We’re covering U.S. borders reopening to foreigners and divided views on progress at COP26.
U.S. borders open to fully vaccinated foreigners
The U.S. reopened its borders for fully vaccinated travelers from dozens of countries on Monday, ending 18 months of restrictions on international travel.
Emotional scenes and reunions played out at airports across the country, like in Miami, where a woman from Brazil met her newborn grandchild at the airport. In San Diego, a traveler from Mexico arrived for medical treatment.
Fully vaccinated travelers will be allowed to enter the U.S. if they can show proof of vaccination and a negative virus test taken within three days of travel. Unvaccinated Americans and children are exempt, but must take a test within one day of travel.
Data: The loss in visitor spending amounted to nearly $300 billion, and more than one million American jobs were lost. The U.S. Travel Association does not expect international inbound travel to recover to 2019 levels until at least 2024.
“To be honest with ourselves, yes, this is going to be really hard,” Obama said. He added: “Sometimes we will be forced to settle for imperfect compromises. But at least they advance the ball down the field.”
Negotiators from about 200 countries were entering Week 2 of climate talks trying to resolve big issues around money, transparency and timelines. Attendees are sharply divided over how much progress is being made.
Some are optimistic, pointing to flashy new promises and heads of state coming together. Others note that the gauzy commitments with decades-long deadlines often lack the concrete details to follow through. As the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg put it, “Blah, blah, blah.”
Quotable: “The actual negotiations here are in danger of being drowned out by a blitz of news releases that get great headlines, but are often less than meets the eye,” said Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa, a research institute based in Kenya.
Recap: More than 100 countries agreed to cut methane emissions. Another 130 countries vowed to halt deforestation by 2030 and committed billions. India committed to net zero emissions by 2070.
Palestinians were targeted by Israeli spyware
International hacking experts said on Monday that Palestinians belonging to rights organizations that Israel outlawed had been targeted by spyware made by the Israeli tech firm NSO Group.
It raised questions about whether the Israeli government was behind the hacking, a claim that officials there denied.
NSO, which was recently blacklisted by the U.S., has been criticized for years for selling its spyware program, Pegasus, to clients that include authoritarian governments. Pegasus allows users to remotely monitor a phone’s location and extract contents including encrypted messages, video and photographs.
Details: The findings were presented in an analysis by Front Line Defenders, a rights group in Dublin; Citizen Lab, a cybersecurity watchdog affiliated with the University of Toronto; and Amnesty International.
Adam Shapiro, a spokesman for Front Line Defenders, said that the investigation did not definitively prove or identify who used Pegasus in this case.
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ARTS AND IDEAS
The new hot cakes are messy
A new, Instagram-native generation of pâtissier is eschewing the primness and precision of traditional cakes and creating confections as delightful as they are subversive.
Out: fondant-covered smoothness; piped filigree and buttercream rosettes; the naked cakes of recent rustic wedding dominance. In: a complete disavowal of neatness, which has defined American cake making since the first recipes migrated from France in the late 1700s.
These cakes allude to the millennial childhood aesthetic of Nickelodeon slime and neon signs, of brightly beaded anklets and painted macaroni necklaces. They reflect a kind of colorful, seemingly synthetic 1990s postmodernism that has likewise influenced many of today’s rising furniture and jewelry designers.
That veneer of silliness doesn’t mean that these bakers shouldn’t be taken seriously. Though the cakes may seem at first glance like joyous follies, ready to topple under the weight of their own Rainbow Brite frosting, the women behind them say they’re rallying against nostalgia and perfection in part because there’s no use looking back.