U.S. stocks plunge, shaking global markets
Australian markets dropped and Asian markets appeared set to follow after the U.S. stock market ended an improbable three-month climb with a plunge on Thursday.
A pileup of bad news apparently convinced investors that they could no longer go on behaving as if the American economy had already recovered from the pandemic. Coronavirus infections are rising in 21 states. Congress is divided on extending more aid. And the Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell, warned that the depth of the downturn and pace of the recovery remained “extraordinarily uncertain.”
The fall shook markets in Australia and Asia, and the trouble could spill into European markets as they head into the weekend.
Details: Stocks in South Korea dropped 2.5 percent, and markets in Australia and Japan were down as well, after the S&P 500 stock index fell 5.9 percent. Just days earlier it had recouped its losses for the year. Oil prices also cratered.
Europe’s protests highlight domestic racial and police abuses
The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody has resonated in Europe. Thousands of demonstrators have crowded the streets of Paris, London, Berlin and other cities.
Just as Confederate monuments in the U.S. have fallen, statues of colonizers and slave traders in Europe have been pulled down or defaced.
The message is both one of solidarity with protesters in the United States and a call to look at institutional racism and police tactics at home.
So far, no matter where charges of systemic racism have been leveled, they have been met mostly with firm official denial.
In the U.S.: Gen. Mark A. Milley, the country’s top military official, apologized for taking part in President Trump’s walk across a square near the White House for a photo op after federal authorities violently cleared the area of peaceful protesters. “My presence in that moment and in that environment,” the general said, “created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics.”
Reviving economies, two wheels at a time
With reopening, governments aim to bolster their economies, but they can’t rely on public transportation to get workers to their jobs while the virus is still circulating.
Enter the humble bike, which is playing a central role in getting Europe’s work force moving again — and speeding the environmental transition away from cars. As the weekend begins, we look at the “corona cycleways” of Paris.
The ever-present threat of infection that is now accompanying us will, we hope, yield to a vaccine for the coronavirus. But the perception that shared space is a danger zone could endure.
Architects like Joel Sanders, who runs a studio in Manhattan and teaches at Yale, are discovering that the principles that make spaces accommodating to autistic and deaf people may provide ideas for new kinds of virus-retardant indoor design.
Here’s what else is happening
North Korea: On the second anniversary of Kim Jong-un’s meeting in Singapore with President Trump, the country’s foreign minister said that the diplomacy had “faded away into a dark nightmare” in a statement that also referred to increasing the North’s nuclear capabilities.
Indigenous sites: The mining company BHP plans to move ahead with an expansion project that will destroy at least 40 ancient Indigenous sites in Australia, just days after a national outcry over the razing of another archaeological site carried out by another mining company, Rio Tinto.
Trump analysis: “At a time when the country is confronting three overlapping crises — the coronavirus, an economic collapse and a reckoning with racism and injustice — Mr. Trump’s inability to demonstrate empathy illustrates the limitations of his political arsenal,” writes our White House correspondent Peter Baker.
Snapshot: Above, yearling male jaguar cubs at Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica. A new study documents a rise in jaguar poaching across the species’ range, from Mexico to Argentina, and correlates the illegal trafficking to private investment from China.
Trudeau haircut: Barber shops and hair salons are reopening today in Ottawa after months of lockdown, but the question on everyone’s minds is whether the Canadian prime minister will get a haircut.
What we’re listening to: This Radiolab episode about an octopus mom settling in to brood her eggs. It sounds simple, but the way octopuses lay eggs is a feat unmatched by other species. “It had me on the edge of my seat the entire time,” says Remy Tumin, on the Briefings team.
Now, a break from the news
Listen: These 15 essential songs by the Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti speak of resistance and of long struggles.
Do: What happens to your body when you exercise? Well, a lot. The levels of thousands of substances in your bloodstream rise and drop, and thousands of molecules change, according to an eye-opening new study that could help shape fitness routines.
We may be venturing outside, but with the virus still raging we’re still safest inside. At Home can help make that tolerable, even fun, with ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do.
And now for the Back Story on …
An O.J. Simpson documentary that resonates
The interruption of pro sports has led many desperate fans to watch ESPN documentaries like “The Last Dance” and “Lance.” It turns out that one ESPN documentary also offers a searing look at police brutality: “O.J.: Made in America,” by Ezra Edelman.
The main narrative is about O.J. Simpson and the 1994 murder of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. But the backdrop to the story, and to the jury’s deep mistrust of the prosecution, is the Los Angeles Police Department’s longtime mistreatment of the city’s black residents, through violence and lies.
As the Times critic A.O. Scott recently explained in our newsletter The Morning: The movie shows “the deep roots of mistrust and resentment that the L.A.P.D. sowed among the city’s black citizens over decades of abuse and contempt. The jury’s verdict — so shocking to so many at the time — is shown as an act with clear historical roots and political meaning.” (His 2016 review of the film compared it to the work of Norman Mailer and Robert Caro.)
The Times’s Wesley Morris says, “It’s one of the most rigorous, most haunting X-rays of this country’s racial crises and racist myths, from law enforcement and criminal justice to sex, sports, and Hertz.” The movie stretches over five episodes and almost eight hours, but, as Wesley says, “You’ve spent far more time with far less superior storytelling.”
That’s it for this briefing. Thanks for reading, and see you next time.
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for 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 on an election meltdown in Georgia.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: Reads quickly (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times journalists who host our “Still Processing” podcasts, Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris, will be discussing the reckonings of the past few weeks of protest at 4 p.m. Eastern on Friday (9 p.m. in London). R.S.V.P. here.