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Your Friday Briefing

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We’re covering tax charges against the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, and Xi Jinping’s warning to the West on the 100th anniversary of China’s Communist Party.

The Trump Organization, the family real estate business that catapulted Donald Trump to fame, was charged Thursday in a 15-year tax fraud scheme. The charges open up an aggressive new phase in a long-running criminal investigation into the former president.

While Trump himself was not charged, his long-serving and trusted chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, surrendered to the authorities. He is accused of avoiding taxes on $1.7 million in income and faces grand larceny, tax fraud and other charges.

The charges stem from the Manhattan district attorney’s sweeping inquiry into the business practices of Trump and his company, an investigation that is continuing. Prosecutors have been looking into whether Trump and the Trump Organization manipulated property values to obtain loans and tax benefits, among other potential financial crimes.

Test of loyalty: Weisselberg, who is 73 years old and has served as the Trump Organization’s financial gatekeeper for more than two decades, is coming under increasing pressure to turn on the family.

Impact: The indictment of the Trump Organization strikes a blow to the former president just as he has begun holding rallies again. In a statement, the company said Weisselberg was being used as a “pawn in a scorched-earth attempt to harm the former president.”

China’s leader delivered a defiant speech in Beijing on Thursday during an event celebrating 100 years of the Chinese Communist Party. China’s rise, Xi Jinping declared, is unstoppable.

“The Chinese people will never allow foreign forces to bully, oppress or enslave us,” Xi said, clad in a Mao suit. “Whoever nurses delusions of doing that will crack their heads and spill blood on the Great Wall of steel built from the flesh and blood of 1.4 billion Chinese people.”

A crowd of 70,000 people waved flags, sang and cheered in unison. Troops marched, and jets flew overhead in perfect formations. Each time Xi made a pugnacious comment, the crowd applauded and roared approval. The event was staged to convey a powerful nation at ease while the rest of the world struggled in the pandemic.

Context: Xi’s speech was one of the most anticipated in his nearly nine years in power and was all the more significant because he seeks to extend his rule. He trumpeted the party’s successes in limiting Covid-19’s spread, reducing poverty and quashing dissent in Hong Kong.

Related: We compiled pictures that show the improbable rise of a party that was born in the rubble of dynasty. The anniversary has also inspired a wave of state-approved art.

A year and a half since the coronavirus began racing across the globe, it is on the rise again in vast stretches of the world, driven largely by the variants, particularly the highly contagious Delta variant first identified in India.

In Indonesia, grave diggers are working into the night, as oxygen and vaccines are in short supply. New restrictions were announced on Thursday for parts of Java and Bali islands. In Bangladesh, urban garment workers fleeing lockdown for their home cities are likely to be seeding another surge.

Most Covid vaccines appear to be effective against the Delta variant, and initial research indicates that vaccinated people who become infected are likely to have mild or asymptomatic cases. But even most of the wealthiest countries have fewer than half their populations fully vaccinated. Experts say that much higher vaccination rates and continued precautions are needed to tame the pandemic.

More variants on the way? Unvaccinated populations may serve as incubators of new variants that could evolve in dangerous ways, with Delta giving rise to what Indian researchers are calling Delta Plus. There are also the Gamma and Lambda variants.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

For many Olympic hopefuls, the past year and a half was a period of uncertainty and anxiety. The athletes grappled with shuttered training facilities, canceled meets and shoestring budgets, and it was unclear whether the Tokyo Games would happen at all.

In pro tennis, the biggest stars earn fortunes in prize money and endorsements. But for the rank-and-file, the sport is far less lucrative: After travel, coaching and other expenses, most players barely scrape by.

“If you are not in the Top 100, you are basically not making any money,” said Vasek Pospisil, a Canadian player who has been ranked as high as 25th in the world. Contrast that with the N.H.L., Pospisil noted, which has roughly 700 players and a guaranteed minimum salary of $700,000.

The inequality also means many players lack the resources to improve. “The players ranked 150 to 250 are on the cusp of breaking through, but they need to be able to invest in themselves,” said Gaby Dabrowski, another player. “You need a coach to guide you, to have a vision for your tennis, to see your blind spots, and you need money for that.”

One thing that separates tennis from many other sports is that its players are not in a union. Last year, Pospisil and Novak Djokovic announced the formation of the Professional Tennis Players Association, which would negotiate on behalf of players.

The fledgling organization has yet to win the support of other top players on the men’s or women’s sides. And it faces opposition from the game’s most powerful institutions. For more, read Michael Steinberger’s article in The Times Magazine.

What to Cook

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Melina

P.S. Stephanie Nolen, who has reported for The Globe and Mail in a host of different countries, is our new global health reporter.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about payment for college athletes.

Sanam Yar wrote the Arts and Ideas section. You can reach Melina and the team at [email protected].


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