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Your Monday Briefing

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The coronavirus pandemic is taking a nasty flip in components 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 bounce in new circumstances, breaking information on 4 consecutive days, with no less than 2,508 new circumstances on Sunday. Its earlier worst spike dropped off after peaking at practically 2,000 circumstances in early August.

South Korea has had a smaller improve, with 5 straight days of greater than 300 circumstances. Final week new restrictions had been introduced for Seoul and surrounding areas, together with limiting the variety of individuals at occasions like concert events, 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 Social gathering. 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. resolution to elevate the parole restrictions on Jonathan Pollard, the American convicted of spying for Israel within the Eighties, will free him to maneuver to Israel, the place he’s seen as a hero. Additionally it is 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 group 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,” stated Andrey Kolyadin, a regional official.

U.S. elections: President Trump’s authorized efforts to challenge election results in Pennsylvania had 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 no less than eight individuals and the Islamic State group claimed duty.

G20: A closing assertion launched on Sunday by the Group of 20 summit served as maybe the Trump presidency’s ultimate reminder of the vast 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’ll 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 have a look at what could quantity to trendy slavery.

Cook 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 in order that they set on the outside however stay fluffy inside.

Learn: Our editors from the Ebook Evaluation 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 sport about robots and an escape from hell: Right here’s what’s new in video games.

Begin off your week with a brand new undertaking. At Home has ideas on what to learn, prepare dinner, watch, and do whereas staying protected at dwelling.

We created our personal A.I. system to know how straightforward it’s to generate totally 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. In the event you simply want a few faux individuals — for characters in a online game, or to make your organization web site seem extra various — you may get their images at no cost on an internet site. These simulated persons are additionally utilized by spies to infiltrate the intelligence group, right-wing propagandists who conceal behind faux profiles and on-line harassers who troll their targets with a pleasant visage.

You possibly can spot a number 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 fascinating to arrange our personal A.I. system and generate a whole bunch of faces to see the way it’s executed. This story explores how good the expertise is getting and how one can spot the fakes,” Jeremy wrote.

“The laborious factor about overlaying tech is that it’s each amazingly highly effective and unexpectedly flawed on the identical 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 possibly can attain the group 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 expertise.