Brexit, Algeria, Venezuela: Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times


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Good morning.

A new strategy for Brexit, the resignation of the Algerian president and a challenge to Turkish election results. Here’s the latest:

Prime Minister Theresa May speaking in London on Tuesday after leading a daylong meeting of the cabinet.CreditPool photo by Jack Taylor

Prime Minister Theresa May said that she would work with the opposition Labour Party on a joint plan for Britain’s withdrawal from the E.U., and that she would seek a second delay.

The move is likely to mean a softer Brexit — perhaps compromising Mrs. May’s longstanding demand to exit the customs union with the bloc — and it could be a major strategy pivot for Mrs. May, whose own plan has been rejected three times.

“This basically rips up the last two and a half years as far as her stance goes,” a politics professor said.

Reaction: The hard-line pro-Brexit members of the prime minister’s Conservative Party quickly voiced their disappointment. Cabinet members said they had discussed the option of calling a general election on the final plan, but polling suggested the party might fare poorly.

Will this work? It’s unclear how the compromise will come together, and whether the E.U. will approve the delay request. Negotiating an agreement with Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, will be an obstacle.

Unwelcome distraction: Some lawmakers struggled to focus on the Brexit debate as climate protesters stripped nearly naked in the House of Commons.


President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria in 2014.CreditSidali Djarboub/Associated Press

The president of Algeria has submitted his resignation following the largest antigovernment protests in decades.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika bowed to pressure from protesters and the army and abruptly ended his rule of 20 years, according to the state news agency. Mr. Bouteflika has not addressed the public in seven years, since a stroke left him paralyzed.

Lead-up: Algeria’s army chief of staff, who is the traditional arbiter of political life in the country, had called for an “immediate” declaration that Mr. Bouteflika was unfit for office. It was enough to force him out.

Who replaces him? There are currently no plans for Mr. Bouteflika’s replacement. But protesters called for the wholesale removal of what they called “the system” — everyone associated with his reign.

Impact: Algeria is one of the world’s major oil and gas producers and is considered a bulwark against Islamist terrorism.


Supporters of the opposition Republican People’s Party waved Turkish flags as they celebrated preliminary election results on Monday.CreditBurhan Ozbilici/Associated Press

The party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lost control of Turkey’s two largest cities, Istanbul and Ankara, according to a complete tally of local election ballots on Tuesday.

The governing Justice and Development Party will challenge those results, and Turkey’s High Election Council will rule on those challenges within eight days.

Details: The party said it was lodging objections based on discrepancies between voting tallies at polling stations and the counting centers in both Ankara and Istanbul.

In Opinion: Selim Koru looks at whether Erdogan’s populism has reached its limit. He writes: “Mr. Erdogan’s style of politics demands that he either crank up the intensity, or collapse under the weight of its own contradictions.”


Medical staff spraying disinfectant at a cholera treatment center in Beira, Mozambique.CreditMike Hutchings/Reuters

About two million people in Mozambique have been displaced, cholera has broken out and malaria is expected in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai.

The Mozambique government said Tuesday that it had recorded more than 1,000 cases of cholera, including one death. Aid officials privately called that an underestimate, saying that treatment centers are seeing hundreds of cases each day.

Positive signs: Nearly 900,000 doses of cholera vaccine arrived on Tuesday, and a vaccination campaign is to start today.

Effects of cholera: The disease drains the body of fluids and electrolytes. If cholera victims reach help in time, they can almost always be saved with rapid rehydration and one dose of an antibiotic.

Other risks: Standing water, where mosquitoes lay their eggs, is everywhere. Millions are hatching, and experts fear a major malaria outbreak in the coming weeks. Measles is another looming threat.

Venezuela: A pro-government lawmaking body installed by President Nicolás Maduro voted to strip the opposition leader Juan Guaidó of immunity, paving the way for his potential arrest.


Families of the victims of drug-related killings in the Philippines at a church in Quezon City.CreditFrancis R Malasig/EPA, via Shutterstock

Philippines: The government has been ordered by the country’s top court to submit police reports relating to thousands of deaths in President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war.

Canada: A proposed Quebec law to bar public-sector employees in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols has set off a backlash. An elementary schoolteacher who wears a head scarf and aspires to become a principal said: “What right does the Quebec government have to stop my career?”

China: A woman from China carrying a malware-infected thumb drive was arrested after entering Mar-a-Lago over the weekend during President Trump’s visit.

Boeing: Government officials, aviation experts and company executives described a climate of distrust and lack of communication after the crash of a Lion Air 737 Max 8 jet in Indonesia in October, making it difficult to share information about what went wrong.

Climate: More than 40 governments have adopted a price on carbon dioxide emissions, but many of the programs are still too weak to drive truly deep cuts in emissions. We took a look at the different ways the system is used.

Italy: A whale was found dead in Sardinia with 48 pounds of plastic in its body, the latest in a grim international collection of whale carcasses burdened by dozens of pounds of plastic trash.

Jewel heist: The Italian police have recovered precious jewels that were stolen six years ago from the National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia in Rome. But investigators still wonder who was behind the audacious theft.

Fashion: Leggings might be the future, our chief fashion critic writes. She examines why the clothing item gets people so riled up.

How to be famous online: According to Rickey Thompson, a 23-year-old Instagram influencer, you should be relatable, avoid overthinking your posts and give people what they want. Ultimately, “you will be loved for being yourself.”

Tips for a more fulfilling life.


CreditConstantine Poulos for The New York Times

Recipe of the day: A midweek pasta dinner relies on no-fuss ingredients, including roasted broccoli, almonds and anchovies.

Apple and Google are adding tools to help you track and control the time you spend on your device.

Experts say adults and children alike can benefit from avoiding the hormone disrupters in many highly processed foods; plastics marked 3, 6 or 7; and chemical-based cleaning products.

Political scandals engulfed the Virginia Statehouse months ago.

The Virginian-Pilot has been among the regional papers covering the scandals and their aftermath closely. It was the first to confirm a report that Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook page included a photo of a man in blackface with another in a Ku Klux Klan robe.

The Pilot is the product of local newspaper mergers that began just after the Civil War. It first published under its current name in 1898, and was acquired by Tronc, the former Tribune Co., in 2018. (The company has since changed its name to Tribune Publishing.) Based in southeastern Virginia, The Pilot’s coverage bleeds into North Carolina, with a limited paywall.


The Virginian-Pilot’s former building in Portsmouth in 1956.CreditCharles S. Borjes/Virginian-Pilot, via Associated Press

The Pilot earned a Pulitzer Prize in 1929 for one of a series of editorials on the evils of lynching and on legislation to prevent it; another in 1960 for editorials on Virginian officials’ stonewalling of integration and a third in 1985 for reporting on local corruption.

Last year, The Pilot was a finalist for the Pulitzer in investigative reporting, for documenting injustices in Virginia’s parole system. Who knows what 2019 might bring?

James K. Williamson wrote today’s Back Story.

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