Your Tuesday Briefing

Good morning.

We’re covering a pivotal Tuesday for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the early results of the Canadian election and a push for press freedom in Australia.

Protesters for and against Brexit outside Parliament in London on Monday.

Bercow presents a Brexit snag — once again

In what could prove to be a pivotal day in the Brexit saga, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will ask members of Parliament to vote on the detailed legislation that would put his plan in place.

Though the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, on Sunday predicted that there would be enough support for Mr. Johnson’s plan, the numbers are so close that no one can be certain of the outcome.

Recap: On Monday, in an instance that was familiar to Mr. Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, put a stop to a vote on Mr. Johnson’s Brexit plan, saying that Parliament could not be made to vote on the same thing twice (the first time being Saturday).

What’s next: If Mr. Johnson’s plan wins, the government will face a second, critical test when it puts forward an aggressive, accelerated timetable for the legislation, designed to ram it through Parliament in three days.

If Parliament rejects that timetable, it will be almost impossible to avoid another delay. And it would give opponents time to amend the legislation, like adding a referendum on the plan or a customs union stipulation.

A win for the Islamic State?

ISIS stands to gain from America’s withdrawal from Syria.

President Trump’s pullout from Syria has handed the Islamic State its biggest win in more than four years and greatly improved its prospects, analysts say.

Although Mr. Trump declared victory over ISIS, the group retains as many as 18,000 “members” in Iraq and Syria, according to a recent Pentagon estimate. Its self-proclaimed caliph is still at large, and U.S. officials say they are now losing their ability to collect ground intelligence.

On Monday, a long convoy of American troops crossed into Iraq from Syria, accelerating the U.S. withdrawal. In Qamishli, a major city in Kurdish-held territory, video showed men hurling potatoes at an armored vehicle and shouting, “No America.”

Video from Syria: Separately, our reporters went into a prison full of Islamic State detainees, stuck in limbo as their countries refused to bring them home. None of them admitted to being fighters — one said he was a cook at an elementary school; one claimed he was an herbalist.

U.S. troops: President Trump has repeatedly promised to end what he calls America’s “endless wars,” but our reporters found that Mr. Trump is not so much ending wars as he is moving troops from one conflict to another.

Netanyahu fails to form government

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave up his attempt to form a government, clearing the way for Benny Gantz, who narrowly defeated him in elections last month, to try to assemble a coalition and become the country’s next leader.

Mr. Gantz, leader of the centrist Blue and White party, has 28 days to try. If he fails, Israel could be forced into an unprecedented third election or a unity government of some sort.

A political newcomer, Mr. Gantz has no clear path to assembling the required 61-seat majority in Israel’s Parliament.

What’s next: To do what Mr. Netanyahu could not, Mr. Gantz would need to recruit defectors from the political right, or the leader of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party to do what so far appears unthinkable: collaborate with Arab politicians.

If you have 12 minutes, this is worth it

How Trump’s G7 dream fell apart

President Trump did something unusual Saturday: He announced a reversal of his plans to host the Group of 7 summit at his resort outside Miami, after facing a fierce backlash. Our reporters looked at what made him change his mind.

Amid the bipartisan disapproval over Mr. Trump’s move to withdraw troops from Syria, and the highly charged impeachment inquiry, Republicans were not eager to answer ethics questions and defend the appropriateness of the president’s decision to hold the summit at the Doral resort, above. “We just didn’t need this,” one Republican leader said.

Here’s what else is happening

Canada election: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was projected to win a second term after an ugly campaign season. With votes still being counted, the CBC projected that Mr. Trudeau’s Liberal Party will not retain its majority in Canada’s House of Commons, though it would have enough seats for him to form a government.

Northern Ireland: The traditionally conservative territory is about to legalize both abortion and same-sex marriage, a head-snapping about-face that was imposed on the territory by the British Parliament after a collapse of the local government.

WeWork: The board of the struggling shared-office company could choose between two competing financial rescue packages as early as today — one from SoftBank, and the other from a consortium led by JPMorgan Chase.

Spain: The country’s acting prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, visited Catalonia after a week of separatist unrest — but spurned the pro-independence regional chief, accusing him of failing in his duty to restore order.

Chile: Santiago was virtually paralyzed on Monday as streets were blocked by protesters out for the fourth day in a row, subway stations that were ransacked remained shut, and stores, banks and schools were shuttered. At least 12 deaths have been reported in the violence, and 10,500 soldiers and police officers were sent to patrol the streets.

Snapshot: Above, newspapers in Australia with redacted front pages in protest of the government’s stifling of the free press. “When government keeps the truth from you, what are they covering up?” was the question on many of their covers. Journalists are pushing for a softening of restrictive laws that threaten jail time for certain whistle-blowers and reporters.

Royal family: A new documentary, about Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, offers an unusually revealing and intimate look into their struggles of coping with the spotlight over the past year.

What we’re reading: This account of how the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations unit welcomes home America’s war dead, by The Record of North Jersey. Will Lamb, a Times editor, called it “an extraordinary and moving look at a sensitive mission that few of us get to see.”

Now, a break from the news

Cook: This exquisitely simple recipe for penne with roasted cherry tomatoes requires only five ingredients. (Our Five Weeknight Dishes newsletter has more recommendations.)

Watch: Noel Fielding went from Britain’s favorite goth to a beloved host of “The Great British Baking Show.” To get there, he had to reframe how he saw himself and his work.

Go: In Michael Mayer’s revitalizing revival of “Little Shop of Horrors,” the genially gruesome classic becomes a sly morality tale for the age of universal celebrity.

Smarter Living: Taking a vacation can be a great way for adult siblings to reconnect and strengthen their relationship. If you’re traveling with a sibling, experts say it’s helpful to split up the planning, which encourages communication before the trip. And don’t be afraid to embrace solo side trips — we all need a few hours to ourselves.

Our Social Q’s column also tackles the tricky subject of dealing with an ex who interferes with family visits.

And now for the Back Story on …


Long before appearing in an errant presidential tweet about Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Esperanto was the name given to a language invented by a doctor in the late 1800s.

Its creator, L.L. Zamenhof, was from what is now Poland. He hoped that Esperanto would be adopted universally as a way to bridge international differences. If everyone spoke the same language, he reasoned, “education, ideals, convictions, aims, would be the same too, and all nations would be united in a common brotherhood.”

Zamenhof was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1910, and Esperanto was later proposed unsuccessfully as the official language of the League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations.

Esperanto has a Latin-based alphabet of 28 letters and relatively simple grammar rules.

While no country recognizes it as an official language, Esperanto has recently experienced a surge of interest online, including on Duolingo, the language-learning app, and as an option on Google Translate.

As an Esperantist would say, “Bonan matenon!” (“Good morning!”)

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

— Melina

Thank you
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. Chris Stanford wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the effort to extract detainees from camps in northern Syria.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: Slices of history (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times has 21 reporters covering next year’s presidential election. Get to know them here.

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