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👋 Hi friends,
Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.
🐕 Photo of the week, above: Out and about in rainy Hong Kong.
Yes, that’s what appeared to be a shiba inu clad in a red raincoat and boots. (Unclear if it was one of the two I spotted a few weeks back, dining with their owners.)
✍️ In other news: The headline on my latest story, out Thursday with my colleague Natasha Khan: Hong Kong’s Leader Says Stability Has Been Restored, With City Under Heavy Police Presence.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said stability had been restored in Hong Kong three months after Beijing imposed national-security legislation, as thousands of police officers fanned out to pre-empt any protests that might disrupt Thursday’s celebration of China’s National Day.
“Stable and happy is what the Hong Kong government imagines us to be,” said a man in his 20s who identified himself as Mr. Wong, standing near police officers in a shopping district where some demonstrators had appeared. “But we are still so angry.” He said Mrs. Lam only wants what China’s Communist Party wants, not the city’s people.
🚨 Administrative note: There will be no NN next week. I’ll be back the week of October 18.
Here are ten items worth your time this week:
🇺🇸 1) What a week for news. First up, there’s one story dominating headlines these last few days: President Trump has Covid–19.
The latest from my WSJ colleagues Catherine Lucey and Rebecca Ballhaus yesterday (Saturday):
“President Trump had a fever and rapidly dropping blood-oxygen levels on Friday morning, but his condition has since improved, the White House chief of staff said late Saturday…”
👉 My colleague Andrew Restuccia reports on what working conditions have been like inside the White House:
“The president’s attitude about the virus is reflected in the culture at the White House and his re-election campaign, where few staffers regularly wear masks and there is little social distancing, according to people familiar with the matter.”
⏳ And the Washington Post has the ticktock, beginning last weekend with a White House Rose Garden ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee:
"Spirits were high. Finally, Trump was steering the national discussion away from the coronavirus pandemic — which had already killed more than 200,000 people in the United States and was still raging — to more favorable terrain, a possible conservative realignment of the Supreme Court.
Attendees were so confident that the contagion would not invade their seemingly safe space at the White House that, according to Jenkins, after guests tested negative that day they were instructed they no longer needed to cover their faces."
💰 2) And another big news item this week: The New York Times reported that in 2016 and 2017 Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes. “His reports to the I.R.S. portray a businessman who takes in hundreds of millions of dollars a year yet racks up chronic losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes,” wrote Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig and Mike McIntire.
🗣 3) And there’s been more news this week, of course: the Trump-Biden debate. “This was maybe the worst presidential debate in American history,” NPR’s Domenico Montanaro wrote. “Trump doesn’t play by anyone’s rules, even those he’s agreed to beforehand. He’s prided himself on that. But even by his standards, what Trump did Tuesday night crossed many lines.”
📺 PBS has a video re-cap of the event.
🇮🇹 4) Meanwhile, outside the Beltway: Italians have long been resistant to e-commerce, opting to pay cash and shop in actual stores. Then the pandemic hit. Amazon is capitalizing. Not everyone is happy about it.
☢ 5) Researchers are MIT and a sister company may be just three our four years away from completing the construction of what scientists have long dreamed of: a small nuclear fusion reactor. Testing would then be needed, but this kind of reactor, unlike a conventional fission one, could – repeat: could – produce electricity without as much radioactive waste.
👟 6) The latest trend in casual footwear is…the Grateful Dead. Recent collaborations include officially licensed tie-dyed Crocs and fake fur Nikes, my colleague Jacob Gallagher writes. Some are selling for more than $700 on resale websites.
🇪🇬 7) Egypt has just put on display 59 wooden sarcophagi – many painted, bearing hieroglyphics, and containing mummies – that are more than 2,500 years old.
🏃♂️ 8) 2020 has been a tough year, Hong Kong resident Iain Marlow writes for Bloomberg CityLab, but the place offers a special benefit even amid a pandemic: a vast network of trails for running and hiking. Marlowe has been putting them to good use, as have I.
🧠 9) Author Ryan Holiday shares a useful roundup of tips, tricks and advice: “33 Things I Stole From People Smarter Than Me.”
🐶 10) Dog-related video of the week: “I think I’ll just – plop”
📕 What I’m Reading
I finished Evan Osnos’s excellent “Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China” – a Book Notes blog post is coming soon – and have moved on to something yet closer to home. I’ve just started Jeffrey Wasserstrom’s “Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink,” about the city’s protest movement.
💡 Quote of the week:
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” – Philip K. Dick
👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,