Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times


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We cover Europe’s defense relationship with the United States after Trump, temporary leave British restrictions on coronaviruses and the violent release of a camp of protesting migrants in Paris.

After years of hostility towards Europe, President Trump is leaving. But the prospect of his departure has reopened old rifts between key European allies over their relations with the United States, with considerable doubts over what just a few months ago looked like a determined turn towards greater European ambition and integration.

France and Germany in particular disagree on the future of European defense and strategic autonomy, showing the different concerns of two countries at the heart of the functioning of the European Union.

Analysis: NATO and the EU are fundamental for Germany in a way that they are not for France, which maintains its own nuclear arsenal, explained Jana Puglierin of the European Council on External Relations. “Take them from Germany and we feel naked,” she said.

Presidential transition: President-elect Joe Biden introduced six members of his national security team, saying that together they would re-establish the United States as a global leader in the fight against terrorism, extremism, the climate crisis and nuclear proliferation . “America is back,” he said.

Britons from up to three households will be able to come together and celebrate between December 23 and 27, according to plans announced Tuesday for a brief easing of rules to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Normal restrictions will still apply in pubs and restaurants.

The move, endorsed by political leaders in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, means people will be able to move freely in the UK between those dates, regardless of local restrictions. There will be an extra day at both ends for those departing or departing from Northern Ireland.

Public health experts have warned that lifting the restrictions could lead to an upsurge in cases in January and February.

French restrictions: Three weeks after announcing a second lockout, President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that France had managed to thwart a spike in new cases and presented a plan to ease restrictions.

Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.

In other developments:

  • New research has convinced many scientists that an early mutation of the coronavirus makes it more contagious and more difficult to contain. The mutation, known as 614G, was first spotted in eastern China in January, then spread to Europe and New York, displacing other variants.

  • Some 6.4 million doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine will be shipped across the United States initially in mid-December after a planned emergency clearance is granted.

  • The makers of a Russian vaccine said it had a 95% efficacy rate in preliminary results from a clinical trial. The figure was however based on incomplete data.

  • As scientists dealing with Covid-19 worry about the rise of the anti-vaccine movement, South Korea’s response to tackling misinformation around the flu vaccine may offer the world a model.

Police violently evacuated a temporary migrant camp in central Paris, forcing people out of tents, chasing them through the streets and firing tear gas. As police regularly clean up these camps, Monday’s violent evacuation of mostly Afghan migrants has struck a nerve, fueling growing outrage at the government’s security policies.

The temporary camp, which included around 450 blue tents in Place de la République, was protesting authorities’ inability to provide housing for as many as 1,000 migrants who were left to roam the streets after 3,000 people were evacuated last week camp in Saint-Denis, a suburb north of Paris.

Official remarks: Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, expressed her shock in a letter addressed to the French Minister of the Interior, accusing the police of “brutal and disproportionate use of force”. It came as parliament voted on Tuesday on a bill that would make it more difficult for journalists or spectators to film cases of police brutality.

The coronavirus pandemic has complicated a rite of passage for Korean adoptees who were raised abroad: reuniting with their birth parents. Many adoptees canceled long-planned return pilgrimages to South Korea after government quarantine rules for foreign visitors made the trips too expensive and too long.

Some, like Mallory Guy, second from left in the photo above, still found a way to make the trip. The Times spoke to adoptees and birth parents about returning home during the pandemic era.

Shamima Begum: Lawyers representing the former London schoolgirl who traveled to Syria in 2015 to join the Islamic State have called on the UK Supreme Court to let her return to her home country to defend herself. The court should not assume she poses a serious threat, they said Tuesday.

Reduce the “period of poverty”: In a world first, the Scottish Parliament voted unanimously to make sanitary products available to anyone who needs them, introducing a legal right of free access to tampons and sanitary napkins in schools, colleges, universities and all other public buildings.

Wall Street: Shares hit record highs. The S&P 500 rose 1.6% from a peak reached earlier in the month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke the 30,000 mark for the first time.

Uyghurs in China: Pope Francis calls the ethnic group a “persecuted” people in his next book. Chinese authorities quickly denied it, despite a plethora of evidence of Beijing’s crackdown on the Muslim minority group.

Instantaneous: Above, a hallway on the third floor of the Vilina Vlas Hotel in Visegrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Forest Spa promotes its therapeutic waters and fine cuisine, but staff members bristle with anger at any mention of its gruesome past, when it came to a run rape and murder camp. by a gang of Serbian nationalists during the Balkan wars in the early 1990s.

Lives lived: Lady Elizabeth Anson, a tireless party planner for “the very rich, the very idle, the very busy and those who just don’t know what to do” as she put it, including rock stars and members of the royal family, died earlier this month at 79.

What we read: The Economist set of articles explaining the competition between China and the United States for power – and how the Biden administration should approach it. “It’s a great look at one of the world’s most important stories,” says David Leonhardt, who writes The Morning.

Cook: It’s hard not to love these cheese bread balls with tomato sauce, which combine tomato sauce, melted cheese, bread balls and garlic. It’s a bit like a pizza, deconstructed.

Make: Pretend you are in Hawaii. With a few easy-to-find items, you can experience the state’s stunning biodiversity, wherever you are.

Lis: For most of human history, the night sky was the best sight there was. These three new books invite you to gaze at the stars.

Let us help you discover something new. At Home has ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do while staying safe at home.

A preliminary analysis of the vaccine produced by the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker and the University of Oxford showed that it was 90% effective when the first dose was halved. In contrast, the combination of two full-dose injections only led to an efficacy of 62%. Our science journalists explain what is behind these stunning results.

Why would this combination be more effective?

Nobody knows. The researchers hypothesized that the lower first dose did a better job of mimicking the experience of an infection, promoting a stronger immune response. But other factors, such as the size and composition of the groups that received different doses, may also be at play.

Why did the researchers test two different doses?

It was a lucky mistake. British researchers intended to give the volunteers the initial full-strength dose, but they miscalculated and accidentally gave it halfway, Reuters reported. After discovering the error, the researchers gave each affected participant the full-strength booster boost as expected about a month later.

Fewer than 2,800 volunteers received the initial half-dose, out of more than 23,000 participants whose results were reported on Monday. This is a fairly small number of participants on which to base the dramatic efficacy results – far fewer than in the Pfizer and Moderna trials.

That’s it for this briefing. Join me tomorrow for more news.

– Natasha

Thank you
Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh took the news break. You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected]

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