Your Friday Briefing: A Coronation Preview
Tomorrow, King Charles III will be crowned at Westminster Abbey. It will be the U.K.’s first coronation in 70 years.
Charles has been king since his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died seven months ago. Since ascending the throne, he has worked to make the monarchy more accessible, forward-looking and inclusive, royal watchers say.
As king, Charles faces a daunting task. He is walking a tightrope between tradition and modernity, epitomized in his personal life. He’s divorced — and remarried. He eats healthy and cares about climate change. But tomorrow’s rituals will be a reminder that, in a secular, multiethnic, digital-age society, the crown is fundamentally an anachronism.
The British people, some of whom are more preoccupied with the spiraling cost-of-living crisis, have not necessarily turned against the idea of a king. But many, especially younger people, find the trappings of royalty increasingly irrelevant.
Around the Commonwealth, there are some calls for a reshuffling, but independence is not a top-shelf priority for Canada, Australia or New Zealand.
Details: The festivities start at 11 a.m. in London, or 8 p.m. in Sydney and 6 p.m. in Hong Kong. Learn more about the coronation in our F.A.Q.
For more: Take a look at these memorable photos from Charles’s life.
Readers weigh in: We asked you to share your thoughts on the royal family. Here’s what two readers from Australia had to say:
I have absolutely no interest in this dysfunctional, archaic, parasitic institution. My uppermost interest in the British monarchy is to see Australia break away and become a republic! — Karen Houghton, Brisbane
When I learned that I was only a year older than Prince Charles, I took an interest in the royal family but never became a fervid royalist. Once I was for a republic, but many world presidents over the decades, especially in recent years, have altered my view. — Carole B.
Chinese security officers have in recent weeks made unannounced visits to the Chinese offices of several foreign businesses, and seem particularly focused on U.S. consulting firms, like Bain & Company.
Separately, Chinese lawmakers have expanded counterespionage laws, which the U.S. ambassador said could make illegal the “mundane” research that companies regularly do before an investment deal.
As the scrutiny fuels a new climate of uncertainty, a U.S.-based lawyer said he had recently heard from two U.S. companies trying to leave China. “The message is: ‘We don’t care that much about the economy. What we care about is keeping you in line.’”
Analysis: The moves appear to reflect the demands from Xi Jinping, China’s leader, to fortify national security and seal off the flow of potentially sensitive information to foreign governments and investors.
Related: China’s internet regulators have banned videos and posts about poverty and difficult economic realities. Behind the ban is a government eager to keep all talk about China positive, our columnist Li Yuan writes.
The cost of corruption in Turkey
A Times investigation examines how corruption in Turkey’s construction boom undermined safety. More than 50,000 people died as buildings toppled, crumbled or pancaked during the earthquake on Feb. 6.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is running for re-election this month, used construction as a vessel for growth and a symbol of Turkey’s progress. But under his leadership, developers made payments to circumvent bureaucratic approvals, prioritizing speed over safety.
In one instance, a developer won zoning approval for an apartment complex in Antakya after donating more than $200,000 to a local soccer club, where the mayor is an honorary president.
The project failed inspection, but the developers used political influence to open its doors anyway. About 65 people died when that apartment complex collapsed during the earthquake.
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Eating highly processed foods, like cereal and frozen meals, is linked to an increased risk of diabetes, obesity and even cancer. But recent research shows that they are also associated with anxiety, depression and cognitive decline.
Scientists are still trying to figure out why, but much of the research focuses on gut health. The link between these foods and mental health could also work in both directions: People who are anxious or depressed tend to eat more unhealthy foods, a nutrition professor said.
For more: Do you know how to spot ultraprocessed foods? Take our quiz.
One of these handbags shown above was made by Chanel. It costs $10,200. The other, well, was not made by Chanel. It’s $390.
But can you tell the difference?
I certainly couldn’t. Some of these realistic counterfeits, known as “superfakes,” are even duping professionals. They’re “getting so good, to the point that it comes down to inside etchings, or nine stitches instead of eight,” one authenticator told The Times.
The verisimilitude is upending luxury fashion, which relies on quality and exclusivity to justify its high prices. These bags are mostly made in China, using top-quality materials and skilled labor. So does that mean that they’re not, in fact, fakes at all?
“If you believe that fashion is inherently all about artifice,” Amy Wang writes in The Times Magazine, “then there is an argument to be made that the superfake handbag, blunt and upfront to the buyer about its trickery, is the most honest, unvarnished item of all.”