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W.H.O., Xi Jinping, SoftBank: Your Tuesday Briefing

2020-05-18 23:06:36
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Good morning.

We’re covering China’s response to calls for a coronavirus inquiry, a look at life in Wuhan after the lockdown and essays about finding joy right now.

The increased contribution from Beijing is likely to ratchet up pressure on the Trump administration, which has cut U.S. funding to the global health agency.

U.S. reaction: A senior Trump administration official called China’s pledge “a token to distract from calls from a growing number of nations demanding accountability for the Chinese government’s failure to meet its obligations.”

Rosanna Yu has rediscovered bubble tea, visited Wuhan’s cherry blossoms and embraced the city’s new normal. Even traffic is a welcome change. “Seeing a lot of cars, I’m actually so happy,” she said.

Other residents’ lives were changed permanently: During the peak of the outbreak, Liang Yi, his wife and toddler son hunkered down at his parents’ home outside the city. Now he is preparing to live elsewhere. “If we can create better circumstances for him, then we don’t want to live in a city like Wuhan anymore.”

Veranda Chen lost his mother to the coronavirus during the lockdown, but has since been reunited with his father, who survived the illness after a hospital stay. Hazel He avoid crowds and risks and doesn’t leave her neighborhood.

There is trauma and grief, anger and fear. But there is also hope, gratitude and a newfound patience.

The world’s third-largest economy after the U.S. and China shrank by an annualized rate of 3.4 percent in the first three months of the year, Japan’s government said on Monday.

The virus dealt a blow to Japan’s exports and tourism, after a drop in consumer spending coupled with a damaging typhoon. Recessions, often defined by two consecutive quarters of negative growth, may follow in other countries around the globe.

What we’re reading: This Brain Pickings essay about “the extraordinary and enduring love between Emily Dickinson and Susan Gilbert, who ended up marrying her brother, Austin Dickinson.” Steven Erlanger, our chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe, says it “is beautifully told and helps the lockdown.”

The Mrs. Files looks at what it means, and what it has meant, for a woman to be identified by her partner’s last name — regardless of her accomplishments. Tell me what your name has meant to your career.

Sarah: I take names very seriously. When I meet someone, it’s always important to me that I check with them about what they would like to be called. So much of who we are is what we get called by in the world, so defining what we would like to be called is this moment of potential agency. That agency is taken away when the world calls us something we don’t want to be called.

Denice: Growing up, I lived most of my adolescence solely with my mother, who’s Puerto Rican. My father is Jewish. A lot of children of multicultural families have hyphenated names but I don’t, and it’s not lost on me that I have my father’s last name solely because of a patriarchal idea. So much about writing is pointing at the world and pointing at yourself and finding language for what someone else has named.

When you were a child, did you dream of a traditional wedding?

Denice: I was very invested in a traditional wedding. My parents split up when I was very young. So I’d never seen a happy marriage and, with no model or example, I had to create one, so I pulled from pop culture. As I got older and stepped into my sexuality, I had to unpack that. I was trying to conform to an expectation instead of living a life that was in my own handwriting.

Helen: I started thinking recently about who weddings are for. I always assumed that if I got married it would just be for me and for my partner. But then you start thinking about relatives and it becomes a difficult negotiation between the public and the private.

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