(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)
We’re covering the 2020 Democrats’ positions on climate change, the political crisis in Britain and the human cost of Amazon’s fast deliveries.
The 2020 Democrats on climate change
Ten Democratic candidates promised on Wednesday to take aggressive action to combat global warming during a CNN forum on climate change, the first such prime-time event in a presidential campaign. Almost all of the candidates have a goal of achieving carbon neutrality across the U.S. economy by 2050, but they differed on how to get there and how to pay for it.
Many candidates embraced the idea of taxing carbon dioxide pollution, a policy that most environmental economists agree is the most effective way to cut emissions but that has drawn intense political opposition. They also vowed to undo Trump administration environmental policies and promote renewable energy. Here’s what they said.
CreditEric Thayer for The New York Times
Hurricane Dorian creeps toward the Carolinas
The Carolinas braced for dangerous winds, rain and storm surge as Dorian strengthened to a Category 3 storm on Wednesday night, when it was about 105 miles south of Charleston, S.C. Florida largely escaped unscathed.
Context: Parts of the Bahamas were wiped out by the storm. Aerial images from Marsh Harbour, the largest town on the island of Great Abaco, give a first look at the large-scale damage.
Will Britain’s voters solve the Brexit brawl?
A looming election seems to be the last political mechanism to resolve the political crisis over how the country should leave the European Union. An inconclusive result could reinforce fears that the problem defies a democratic solution.
This week, Parliament voted to take a “no-deal” Brexit off the table, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Lawmakers also rejected Mr. Johnson’s request for an early election — at least for now. It was the third rebuke of the leader in two days.
Background: British democracy puts less power in the hands of voters, and more in the hands of institutional gatekeepers. In the battle for Brexit, that made all the difference, our columnists write.
Quotable: “Sit up!” lawmakers jeered at Jacob Rees-Mogg, the House of Commons leader, who reclined on Parliament’s front benches during debates this week.
When fast, free shipping delivers heartbreak
Amazon directs its destinations, deadlines and routes, but when it crashes, the retail giant often escapes responsibility, a joint investigation between The Times and ProPublica found.
More than 60 accidents since June 2015 resulted in serious injuries, including 10 deaths. And that could be only a small fraction of the actual number: Many drivers don’t sue, and those who do can’t always tell when Amazon is involved.
Background: As it moves to reduce its reliance on legacy carriers, Amazon has created a network of contractors that allows it to expand and shrink the delivery force as needed, while avoiding the costs of taking on permanent employees.
If you have 10 minutes, this is worth it
A very German idea of freedom
Germany’s nudist movement has survived Hitler, Communism and Instagram. Entire stretches of German waterfronts are designated as nudist beaches. There are sporting events like nude yoga and nude sledding. For many, getting naked has a lot to do with fighting repression.
“Germans are both afraid of freedom and deeply desire it,” said John C. Kornblum, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany. “When people walk down the beach naked, it allows them to feel a little rebellious.”
Our Berlin bureau chief found that reporting the article involved tricky logistics: Should she take her clothes off?
Snapshot: A year ago, electrical scooters were hailed as the next big thing in personal transportation. But their troubles in San Diego, above, show how the services have hit growing pains.
Late-night comedy: “Because of the fact that the president misrepresented where the water would go, I’m calling this scandal ‘Water-gate,’” Stephen Colbert said, after President Trump displayed a map of Hurricane Dorian’s path with a black line that appeared to have been drawn to extend it into Alabama.
What we’re reading: This Financial Times article. Our senior economics correspondent Neil Irwin had his tongue in his cheek when he posted on Twitter: “Apropos of nothing in particular, here is a story about Oxford in the era of Boris Johnson and the Brexiteers, a place ‘shot through with dilettantism, sexual harassment and sherry.’”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: Buy a rotisserie chicken, and make an old-school salad with balsamic dressing.
Watch: Normani and her choreographer, Sean Bankhead, talk about “Motivation,” inspirations and showing the world her dance chops.
Listen: The duo 100 gecs’s debut album, “1000 gecs,” smashes dozens of rapid-fire reference points into something exhilarating. It’s a Critic’s Pick.
Smarter Living: Raising children can be physically dangerous. Our Parenting editor’s toddler stabbed her in the eye with a pointy toy, and doctors say broken ankles from tripping over playthings are common. A pediatrician says the best defense is awareness of children’s unpredictability.
And our tech adviser shows how easy it is to turn a tablet into a portable art studio.
And now for the Back Story on …
The languages of Hong Kong
When Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, released a major announcement on Wednesday, she made the statement in Cantonese and in English. At news conferences, she responds to reporters’ questions in whichever of the two languages they ask.
That’s the norm in the territory — at least for now.
Dozens of languages are spoken by Hong Kong’s richly mixed population, but few are official. For most of the 156 years of British colonial rule, English was the only sanctioned language. In 1974, Chinese was added. But which?
There are many Chinese languages and dialects. Most Hong Kongers had come from the neighboring province of Guangdong, once known as Canton, so Cantonese is what Hong Kong officials most often pair with English.
But Mandarin, China’s national language, is growing. Migration from the mainland surged after Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997, and Mandarin is now a language of instruction in many schools and all but mandatory in many jobs.
Its increasing presence is part of the “Mainlandization” that the Hong Kong protesters are fighting.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
Melina Delkic helped compile this briefing. Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and Chris Harcum provided the break from the news. Andrea Kannapell, the briefings editor, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is on Walmart entering the gun debate.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Race with a baton (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• All readers, regardless of whether they are paying subscribers, have full access to articles from our Reader Center and videos on our collection page.