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We’re covering Hong Kong’s strict limits on travelers as the Wuhan coronavirus spreads, Britain’s decision to let Huawei help build its 5G network and why Kobe Bryant made such an impression in China.
The move followed days of rising pressure from health care workers, experts and even lawmakers who support Mrs. Lam’s government, and reflected distrust of the mainland as evidenced both from recent protests and the 2003 SARS crisis, in which nearly 300 people died in Hong Kong alone.
Elsewhere, officials in Germany and Japan reported the first known cases of human-to-human transmission of the virus — meaning countries now have to worry not only about quarantining infected travelers, but also about keeping the virus from spreading within their borders.
Toll: At least 106 people have died, China said on Tuesday, and the number of cases increased to 4,515 on Tuesday, from 2,835 on Monday, according to the National Health Commission. The youngest confirmed case is a 9-month-old girl in Beijing.
What’s next: China has extended the Lunar New Year holiday to Feb. 3, and some major cities have gone further, telling businesses not to open until the next week.
Both the U.S. and China, vying for tech supremacy, had tried to sway Britain’s decision. A Trump administration official said the U.S. was “disappointed.”
The decision did not name Huawei, specifying instead that “high-risk vendors” posing “greater security and resilience risks to U.K. telecoms networks” would be able to provide equipment in some portions of the network, like antennas and base stations, but not parts of the nerve center like servers.
Implications: Britain’s membership in the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group, along with Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.S., gives the decision added significance. And it comes as Germany is also deciding whether to work with Huawei.
Boris Johnson’s balancing act: The prime minister is risking a rift with President Trump ahead of negotiating a new trade deal with the U.S., but the potential of 5G makes the gains from a deal look paltry.
How an N.B.A. star dazzled Asia, too
Over his two-decade career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant played an important role in the basketball league’s international expansion.
His stature as an international celebrity, honed by both the N.B.A. and Nike, crystallized during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, when he was swarmed by fellow athletes. In China, he routinely had the highest sales of shoes and jerseys.
Bryant was a frequent visitor to China for basketball camps and promotional stops, and he appeared in commercials, like one with the Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou. He was also popular in the Philippines.
The investigation: All possible causes for the helicopter crash on Sunday that killed Bryant and eight others are still being considered, but the hillsides around the flight’s destination near Los Angeles were enveloped in a nearly blinding fog at the time. The helicopter was not carrying a cockpit voice recorder, and federal investigators aren’t expected to reach a conclusion for months. Here are the latest updates.
Another angle: We spoke to a high school teacher that Bryant considered a mentor and “muse” about their remarkable friendship: “He has left such a void behind,” she said.
Long awaited, Trump peace plan favors Israel
President Trump unveiled his Middle East peace plan on Tuesday in the presence of only one party to the conflict, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.
What Mr. Trump called a “win-win” proposal would give Israel most of what it has sought and create a Palestinian state with limited sovereignty. The Palestinian leadership immediately rejected the plan, which discards the idea of a full-fledged Palestinian state.
Analysts saw the document as a distraction offered by a president under impeachment working with a prime minister under criminal indictment.
The details: The plan would guarantee Israeli control of a unified Jerusalem as its capital and not require it to uproot any West Bank settlements. Mr. Trump promised to provide $50 billion in international financing for the new Palestinian entity and to open an embassy there.
At the impeachment trial: The president’s legal team made its last oral arguments on Tuesday. Senators will now have 16 hours to ask questions of each side.
A vote on whether to hear witnesses in the trial is expected on Friday, with a few Republican senators appearing to favor calling John Bolton, the former national security adviser whose book manuscript corroborates a central accusation: that Mr. Trump tied Ukraine’s military aid to politically motivated investigations.
If you have 6 minutes, this is worth it
Japan’s skateboarders roll out of the shadows
Japan has an Olympic skateboarding team that is likely to win more medals than that of any other country in the first such competition. But most of its members would not dream of taking out their boards on Japan’s streets, where the sport has long been seen as a pastime of unruly children.
This year’s summer Olympics could give its Japanese adherents something new: everyday acceptance.
Here’s what else is happening
India: A state visit by President Trump is planned for late February, according to Indian officials. The visit could be seen as an endorsement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent policies that have deeply divided India and set off deadly nationwide protests.
Belgian king: After a court-ordered DNA test to resolve a decade-long paternity claim, King Albert II, 85, conceded that he was the biological father of the artist Delphine Boël, 51, who has long said she was conceived during an affair between her mother and Albert before he ascended the throne.
Harvard intellectual theft case: The U.S. charged the chairman of Harvard’s department of chemistry and chemical biology with lying about Chinese funding he received, part of an American crackdown on the theft of biomedical research from the country’s laboratories.
Snapshot: Above, a Syrian asylum seeker at a migrant camp in the Turkish-controlled part of Cyprus. The tiny island now hosts the most refugees per capita in the European Union, the result of a loophole within its vexing political situation.
What we’re looking at: These photos in The Atlantic of the locust swarms in East Africa. “For those keeping track of the plagues hitting the planet,” writes Andrea Kannapell, the Briefings editor.
Now, a break from the news
Cook: Farro with crispy mushrooms and sour cream is similar in texture to a risotto, without the constant stirring.
Read: Gish Jen’s densely imagined if static new novel, “The Resisters,” is set in a future surveillance state known as AutoAmerica.
Go: Momcations, a getaway designed for tired mothers, are on the rise. While some see it as profiteering, others say it’s a sign of “the mainstream telling moms they deserve a break.”
Smarter Living: Breaking up with a therapist can be nerve-racking. But doing it with these tips in mind can turn it into an opportunity for growth.
And now for the Back Story on …
Reporting in Wuhan
Chris Buckley, our chief China correspondent, is reporting this week from the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. Mike Ives, on the Briefings team, spoke with Chris by phone.
What is it like with these unprecedented restrictions in place?
It may be difficult to envisage just how thoroughly people have retreated from the streets and from public life. I had to cross one of the big bridges across the Yangtze for my reporting. And there I was, on one of these Chinese share bikes that are everywhere, on an almost completely empty bridge, spanning one of China’s biggest cities, crossing its biggest river. And there were just two other people on the bridge.
A lot of people wonder how long the shutdown can last. Even now people are worrying about the jobs they may lose, the businesses that will close, the school semesters that they might miss.
You’ve reported that the anger on Chinese social media is intense.
Yes, and you hear that here as well. People erupt with a kind of anger and exasperation over how it was that this dangerous pathogen was among them but they didn’t understand, in many cases, how serious it was or what was going on until the city was shut down.
But that’s leavened by a sense among many people that the most pressing thing is to get through this crisis — so that as few people die as possible and life can return to a kind of normality as soon as possible.
What else are you seeing there?
You see a combination of reactions when you approach people to talk. First of all, there’s a natural wariness about getting close to anybody. But once you reassure them — you’re outside, at a distance of a good 10 feet — they can be very open and also very generous.
How does that compare to the response you normally get?
The reaction you get as a foreign reporter varies quite a bit across China. But I think these circumstances, where people feel that they — and, in a sense, we — are all in this together, and that you’re there somehow experiencing this as well, make it easier to create that connection.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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