Your Monday Briefing – The New York Occasions
Germany closes before Christmas
The Germans will initiate a strict ban over Christmas after weeks of milder restrictions on public life could not slow the spread of the coronavirus and the country recorded a record number of new infections and deaths, said Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday.
Unnecessary stores, schools and hairdressers will have to close from Wednesday, and companies are urged to offer their employees a longer vacation break or allow them to work from home.
The number of people who are allowed to meet privately – even over Christmas – will also be further reduced. Outdoor New Year celebrations are all but prohibited as public gatherings and the sale of fireworks are prohibited.
Quote: “All of this will affect the holidays, we know that. But we were forced to take action and we are doing that now, ”Ms. Merkel said at a press conference, announcing the measures that will remain in force until January 10th.
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
The most ambitious vaccination campaign in US history is set to begin this week after drug regulators approve a vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. An initial shipment of approximately 2.9 million doses of the vaccine will be shipped across the country over the next week.
Japan’s daily coronavirus cases topped 3,000 for the first time on Sunday, and South Korea set another record for its daily record of 1,030 cases.
In the coming weeks, major airlines, including United, JetBlue and Lufthansa, are planning to roll out a health passport app called CommonPass, which will be used to check passengers’ coronavirus test results – and possibly their vaccinations soon.
Bahrain announced on Sunday that it had approved a Chinese vaccine against the coronavirus after the United Arab Emirates.
John le Carré died at the age of 89
British writer John le Carré, whose exquisitely nuanced, intricately drawn Cold War thriller elevated the spy novel to a high art, died on Saturday at the age of 89 in Cornwall, England.
Born David John Moore Cornwell in Poole, Dorset in 1931, Le Carré had a ragged, destabilizing childhood dominated by his father, Ronald, a flamboyant con man who was jailed and out of jail for fraud and the family on the Extravagance misled misery. Aside from two years teaching at Eton, England’s elite secondary school, Mr. Le Carré was some sort of spy for MI6 for 16 years. and its domestic counterpart, MI5.
In a career spanning more than half a century, Mr. le Carré wrote more than two dozen books and published them as far as Rwanda, Chechnya, Turkey, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia.
Details: In contrast to Ian Fleming’s spy novels about the glamorous James Bond, Mr. Le Carré’s books portrayed British intelligence operations as dead ends of ambiguity, where right and wrong were too close together and it was seldom obvious whether the ends justified the means.
China’s pledge to fight global warming
On the fifth anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement, China’s leading politician Xi Jinping said on Saturday that China would reduce its carbon intensity by over 65 percent by 2030.
Carbon intensity is a measure of greenhouse gas emissions in relation to economic activity. Achieving the target would mean that as the Chinese economy grows, so will emissions slower than before. Mr. Xi also said China would triple wind and solar capacity to more than a billion kilowatts and expand its forests.
Context: China is the largest producer of gases used to warm the planet, and whatever it is doing to cut its emissions is a key to fighting climate change. Environmentalists had hoped Mr. Xi would pledge to reduce carbon intensity more, but the economic downturn sparked by the coronavirus pandemic may have tempered Beijing’s plans.
Connected: The leaders of the European Union have agreed to cut carbon emissions by 55 percent over the next decade in order to overcome the concerns of the heavily dependent countries and to take a decisive step towards becoming climate neutral by 2050. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to end direct taxpayer support for fossil fuel projects overseas as soon as possible.
If you have some time, it’s worth it
A mother pursued her daughter’s killers
Over the course of three years, Miriam Rodríguez has captured almost every member of the Mexican crew who kidnapped and murdered her 20-year-old daughter Karen. On Mother’s Day 2017, weeks after pursuing one of her final targets, she was shot dead in front of her home.
For many in the northern city of San Fernando, their story represents so much of what is wrong in Mexico, writes our correspondent. The country is so torn by violence and impunity that a grieving mother largely had to solve the disappearance of her daughter herself and therefore died violently.
The following also happens
Russian chopping: The Trump administration admitted on Sunday that hackers acting on behalf of a foreign government – almost certainly a Russian intelligence agency – had broken into a number of key government networks in what has become one of the most sophisticated attacks on federal systems in the past five years was valid for years.
Brexi; The UK and the European Union have agreed to extend their trade negotiations beyond Sunday after a “useful” call between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Mass kidnapping: Hundreds of Nigerian students go unreported and feared missing after armed men raided a secondary school in northern Katsina state. The military later exchanged fire with the attackers in a forest.
Wladimir Putin: The Russian leader has reportedly set up two identically furnished video calling offices, one in a government residence outside Moscow and the other on the warmer shores of the Black Sea, so he can spend time on the beach without risking potential political backlash.
Snapshot: Above, cycle commuters ride to Manila in October. After public transportation in the Philippine capital was restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic, residents got on bicycles instead. The bicycle boom prompted officials to announce a plan to build a 400-mile network of cycle paths.
Treasure: Venezuela’s economic collapse hit the village of Guaca, which was once at the center of the fish processing industry. But since the end of September, the villagers have found hundreds of gold and silver jewelry and ornaments on their banks, offering a wondrous – if brief – respite.
What we read: This Guardian article asks: Has a year with Covid-19 rewired our brains? It is a comprehensive view of how we might approach life when it is all over.
Now a break from the news
Cook: This brown sugar roulade with burnt honey apples nods to the classic Christmas chocolate block also known as the Bûche de Noël. Yotam Ottolenghi, a food columnist, calls it “a cloud of festive meringue”.
Listen: Charley Pride, who died from the effects of Covid-19 on Saturday, was the first black country music superstar due to hits like “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin” and “Is Anybody Goin ‘to San Antone”.
Read: Our poetry columnist has selected the best volumes of poetry of the year, including “Emporium” by Aditi Machado.
We’ll help you start your week with something new. 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 …
An extraordinary year and half a million photos
The Year in Pictures project is an annual celebration of photojournalism. In 2020, photographers lived what they captured. So it came together.
In the past few months, two photo editors – David Furst from the International Desk and Jeffrey Henson Scales from the Opinion Section – have reviewed around half a million published and unpublished photos.
“I don’t know I’ve ever come across a work as complicated as this,” David said.
Along with an introduction by Dean Baquet, the Times editor-in-chief, the project features first-hand reports from photographers that provide context behind the camera. There are always photographers around the world living the story they tell – under oppressive governments or in neighborhoods that become battlefields of war – but by 2020 everyone has lived it.
The first photo that appears was taken on January 1st. Just seconds after 2020, in the heart of Times Square, photographer Calla Kessler captured what is likely the first New Year’s photo of a same-sex couple kissing, which is about to have the Times front page printed on it.
Almost every editor and writer who worked on The Year in Pictures reacted the same way to the celebratory scene in the frame: “These people had no idea what was coming.”
When asked what readers should feel, Jeffrey replied, “It’s been a long year of heroism. And so far we’ve made it. Be happy about it. “
That’s it for this briefing. Have a great week
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 final episode is the runoff in Georgia that will rule over control of the US Senate.
• Here is our mini crossword puzzle and a hint: Start a group email (five letters). You can find all of our puzzles here.
• The word “Selzterator” – a homemade, DIY sparkling water heater – first appeared in The Times yesterday, according to the Twitter bot @NYT_first_said.
• The print edition of The Times on Sunday December 13th includes the annual Puzzle Mania section. There is a super mega crossword puzzle as well as a meta competition with a grand prize of $ 1,000. Copies will be sold in our store at a later date.