Japan opts for continuity with Yoshihide Suga
Mr. Suga, the longtime chief cabinet secretary to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, swept an election for the leadership of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party — all but assuring that he will become prime minister after a vote in Parliament in the coming days.
Mr. Suga, 71, should have little trouble sliding into the job, our correspondents write. He has vowed to pick up where Mr. Abe left off.
A bland politician?: While most leading Japanese lawmakers come from elite political families, Mr. Suga is the son of a strawberry farmer and a schoolteacher from the rural north. But in many ways, he seems like yet another in a long line of dour Japanese politicians. The most exciting recent revelation about Mr. Suga, a teetotaler with a sweet tooth, was that he starts and ends each day with 100 situps.
Challenges ahead: One major question is just how long he will last. Though he is seen as a safe pair of hands to grapple with the country’s economic and strategic challenges, Mr. Suga’s longevity may be determined by his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the postponed Tokyo Olympics and the country’s increasing tensions with China.
TikTok deal with Oracle advances to next test
ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, has chosen Oracle to be the app’s partner for its U.S. operations and has rejected an acquisition offer from Microsoft.
A U.S. committee will review the proposal for the potential tie-up and make a recommendation about it to President Trump this week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday. The companies have until Sept. 20 to reach an agreement that satisfies the Trump administration’s concerns that TikTok poses a national security threat. The arrangement would most likely give Oracle oversight over data on American users.
What’s at stake: For ByteDance’s founder, Zhang Yiming, the deal could determine whether his eight-year-old company becomes a global digital colossus or is reduced to a mere power player in China, where the internet market is maturing and competition is becoming more intense. Any resulting deal could still be a geopolitical piñata between the U.S. and China. You can read more about TikTok in our DealBook newsletter.
TikTokers have their say: In this Op-Ed video, a group of highly influential TikTokers from across the U.S., with followers in the millions, argue that you should care about what happens to the app, even if you don’t use it.
Lockdowns ravage economies almost everywhere
The damage to the world’s major economies from coronavirus lockdowns is more than four times more severe than that of the 2009 global financial crisis, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The O.E.C.D. said the severe restrictions have resulted in an “unprecedented” blow to growth in the second quarter in almost every country except China, where the virus was first detected.
Growth in the nations that are part of the Group of 20 (representing 80 percent of the world’s economic production) fell by a record 6.9 percent from April to June compared with the previous three months. In 2009, the drop in the same period was 1.9 percent.
The O.E.C.D. warned that the global economy will fare far worse should a second wave of virus outbreaks lead governments to renew wide-scale quarantines.
Details: The biggest declines were in India (minus 25.2 percent) and Britain (minus 20.4 percent). Growth in the U.S. shrank by more than 9 percent, and in the eurozone by nearly 15 percent. China was the only economy to bounce back, expanding at a rate of 11.5 percent.
Here are our latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
India reported 92,071 new cases on Monday, the fifth consecutive day that new cases have exceeded 90,000 in the country, according to a New York Times database. India has the world’s second-highest number of cases after the U.S.
Ethiopia, which has some of the highest numbers of cases and deaths from the coronavirus in Africa, formed a partnership with a Chinese company to increase testing capacity.
In France, the cities of Marseille and Bordeaux significantly tightened restrictions on public gatherings on Monday after officials pointed to a concerning surge of new cases.
If you have 7 minutes, this is worth it
‘Mulan’ fizzles in China
Disney had hoped to make a splash in China, the world’s second-biggest film market, with its $200 million remake of “Mulan.” But the response has been lukewarm at best.
Chinese moviegoers pointed to historical inconsistencies. Many grumbled that the “real” Mulan, who in the original poem came from China’s northern steppe, would never have lived in a tulou, the round, earthen buildings that are the traditional homes for the ethnic Hakka people in the far south. The filmmakers were trying too hard to pander to China, viewers said, and did not try hard enough to get their historical facts right.
Here’s what else is happening
Life on Venus: With powerful telescopes, astronomers have detected a chemical — phosphine — in the thick Venus atmosphere that they assert can be explained only by the presence of something now alive.
Aleksei Navalny: Laboratories in France and Sweden have confirmed that the substance used to poison the Russian opposition leader was indeed a form of the nerve agent Novichok. The results match Germany’s findings and strengthen the evidence that the Russian state was involved.
War crimes in Yemen: U.S. officials are worried about the legal risk of supporting Saudi Arabia and the Emirates as they have waged a disastrous war in Yemen, using American equipment in attacks that have killed civilians.
Snapshot: Above, rescue workers in southern Oregon. Wildfires across the West have burned more than five million acres, destroyed scores of homes and left at least 26 people dead. “It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen,” one Oregon resident said.
What we’re reading: This series of articles in Eater on snacks: a celebration of the salty, sweet, crunchy and sticky treats. Jillian Rayfield, an editor, writes “I too have had one too many Auntie Anne’s pretzels at the sad Penn Station location, and I’m glad it’s getting its due.”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: This kongguksu, a Korean cold soy-milk noodle soup, requires just five ingredients: cucumbers, dried soybeans, pasta, salt and water. There’s minimal hands-on work, but overnight soaking time is required, so plan ahead.
Watch: “Nomadland,” a film written and directed by Chloé Zhao, won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival. The drama stars Frances McDormand as a woman living as a nomad across America after the recent recession.
Listen: Bruce Springsteen’s “Letter to You” and Sidi Touré’s “Wakey Kama” are among the songs on the latest playlist from our pop critics.
There’s so much to enjoy while staying at home. We have a full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do in our At Home section.
And now for the Back Story on …
The future of fashion
New York Fashion Week is in full swing, with most of the shows going digital because of the pandemic. Vanessa Friedman, our chief fashion critic, writes that there is “angst in the air” as the world of fashion looks to the future. She discussed this with four people in the thick of it all: Tory Burch, of the namesake brand; Virgil Abloh, of Off-White and Louis Vuitton men’s wear; Gwyneth Paltrow, of Goop; and Antoine Arnault, of LVMH. Here’s an excerpt.
Vanessa: Do you think this marks a tipping point in fashion?
Antoine: A lot is going to be decided after the next couple of rounds of shows. Showing is definitely not essential. However, you sometimes need to show what you’re actually creating.
Virgil: We’re looking at a watershed moment for the next generation to really take their seat. We know the names of Karl Lagerfeld, Margiela, Yves Saint Laurent — how they revolutionized the industry by switching from couture to ready-to-wear. In my generation, we brought streetwear into the fold, and now we see its effect on the luxury market. I think this is a moment where we can redefine what fashion means.
Vanessa: Is it true that sweatpants now rule the world?
Tory: Obviously people are dressing more casually, but what’s interesting to me is that people are buying across categories. I don’t know where they’re going, but they’re buying things. Whether they’re dressing for Instagram or small parties or whatever, they’re looking at fashion in a way that’s helping them escape.
Gwyneth: We just had a dress launch, and we were nervous about the timing, but I was surprised at how well they did. It’s been interesting to see where people’s focus has gone from a lot of loungewear and home workout products to cookware to home and now back into fashion.
Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow.
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
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