Trump, Coronavirus, Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict: Your Tuesday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering President Trump’s departure from the hospital, Britain’s huge data-entry mistake and Kamala Harris’s disco-dancing days in Canada.

Three nights after arriving at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center because of a Covid-19 diagnosis, President Trump returned on Monday evening to the White House, where he will continue to receive treatment. His departure from the hospital — complete with fist-pumping flourishes, a 10-minute helicopter ride and a public removal of his mask — was broadcast live on three major U.S. networks.

Earlier in the day, his physician, Dr. Sean P. Conley, said the president was not “out of the woods yet.” Mr. Trump’s doctors evaded key questions about his condition, including his lung function and the date of his last negative coronavirus test — before he tested positive.

“We’re looking to this weekend,” Dr. Conley said. “If we can get through to Monday, with him remaining the same or improving better yet, then we will all take that final deep sigh of relief.”

These remarks came after Mr. Trump tweeted: “Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.” In doing so, as he has throughout the pandemic, he downplayed the seriousness of a virus that has killed nearly 210,000 people in the United States.

White House outbreak: On Monday, the press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, became the latest in the president’s inner circle, along with two other members of the press team, to announce that she had tested positive for the virus. Ms. McEnany said she would be isolating.

Joe Biden: Speaking in Miami to key potential voters, the former vice president wished Mr. Trump well but urged him to listen to experts on the pandemic. A poll conducted last week found Mr. Biden leading Mr. Trump by five percentage points in Florida.

In the latest stumble for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s beleaguered test-and-trace program, nearly 16,000 positive test results for the coronavirus between Sept. 25 and Oct. 2 were improperly recorded, because of a routine data-entry error — Excel files containing the names of people who tested positive were too large to transfer to a central computer system.

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As well as producing an artificially low picture of the virus’s spread and delaying efforts to trace those at risk, the botched numbers resulted in yet more criticism for the Johnson government. More than 57,000 people have died from the virus in Britain, the highest number in Europe. The country is now facing a second wave of infections.

“This incident should never have happened,” the health secretary, Matt Hancock, said to Parliament on Monday, promising that the government would conduct an investigation and upgrade its outmoded computer systems.

Quote: “This isn’t just a shambles,” said the Labour shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth. “It is so much worse than this.”

Though skirmishes in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, run by ethnic Armenian separatists but internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, have long been common, recent conflict is distinct in both scale and scope. Both sides have been using armed drones and powerful, long-range rocket artillery, while Turkey has offered support to Azerbaijan.

Now, Stepanakert, once a city of well-tended boulevards and stately stone homes, is scattered with the ruins of buildings after two days of heavy bombardment. On the Azerbaijani side, the authorities said rockets had landed in a residential area of Ganja, the country’s second-largest city. At least 250 people have died in the recent fighting, including dozens of civilians on both sides.

The cause of the fighting is disputed. Azerbaijan said it responded to artillery fire across the front line on Sept. 27. Armenia said the Azerbaijani offensive was unprovoked.

Analysis: Negotiating a cease-fire now will be harder than in 2016, said one analyst, because Azerbaijan felt misled by that settlement. At the time, Russia brokered a truce with an assurance to return to Azerbaijan some territory occupied by ethnic Armenians in the 1990s fighting, but that never happened.

Now, as she makes history as the first woman of color on a presidential ticket, Canadians have claimed her as a native daughter and an embodiment of the country’s progressive politics. Our Canada correspondent looked at how her disco-dancing high school years shaped Ms. Harris, whose father is from Jamaica and mother is from India.

SCOTUS: Two Supreme Court justices suggested that the court should reconsider the 2015 case that legalized same-sex marriage across the U.S., saying the ruling had impeded religious freedom. Two of the five justices from the majority in that case are no longer on the court.

Archaeological controversy: Thirty-eight great statues of Atlas, all now ruined, once decorated the ancient Greek Temple of Olympic Zeus. Archaeologists have a novel plan for the remains — to recompose piece-by-piece the temple’s beams to restore a portion of its original splendor.

Nobel Prize: This year’s prize in physiology or medicine was given to three scientists — two Americans and a Briton — for discovering the hepatitis C virus. Read more about the winners, Harvey Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles Rice.

Snapshot: Above, police officers arresting a woman at a protest in Tel Aviv over the weekend. As the number of coronavirus cases surged and a second lockdown was imposed, many residents lashed out at the government and took to the streets, building on a movement calling for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s resignation.

Lives lived: Thomas Jefferson Byrd, 70, a Tony-nominated actor known for his roles in various Spike Lee films, was found shot to death on a street in Atlanta, the authorities said Sunday.

What we’re reading: This Los Angeles Times profile of the singer Stevie Nicks. Dan Saltzstein, deputy editor for Special Sections, writes: “Who doesn’t love Stevie Nicks? Take her attitude about the pandemic. It’s, as the kids say, a mood.”

Cook: Serve this pan-fried eggplant with chile, honey and ricotta as a first course, a substantial side dish or a light main course, with a green salad on the side.

Watch: “David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet” traces the naturalist’s decades-long career, mapping how steeply the planet’s biodiversity has degenerated before him. Our critic calls it a “majestic documentary.”

Do: Whether you want to relax, entertain or get some work done, a footstool is one piece of furniture you should add to your living room. Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect one.

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Expand your horizons from the comfort of your living room. At Home has ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do while staying safe at home.

52 Places to Go, a special feature from The Times’s Travel section, traditionally draws on editors, reporters and contributors for recommendations on the most timely sights and delights on offer in the upcoming year. It’s our annual guide to the world’s most awe-inspiring destinations.

During the pandemic, travel, as we knew it, has changed.

In that vein, our 52 Places list will be different in 2021. While we can’t know what lies ahead, we can still share the places we’ve loved, and continue to inspire curiosity, open-mindedness and awe for the wider world.

That’s why we’re turning to you for next year’s list, which we are calling 52 Places We Love. We want 52 love letters to travel, all penned and photographed by you, our readers around the world, each about one place in the world that is special to you. It can be a popular tourist destination, or a place that’s largely overlooked. You might inspire someone else to go there one day, or to reconsider their assumptions, or to spark their inquisitiveness about a new piece of the world — all the empowering things that travel brings to our lives.

You can submit your recommendation here.


Thanks for starting your morning with The Times. Have an excellent day.

— Natasha


Thank you
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 briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the latest on President Trump’s health.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: “Where a cherry is placed, vis-à-vis a sundae” (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The word “quesolike” — used here to describe a Tex Mex-inspired riff on mapo tofu — first appeared in The Times on Monday, according to the Twitter bot @NYT_first_said.
• The New York Times won a Gold Effie award in the Media & Entertainment Companies category for its “The Truth Is Worth It” brand campaign.


Source NY Times

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