Your Thursday Briefing – The New York Times

As Beijing has tightened its grip to end dissent in the territory, law enforcement has faced criticism.

On Wednesday, Hong Kong’s police moved to shift the narrative around a particularly contentious episode from more than a year ago, when men in white T-shirts wielded sticks and metal bars against unarmed commuters and protesters at the Yuen Long subway station, with the police nowhere in sight.

“We have to restore the truth,” Chan Tin-chu, a senior police official, said at a news conference in which he announced 16 arrests, including that of a lawmaker, Lam Cheuk-ting, who filmed the attack and was beaten in it.

Mr. Chan also said the episode was a “clash” and that video footage had given the wrong impression. And he said the police had responded within 18 minutes — not the 39 minutes initially reported.

Watch: Video of the episode was widely seen and used by The New York Times in a video analysis of the attack. And on Wednesday, a video emerged of what appear to be police officers at Mr. Lam’s door. He is told he is being arrested for the crime of rioting in connection to the Yuen Long attack. “Me, taking part in a riot? The July 21 riot?” Mr. Lam says in apparent disbelief. “It’s now utter absurdity in Hong Kong.”

As TikTok scrambles to sell itself to a U.S. company, Microsoft is still seen as the likeliest buyer — in part, because it was already in talks with the app and its owner, the Chinese company ByteDance, about a smaller deal when President Trump ordered TikTok’s U.S. operations to be sold or to cease operations by Sept. 15.

Our reporters delved into the complicated tale of coincidence and opportunity, talking to more than a dozen people who were involved or briefed on discussions.

The dynamics: Microsoft was originally drafted in July as a potential minority investor to mollify the Trump administration’s concerns. For Microsoft, TikTok’s 100 million users could help fill a gap in its data on social media behavior, and the app could be a huge client for its Azure cloud computing service.

Other U.S.-China news: The Trump administration moved to cut off two dozen Chinese companies from buying U.S. products on Wednesday, citing their role in helping the Chinese military construct artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was instructed by administration officials to modify its coronavirus testing guidelines this week to exclude from tests even recently exposed people without symptoms. Experts call the revisions alarming and dangerous.

  • North Korea’s leader urged his government to eliminate “shortcomings” and “defects” in its battle against Covid-19, and to brace for a typhoon that is approaching the Korean Peninsula, state media reported on Wednesday.

  • Madrid’s mayor asked residents of the city’s southern neighborhoods to stay at home in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. Spain is facing one of the most severe surges in coronavirus infections in Europe in recent days.

  • Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, extended a nationwide nightly curfew for another 30 days to curb the spread of the virus.

Demonstrations over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, have reverberated across the U.S. this week, in cities like Madison, Wis.; Portland, Ore.; Minneapolis; and New York. Kenosha, the Wisconsin town where Mr. Blake was shot, is under curfew, armed citizens have turned out as self-declared protectors of property, and two people have been shot and killed.

The Kenosha Police Department is now facing intense public scrutiny. Our reporters looked at the history of the department and why the shooting sparked so much anger.

Afghan floods: Nearly 80 people were killed in Charikar, a city north of Kabul, and the death toll was expected to rise as rescuers sifted through wreckage of destroyed buildings. Heavy rains set off flash floods late at night, catching many residents off guard.

U.S. presidential campaign: On the second of four nights of the Republican National Convention, speakers sought to present President Trump as racially inclusive and a champion of women and criminal justice reform. Here’s a video recap. Vice President Mike Pence and the departing Trump aide Kellyanne Conway are among the next session’s speakers.

In memoriam: Hee Sook Lee spent long nights developing her secret recipe for Korean soondubu, a steaming bowl of soft tofu in a spicy broth. It helped her restaurant, BCD Tofu House in Los Angeles, become a chain with 13 restaurants in 12 cities. She died at 61, of ovarian cancer, her son said.

What we’re reading: This BBC report about a rock musician in the late Soviet era, Viktor Tsoi, and how one of his songs has become an anthem for change in Belarus. Steven Erlanger, our chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe, says it’s “a good reminder of the close relationship between Moscow and Minsk.”

Cook: Gado gado, an Indonesian dish, is a big, cool, juicy mix of vegetables from the market with perfectly soft, yellow-centered hard-boiled eggs, crispy brown fried shallots and a deeply savory peanut sauce.

Garden: In a hot dry year, succulents are perfect. Here’s how to get them started or try out more complicated ones.

Listen: For mixology tips, industry news or deep dives into history, these shows about wine, beer and cocktails are worth checking out.

Our At Home collection can help you through these strange times with more ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do while staying safe at home.

The debate around TikTok’s safety is a reminder that we must be on guard about the data we share with any apps. Our tech columnist Brian X. Chen compiled tips for cybersecurity:

Minimize data sharing. When you open a newly installed app on your phone, notifications may pop up asking for permission for access to sensors and data such as your camera, photo album, location and address book.

When that happens, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this app need access to my data or sensor for it to work properly?

  • Does the app need access to this sensor or data all the time or just temporarily?

  • Do I trust this company with my data?

Sometimes it makes sense to grant access. An app like Google Maps, for example, needs to know your location so it can figure out where you are and give directions. In other instances, the need is less clear, and a ZIP code or less precise location information would be sufficient.

Block app tracking. Many apps are constantly pulling information from our devices, such as the model of our phone and what version of mobile operating system it is using, and are sharing that data with third parties.

Marketers who gain access to that information can then stitch together a profile about you and target you with ads. To limit this invisible data harvesting, I recommend using so-called tracker blockers.

Apps like Fyde and Disconnect can help. Apple also said that in iOS 14, apps would be required to ask people for permission to perform tracking.

Be curious. This last step is less technical: Stay informed. If you wonder how a company manages to offer its app, do some research on the business. Read its website and send the company questions to gain a basic understanding of what’s happening with your data and what steps you should take to minimize sharing.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Melina

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

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about President Trump’s strategy to appeal to suburban voting blocks.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Capital of Jordan (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Join our reporters for a recap and analysis of the Republican National Convention on Friday at 11 a.m. Eastern (11 p.m. Hong Kong time).

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