Spain Quarantine, Russia Protests, Olivia de Havilland: Your Monday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering new quarantine rules on travelers from Spain, continuing protests in Russia against President Vladimir Putin and the death of a Hollywood Golden Age star.

But the speed blindsided many Britons who had traveled to Spain assuming they could return home without restrictions — including the transportation secretary responsible for aviation policy, Grant Shapps, who was on vacation.

Travelers will now have to isolate themselves for 14 days when they return. As a result, many in Britain are rethinking their plans, and some airlines canceled flights to Spain.

The decision had been made after data received on Friday showed a jump in Spanish cases, the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said.

Details: Scotland, which had lifted its quarantine rules for Spain just a few days ago, said it would reimpose them. France on Friday also advised against travel to Catalonia, Spain’s northeastern region bordering France, where hundreds of thousands of residents were in temporary lockdown this month.

In the last week, Spain’s daily average has topped 1,700 cases — as many as Britain, France and Italy combined.

In other news:

  • Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, placed a city near the country’s border with the South under lockdown and declared a national emergency after acknowledging that his country might have its first case of the coronavirus.

  • President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil said on Saturday that he no longer had the coronavirus, appearing to have experienced only mild symptoms from a scourge he has repeatedly downplayed. More than 86,000 people in Brazil have died from the virus.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators rallied for the third straight weekend in Khabarovsk, in Russia’s Far East. The outpouring of anger, fueled by the arrest of a popular governor, has little precedent in modern Russia. It highlights the discontent that President Vladimir Putin now faces across the country.

Just this month, Mr. Putin won a scripted referendum that will allow him to stay in office until 2036. Still, public disenchantment with corruption, stifled freedoms and stagnant incomes has worsened with the pandemic.

Bigger picture: Across the country, fear of the police and the seeming hopelessness of effecting change has largely kept people off the streets, and many believe an alternative to Mr. Putin could be worse. He still enjoys about a 60 percent approval rating, though that is falling.

Related: Facebook hired a Ukrainian group battling Russian disinformation to flag misleading posts. But the group has been battling accusations of ties to the Ukrainian far right and of bias in its fact-checking — raising questions about who is a neutral fact checker in a country at war.

Hungary’s most widely read news site was thrown into disarray last week after the organization’s editor in chief was fired and scores of journalists quit in protest, as the government moved closer to complete control over the country’s media landscape.

The takeover of’s advertising unit by an ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orban was part of an effort to limit dissenting voices and silence critics. The site is one of many independent media outlets in Central Europe that have been pressured financially and politically by governments bent on controlling public discourse.

Context: The decline of such outlets in Hungary is part of a troubling pattern. Since returning to power, Mr. Orban has rewritten Hungary’s constitution to favor his party and has overhauled the judicial system. Poland’s press also faces pressure following a presidential election.

Quote of note: “Imagine all the media in a U.S. state were to come under the ownership of a single political group,” one media think tank commentator said, “and all of these media outlets are funded by taxpayer money.”

For many French citizens of Algerian descent whose families migrated across the Mediterranean, summer in Algeria is a cornerstone of their cross-cultural identity — what they call “bled,” a word derived from Arabic that refers to the countryside.

This year, with Algeria’s borders closed, they are stuck, and the pain is acute. “It’s sacred for us to leave,” Malika Haï said. Above, women in Toulouse shared emotional memories of trips to Algeria.

U.S. unrest: Weeks of violent clashes between federal agents and protesters in Portland, Ore., galvanized thousands to march through the streets of U.S. cities over the weekend. In Seattle, the police confronted a crowd of about 5,000 people, some of whom were setting fires, they said. Officers fired flash grenades, and showered protesters with pepper spray.

Nantes fire: A Rwandan refugee who volunteered at the 15th-century cathedral in France has confessed to setting a fire that severely damaged the interior of the church this month. Prosecutors have charged him with arson.

In memoriam: Olivia de Havilland, an actress who gained movie immortality in “Gone With the Wind,” died on Sunday in Paris. She was 104 and one of the last surviving stars of Hollywood’s fabled Golden Age.

Paris deputy quits: The longtime deputy mayor resigned on Thursday, after protests over his links with Gabriel Matzneff, a French writer once embraced by France’s elite who openly promoted pedophilia for decades.

Snapshot: Above, Muslim worshipers at the Hagia Sophia on Friday in Istanbul. It was the first time in nearly nine decades that the Byzantine structure opened as a working mosque.

Cook: Fried chicken biscuits with hot honey butter could be a weeknight dinner with a side of greens, but they’re also perfect for a picnic.

Watch: “Muppets Now,” a new series on Disney+, is the latest attempt to take Kermit the Frog and his fuzzy companions back to their anarchic sketch comedy roots.

Listen: Taylor Swift, J. Cole, the Avalanches, Vusi Mahlasela and others are on this week’s playlist of the most notable new songs, compiled by our pop critics.

Find more ideas on what to read, cook, watch in our At Home collection.

Stationed all over the world, foreign correspondents can feel isolated. Alissa J. Rubin, our Baghdad bureau chief, wrote about a weekly call with colleagues that has helped them deal with the pandemic. Here’s an excerpt.

At The New York Times, foreign correspondents are a disparate group. We work in different countries, in different time zones, in wildly different cultures.

Only rarely do we know our colleagues in other regions, and when we do run into them, we often feel a bit shy talking to them — what would Bangkok and Warsaw have in common?

But the coronavirus changed that. It gave us common ground. In ways we never could have anticipated, Covid-19 turned out to be a leveler — of differences between editors and reporters, Sinophiles and Europeanists, newer reporters and “old hands.”

What brought us closer together was a weekly group video meeting that began as a result of a voluntary group session with a psychiatrist. The idea was to help those far from home feel less anxious as the pandemic spread to more and more of the countries where we lived and worked.

We discuss the mundane, such as ordering food or which Netflix or Amazon Prime series we are watching, but we also discuss the professional: the pros and cons of working with sources through video; long-distance transportation options (for those of us who can travel); where to stay (hotel or Airbnb?).

And, because all of us are living the story that we are reporting, sometimes we talk about the deeply personal, like writing frustrations and strategies for avoiding depression during a lockdown (one suggestion: have a call every day with a colleague).

Ernesto Londoño, the Rio de Janeiro bureau chief, offered advice on meditation. Chris Buckley, a China correspondent who had been through a draconian three-month lockdown in Wuhan, gave recommendations on structuring our days and pacing ourselves when time seemed to fall into a black hole.

Why do we keep showing up for this meeting? Because it has become our town square, our group kitchen table, a place where we see people with whom we share a way of life and can talk about all that we’ve lost without being judged.

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

— Isabella

Thank you
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is an examination of the truth, in a moment when facts can seem malleable.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: “Sesame Street” muppet who lives in a trash can (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The media support network Study Hall published a profile of our Styles editor, Choire Sicha, and his unusual route to The Times.

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