Hong Kong, Brexit, India: Your Tuesday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering escalating tensions in Hong Kong, mass protests in Puerto Rico and the scientific flaws in the ‘Lion King.’

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CreditPhoto by Tyrone Siu/Reuters

The gap between the rich and poor is at its widest in nearly half a century, and nearly one in five people live in poverty.

By the numbers: Rents in Hong Kong are often higher than New York, London or San Francisco for apartments half the size. And pay hasn’t kept up; the minimum wage is currently $4.82 — far below the $7 estimated to be a “living” wage.

In opposition: Pro-democracy activists believe that direct elections would give them a greater say in Hong Kong’s crucial economic decisions, while some pro-Beijing officials see greater gains from more integration with the mainland.

Violence: Dozens of people were wounded at a train station in the territory late Sunday night as men with sticks and metal bars apparently targeted demonstrators.


Robert Mueller, the special counsel, will testify in Congress on Wednesday about his investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections and whether President Trump obstructed justice.

It’s unlikely that Mr. Mueller will reveal anything beyond what is in the report of his findings. But there are still some big questions, including why prosecutors didn’t subpoena the president, that will hang over Mr. Mueller’s five-hour, back-to-back hearings.

Political impact: The hearings present high stakes for both parties. Democrats, who have been divided over how to confront Mr. Trump, are hoping the hearings provide some clarity on how to proceed and electrify voters ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Republicans are advocating a gentler approach in order to finally close the door on the investigation.

Read: The entire Mueller report in searchable format.


The pound has sunk to two-year lows as it becomes increasingly likely that Boris Johnson, a hard-line Brexit supporter, will replace Prime Minister Theresa May today.

Many in Britain fear that Mr. Johnson’s promise to leave the European Union on Oct. 31, deal or no deal, could set off economic chaos. Britain’s currency has been hovering around $1.24 in recent days, and some analysts believe it could be dragged down further, possibly even to parity with the dollar.

Go deeper: Mr. Johnson may have won some people over with his charm and persona but many of his colleagues and political analysts question his competence.


CreditEric Rojas/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

An island-wide strike demanding that Gov. Ricardo Rosselló resign paralyzed large parts of the territory.

In San Juan, tens of thousands of protesters marched down a major highway, the biggest shopping mall and some banks were closed, university classes were canceled and cruise ships were turned away. Follow our live updates here.

Organizers are hoping to draw a million people — about a third of the population — in what appears to be one of the largest demonstrations that the island has ever seen.

Background: The protests started more than a week ago after leaked text messages between the governor and his closest aides revealed his cozy relationship with special interest representatives.

It was the final straw for Puerto Ricans, who have been suffering austerity measures in a yearslong recession and the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

CreditAtul Loke for The New York Times

The World Health Organization estimates that 20,000 people a year die of canine rabies in India — amounting to a third of global deaths from the disease.

As part of a push to reduce that toll to zero, nonprofits have set up a campaign in Goa, the country’s smallest state, to vaccinate dogs. But its effectiveness depends on keeping up with the fast animals.

China: The Trump administration is imposing sanctions on the Chinese oil company Zhuhai Zhenrong for importing Iranian oil in violation of an American ban, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday.

Pakistan: Prime Minister Imran Khan met with President Trump at the White House on Monday in an attempt to improve relations between the two countries and bolster peace negotiations in Afghanistan.

Iran: The government said it had arrested 17 Iranian citizens on charges of spying for the U.S. and sentenced some of them to death, Iranian and Western news media reported. Iran has previously claimed to have broken up American spy rings, including in April and June this year.

New Zealand: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced new restrictions on gun ownership, including a registry and a ban on purchases by foreigners, in the second round of changes since the deadly shooting at two mosques in Christchurch this year.

Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte, whose soft stance toward Beijing set off large-scale protests last month, defended his approach, saying he had little choice in the face of China’s military muscle.

CreditArun Sankar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Snapshot: Above, the Chandrayaan-2 rocket launch on Monday, a week after the first attempt was canceled at the last minute, heading for the moon. If successful, India will become the fourth country — after the United States, Russia and China — to successfully land on the lunar surface.

‘Lion King’: The remake of the Disney classic may have done well at the box office but the science behind the story isn’t entirely accurate, zoologists and researchers say. For one thing, female lions rule their prides.

From The Times: Diagnosis, a column in The Times Magazine, follows patients with unusual symptoms as they search for answers that can change their lives. It’s being turned into a documentary series on Netflix starting next month. Watch the trailer.

What we’re reading: This essay in the New York Review of Books. Adeel Hassan, on our Race/Related team, writes: “Recent prosecutions in the U.S. and Europe of those helping desperate migrants inspired the historian Manisha Sinha to look at the similarities to the legal penalties incurred by those who helped fugitive slaves in 19th-century America.”

CreditLinda Xiao for The New York Times

Cook: Jalapeño adds a kick to pasta with corn, feta and basil. (Our Five Weeknight Dishes newsletter has more recommendations.)

Read:The Chain,” Adrian McKinty’s existential thriller, imagines a crime syndicate operating a string of abductions like a chain letter, in which victims are themselves pushed to do evil.

Watch:Cities of Last Things,” Wi Ding Ho’s delicate and allusive film, follows the life of a violent and vengeful cop — backward.

Listen: “Stranger Things” Season 3 is a portal to 1985. A playlist from that summer includes Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” and Aretha Franklin’s “Freeway of Love.”


Smarter Living: Trade wars, climate change and slowing economic growth can mean trouble for investors. The risk tolerant can gamble that further bad indicators will persuade the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates, bumping up stocks. But the rest of us might take the three-part approach to financial stability recommended by Ramit Sethi, the author of “I Will Teach You to Be Rich: “conscious spending,” automatic savings and an understanding of why you are investing.

And we look at how real estate brokers and marketers track stressed homeowners in ways that some find predatory.

He will forever be a cute kid wizard for a certain generation.

But members of that generation might be feeling their age today: The British actor, who for a decade brought the J.K. Rowling character to the silver screen, turns 30.

CreditPeter Mountain/Warner Brothers Pictures

He’s hardly been idle. In the eight years since the release of the last Potter film, Daniel Radcliffe has appeared in at least 14 movies, six TV shows and five theater productions.

He’s also became a published poet under the pen name Jacob Gershon; had his portrait hung in London’s National Portrait Gallery; and voiced characters in “The Simpsons,” “Robot Chicken” and “Bojack Horseman.”

On the BBC show “Who Do You Think You Are?” this week, he breaks down in tears reading the suicide note left by his great-grandfather, Samuel Gershon, a Jewish jeweler in London. He killed himself in 1936 at age 42, possibly after anti-Semitic accusations by the police.

In Mr. Radcliffe’s next film, “Escape From Pretoria,” he plays an anti-apartheid activist jailed with other white political prisoners in South Africa.


That’s it for this briefing. Mischief managed!

— Alisha


Thank you
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. Victoria Shannon, on the briefings team, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about Boris Johnson, who is expected to become Britain’s next prime minister.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Santa’s little helper (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The New York Times’s technology reporting team is adding Davey Alba, who won an award in international reporting for a BuzzFeed article about how President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines used Facebook to fuel his drug war.

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