandemic: Try a little laughter.

We can help you fill a few hours in your day with fun. 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 …


Like other social media, WeChat, the do-everything app from China, can magnify divisions. Nicole Hong, who covers law enforcement and courts in New York, wrote this week about Chinese immigrants and the diaspora using WeChat. She spoke to our On Tech newsletter.

What do people in the U.S. get out of using WeChat?

Nicole: Capturing the multitudes of WeChat is complicated. It’s like asking an American whether texting is good or bad. It’s both.

WeChat has helped Chinese people both fit into new communities and stay connected to people in China. I was surprised at the role of WeChat in assimilating some Chinese immigrants into America. Some people said that the translation functions in the app have improved their English.

What are the bad elements?

Like on Facebook, people can insulate themselves in echo chambers of contacts who think exactly like them, and rumors can race through the Chinese diaspora in minutes.

On WeChat there’s also the added complication of Chinese nationalism. In a large WeChat group, if a Chinese-American criticizes the Chinese government, they might be called a traitor.

How did people feel about the app possibly being banned in America?

It varied. People who had large numbers of family members in China said despite the app’s flaws, there was no other way to communicate with relatives.

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

— Melina

Thank you
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected]

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about how a small bar in California battled to survive the coronavirus.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Childbirth assistant (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Aimee Ortiz, a reporter on our Express desk, is joining the Investigations team.

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