Monday Briefing: Xi Jinping Visits Europe

Xi Jinping, China’s leader, arrived in France yesterday on his first trip to Europe in five years. He will also visit Serbia and Hungary.

The three countries, to varying degrees, are embracing China’s push for a new global order. Xi seems intent on seizing opportunities to loosen the continent’s bonds with the U.S. and forge a world freed of its dominance. The visit is likely to be seen as a none-too-subtle effort by Xi to divide Western allies.

Soon after arriving in Paris, he praised France, whose president, Emmanuel Macron, has often made the Gaullist point that Europe “must never be a vassal of the United States.”

The chemistry between Xi and Macron — who visited China just over a year ago, and echoed the Chinese lexicon of a “multipolar” world, freed of “blocs” — appears to lie in a shared view that the postwar order must be replaced. Xi wants to court leaders who are frustrated by U.S. dominance, see China as a counterweight and are eager to bolster economic ties.

Analysis: “Macron is trying to bring a third way in the current global chaos,” said one French expert on relations with China.

What’s next: Tomorrow, Xi heads to Serbia. His arrival coincides with the 25th anniversary of the deadly NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. That mistaken strike, for which the White House apologized, killed three Chinese journalists and ignited protests around the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

Netanyahu accused Al Jazeera, which has long had a tense relationship with Israel, of harming its national security and inciting violence against its soldiers. Israeli officials did not immediately provide examples of content that Israel believed posed a threat.

In a statement in Arabic, Al Jazeera called the decision a “criminal act,” adding that “Israeli’s suppression of the free press to cover up its crimes has not deterred us from performing our duty,” Journalism organizations denounced the closure, which had been under discussion in Israel for weeks, as a blow to press freedom.

Context: A major source of news in the Arab world, Al Jazeera has reported extensively from Gaza and highlighted the suffering of the war.

Other updates:

The Canadian police said on Friday that three Indian men had been arrested and charged in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh separatist who was fatally shot in Canada last June.

The arrests did little to demystify the killing, which set off a diplomatic clash and led to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s blunt accusation that India had orchestrated the murder. The Canadian police did not present evidence to support his claim, but said that an investigation into India’s role in Nijjar’s death is ongoing.

Stakes: The accusation, if proven, could suggest that India’s external spy agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, is now extending its playbook of working with criminals to carry out operations in Western countries, analysts said.

This year, Taiwan’s major pilgrimages for Mazu — the goddess of the sea — attracted record numbers of participants. Many are younger people who want to keep old traditions alive.

“They’re proud of their culture. They’re proud of being Taiwanese,” Chris Buckley, a Times reporter based in Taipei, explained in a video. “And so what you find is this pilgrimage that might start as a sort of social event or cultural tourism can actually take on a deeper meaning for a good number of the people.”

Lives Lived: Frank Stella moved American art away from Abstract Expressionism and toward cool minimalism. He died at 87. Read about his work.

  • The Australia Letter: Damien Cave, our Sydney bureau chief, sees riffs on an Australian restraint toward success — “tall poppy syndrome” — in Peter Weir’s 1989 film “Dead Poets Society.”

  • “Unfrosted”: Jerry Seinfeld’s directorial debut is a satirical take on the origin of Pop-Tarts. Read about the real story and test your Pop-Tart knowledge.

  • The Premier League: The world’s most popular sports league is modern Britain’s greatest cultural export. But it’s not just an English story — its nerve-racking title race was watched across the world. See photos here.

Cheaply made, haphazardly assembled drones are key to the rebel fight in Myanmar. Resistance forces are getting creative with instructions crowdsourced online, parts ordered from China and wires repurposed from drones used for agriculture.

All this while their electricity sputters off.

The drones have changed the course of the fight against the military junta, which took power in a 2021 coup. They have helped rebels capture military outposts just by hovering and spooking soldiers into fleeing, and enabled sweeping offensives into junta-controlled territory, targeting police stations and bases.

And the Myanmar fighters are not alone: Cheap consumer drones are changing conflicts from Ukraine and Yemen, to Sudan and Gaza. The world’s outgunned forces are often learning from each other, teaching each other to hack through the default software on commercial drones that could give away their location, or sharing 3-D printing blueprints.

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