Your Thursday Briefing – The New York Times

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Speaking at a Covid-19 virtual summit hosted with the UN, President Biden called on world leaders, pharmaceutical leaders, philanthropists and civil society organizations to forge global consensus around a plan of the fight against the pandemic.

The president cited two urgent goals: to vaccinate the world and solve an oxygen supply crisis. “We are not going to solve this crisis with half measures or intermediate ambitions – we have to go big,” Biden said. “It’s a crisis of all hands on deck.”

Pfizer has announced an agreement to sell 500 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to the Biden administration for donation to countries in need of vaccines.

This week, the WHO chief scientist pleaded with countries to work together to distribute vaccines and share surplus supplies. “A country-by-country approach, a nationalist approach, is not going to get us out of this pandemic,” said scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan.

In numbers : Less than 10 percent of the population in poor countries – and less than 4 percent of Africa’s population – have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Almost 80 percent of the injections that were given were in high and upper middle income countries. More than 4.5 million people around the world have died from Covid-19.

Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.

In other developments:


This week, days before the Germans cast their ballot, Angela Merkel, the outgoing leader of Germany, returned to the election campaign – not to run as a candidate, but to crush the struggling candidate from her UK party. Christian Democratic Union, Armin Laschet, whose campaign was marred by blunders that led critics to question his professionalism and ability to lead.

For weeks, polls showed a lead for the Social Democratic Party, traditional rivals of conservative Christian Democrats and their partners in power. But in the last week before Sunday’s vote, the Tories are around 3 percentage points behind, giving Laschet hope after a disappointing campaign.

The Social Democrats’ campaign was marked by clear messages on progressive issues such as raising the minimum wage and creating more affordable housing. Their favorite candidate, Olaf Scholz, has come forward as the best candidate for Merkel’s replacement.

Quote: “Social democracy is back,” said Andrea Römmele, Dean of the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.

Results: If the Social Democrats were to become the most powerful party, they would still need to find at least one partner to form a government. While they may take the Christian Democrats as their junior partners, it is more likely to be a center-left alliance led by the Social Democrats with the business-friendly Greens and Free Democrats.


President Biden and Emmanuel Macron, the French President, spoke yesterday for the first time since the announcement of a secret US-Australia-UK defense deal that scuttled a French $ 66 billion dollar construction project. -Attack sailors. The conversation was “friendly,” according to a White House statement.

The deal had led France to declare that its oldest ally had indulged in “lies” and “duplicity” and to suggest that the foundations of the NATO alliance had been shaken. A few days earlier, Macron recalled the French Ambassador to the United States, Philippe Etienne, a first. The envoy will return to Washington next week.

Although the United States did not apologize for keeping France in the dark, a joint statement said that “the two leaders agreed that the situation would have benefited from open consultations among allies on matters of interest. strategic for France and our European partners “. Macron and Biden have agreed to meet in Europe next month.

Allies: Biden met separately on Tuesday with Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison, the British and Australian leaders. Their agreement was presented in France as an “Anglo-Saxon” maneuver against continental Europe.

Analysis: France’s assertion abroad is calibrated to handle its long-held dilemma of how to act as an independent power while still depending on allies, writes Max Fisher in The Interpreter.

As the first presidential climate envoy, John Kerry wants to persuade world leaders to “do what the science tells us”. With less than two months to go into the global climate talks, he faces a difficult road.

Some of Japan’s most creative animation studios explore a galaxy far, far away in the animated anthology series “Star Wars: Visions” on Disney +. The show, which consists of short films with very different animation styles, pays homage to the Japanese influence on “Star Wars”, writes Robert Ito in The Times.

George Lucas previously mentioned the debt that “Star Wars” owes to Japanese culture, citing Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 drama “The Hidden Fortress” as the main inspiration for his first “Star Wars” film. There are also the kimono-type dresses, lightsaber duels – kendo experts have worked with the actors in the films – and the Force, with its elements of Buddhism and Shintoism.

For the series, the animators developed stories that exist outside of the franchise’s cinematic universe. “There are Sith villains and bunny-girl hybrids, droids sipping tea (OK, that’s really oil) and warriors sipping sake,” Ito writes. “Lightsabers are neatly stored in traditional wrapping cloths called furoshiki and in red lacquer boxes.”

Did you give up the dye during the lockdown? There is power and beauty in gray hair.

Ruth Rogers, the owner of the River Cafe in London, asks her famous customers about food and their lives.

Here are today’s mini crosswords and a hint: language that gives us “cookie”, “sleigh” and “Santa Claus” (five letters).

And here is the spelling.

You can find all of our puzzles here.


That’s it for today’s briefing. Have a good Thursday. – Natasha

PS Priya Krishna, our food reporter, joined WNYC’s “All of It” show to discuss their article on “ethnic” food aisles in American supermarkets.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about the US-UK deal to sell military technology to Australia.

Sanam Yar wrote Today’s Arts and Ideas. You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].


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