Your Wednesday Briefing

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China’s currency, known as the yuan or the renminbi, has reached its strongest level in more than two years against the dollar and other major currencies, and it shows no signs of stopping.

It could make Chinese goods more expensive for consumers around the world. Beijing has kept a firm hand on the value of the renminbi, keeping it weak to help factories maintain their low prices when they sell goods overseas. But now, it looks like the factories don’t need that kind of help: People are still buying, even as the renminbi gets stronger.

This could help relations with the United States. Critics of Beijing in Congress and within the government have long accused the Chinese government of unfairly manipulating the currency in ways that hurt American manufacturers.

Explanation: China is a rare bright spot in an otherwise ravaged global economy: Factories are charging ahead at full steam, with exports booming. Investors are keen to stash their money in the country, while the central bank has room to leave interest rates higher than in Europe and the U.S.

Numbers: Through Monday, the U.S. dollar was worth 6.47 renminbi, compared with 7.16 renminbi in late May, and close to its strongest level in two and half years.


The decision by the Supreme Court on Tuesday to temporarily halt new farming laws at the center of huge protests appeared unlikely to end the weekslong showdown choking New Delhi.

India’s top court said a committee of experts would consult with officials and protesters to try to find a solution. But protest leaders, who have been pressing to repeal the laws, said the members of the committee had already voiced support for the legislation. “This is the government tactic to reduce pressure on” itself, said a union leader.

Farmers said they would not only continue their demonstrations, but also go ahead with a large tractor march inside New Delhi this month.

The dynamics: Tens and thousands of farmers have set up protest camps outside of the capital for more than six weeks. The new laws would ease some government regulations in order to encourage private investors to deal directly with farmers. The farmers are worried about battling corporate giants under the new system and having little protection.


Japan’s health ministry said that four people who arrived this month at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport had tested positive for the coronavirus and that it was a separate variant, with similarities to those detected in Britain and South Africa.

An official working on Japan’s Covid-19 response said that the country was consulting with the World Health Organization about the variant.

Context: Scientists still have a lot to learn about the British and South African variants, but experts are concerned enough to warn people to be extra vigilant in masking and social distancing. Both variants carry genetic changes in the virus’s spike protein — the molecule used to unlock and enter human cells — that could make it easier to establish an infection. Here’s what you need to know.

Once a hub for Western and Indian tourists, Kashmir has been reeling for more than a year. First, India brought in security forces to clamp down. Then the coronavirus struck. Residents say that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not delivered on his promise that stripping the region of its autonomy would bring opportunity.

Our correspondent paid a visit to Kashmir and spoke to residents in Srinagar, where houseboat hotels teemed with dignitaries and stars until now. “There’s no brightness,” said one hotel owner. “It’s looking like dark days ahead.”

Impeachment: The House of Representatives is set to vote to formally call on Vice President Mike Pence to strip President Trump of his power by invoking the 25th Amendment. If Mr. Pence refuses to do so, an impeachment vote is expected Wednesday. For daily updates, sign up for our Impeachment Briefing.

South Korean women: Guidelines on a government website advised pregnant women to cook for their families, look attractive and stay slender. Those words of advice have caused a backlash on social media, where people said they reflected outmoded views.

Indonesian plane crash: Navy divers recovered the black box from Sriwijaya Air Flight 182, which will help officials understand why the 26-year-old Boeing 737-500 crashed on Saturday just four minutes after takeoff from Jakarta.

Snapshot: Above, Madrid over the weekend. Spain is still digging itself out of the heaviest snowfall in 50 years. Storm Filomena wreaked havoc, blanketing the capital. At least three people have died.

Cook: This vegan Caesar salad with crisp chickpeas mimics the rich, creamy texture of egg-based Caesar dressing using cashews.

Watch: The rollicking action-comedy “Teenage Bounty Hunters” and “The Great British Baking Show” are among the 50 best shows now on Netflix. Here’s the full list of recommendations.

Do: Pretend you’re in Tunis. The Tunisian capital beckons with beaches, the medina, cafe districts and Roman ruins that speak to its place in history. Here are ways to capture its spirit at home.

We can help you make your time at home fun. Here’s our full At Home collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe.

House Democrats have introduced an article of impeachment charging President Trump for his role in inciting a mob that stormed the Capitol last week. Mr. Trump has less than two weeks left in office. The process could prevent him from seeking re-election. Our reporters explain.

If Mr. Trump is impeached in the House and subsequently convicted by a two-thirds vote in the Senate and removed from office, the Senate could then vote to bar him from ever holding office again.

The Constitution says that the Senate, after voting to convict an impeached president, can consider “disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.”

This would be determined by a second vote, requiring only a simple majority of senators to successfully disqualify him from holding office in the future.

Mr. Trump, who is said to be contemplating another run for president in 2024, has just eight days remaining in office. It’s an impeachment timeline that is tight, but not impossible. Constitutional scholars say that a Senate trial and a vote for disqualification could happen after Jan. 20.

Because of the stakes and the lack of a precedent for disqualifying a president from future office, the matter would probably go before the Supreme Court.


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

— Melina


Thank you
Carole Landry helped write this briefing. Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected].

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the impeachment of President Trump.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Job with auditions (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Our pop culture reporter Kyle Buchanan joined WNYC’s All of It, where he talked about the future of movies after coronavirus.

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