Your Monday Briefing – The New York Times | #childabductors

Health officials are rushing to test thousands of members of the Sarang Jeil Church and their contacts after it reported at least 193 coronavirus cases over the past four days in Seoul and the surrounding province of Gyeonggi.

President Moon Jae-in on Sunday called the crisis at the church the biggest challenge faced by health officials since an outbreak five months ago at another church in the central city of Daegu. He vowed to “take decisive actions, including coercive measures.”

A controversial church: The Sarang Jeil Church’s chief pastor has called for a public uprising to oust Mr. Moon and has been a driving force behind largely Christian conservative rallies against him in central Seoul, including one held on Saturday.

New restrictions: Over the weekend, the government tightened rules in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province, barring spectators from baseball and soccer games. The authorities have the power to ban large gatherings and shut down facilities like karaoke rooms, nightclubs and buffet restaurants if they fail to enforce measures such as mask requirements.

Quotable: “One thing that he strongly believed in was that, whether it is a son or a daughter, they must be equally educated,” said Ms. Harris’s aunt, Sarala Gopalan, who became a well-known gynecologist. “I do not know whose influence it was, but this is how he was.”

Last visit: Ms. Harris took her mother’s ashes back to Chennai 11 years ago, after she died of cancer, and with her uncle scattered them in the waves from the very beach she used to stroll on with her grandfather. She hasn’t been back since.


Public opinion: Half of respondents in a poll last week said that Japan should acquire weapons that could stop missile attacks before they are launched from enemy territory.

Nearly 500 abductions of children by a parent were reported last year in the U.S. In Australia, the returns of as many as 140 such children every year are sought through an international convention. But when a parent has turned to the authorities and hit a wall, a shadowy industry of “recovery agents” can step in — for a fee.

It’s risky. Our reporter followed Stuart Dempster, who turned to a private outfit in Australia after his wife took their daughter to Thailand, and also conducted nearly 50 interviews with parents, psychologists, family lawyers, law enforcement officials and child abduction agents to reveal an industry fraught with scams, botched border crossings and international arrests.

U.S. presidential campaign: With Joe Biden leading in many polls, and Democrats kicking off their convention on Monday, President Trump has heightened his attacks on mail-in voting. Mr. Trump charges, without evidence, that efforts by states to help people vote by mail during the coronavirus crisis would lead to widespread voter fraud — a claim that even some Republicans dispute.

Edward Snowden: President Trump said that he would consider pardoning the former National Security Agency contractor who faced criminal charges after leaking classified documents about vast government surveillance.

In memoriam: Aritana Yawalapiti, an Indigenous leader in Brazil who dedicated himself to protecting the environment and promoting the health of his people, died from the coronavirus. He was 71.

Snapshot: Above, anti-government demonstrators gathered in Minsk on Sunday for their biggest protest yet against President Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus. The huge turnout showed that the longtime autocratic leader had failed in his efforts to intimidate opponents.

What we’re reading: This Bloomberg article, headlined “Oil Companies Wonder if It’s Worth Looking for Oil Anymore.” Andrea Kannapell, the Briefings editor, said, “I noticed it because the environmentalist and writer Bill McKibben tweeted his gratitude for ‘the work so many have done to get us to this point!’”

Alex, you wrote a story last summer where you examined Harris, how she thinks about governing and what her philosophy is. What does she think the government is capable of doing?




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