Tuesday Briefing: U.S. moves to crack down on TikTok

Also, uproar about a retouched royal photo and an Oscars recap.
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Morning Briefing: Asia Pacific Edition

March 12, 2024

Author Headshot

By Amelia Nierenberg

Writer, Briefings

Good morning. We’re covering new moves in the U.S. to crack down on TikTok and a royal P.R. blunder over an edited photo.

Plus, highlights from the Oscars.

A close-up photo of Donald Trump, wearing a blue tie.
Donald Trump said he still considered TikTok to be a national security threat, but that banning it would make young people “go crazy.” Scott McIntyre for The New York Times

Republicans plan U.S. TikTok crackdown

House Republicans plan to vote this week on legislation that would force the Chinese owners of TikTok to divest or be barred in the U.S., even after Donald Trump came out strongly against banning the platform.

“We must ensure the Chinese government cannot weaponize TikTok against American users and our government through data collection and propaganda,” said Representative Steve Scalise, the House majority leader.

Scalise, a Republican of Louisiana, said the House would try to speed the bill’s passage. The approach reflected the growing momentum behind the bill during an election year, when members of both parties want to show they are tough on China. President Biden has said he would sign the legislation.

But Trump, who as president once vowed to ban the platform, now vocally opposes the bill. He gave a rambling explanation for his reversal yesterday, saying that he did not want to alienate young voters or give Facebook, which he considers a nemesis, more power. The battle will test his ability to continue sinking bipartisan legislation from the campaign trail.

Context: The bill is one of several efforts over the past year aimed at curtailing TikTok because of concerns that its parent company’s relationship with Beijing poses risks to national security.

Fighting back: Last week, TikTok asked its users to flood congressional telephone lines and ask members not to shut down the platform.

A photo of Catherine with her three children with four zoomed photos showing details. The text highlights a portion of sleeve that is missing, hair with an artificial pattern, edges of patio tiles that appear repeated and a misaligned zipper.
The photo, with inconsistencies highlighted.  Original photo source: Prince of Wales/Kensington Palace. By The New York Times

A manipulated royal photo

Catherine, Princess of Wales, apologized yesterday for having doctored a photograph of herself with her three children that Kensington Palace had shared. News outlets retracted the photo from their articles hours later, citing the edits.

It was the first official photo of Catherine since before she underwent abdominal surgery two months ago. And it became a royal blunder, our London bureau chief writes. Even before her apology, memes of “undoctored” photos filled the internet. One showed a bored-looking Catherine smoking with a group of children.

If the photo was meant to douse speculation about Catherine’s health — she has not been seen in public since last year — it had the opposite effect. It set off more rumors and conspiracy theories and created a fresh tempest for a royal family that has lurched from one self-created crisis to another.

Some telltale edits: Catherine did not seem to be wearing her wedding ring. Part of one of her daughter’s sleeves was missing or misaligned.

An F-16 jet sits inside a building with its cockpit canopy open.
Twelve Ukrainian pilots are expected to be ready to fly F-16s in combat by this summer.  Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Ukraine could soon fly a few F-16s

Ukraine could deploy F-16 fighter jets by this summer. But despite promises from its European allies, delivering the jets and training the pilots has proved difficult. Ukraine may start with as few as six F-16s, out of about 45 pledged.

The jets could help Ukraine defend itself against Russia, which has used more aggressive air support to gain ground in the east in recent weeks. The F-16s would also likely come armed with missiles and bombs, which would partially make up for Ukraine’s shortage of ground-based munitions.

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THE LATEST NEWS

A line of men stand along a road as armed officers stand watching them.
Muslims who were prevented from entering Al Aqsa Mosque on Friday prayed instead on a sidewalk. Afif Amireh for The New York Times

Other Big Stories

  • About 50 people were treated by medical workers after a Latam flight to New Zealand experienced what a passenger called a “violent drop.”
  • Five missing skiers were found dead in the Swiss Alps. The police were looking for a sixth member of their group.

Science

A translucent sea squid against a black backdrop.
A potentially new species of deep-sea squid found by scientists in New Zealand.  Ocean Census/NIWA
  • A retired American diplomat became the first birder to see 10,000 species.

A Morning Read

An illustration of three people playing in a grassy field surrounded by butterflies. Two gaming controllers frame the composition.
Hoi Chan

Deb Amlen, who writes about games for The Times, learned to play Pokémon with her children when they were little. Well into her children’s adulthood, they’re still playing together.

“The gift isn’t the game,” she writes in an essay. “The real present is that as my children soar into their own independent lives, they still want me to fly along with them.”

We hope you’ve enjoyed this newsletter, which is made possible through subscriber support. Subscribe to The New York Times.

ARTS AND IDEAS

The producers, director and cast of “Oppenheimer” onstage at the Oscars.
Members of the “Oppenheimer” team accepted the Oscar for best picture. Amir Hamja/The New York Times

And the Oscar goes to …

“Oppenheimer” won seven Academy Awards, including best picture, best director (Christopher Nolan) and best actor (Cillian Murphy). Emma Stone won the Oscar for best actress for her performance in “Poor Things,” which won four awards. See the list of winners from Sunday.

In recent years, Hollywood’s top prize has gone almost exclusively to independent movies. But that “Oppenheimer” won this year reflected a shift. Call it the revenge of the studio movie: a blockbuster from an old-line studio with nearly $1 billion in ticket sales.

Highlights: Past winners gave moving tributes to current nominees. John Cena showed up (seemingly) nude. Ryan Gosling wore a sparkly pink suit to sing “I’m Just Ken,” from “Barbie,” the summer blockbuster. (Nominated for eight awards, “Barbie” won only one.) Here are the best and worst moments from the evening.

Ukraine and Russia: “20 Days in Mariupol,” directed by a Ukrainian, won for best documentary feature, which Ukrainians said may refocus attention on the Russian-occupied territories and the war. The awards also honored Aleksei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, during an in memoriam segment.

Style: Check out our roundup of stunning outfits and photos from the red carpet.

RECOMMENDATIONS

A large gray ceramic dish holds adas polo ba khorma (Persian lentil rice with dates) topped with yogurt and herbs. Additional yogurt is nearby.
David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Cook: Adas polo ba khorma, a Persian lentil rice dish with dates, is rich, sweet and spiced.

Read: Percival Everett re-imagines “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” from the perspective of Jim, the novel’s enslaved runaway.

Relax: Lie on your back on the floor. It’s calming.

Decorate: Bold patterns can spice up any room.

Revisit: These exes re-married each other.

Play Spelling Bee, the Mini Crossword, Wordle and Sudoku. Find all our games here.

That’s it for today. See you tomorrow. — Amelia

Email us at briefing@nytimes.com.

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