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Kashmir, China, Joe Biden: Your Friday Briefing – The New York Times

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Kashmir, China, Joe Biden: Your Friday Briefing

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Attacks rattle the tense Kashmir region, China tries to iron out trade deal details and one lone Blockbuster store withstands wider changes. Here’s the latest:

A civilian injured in a grenade blast in Jammu.CreditJaipal Singh/EPA, via Shutterstock

A grenade lobbed at a crowded bus stand Thursday in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir killed one person and wounded several others. The authorities identified the suspect as a 17-year-old Kashmiri from a militant group fighting Indian rule.

Around the same time, a video went viral of two men wearing saffron shirts — the color associated with Hindu nationalists — beating Kashmiri street vendors in the northern Indian city of Lucknow.

The two events encapsulated the heightened tensions in the region and the wariness between India and Pakistan, which New Delhi accuses of training terrorists.

On the ground: Some in the Kashmir region worry that these scattered attacks are connected to India’s coming national elections and are part of an effort to stoke animosity between Hindus and Muslims for electoral gain.

Perspective: Our Opinion columnist Farhad Manjoo tracked how the recent India-Pakistan conflict, sparked by a suicide truck bombing targeting Indian troops last month, played out online and in the media.

“What I found was alarming,” he writes. “Whether you got your news from outlets based in India or Pakistan during the conflict, you would have struggled to find your way through a miasma of lies. The lies flitted across all media: there was lying on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp; there was lying on TV; there were lies from politicians; there were lies from citizens.”


President Xi Jinping at the National People’s Congress in Beijing.CreditRoman Pilipey/EPA, via Shutterstock

President Trump is optimistic that the U.S. and China are close to signing a landmark trade deal. Chinese officials, however, aren’t as confident.

While the two sides seem to have agreed on the broad outline of an agreement, with both countries rolling back tariffs and China buying more American goods, the more granular details have yet to be hammered out.

That has left Beijing officials nervous, given Mr. Trump’s propensity for last-minute changes, according to two people familiar with China’s position.

Takeaway: The emerging gap between the two sides throws cold water on enthusiasm that the end of the trade war is near and casts doubts on Mr. Trump’s plans to meet with President Xi Jinping in late March or early April to sign the final deal.

Huawei: The Chinese electronics giant sued the U.S. government, arguing that it had been unfairly and inaccurately banned as a security threat.

Another angle: Mr. Xi is breaking the rules and longstanding traditions of Chinese politics — by letting his hair go gray.


A port at Gioia Tauro, Italy.CreditGianni Cipriano for The New York Times

The country, which is saddled with debts and stuck at about zero growth, appears poised to cooperate in China’s global infrastructure push, known as One Belt, One Road.

President Xi Jinping is visiting Rome this month, and it is possible that Italy will sign a memorandum for the initiative, which is widely seen as Beijing’s effort to expand its interests and influence.

Impact: The move is certain to upset American and European allies, as Italy would become the first member of the Group of 7 countries to join the initiative.

Italian perspective: Michele Geraci, the country’s under secretary in the economic development ministry, argued that cooperating with Beijing would allow it to export goods to China in greater numbers.


Paul Manafort arriving for a hearing in June.CreditBrendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A judge will decide on Thursday whether to send President Trump’s former campaign chairman to prison for the rest of his life — potentially the harshest punishment yet against any of the half-dozen former Trump associates who have been prosecuted by the special counsel, Robert Mueller.

The sentencing brings to a close one of two cases against Mr. Manafort, whose work in Ukraine and ties to Russians made him a target of Mr. Mueller.

Details: This case focused on a financial fraud scheme, in which Mr. Manafort illegally concealed his work on behalf of political parties in Ukraine that were aligned with Russia, and how he hid more than $55 million in payments from that work in more than 30 overseas bank accounts.

Mr. Manafort faces another sentencing next week. Here’s an explainer of the separate cases against him.

Joe Biden: The former vice president seems to be 95 percent committed to running for president in 2020, a decision that could thin out a crowded Democratic field.

Thailand: A political party that nominated King Vajiralongkorn’s sister as its candidate for prime minister was dissolved by the constitutional court, which called it a “hostile action” against the country’s political system.

Ebola: The international president of Doctors Without Borders said efforts to end the epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo — the second largest ever — were failing because workers had alienated the community and called on medical teams to treat patients “as humans and not as a biothreat.”

Iran: A prominent female lawyer who defended women arrested for not covering their heads in public has been convicted of security-related crimes in a secret trial and could face a “very lengthy sentence.” The details of the charges are unclear but activists say she “is being persecuted for her peaceful defense of human rights in Iran.”

R. Kelly: Two women whose parents say they are being held captive by the R&B singer defended him in an interview with “CBS This Morning.” The women, Azriel Clary, 21, and Joycelyn Savage, 23, told Gayle King they were “absolutely” in love with him and accused their families of blackmailing him for money.


CreditPhoto illustration by Cristiana Couceiro. Source photograph: Larry Busacca/Getty Images.

Music: Bruce Springsteen, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga. In The Times Magazine this week, our critics weigh in on the top 25 songs and artists that define and shape this era that seems particularly grueling and frantic.

Gabriel Garciá Márquez: Netflix announced that it had acquired the first ever rights to adapt “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” more than 50 years after the Nobel-winning novelist’s seminal work was first published, catapulting him to the forefront of literature.

Blockbuster: An outlet of the video rental store in Oregon is poised to become the world’s last and, rather than fading into obscurity, it is thriving. “Holy cow it’s exciting,” the store manager said of becoming the last one standing.

Queen Elizabeth II: The world’s longest reigning monarch just crossed a new milestone — publishing her first post on Instagram.

Tips for a more fulfilling life.


CreditLinda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Monica Pierini.

Recipe of the day: Ease into the weekend with a comforting dinner of loaded sweet potatoes with beans and Cheddar.

Going plastic-free is daunting — if close to impossible — but our Climate reporter is giving it a shot this week.

Here’s what you can do to make working from home with children less of a challenge.

Today is International Women’s Day, a day of celebration and solidarity.

Many scholars trace its origins to 1909, when the Socialist Party of America declared a Woman’s Day. The idea spread internationally.

In 1915, Clara Zetkin, a German Marxist who had promulgated the day, used it to protest World War I. In Russia in 1917, revolutionary women used the day to demand bread and peace.


The Women’s Suffrage Demonstration in Petrograd on March 8, 1917.CreditHeritage Images/Getty Images

In many countries, the celebration these days is less political and more commercial, a holiday marked by candy and flowers.

In your Back Story writer’s youth in a Bosnian household in St. Louis, it was a day when the women celebrated one another and all they had overcome. Gifts from husbands and children played a part, but the focus was on women’s bonds to one another.

It raises the question: Who gets to shape a holiday? As Temma Kaplan, a history professor at Rutgers University, put it, “Commemorations and holidays are like clay — you can define what they will mean.”

Melina Delkic wrote today’s Back Story.

Your Morning Briefing is published weekday mornings and updated online. Sign up here to get it by email in the Australian, Asian, European or American morning. You can also receive an Evening Briefing on U.S. weeknights.

And our Australia bureau chief offers a weekly letter adding analysis and conversations with readers.

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What would you like to see here? Contact us at asiabriefing@nytimes.com.

Alisha Haridasani Gupta writes the Morning Briefing. @alisha__g

Melina Delkic is a senior staff editor. @MelinaDelkic


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