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India kicks off election season, China offers trade concessions and Britain gears up for another crucial Brexit vote. Here’s the latest:
India announces election dates
General elections will kick off on April 11 and unfold in seven phases before polls will close on May 19. Results will be announced on May 23.
The world’s largest democratic exercise, with some 900 million eligible voters, is widely seen as a referendum on the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is running for a second five-year term.
Analysis: In 2014, Mr. Modi’s promises of ambitious economic reforms won him the first single-party majority in the country in three decades.
His popularity may be dented by a series of mismanaged policies and an emboldened nationalist movement associated with his Bharatiya Janata Party.
May’s Brexit plan faces another test
On Tuesday, British lawmakers are scheduled to vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s two-part blueprint for the country’s withdrawal from the E.U.
Many expect Parliament to reject her plan again, leaving Britain, in all likelihood, pleading with the E.U. for an extension of the March 29 deadline for the divorce.
What’s next? Mrs. May’s plan addresses trade during a transitional period immediately after Brexit that will expire in December 2020, with the potential for a two-year extension.
Even if lawmakers do vote for her plan, questions about Britain’s long-term trade relationship with the E.U. would still need to be negotiated, a process that could take several more years.
Go deeper: The Brexit referendum vote in 2016 exposed long-festering fissures between the country’s rural and urban populations, as well as its young and old, and ended up driving wedges between families and friends.
China offers trade compromises
Over the weekend, Chinese officials raised potential solutions to major roadblocks in trade talks with the U.S., possibly edging the world’s two largest economies closer to a deal.
First, China would accept an enforcement mechanism that would allow the U.S. to monitor Beijing’s economic policies and unilaterally reinstate tariffs in case of violations of an agreement — if China had equal monitoring and enforcement powers.
Beijing also suggested that both sides had reached an understanding to avoid deliberately devaluing their currencies for competitive advantage, but allow them to adjust for other reasons. Those are essentially the terms of an agreement China and the U.S. signed on to in 2016.
Private-sector control? A Chinese entrepreneur who has accused the government in court and online of stealing his rights to coal-rich land has disappeared.
How the Islamic State grew in the Philippines
As the terrorist group’s territory in Syria and Iraq shrank to little more than a speck, the Islamic State gained a footing in the southern region of the Philippines.
In January, the group claimed a bombing at a cathedral that killed 23 people on the island of Jolo. The Philippine military responded with airstrikes and stationed 10,000 soldiers there.
“ISIS is the most complicated, evolving problem for the Philippines today, and we should not pretend that it doesn’t exist because we don’t want it to exist,” said the chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research.
History: The largely Christian nation’s Muslim minority is concentrated in the southern islands, where the lawless wilderness has been a haven for insurgencies, like Abu Sayyaf.
In 2016, the Islamic State began circulating messages online to encourage those militants to join under its black flag.
Here’s what else is happening
Ethiopian Airlines: A flight carrying more than 150 passengers crashed shortly after taking off from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, killing everyone aboard. Boeing identified the jet as one of its new 737 Max 8 models — the kind involved in a Lion Air flight crash in Indonesia in October that raised questions about whether pilots should have been made more aware of its new automatic controls.
Japan: A ship collided with an object believed to be a whale in the Sea of Japan, injuring 80 passengers on board, according to a ferry company.
Pakistan: Two climbers missing for weeks, one British and one Italian, were pronounced dead after their “silhouettes” were spotted on the Nanga Parbat mountain where they were trekking, according to Italy’s ambassador to Pakistan.
North Korea: President Trump, months after declaring on Twitter that there is “no nuclear threat from North Korea,” was forced to acknowledge that Kim Jong-un had indeed continued to build out his nuclear program, even during their budding friendship and long before their second summit meeting in Vietnam.
South Africa: A generation after apartheid, nearly 70 percent of farms held by individuals have white owners, fueling disappointment in the governing African National Congress and spurring some in the black majority to seize land themselves.
Paul Manafort: President Trump’s former campaign chairman was sentenced to 47 months in prison for perpetuating a decades-long, multimillion-dollar fraud scheme, a relatively lenient punishment that drew sharp criticism from legal experts.
Tesla: In need of a boost to its revenues and battered stock prices, the automaker is set to unveil the Model Y, an S.U.V. crossover, this week. The chief executive, Elon Musk, said it would have 10 percent more space than the Model 3 sedan and cost slightly more. The company’s revenues and stock price has been battered.
Howard Schultz: The Starbucks founder’s prospective run for president next year seems to be raising concerns among shareholders who worry that his political ambitions could elicit a backlash against the coffee chain.
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The Times published an obituary of Carmine Persico, a noted New York mobster, on Friday. In some circles, the bigger news was the byline.
Your Back Story writer gave Sel a call. In addition to projects for the History Channel, he’s writing a pilot for a 10-part series based on “Five Families” and working with Netflix on a series about the 1986 Mafia Commission trial.
Sadly, we didn’t have a photo of him at hand.
“I was always very careful about showing my face,” he said, his humor as unchanged as his energy. “The point is, very simply, that there was always a gentlemen’s agreement that if you wrote honestly about organized crime figures, they wouldn’t victimize you, but there are always crackpots.
“And I wasn’t that good-looking to begin with.”
Andrea Kannapell, the Briefings editor, who overlapped with Mr. Raab at The Times, wrote today’s Back Story.
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