Europe’s central bank enacts new stimulus package
Europe’s central bank said Thursday it would double the size of its purchases o corporate bonds to $1.5 trillion — a larger-than-expected stimulus to the eurozone.
It comes a week after the European Commission said it planned to raise 750 billion euros for pandemic recovery by selling bonds backed by all 27 members of the European Union.
The speedy response is a surprise after the infighting during the eurozone debt crisis that began in 2010, where the euro avoided collapse only because the European Central Bank stepped in.
Context: The European Central Bank’s staff economists forecast on Thursday that the eurozone economy would slump by 9 percent this year, with a deeper slump possible. “It looks as if Europe finally got the message,” said a chief eurozone economist for ING Bank.
Hong Kong commemorates and America protests
Chanting slogans like “Liberate Hong Kong,” thousands of people in the semiautonomous territory defied a police ban to mark the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
At Victoria Park, people held lit candles and played songs that were used by the democracy movement in China that was crushed in 1989. The public display of anger and grief took on greater meaning this year as Beijing has encroached on Hong Kong’s liberties with a new national security law.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., demonstrations poured into the streets for a 10th night over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was pinned down by Minneapolis police officers. Many protests took on a mournful tone after a memorial was held for Mr. Floyd earlier in the day.
Quote of note: “The reason we could never be who we wanted to be and dreamed of being is you kept your knee on our neck,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said. “It’s time for us to stand up in George’s name and say, ‘Get your knee off our necks.’”
New: Democrats in Congress are planning to unveil legislation addressing police brutality, racial profiling and the loss of trust between the police and their communities on Monday. Some Republicans have also pledged to act.
Follow the latest updates on the George Floyd protests here.
Coronavirus cases are growing faster than ever
While the pandemic is ebbing in some countries that were first hit, the number of new cases is growing faster than ever worldwide, with more than 100,000 reported each day.
Hot spots are emerging in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, according to Times data. Although about a quarter of the 380,000 deaths worldwide so far have been in the United States, the geography of the pandemic is moving.
In Brazil, the death toll passed 30,000 on Tuesday, when officials reported 1,262 deaths, the country’s highest one-day total. Egypt seemed to avoid the worst earlier, but the number of cases there has spiked, reaching more than 28,000. Bangladesh now has 55,000 known cases, its troubles compounded when Cyclone Amphan tore through communities under lockdown last month.
Here are the latest updates and a breakdown of cases by country.
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If you have 7 minutes, this is worth it
The videos that rocked America
“The most urgent filmmaking anybody’s doing in this country right now is by black people with camera phones,” writes our critic-at-large Wesley Morris.
Awash in the videos of George Floyd in Minneapolis and of an encounter between a white woman and a black birder in Central Park, “a ghastly visual mosaic of mistreatment,” Mr. Morris found himself doubled over the sink, thinking of a song by Patti LaBelle.
In it, she sings, “I thought you knew me by now, but you don’t.”
Here’s what else is happening
Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte is preparing to sign a new antiterrorism bill that is so broadly written it would allow those critical of the government to be arrested without a warrant or a charge.
Madeleine McCann case: German prosecutors dashed hopes on Thursday that a British girl who disappeared from a resort in Portugal in 2013, when she was a toddler, would be found alive. The authorities are now investigating a 43-year-old man on suspicion of murder.
U.S.-Iran: Michael R. White, a Navy veteran held in Iran for nearly two years was on his way home on Thursday, his mother said, a day after an Iranian scientist held in the U.S. had returned to Iran.
Russia oil spill: President Vladimir Putin has declared a state of emergency in a region of northern Siberia after a huge fuel spill turned a river crimson and threatened to significantly damage the Arctic environment. The leak of more than 20,000 tons of diesel fuel is said to be one of Russia’s worst-ever accidents.
Snapshot: Above, the cast of “Cabaret Under the Balconies” performing at a nursing home in eastern France. It was the first professional theater performance in France since theaters there went dark in March. Except for one real-life couple, who were allowed to kiss, none of the performers touched.
European dispatch: In Denmark, one congregation set up a drive-in church at the site of a heavy metal music festival. They call it Copenheaven.
Britain’s green moment: With a boom in wind power and a drop in carbon-dioxide emissions, the nation has found success in clean energy.
What we’re reading: This BBC review of “The Machine Stops,” a novella written in 1909 by E.M. Forster. “It brings out of the dust an old dystopian novella that has some prescient, eerie connections to our lockdown life,” says Steven Erlanger, our chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe.
Now, a break from the news
Watch: Catch these 15 great films and television shows on Netflix before they end their run. Or, gain some insights from “On the Record,” a documentary about sexual assault allegations against a U.S. music mogul. It also seeks to address criticism that black women have been overlooked in the conversation about sexual assault and power.
Read: With the U.S. protests against police violence in the headlines, a lot of family conversations are centered on race. Here are some books to help explain racism and protest to your kids.
Do: In February and March, 112 people were infected with the coronavirus in South Korea because of Zumba classes. Here’s a look at the risks of virus infection during exercise class and what you can do to minimize those.
At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the Back Story on …
Hugging during a pandemic
Tara Parker-Pope, our Well columnist, has heard from readers who are anguished about not being able to visit and touch family members. It’s particularly painful for grandparents, who often live alone. So, she wrote a guide to safer hugging. Here’s an excerpt.
Not only do we miss hugs, we need them. Physical affection reduces stress by calming our sympathetic nervous system, which during times of worry releases damaging stress hormones into our bodies. In one series of studies, just holding hands with a loved one reduced the distress of an electric shock.
If you need a hug, take precautions. Wear a mask. Hug outdoors. Try to avoid touching the other person’s body or clothes with your face and your mask. Don’t hug someone who is coughing or has other symptoms.
Point your faces in opposite directions — the position of your face matters most. Don’t talk or cough while you’re hugging. Approach each other and briefly embrace. When you are done, don’t linger. Back away quickly so you don’t breathe into each other’s faces. Wash your hands afterward.
Do let children hug you around the knees or waist. And for grandparents, kissing a grandchild on the back of the head is a good idea.
While some of the precautions may sound like a lot of effort for a simple hug, people need options given that the pandemic will be with us for a while.
In general, we should still limit our hugs. As one scientist said, “I would take the Marie Kondo approach — the hug has to spark joy.”
That’s it for this briefing. Read this if you’re looking for more art that confronts racism. 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 [email protected].
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about protests in Lafayette Square.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: Vending machine drinks (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• William McDonald, the obituaries editor at the Times, talked about the challenges of covering the more than 100,000 deaths in the U.S. during the coronavirus crisis on CNN’s New Day.