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We’re covering the trade war’s effects on Chinese spending in the U.S., and looking ahead to Robert Mueller’s testimony on Capitol Hill and the leadership transition in Britain.
The falloff is the result of several factors, including Washington’s increased scrutiny of Chinese investments and Beijing’s tightened limits on foreign spending.
The effects are being felt across the U.S. economy, including the tech, real estate and auto industries, as well as state governments. Even if a trade deal is reached, experts believe Chinese investment will continue to be tepid.
The details: Chinese direct investment in the U.S. fell to $5.4 billion in 2018 from $46.5 billion in 2016, according to an economic research firm.
Closer look: Stephen Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, has helped revive a Cold War-era group that warned against the dangers of the Soviet Union to focus on China.
Democrats recalibrate as President Trump exploits race
The candidates challenging Mr. Trump for the White House have generally tried to ignore his incendiary language. But his suggestion last week that four minority congresswomen should “go back” to the countries they came from — a sentiment echoed at one of his campaign rallies — has made clear that race, identity and grievance politics will be a focus of the 2020 campaign.
The Democratic hopefuls universally denounced Mr. Trump’s remarks, but they differ on how the eventual nominee should combat the racial division embedded in those words.
Voices: More than 16,000 readers shared their stories about being told to “go back.”
Fact check: Mr. Trump has branded Democrats as economy-wrecking socialists. We examined what socialism means, and the degree to which his opponents fit the definition.
No fires yet, but California is already paying for them
Far fewer acres have burned so far in the state compared with the same period last year, but the arrival of peak wildfire season has many on edge.
Insurance rates have soared in some of the riskiest places, and some insurers are refusing to renew policies. Lake County, where 2,000 homes were lost to fires in recent years, is spending $700,000 to install backup generators, after the utility company said it would turn off the power when fire risk was high.
Why it matters: The financial burden is mounting in California, where taxes are high and housing costs exorbitant.
Mueller hearings loom over Washington
Robert Mueller, the former special counsel, is scheduled to testify in Congress on Wednesday about his investigation into Russian election interference. The stakes are high for Democrats, who are hoping that five hours of nationally broadcast testimony will, at the least, damage President Trump’s re-election prospects.
Mr. Mueller has made his reluctance to testify widely known, and lawmakers involved in the hearings have warned that bombshell disclosures are unlikely. Here are 19 questions we have about the investigation.
Background: Since 1990, Mr. Mueller has spent dozens of hours testifying on Capitol Hill. A review of those 88 appearances shows that he often left lawmakers frustrated.
Another angle: House Republicans have criticized Mr. Mueller’s investigation, but some are encouraging a gentler approach in this week’s questioning.
If you have 7 minutes, this is worth it
A peculiar summer tradition
The Dutch do childhood differently, with an emphasis on independence. Children in the Netherlands are taught not to depend on adults too much, and adults are taught to let children solve their own problems.
One summer rite of passage, known as dropping, embodies these principles in extreme form: leaving children to navigate the woods at night. “Of course, you make sure they don’t die,” one parent said, “but other than that, they have to find their own way.”
Here’s what else is happening
Equifax settlement: The credit bureau is expected to pay about $650 million after a data breach that exposed the information of 145 million people. Federal and state agencies are to announce details of the settlement today.
Defying protesters in Puerto Rico: Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said he would not seek re-election and would step down as president of his political party, but he also refused to resign.
Transition in Britain: Boris Johnson, who is expected to become prime minister this week, has a spotty record in previous roles as London mayor and foreign secretary. The leadership change comes amid growing tensions with Iran, which seized a British oil tanker last week.
Hong Kong attack: Dozens of people were wounded at a train station as men with sticks and metal bars apparently targeted antigovernment demonstrators.
India’s moon mission: The country launched a rocket carrying an uncrewed lunar lander today, a week after the first attempt was canceled.
In memoriam: Robert Morgenthau fought crime for more than four decades as the chief federal prosecutor for Southern New York and as Manhattan’s longest-serving district attorney. He died on Sunday at 99.
Life as a food delivery guy: Our reporter spent 27 frantic hours as a food app deliveryman, learning how the high-tech era of on-demand everything is transforming low-wage occupations.
Box office record: “Avengers: Endgame” passed “Avatar” to become the highest-grossing movie of all time, not adjusting for inflation. “Avatar” collected $2.79 billion by the end of its run a decade ago, about $3.3 billion today.
What we’re reading: This article in The Anchorage Daily News. Dodai Stewart, an editor on the Metro desk, calls it “a harrowing piece of local journalism that quickly transports you into the struggle of hiring a police force in a small town in Alaska, where low pay and poor appeal mean that sometimes the only applicants are convicted criminals.”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: Garlicky tomato toast is a perfect snack.
Listen: Our latest “Popcast” focuses on the father of bossa nova, João Gilberto, whose death at 88 was announced this month.
Read: “The Chain,” Adrian McKinty’s existential thriller, imagines a crime syndicate operating a string of abductions like a chain letter, in which victims are themselves pushed to do evil.
Watch: “Cities of Last Things,” Wi Ding Ho’s delicate and allusive film, follows the life of a violent and vengeful cop — backward.
Smarter Living: Older pets require extra love and care. Use a notebook to track changes in behavior — including appetite, thirst and sleeping patterns — and share it with your vet. (Make those visits at least twice a year.)
And we collected the seven most important supplies for an earthquake-preparedness kit.
And now for the Back Story on …
This really is Christmas in July, at least in Denmark.
For the 62nd year, the World Santa Claus Congress is convening at an amusement park north of Copenhagen.
The festival draws the red-suited and white-bearded — along with Mrs. Clauses and elves — from about a dozen countries.
The four-day affair typically includes an obstacle course race, a mass visit to the Little Mermaid statue and a parade, as well as discussions about how to be a good Santa.
It was the idea of the Danish entertainer Christian Jorgen Nielsen. As “Professor Tribini,” he performed as a street singer, juggler, clown, magician and actor before his death in 1973.
To be well trained, well clad and snowy bearded, performers these days can spend thousands of dollars on Santa school, outfits and beard salon appointments.
But the best-paid Santas can recoup that quickly. The wage-tracking site PayScale, citing 2017 data, said high earners could make more than $20,000 during the 40 or so days of the Christmas shopping season.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. Victoria Shannon, on the briefings team, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about Boris Johnson, who is expected to become Britain’s next prime minister.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Santa’s little helper (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Graphics, Science and Immersive Storytelling teams at The Times collaborated on telling the story of the Apollo 11 mission using the astronauts’ own words and photographs.