Your Wednesday Briefing


    Your Wednesday Briefing

    Vaccine milestones in Australia and on tiny Pacific islands.

    We’re covering record vaccine progress in the Asia Pacific region and a Myanmar refugee crisis.

    Australia’s prime minister has said that borders would reopen once 80 percent of the population is vaccinated.
    Steven Saphore/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    Australia has overcome a sluggish start to its Covid vaccination campaign, and 72 percent of its population have now received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared with 66 percent in the U.S., according to government data collated by the Our World in Data project.

    The successful shift from a zero-Covid strategy to one prioritizing vaccines has allowed children to return to school in Sydney and state governments to relax the country’s borders.

    And in the Pacific, some of the world’s most isolated and smallest nations have also achieved some of the highest rates of vaccination against Covid.

    Palau, an archipelago of hundreds of islands east of the Philippines, has now vaccinated 92 percent of its population of around 17,600 people, according to government data. New Zealand has provided doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and the AstraZeneca vaccines to the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, Tokelau and Tuvalu.

    Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

    In other developments:

    • The global economy’s setback from the pandemic is expected to largely stabilize by the end of next year, the O.E.C.D. said on Tuesday. Supply chain shock remains a risk.

    Aly Song/Reuters

    As China Evergrande Group teeters on the edge of collapse, videos of protesting home buyers have flooded social media. Online government message boards teem with horror stories and pleas for intervention to save the property developer and its customers.

    Reading China’s newspapers, you wouldn’t know there is a crisis. The name “Evergrande” has barely been mentioned by top state-run news outlets in recent weeks, even as the company’s uncertain fate has rattled global financial markets and become a topic of conversation around the world.

    Only on Friday did the country’s central bank comment on the company by name, more than a month after anxiety about its debt crisis began lighting up the Chinese internet — and then only to say the situation was under control.

    Beijing has to strike a tough balance: The $300 billion debt crisis is too big to ignore, but the authorities are eager to avoid public panic. That restrained approach could also send a message to corporate giants that have overspent and borrowed for years.

    Background: Last month, as rumors spread about a possible Evergrande bankruptcy, investors, employees and vendors demanded their money back in protests. Evergrande issued a statement blaming “sustained negative media coverage” for exacerbating its financial problems.

    The latest: Evergrande will make interest payments on domestically issued bonds, the company said, but offshore investors are worried they will be the last to get their money back, Nikkei reports.

    Atul Loke for The New York Times

    Fleeing for India, thousands of refugees have left Myanmar as the military junta there cracks down on dissent, and aid groups say an even bigger surge is on the way.

    The Tatmadaw, as the Myanmar military is known, has targeted areas that are home to thousands of armed civilians who call themselves the People’s Defense Force. Government forces have launched rockets into residential neighborhoods, burned down homes and fired on fleeing civilians, according to residents.

    Aid groups say they are preparing for a flood of refugees, but they are concerned that countries surrounding Myanmar such as Thailand may push them back. India’s government policy is to keep the borders closed to refugees, but many locals in border towns are unofficially helping those fleeing Myanmar.

    Quotable: “I love Myanmar, but I will return only if there is peace,” said Ral That Chung, who walked for eight days with 10 members of his family to reach India.

    Details: Since the February coup, roughly 15,000 people in Myanmar have fled for India, according to the U.N.

    Asia Pacific

    Lee Jin-Man/Associated Press
    • North Korea on Tuesday conducted its first test in two years of a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

    • An informal network of U.S. veterans and diplomats are working to save the Afghan colleagues who put their lives on the line for America.

    Around the World

    Yasuyoshi Chiba/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
    • Africa is on track to lose all of its glaciers by the 2040s, a U.N. report found.

    • Kidnappers who abducted 17 missionaries in Haiti are demanding a ransom of $1 million for each person they are holding.

    • A report from Brazil’s Senate concluded that President Jair Bolsonaro purposely let the coronavirus kill Brazilians in a failed bid for herd immunity.

    • Natural disasters and foreign pressure in Russia prompted President Vladimir Putin to take action on climate change.

    A Morning Read

    Danielle Amy for The New York Times

    The best olive oil in the world? Not Spain or Italy, according to this Palestinian town, but Rameh. Surrounded by olive groves, it has long had a reputation for producing especially good oil. Research indicates it goes back thousands of years.

    Justin J. Wee for The New York Times

    In August, Lorde put out her third record, “Solar Power.” Three weeks later, she released “Te Ao Marama,” an EP with five of the album’s songs translated into Maori, the Indigenous language of New Zealand. It’s part of an effort in her native country to boost a language that, not long ago, experts feared could die out, Brian Ng reports.

    Beginning in the 1850s, the country’s European-settler government punished children who spoke the language at school and isolated Maori families by embedding them in white neighborhoods. New Zealand declared Maori an official language in 1987, but by then most of its speakers were older.

    One of the artists behind the musical Maori resurgence is Dame Hinewehi Mohi, who in 2019 compiled “Waiata/Anthems,” an album of contemporary English tracks performed in Maori that debuted at No. 1 on the New Zealand charts. (Waiata means “song.”)

    Language revitalization is “a never-ending battle,” Sir Timoti Karetu, an expert on Maori language, said. “All of us who have been colonized by somebody else are struggling for our languages to survive.”

    What to Cook

    David Malosh for The New York Times

    Enjoy golden, crispy sheet-pan pork schnitzel.

    What to Read

    John Grisham — whose new book, “The Judge’s List,” is about a murderous member of the bench — spoke with the Times reporter Adam Liptak about the Supreme Court and wrongful convictions.


    Here are some tips for talking to your children about coronavirus in the classroom.

    Now Time to Play

    Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Spanish for “rice” (five letters).

    And here is today’s Spelling Bee.

    You can find all our puzzles here.

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

    P.S. Tom Morello, the Grammy-award-winning musician, will write a newsletter for The Times’s Opinion section.

    The latest episode of “The Daily” is about Colin Powell.

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

    Published at Tue, 19 Oct 2021 20:45:15 +0000

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