Your Friday Briefing – The New York Occasions
Vaccines could mitigate the UK outbreak in weeks
With more than 15 percent of the population already vaccinated against the coronavirus, the UK may be able to give the entire population the first shot of a two-dose vaccine by the end of June.
The country hopes to vaccinate its most vulnerable people by Feb.15, including people over 70, residents and workers of nursing homes, and health and social workers. Together, these groups have caused 88 percent of all Covid-19 deaths in the country, which has been more than 100,000 since the pandemic began last week.
However, problems with the introduction of the vaccine may arise. A vaccine war with the European Union could endanger supplies and the UK’s decision to dispense more first doses while delaying doses of the second shot could create a backlog of patients. If the current rate of vaccination in the UK were to slow 20 percent, it would be until the end of July for everyone to be vaccinated.
Connected: In the near future, travel may require digital documentation – a type of “vaccination pass” – that shows that passengers have been vaccinated or tested against the coronavirus. Here’s what you need to know.
Biden’s foreign policy priorities
In his first foreign policy address, President Biden outlined a broad vision of restored global leadership.
At the State Department, he announced an end to US support for the Saudi Arabia-led military intervention in the civil war in Yemen and his intention to confront China and Russia.
He also pledged to work with allies on issues like the pandemic and climate change, and announced a freeze on former President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw troops from Germany.
Official remarks: Speaking to diplomats in the Harry S. Truman building in Washington, Mr. Biden said he wanted to “send a clear message to the world: America is back”. He added, “We will rebuild our alliances. We will include the world again. “
US economy: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met with financial market regulators to discuss the volatility caused by retailers who drove the remarkable rise in GameStop and other “meme stocks” (or “stonks”) – some of which are now falling sharply.
‘I’m not afraid’
After Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny was sentenced to two years in prison, his wife, Yulia Navalnaya, was reluctantly pushed into the public eye to gain admirers but to target Kremlin propaganda.
When Mr Navalny was poisoned by a military nerve agent last August, she made a series of public demands that eventually freed him from the clutches of Russian officials so that he could be flown to Germany for treatment in a medically induced coma.
She has spoken on her return to Moscow since he was arrested last month. “I am not afraid and I urge all of you not to be afraid either,” she told a crowd of his followers.
What’s next: Mr Navalny’s conviction on Tuesday sparked large street demonstrations across the country, cemented his position as the main opponent of President Vladimir V. Putin and raised expectations that Ms. Navalnaya would play a more prominent role.
If you have 6 minutes, it’s worth it
The shady militias are recruiting Afghans into their doom
A network of brokers and warlords funded by the Afghan government and national police entices disadvantaged people to join militias, sometimes on false pretenses. The new recruits are ordered to hold key areas around highways in the north of the country.
Our reporters spoke to ex-militia members and local officials about the recruitment – a sign that the Afghan security forces have been undermined as the Taliban attacks continue.
The following also happens
Chinese media: The UK Broadcasting Authority has withdrawn its license to China Global Television Network, an international news channel operated by a Chinese state broadcaster, in part because of its affiliation with the ruling Communist Party of China.
Myanmar: The country’s new military government blocked access to Facebook. This is how most of the people there access the Internet, given the growing opposition to the coup and calls for civil disobedience.
Dominic Ongwen: The former Ugandan rebel, kidnapped as a child by the infamous Lord’s Resistance Army and promoted to command 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 that she could no longer practice medicine. Medical workers in the United States feel burned out and traumatized by what they experienced during the pandemic. “After a while, the emotional strain and moral harm become too much to bear,” she said.
Climate crisis: As fear of climate change has increased, so has the number of people working to alleviate it.
Apocalypse mouse: Just as small mammals outlived the dinosaurs, a surprisingly cute species of mouse beat the odds when Pinatubo Volcano erupted in the Philippines in 1991. “We consider him a disruption specialist,” said one researcher – that is, a creature that revels in ruined environments.
What we read: That scintillating long read in The Guardian about Jeff Bezos and the world he – and Amazon – created. Mr Bezos announced this week that he would step down as CEO of Amazon, which led some to wonder what happens next for the tech giant.
Now a break from the news
Read: In “The Ratline”, lawyer and writer Philippe Sands pursues 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 offers a comprehensive collection of ideas on what to read, cook, see, and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the background story about …
What happened in Myanmar?
Hannah Beech, our Southeast Asia office manager, spoke to The Daily podcast about the rise and fall of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar. “What this coup has proven,” said Hannah, “is that it is Aung San Suu Kyi and her relationship with the military that is at the heart of everything that has happened in the country.”
Where does Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s relationship with the military begin?
Her father was an independence hero and fought against the British. He was murdered when she was 2 years old. And in 1962 the military unleashed its first coup. During this time, Aung San Suu Kyi spent most of her years abroad. She returned to Myanmar in 1988 and gave a speech to thousands of people protesting against military rule. She gave an amazing speech. And at that moment, I think she really claimed her political birthright.
Why was Aung San Suu Kyi released from house arrest in 2010?
I think the junta had spent years, decades building a roadmap for what it called “disciplined democracy,” which is some kind of oxymoronic political system. In essence, it was a hybrid civil-military system in which there was such a facade of democracy. At the same time, the military could control the country’s main levers of power.
How do you explain your defense and, in some cases, your support for the military’s genocidal campaign against the Rohingya?
There is a feeling in Myanmar that the Rohingya are ultimately foreign invaders in the country and that in a Buddhist majority nation there are certain people who do not belong to it. And I think Aung San Suu Kyi, uncomfortable as it is, shares these beliefs.
How do we get to the point where Aung San Suu Kyi is somehow betrayed by the military and removed from power?
I think basically it’s down to their frayed and then really frosty relationship with the man who is the real ruler in Myanmar and that is Major General Min Aung Hlaing. When she refused to develop a relationship with him, she somehow left him out in the cold.
That’s it for this briefing. Until next week.
Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh took the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected]
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