Your Friday Briefing

Chris Stanford

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Good morning.

We’re covering new tariffs on China, what we learned from the Democratic debates, and expanded freedoms for women in Saudi Arabia. And it’s Friday, so there’s a new news quiz.


CreditLexey Swall for The New York Times

The Federal Reserve’s decision this week to cut rates for the first time in more than a decade was, in part, a reflection of the central bank’s efforts to be more attuned to the needs of everyday Americans.

Unemployment in the U.S. is close to a 50-year low, but many people remain out of work or have seen only modest pay increases. By lowering rates, the Fed could foster a labor market that draws in disadvantaged workers and prods companies to raise wages.

Related: The U.S. economy added 164,000 jobs in July, the Labor Department reported today. The unemployment rate was unchanged from the month before, at 3.7 percent.

Are you rich? Our income quiz might change how you see yourself.


CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Beijing has responded, analysts say, by trying to set an anti-American tone for an audience that is worried about jobs and sees Hong Kong as an island of ungrateful citizens.

Related: President Trump said on Thursday that the U.S. would impose a 10 percent tariff on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese imports next month, significantly escalating the trade war. The S&P 500 lost ground for the fourth straight day, and markets in Asia and Europe fell today.

This week’s presidential debates have underlined Democratic divisions over how best to take on President Trump and how aggressive a platform the party should embrace, especially on health care and immigration.

The debates also highlighted Joe Biden’s vulnerability as a front-runner. The former vice president said on Thursday that some criticisms of his record and policies had amounted to attacks on the legacy of former President Barack Obama.

The Daily: Today’s episode examines the rules that will narrow the Democratic debate field.

For you: Confused about which candidate is your type? The Times has a Tinder-like game to help. Start swiping!

The New York Police Department has added thousands of arrest photos of children and teenagers to a facial-recognition database over about four years, internal records show.

The technology has been used to compare those images with pictures from crime scenes. Most of the department’s juvenile arrest photos are of 13- to 16-year-olds, but children as young as 11 have been included.

Background: Facial recognition has not been widely tested on children, and has been found to make more false matches with younger faces. Police Department officials said their use of the technology was merely an evolution of a longtime policing technique.

Perspective: In an Op-Ed from June, New York’s police commissioner, James O’Neill, said that facial-recognition software, when used properly, identifies crime suspects effectively without violating rights.


CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times

The Warroad Pioneer, which served its Minnesota town for 121 years, recently printed its final edition, joining what researchers say are about 2,000 newspapers that have closed in the U.S. over the past 15 years.

The story of its demise is part of a Times series examining the collapse of local news. Studies have shown that the loss of a community paper leads to greater polarization, lower voter turnout, more pollution, less government accountability and less trust.

Kennedy scion dies: Saoirse Kennedy Hill, 22, a granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy, died after an apparent overdose at the family’s compound in Hyannis Port, Mass., according to two people close to the family.


CreditGeorge Etheredge for The New York Times

Snapshot: Above, a 1961 Rolls-Royce convertible that belonged to Elizabeth Taylor. The car, which the actress called the “green goddess,” is expected to fetch up to $2 million at auction next week.

Overlooked obituaries: Georgia Gilmore formed a group in Alabama in the 1950s that made meals to raise money for the Montgomery bus boycott. She’s the latest entry in our series about people who didn’t receive obituaries in The Times when they died.

News quiz: Did you follow the headlines this week? Test yourself.

Modern Love: In this week’s column, a heartbroken mother finds herself compulsively checking on her ex.

Late-night comedy: The hosts were still digesting the Democratic debates. “It was long. It was contentious. And it was the closest we’ll ever see a UFC match set in a retirement home,” Trevor Noah said.

What we’re reading: This piece from The Atlantic, about a scientist who happened upon poachers attacking chimpanzees in Uganda. Our newsletter director, Adam Pasick, says it reads like a Hollywood screenplay.


CreditMichael Graydon & Nikole Herriott for The New York Times. Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks.

Cook: End the week with quick-seared short ribs with charred scallion salsa.

Go: “Game of Thrones” fans flock to Belfast, but Northern Ireland’s capital also attracts foodies, culture seekers and history buffs. We have recommendations for a weekend there.

Read: Stephen King says “Lady in the Lake,” by Laura Lippman, ends with a “twist that your reviewer — a veteran reader of mysteries — never saw coming.” It’s one of 11 new books we recommend this week.

(Re)watch: The trailer for 1999’s “Election,” starring Reese Witherspoon. Our critic recently watched the comedy about high school politics again and discovered that it “has been persistently and egregiously misunderstood.”

Smarter Living: Does your partner snore? Studies have shown that disturbed nights can lead to health problems and marital spats. Maybe it’s time for a sleep divorce.

We also have a guide on how to jump-start a running habit.

As Hong Kong has been convulsed with protests, a cryptic exhortation is omnipresent: “Add oil!”

The phrase 加油 (ga yao) literally means adding fuel to a tank, but is used as a cheer to push through, go faster, stay strong. It’s a fist-pumping, foot-stomping multipurpose chant for almost any situation — the verbal equivalent of the muscular arm emoji.


CreditVernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

“It’s also a way to encourage people to persevere through other sorts of difficulty,” Jennifer 8. Lee wrote for The Times during the Beijing Olympics in 2008. “It’s a way of expressing sympathy, support and solidarity that ‘Let’s go’ doesn’t quite capture.”

The historical record is spotty, but “add oil” is believed to have cropped up first at the Macau Grand Prix in the 1960s before seeping into Hong Kong slang. It was widely used during the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement demonstrations in 2014, and in 2018 “add oil” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Chris

Thank you
Melina Delkic helped compile today’s briefing. Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford provided the break from the news. Alisha Haridasani Gupta, on the briefings team, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach us at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about the Democratic debates.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Place to pin a tiny American flag (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Has your community newspaper closed? The Times wants to hear about where you turn for local news.

Chris Stanford writes the U.S. edition of the Morning Briefing. He also compiles a weekly news quiz. He joined The Times as a home page producer in 2013, before which he worked at The Washington Post and other news outlets. He is now based in London. @stanfordc


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