India’s caseload soars to a record
India recorded nearly 25,000 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, its highest single-day total, as new research showed that the virus transmission rate was up for the first time in months.
Hospitals are overwhelmed and health officials are struggling to respond to the surge in cases. Public health experts said the toll was linked to crowding in major cities. At least two states, Bihar and West Bengal, are reintroducing social distancing measures they had lifted in June.
In addition, an important metric, the country’s virus reproduction rate, has increased to 1.19 in early July, from 1.1 in late June, according to research by the Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai. The rate had been steadily falling since March when the country was under lockdown.
Details: India’s outbreak is the world’s third-largest after the United States and Brazil. As of Thursday, India had more than 767,000 confirmed infections and 21,129 deaths, according to a New York Times database.
Seoul mayor found dead
Police officers found the body of Mayor Park Won-soon in northern Seoul, hours after his daughter reported him missing, the authorities said Friday.
There were no immediate details about his death. His disappearance came a day after a secretary in his office told the police that he had been sexually harassing her since 2017, several news outlets reported.
Mr. Park, 64, had left his daughter a cryptic “will-like” message, according to the Yonhap news agency. He had canceled his official schedule for Thursday and called in sick to City Hall. Hours later, his daughter called the police, and hundreds of officers were sent to search for him.
Context: The mayor of Seoul was considered the most powerful elected official in the country after the president. A prominent human rights attorney who founded the country’s most influential civil rights group, Mr. Park had often been named as a possible candidate to replace President Moon Jae-in.
Related: The suicide of Choi Suk-hyeon, a promising South Korean triathlete who had filed complaints against her coach and teammates for abuse, has led to a national outcry over the mistreatment of South Korean athletes.
Studying in the U.S.: ‘Maybe I shouldn’t have come’
Our reporters talked to students whose lives were thrown into disarray after the Trump administration announced that it would strip them of their visas if their classes moved online.
Many universities see the move as a political one, meant to pressure them to reopen. But for the young people caught in the mess, it could be life-changing. Here are some of their accounts.
Confusion: “I still like this country,” said Andy Mao, 21, from Shanghai, who is studying biology at New York University. He had planned to go to graduate school in the U.S. “But if Trump gets re-elected, we will face huge uncertainty.” He has decided to look into universities in Canada and Singapore.
Despair: India cut off internet access to Ifat Gazia’s hometown in Kashmir, and her studies in the U.S. offered safety from a region in turmoil. “I considered myself lucky when I landed,” Ms. Gazia said. “But when this order came this week, I felt only despair.”
Resignation: “If they really don’t want me here — and the administration has made that very clear in a number of ways — maybe I shouldn’t have come,” said Macarena Ramos Gonzalez, a native of Spain who is nearing the end of a Ph.D. program in applied physiology at the University of Delaware.
If you have some time this weekend, this is worth it
29 short stories about this moment
As the pandemic swept the world, The Times asked 29 authors to write new short stories inspired by the moment. As Rivka Galchen writes: “Reading stories in difficult times is a way to understand those times, and also a way to persevere through them.”
From authors like Leila Slimani, Margaret Atwood and Yiyun Li, here are 29 original short stories to read this weekend.
Here’s what else is happening
Thailand: The cabinet approved a draft bill on Wednesday that would give same-sex unions many of the same benefits as those of heterosexual marriages. The bill, which still has to be approved by Parliament, is a major step for a country that is one of the most open places in the region for L.G.B.T.Q. people.
Trump tax records: The Supreme Court has cleared the way for prosecutors in New York to see President Trump’s financial records, a stunning defeat for Mr. Trump. But it will not allow Congress to see them, all but ensuring they won’t be released before the November election.
Snapshot: Above, Cairo under lockdown. The coronavirus brought a much-needed deep cleanse to the city, ridding it of traffic and pollution, our correspondent writes. But without the noise, bustle and grind, was it really Cairo?
What we’re listening to: Behind the Bastards podcast. “I was enthralled by this five-part mini-series on policing, including its roots in slave patrols and its embrace of the Klan,” writes Shaila Dewan, a criminal justice reporter.
Now, a break from the news
Watch: Set in Kashmir, “Widow of Silence” explores a woman’s quest for freedom and agency. Our reviewer calls it “a serenely beautiful tragedy about women and war.”
Do: Designing a garden? All it takes is a few well-placed plants — and some guiding principles.
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 …
Ava DuVernay on art and activism
Ava DuVernay’s films about Black histories and experiences have come to feel more essential than ever. She spoke with our In Her Words newsletter about the role she sees for artists in a time of unrest in the U.S.
We’re in a moment of upheaval — hundreds of thousands marching, a pandemic, an upcoming U.S. presidential election. What’s the role of storytelling in this moment?
The story has been told from one point of view for too long. And when we say story, I don’t just mean film or television. I mean the stories we embrace as part of the criminalization of Black people. Every time an officer writes a police report about an incident, they’re telling a story. Look at the case of Breonna Taylor and her police report. They had nothing on it; it said she had no injuries. That is a story of those officers saying, “Nothing to look at here, nothing happened.” But that’s not the story that happened because if she could speak for herself, she would say, “I was shot in the dark on a no-knock warrant in my bed.”
This is a moment of grief and rage for so many. How can those emotions be translated into art?
The answer to your question for me personally was the creation of our Law Enforcement Accountability Project — LEAP — which uses art to hold police accountable.
It links to the idea that an artist and an activist are not so far apart. Whether you call yourself an activist or not, artists use their imagination to envision a world that does not exist and make it so. Activists use their imagination to envision a world that does not exist and make it so.
Many people in the United States are just beginning the fight for racial and social justice. You’ve been in this battle a long time. What’s your advice for sustaining the fight long term?
The battle is ongoing whether you keep it going or not. The question is how are you going to react to it? That’s up to everyone to decide for themselves.
But the battle is not by choice. I would rather not do any of it. I’d rather just make my films and go about my day. But if I don’t buy into the fight then I don’t get to make my films.
That’s it for this briefing. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about why an early scientific report of symptom-free cases went unheeded.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Part of a constellation (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• “The 1619 Project” from The Times Magazine will be developed into a portfolio of films, television and other content in partnership with Oprah Winfrey and Lionsgate.