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Your Monday Briefing

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Your Monday Briefing
Monday, Oct 19, 2020 | View in browser

Good morning.

We’re covering the growing defiance of protesters in Thailand, Jacinda Ardern’s landslide victory in New Zealand and a special section from The Times editorial board on Donald Trump.

By Carole Landry
Protesters at Victory Monument in Bangkok on Sunday.   Adam Dean for The New York Times

Thai ban fails to end protests

In the latest of months of demonstrations, tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters gathered in Bangkok and in about 20 provinces over the weekend to call for fresh elections, a new Constitution and reforms of the monarchy.
Over the past few days, Thailand’s military-linked government, led by Prayuth Chan-ocha, a retired general who orchestrated an army coup in 2014, has intensified efforts to snuff out the protests, including seeking to block access to Bangkok’s center and to transportation.
Far more incendiary than calling for Mr. Prayuth’s exit are the protesters’ demands that the king, one of the world’s richest monarchs, hew to the Constitution rather than continue to float above it as a semi-divine entity. Protesters have been taking turns posing in front of a spray-painted sign on a road that showed the national flag superimposed with the words “Republic of Thailand.”
What’s next: On Sunday, Mr. Prayuth’s spokesman said that while the government was committed to listening to problems from all sides, he was also alert to any protesters who might incite violence. Parliament has been warned to stand by for a special session on Monday. Lawmakers had not been scheduled to meet until November. Concern is high, given that Thailand has seen numerous violent crackdowns on protesters in the past.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a news conference on Sunday, a day after claiming victory for her party in national elections.   Hannah Peters/Getty Images

‘We will build back better from the Covid crisis’: Jacinda Ardern’s landslide win

New Zealand’s prime minister and her Labour Party coasted to victory in national elections, riding a wave of support for her response to the coronavirus. Ms. Ardern has now cemented her position as New Zealand’s most popular prime minister in generations, if not ever.
The 40 year-old politician has become a global standard-bearer for a progressive politics that defines itself as compassionate and competent in crisis. “We will govern as we campaigned: positively,” Ms. Ardern said in her acceptance speech on Saturday night. “We will build back better from the Covid crisis. This is our opportunity.”
Political rebalancing: Ms. Ardern’s first term was marked by a partnership with the populist, center-right New Zealand First Party. Now Labour will be able to govern on its own, giving her more leeway to move left. The core decision that Ms. Ardern faces is how far to push.
Details: With more than 95.5 percent of the vote counted, Labour had secured 49 percent, with the National Party at 27 percent. Labour was expected to win 64 of the 120 seats in Parliament, with 35 expected to go to the National Party. It is the best result for Labour in 50 years.
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:

■ More than 70,450 new coronavirus cases were reported in the U.S. on Friday, the highest figure since July 24, according to a Times database, and the global seven-day average of new cases is hovering near 350,000.

■ A person living in the same residence as Pope Francis has tested positive for the virus, adding to concerns about the pope’s safety raised by an outbreak among the Swiss Guards, the uniformed force that protects him.

■ An Indonesian former airline pilot who was convicted in the 2004 midair poisoning death of a prominent human rights activist has died of Covid-19, a lawyer for the pilot’s family said on Sunday.

■ The Chinese disease control agency said the coronavirus had survived on packages of imported frozen cod, fueling an outbreak in Qingdao, in eastern China, though many scientists say the likelihood of catching the virus from packaged frozen food is very low.

Shelling destroyed a house in Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, on Saturday.   Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Signs of a long war in the Caucasus

Three weeks of fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave that is part of Azerbaijan under international law, have settled into a brutal war of attrition.
Azerbaijan has deployed firepower superior to Armenia’s, using advanced drones and artillery systems that it buys from Israel, Turkey and Russia. But it has failed to convert that advantage into broad territorial gains, indicating that a long and punishing war looms.
Our reporter spent four days in Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, with a photographer. “I won’t say that we are not afraid,” an Armenian fighter told him. “We are all afraid.”
Finding safety: Officials say that more than half of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh have fled their homes. Civilians who have stayed behind live in their basements, converted in recent weeks with makeshift kitchens.
The latest: Armenia and Azerbaijan on Sunday traded blame for the failure of a new cease-fire mediated by France. Fighting continued after the truce went into effect at midnight on Saturday.

If you have 7 minutes, this is worth it

Pandemic fatigue, and its costs

A lawyer working at a cafe in Wausau, Wisc., kept his mask on.   Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times
In parts of the world where the coronavirus is surging again, the outbreaks and a rising sense of apathy are colliding, a dangerous combination that could worsen what health officials fear could be a devastating new wave.
Pandemic fatigue is especially stark in the U.S. and setting off alarms in Europe. “Things are different now,” said an American psychologist who studies stress. “Fear has really been replaced with fatigue.
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Here’s what else is happening

France beheading: The suspect in the beheading of a history teacher in a Paris suburb, who was fatally shot by the police shortly after the attack on Friday, was an 18-year-old refugee of Chechen descent who had been angered by a classroom display of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
U.S. election: Joe Biden rallied voters in North Carolina on Sunday, a state that could be crucial to both the Nov. 3 presidential contest and the battle for control of the Senate. President Trump will campaign in Nevada, another battleground state in this election and where Mr. Biden maintains a steady lead in the polls.
Tyler Hicks/The New York Times
Snapshot: Voters in El Alto, Bolivia’s second largest city, on Sunday. The election is viewed as a referendum on the political project of former President Evo Morales, who fled the country last year. Mr. Morales lifted many out of poverty, but his policies and tone divided the country.
What we’re reading: In a departure from our usual selection of material from outside The Times, today we’re highlighting a special section about the coming presidential election, titled “The Case Against Donald Trump.” It was published by The Times’s editorial board, which operates independently of the newsroom.

Now, a break from the news

Ryan Liebe for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.
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