Your Friday Briefing – The New York Occasions
China bans travelers with new virus restrictions
Waves of charter flights were canceled Thursday after Beijing stopped the entry of almost all travelers from Bangladesh, Belgium, the UK, India or the Philippines except for Chinese nationals to control coronavirus risk.
Even people with a valid resident visa in China and recent tests that show they do not have the virus will not be allowed to enter from those countries under the new regulations. It remained unclear whether citizens of these countries could enter if they were traveling to China from other countries.
“The suspension is a temporary response that is required due to the current situation of Covid-19,” said a statement from the Chinese embassy in the UK. Diplomats, flight crews and other people with special visas are allowed.
Context: The new restrictions prevent business people and teachers who were resident in China before the pandemic from returning. They complement the separate Chinese health rules that require people to take two tests less than 48 hours before the flight.
Joe Biden is gaining ground
The US presidential ballot count continues and more results are expected soon. We can get a clearer picture of who won the presidency in the hours ahead and tomorrow.
At the time of this writing, former Vice President Joe Biden needed 17 more electoral college votes to hit the 270 threshold to win, while President Trump needed 56 votes. Both campaigns tried to project optimism. Here are the latest updates.
What we are waiting for: Mr. Biden expanded his lead in Nevada while Mr. Trump’s lead in Georgia and Pennsylvania narrowed. Mr. Trump cut a fine figure in Arizona. Learn more about when states report their results here.
Chinese journalists in the balance in the US
More than 100 Chinese news media workers in the US are embroiled in a heated dispute between Beijing and Washington over the rights of foreign journalists.
Yuhui Chai, a New York-based correspondent who works on technology for SunTV, a Hong Kong news agency, has decided to quit her job to return to China as she cannot get a long-term US visa. Others are doing the same – or are considering changing jobs under increasing scrutiny.
Context: The American government has limited the number of employees of Chinese state media organizations and shortened the visa duration. China has expelled 17 foreign journalists, including some from The Times, and frozen others’ references. The risk is to cut off an important source of insight into Chinese and American society.
A counterpoint: While the majority of Chinese journalists in the US work for the Chinese government’s news agencies, others represent more commercial-minded organizations that strive for thorough journalism. Although they must adhere to China’s strict censorship rules, they can help balance the Communist Party’s propaganda machine at home.
If you have 5 minutes, it’s worth it
How many more earths are there out there?
A decade ago, a group of astronomers set out to answer one of the oldest questions that mocked philosophers, scientists, priests, mystics, and the rest of humanity: How many distant planets could live as we know them?
A new analysis of data from NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has found a much larger number of habitable exoplanets in this galaxy than previously known. Our science reporter explains.
The following also happens
No smoking in North Korea: The The government expanded a national campaign banning smoking in public places. However, the state news media continues to show that the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, smokes in the subway, schools and hospitals.
War crimes in Kosovo: President Hashim Thaci, a guerrilla leader during the Kosovo war with Serbia, resigned on Thursday to face war crimes and crimes against humanity before an international court in The Hague. Prosecutors accused him and other former independence fighters of “being criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders”.
Snapshot: Above, Tiffanie Davis, an American who moved to Paris in 2017, posts videos about the lives of expats. Lots of travel influencers make their move while stressed-out lockdown folks (Americans in particular) are scrolling Instagram to find an escape.
What we read: This Guardian article about funny memes from the US election. Fear and laughter can complement each other.
Now a break from the news
Cook: This onion tart is uncomplicated and uncomplicated, rustic and sophisticated at the same time.
Clock: “Koko-di Koko-da,” a disturbing Swedish horror film, will ensure you never go into the woods again, writes our reviewer.
Do: There is plenty of evidence to suggest that aerobics can improve your mood. Now, a new study shows that weight training can help reduce anxiety.
The weekend is a great time to relax. Our At Home collection can help you come up with ideas on what to read, cook, see and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the background story about …
A pandemic during the US elections
As Americans waited for the outcome of an exciting election, the number of new daily coronavirus cases hit a record 107,000 on Wednesday, and expectations grew that the US outbreak was likely to worsen in the coming weeks. Lisa Lerer, a reporter who writes on politics, spoke to our colleagues from the Coronavirus Briefing about reporting on elections during a pandemic. Here is an excerpt.
What was your experience as a political reporter in these elections?
Lisa: Basically, the way we usually report about elections was anything but obscure. One example is that the voters didn’t necessarily want to speak to me. My place to go for talking to voters is the Costco parking lot as it takes people a long time to charge their cars with all of their avocados or whatever so you have time to talk to them. But this year I got kicked off two parking lots and that has never happened to me. I think it’s a combination of this increased voter concern about talking to people in the middle of the pandemic and this concern about how polarized and tense everything is right now.
How will these elections shape future election campaigns?
I think people want to keep doing mail-in polls and early polls. I also think there has been some innovation because of technology. Maybe we’ll see more Zoom fundraisers, especially for lower dollar events, because we’ve seen you can raise a ton of money that way. And conventions are so expensive and require such a massive amount of time and resources.
How did the pandemic change the tenor of the election based on the talks you had?
I think isolation from the pandemic contributed to a large part of the anger on both sides. I definitely have a feeling that people are more reluctant to give me their name because they fear that someone will tell them about their political views if their name comes up in the paper.
That’s it for this briefing. Until next time.
– Melina and Carole
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected]
• We listen to “The Daily”. Our last episode is about the state of the elections.
• Here is our mini crossword puzzle and a hint: espresso or cappuccino to Italians (five letters). You can find all of our puzzles here.
• The Times reached seven million subscribers in the third quarter. For the first time, the publisher generates more income from online readers than from print subscribers.