2021-02-05 03:22:27 | Your Friday Briefing – The New York Times
Vaccines could blunt Britain’s outbreak in weeks
With more than 15 percent of its people already inoculated against the coronavirus, Britain may be able to give the first shot of a two-dose vaccine to its entire population by the end of June.
The country hopes to vaccinate its most vulnerable by Feb. 15, including people over 70, care home residents and staff, and health and social care workers. Together, these groups have accounted for 88 percent of all Covid-19 deaths in the country, which last week totaled more than 100,000 since the start of the pandemic.
But problems with the vaccine rollout could arise. A vaccine war with the European Union may jeopardize the supply, and Britain’s decision to deliver more first doses while delaying doses of the second shot could create a backlog of patients. If the current pace of vaccination in Britain were to slow down by 20 percent, it would then take until the end of July to inoculate everyone.
Related: In the near future, travel may require digital documentation — a kind of “vaccine passport” — showing that passengers have been vaccinated or tested for the coronavirus. Here’s what you need to know.
Biden’s foreign policy priorities
In the first foreign policy speech of his term, President Biden outlined a sweeping vision of restored global leadership.
Speaking at the State Department, he announced an end to U.S. support for the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen’s civil war, as well as his intention to confront China and Russia.
He also promised to work with allies on issues like the pandemic and climate change, and he announced a freeze on former President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw troops from Germany.
Official remarks: Speaking to diplomats at the Harry S. Truman Building in Washington, Mr. Biden said he intended to “send a clear message to the world: America is back.” He added: “We’re going to rebuild our alliances. We’re going to re-engage the world.”
U.S. economy: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met with financial market regulators to discuss the volatility created by retail traders who drove the remarkable rise of GameStop and other “meme stocks” (or “stonks”) — some of which are now taking precipitous falls.
‘I am not afraid’
With the Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny having been sentenced to two years in prison, his wife, Yulia Navalnaya, has been reluctantly thrust into the public eye, winning admirers but making her a target of Kremlin propaganda.
When Mr. Navalny was poisoned last August with a military nerve agent, she issued a series of public demands, ultimately extricating him from the clutches of Russian officials so he could be flown in a medically induced coma to Germany for treatment.
She has continued to speak out since his arrest last month after returning to Moscow. “I am not afraid, and I urge you all not to be afraid either,” she told a crowd of his supporters.
What’s next: Mr. Navalny’s sentencing on Tuesday ignited large street demonstrations nationwide, cementing his position as the paramount opponent of President Vladimir V. Putin and raising expectations that Ms. Navalnaya would take on a more prominent role.
If you have 6 minutes, this is worth it
The shadowy militias recruiting Afghans to their doom
A network of power brokers and warlords, bankrolled by the Afghan government and the national police force, is luring disadvantaged people into joining militias, sometimes under false pretenses. The new recruits are ordered to hold onto key territory around highways in the country’s north.
Our reporters talked to former militia members and local officials about the recruitment — a sign that Afghanistan’s security forces have been hollowed out as Taliban attacks continue.
Here’s what else is happening
Chinese media: Britain’s broadcasting regulator has withdrawn the license for China Global Television Network, an international news channel owned by a Chinese state broadcaster, in part because of its affiliation with China’s ruling Communist Party.
Myanmar: The country’s new military government blocked access to Facebook, which is how most people there access the internet, amid growing resistance to the coup and calls for civil disobedience.
Dominic Ongwen: The former Ugandan rebel, who was abducted as a child by the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army and rose to be a commander of the militia, was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Snapshot: Above, Dr. Sheetal Khedkar Rao, who decided last year she could not continue practicing medicine. Medical workers in the U.S. are feeling burned out and traumatized by what they’ve endured during the pandemic. “After a while, the emotional burden and moral injury become too much to bear,” she said.
Climate crisis: As the prevalence of anxiety over climate change has grown, so has the number of people working to alleviate it.
Apocalypse mouse: Much as small mammals outlived the dinosaurs, a surprisingly cute mouse species beat the odds when the volcano Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991. “We consider it a disturbance specialist,” said a researcher — that is, a creature that revels in ruined environments.
What we’re reading: This scintillating long read in The Guardian about Jeff Bezos, and the world he — and Amazon — made. Mr. Bezos announced this week that he would step down as Amazon’s C.E.O., leading some to question what happens next for the tech giant.
Now, a break from the news
Read: In “The Ratline,” the lawyer and writer Philippe Sands trails a high-ranking Nazi official who was never caught. Our reviewer calls the story “fascinating and important.”
Make the most of your weekend. At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the Back Story on …
What happened in Myanmar
Hannah Beech, our Southeast Asia bureau chief, spoke to “The Daily” podcast about the rise and fall of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar. “What this coup proved,” Hannah said, “is that it is Aung San Suu Kyi and her relationship with the military that is the crux of everything that’s happened in the country.”
Where does Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s relationship with the military start?
Her father was an independence hero, fighting against the British. He was assassinated when she was 2 years old. And in 1962, the military unleashes its first coup. During that time, Aung San Suu Kyi spent most of her years overseas. In 1988 she went back to Myanmar and gave a speech to thousands of people who were protesting military rule. She delivered an amazing speech. And at that moment, I think she really kind of claimed her political birthright.
Why was Aung San Suu Kyi released from her house arrest in 2010?
I think the junta, it had spent years, decades actually, creating a road map for what it called “discipline-flourishing democracy,” which is kind of an oxymoronic political system. Essentially it was a hybrid civilian-military system in which there was this kind of facade of democracy. But at the same time, the military would be able to control major levers of power in the country.
How do you explain her defense and in some cases her abetting of the military’s genocidal campaign against the Rohingya?
There is in Myanmar a feeling that the Rohingya are ultimately foreign interlopers in the country and that in a Buddhist-majority nation, there are certain people who don’t belong. And I think that Aung San Suu Kyi, as unpalatable as it might be to say, shares those beliefs.
How do we get to the point where Aung San Suu Kyi is somehow betrayed and removed from power by the military?
I think fundamentally it sprang from her fraying and then really frosty relationship with the guy who is the real ruler in Myanmar, and that’s Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing. When she refused to kind of cultivate a relationship with him, she left him kind of out in the cold.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next week.
Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected].
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