Boris Johnson Trapped, Merkel Warily Eyes China: Weekend Reads

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had a miserable week with a string of losses in Parliament over his Brexit strategy, compounded by the resignation of his own brother from the government. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is toughening her stance on China, while a Ugandan pop-star-turned-politician is on a mission to topple one of Africa’s longest-serving presidents.Dig into these and other aspects of the latest political developments in this edition of Weekend Reads.

Britain’s Steve Bannon Is Tearing Johnson’s Tories ApartThe prime minister’s adviser Dominic Cummings has emerged as the new hate figure in British politics and the man many Conservatives blame for wrecking their party and pushing the country into chaos all in the name of delivering Brexit. Robert Hutton and Kitty Donaldson report.Merkel Has Made a U-Turn on China But It May Be Too LateWith governments from the U.S. to Japan and Australia taking a harder line on China, Germany too is toughening its policy toward Beijing on matters such as intellectual property. But as Birgit Jennen, Patrick Donahue and Arne Delfs explain, it’s an especially high-risk strategy for Berlin when its export-dependent economy is flirting with recession.Bolsonaro’s Words Are the Sparks as Brazil’s Farmers Burn AmazoniaThe Amazon has been burning for weeks, and many fires in one of Brazil’s most ravaged states, Rondonia, were lit by small farmers who eke out a living on the jungle’s fringes with slash-and-burn agriculture. David Biller and Bruce Douglas write that President Jair Bolsonaro’s explicit endorsement has emboldened them to burn more than they have in years.

Democrats Tout Similarly Bold Climate Plans to Willing AudienceEven as they presented ambitious proposals to reduce carbon emissions to a national audience, Democratic candidates for president tried to balance the boldness of their plans with the need for simplifying a complex scientific problem for voters. As Gregory Korte explains, that meant the conversation was often about cheeseburgers, light bulbs and plastic straws.

Kochs Downplay Politics to Find Common Ground in Liberal Silicon ValleyThe Kochs’ industrial behemoth is deepening its ties to the world of tech with a new VC fund and a Bay Area charm offensive. Sarah McBride takes a closer look.

Italy’s New Finance Minister Is a Peace Offering to EuropeIf Italian Prime Minister-designate Giuseppe Conte wanted to prove Europe can do business with his government, his choice of finance minister might be exhibit A. As Alessandro Speciale and Jerrold Colten explain, Roberto Gualtieri’s appointment may be crucial in repairing Italian relations with the European Union.


Behind the Multibillion-Dollar Legal Award Nigeria Calls a ShamA dying Irishman went for one last big score in Nigeria. The project failed, but a London tribunal says his company’s owed $9 billion and counting. Kit Chellel, Joe Light and Ruth Olurounbi reveal the complex plot.

Muslims Fear Detention Camps as India Rewrites Citizenship RulesIndia’s biggest and most complex registry is dividing families and causing ripples across the political spectrum, fueled by concerns Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party is using the measure to advance a hard-line Hindu agenda. Bibhudatta Pradhan reports.

Mud-Slinging Election Shows Nothing Splits Israel Like NetanyahuMissing in the campaigning for Israel’s Sept. 17 election is any reference to the fundamental issues the nation faces. Instead, as Ivan Levingston writes, Israel’s second national vote in five months has become a referendum on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.City Where Chernobyl Was Filmed Fears Real-Life Nuclear Disaster Its streets helped form the backdrop for this year’s hit TV show Chernobyl, which depicted a deadly explosion at the Soviet-era nuclear plant in 1986. Now, Milda Seputyte reports, the Baltic city of Vilnius is preparing for its own potential real-life atomic catastrophe. And finally … His life has been threatened and he’s been charged with treason, but a Ugandan pop-star-turned-politician is on a mission to do what no one else has managed for more than 30 years: topple the president. David Malingha and Fred Ojambo sat down with Robert Kyagulanyi, known by his stage name Bobi Wine, at his home.


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