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Israel-U.A.E. Relations, Belarus, Europe Unemployment: Your Friday Briefing

2020-08-14 05:20:26
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Good morning.

We’re covering a major diplomatic agreement between Israel and the U.A.E., mass detentions in Belarus and millions struggling with joblessness in Europe.

Israel reached an agreement with the United Arab Emirates on Thursday to establish “full normalization of relations” and forgo “declaring sovereignty” over occupied West Bank territory for now to improve ties with the rest of the Arab world.

Furlough programs in Europe, widely credited with sparing over 60 million people from layoffs, have a major drawback: They don’t shelter millions of others who aren’t on company payrolls, including the newly self-employed, freelancers and people on precarious short-term contracts that employers use en masse.

Around 15 million people in the European Union were unemployed in June, a rise of 700,000 since April, according to Europe’s statistics agency. Many are those on work contracts, accounting for about four of every 10 workers in the industries hit hardest by Covid-19.

“It’s people like us who are falling through the cracks — and we are many,” said Thierry Hombert, 50, who worried about finding himself out on the street. “We’re the ones being left behind.”

Case study: In Britain, the government’s furlough and other aid programs will soon wind down, and officials are so far resisting pressure to extend them. But with a deep recession already on their hands, what happens if the virus resurges?

What we’re reading: This New Yorker article about tennis right now. “The U.S. Open is supposed to start in a few weeks, and this is a good look at some of the particular challenges,” Jillian Rayfield, an editor, says. “There’s also been a lot of off-the-court drama this year, and the piece ties it all together.”

Cook: Chocolate-flake raspberry ice cream, using powdered milk for richness, honey for smoothness and vodka for creaminess. Any berries, fresh or frozen, will work.

Deal: If we see every mistake as a crisis, then we avoid taking risks, we become less creative, we even learn less deeply. But if we keep in mind that the learning process is crucial, then we’re far more open and able to accept our mistakes. Here’s how to be more resilient.

Listen: We’ve compiled classical music performances worth streaming.

At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home.

The mathematician, pianist and author Eugenia Cheng talked to our Book Review in the By the Book column. Here’s what she said about merging art and math, and her new book “X+Y: A Mathematician’s Manifesto for Rethinking Gender.”

Describe your ideal reading experience (when, where, what, how).

My ideal reading experience is epic and uninterrupted. I don’t like reading in small daily installments; I like reading an entire book in one sitting. That’s if it’s a novel anyway, and if it’s any good. Deep nonfiction takes longer to absorb, and math books take years. I love the act of turning pages when I’m reading a novel; when I’m studying a math book I might need to spend several weeks on one paragraph.

Unfortunately this means I’m often wary of starting a new novel because I can be fairly sure it will wipe out the rest of my day (and night).

What’s your favorite book no one else has heard of?

“Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women,” by Susan Burton and Cari Lynn.

At least, nobody to whom I’ve mentioned it has heard of it so far. It’s a bracing memoir in the same vein as “Notes From a Young Black Chef,” about someone almost destroyed by the deep structural racism of our society, but who managed, eventually, to rise up to help others.

You’re a concert pianist as well as a mathematician. Who are your favorite musician-writers? Your favorite memoir by a musician?

I don’t read much about music, actually; I prefer just doing it, or learning by observation, that is, going to many, many live performances (in the pre-pandemic world).

You’re the “scientist in residence” at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. How do you bridge science and art, and what’s your favorite book to discuss with your students?

Well I must admit: Mine! I wrote my first book, “How to Bake Pi,” as my dream of a liberal arts math course that I thought I would never have the chance to teach.

It’s easier to “bridge” science and art when you don’t really think there’s a gap between them in the first place, as I don’t. The boundaries between subjects are really artificial constructs by humans, like the boundaries between colors in a rainbow.


That’s it for this briefing. Don’t let quarantine envy get you down. Have a lovely weekend.

— Isabella


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

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about reopening schools.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: What Britain Brexited from (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
Jazmine Hughes, who helped launch our Mag Labs, is moving to a writing role on the Metro desk and the magazine.


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