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Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times


We’re covering India’s weak spots in preventing more Covid waves and China’s quiet handling of Evergrande’s crisis.

India’s coronavirus crisis, which was killing thousands of people a day just seven months ago, has eased after the nation’s leaders revamped policies and drastically ramped up their vaccination drive.

Now, as India celebrates the delivery of its one billionth dose, a feat that until recently seemed improbable, public health experts are sounding a new warning: The turnaround is losing steam.

Vaccinations are slowing, with only one-quarter of India’s population fully inoculated. People are crowding again for religious festivals, and the government is still taking the approach that things are calming down.

Numbers: By official figures, daily infections have plunged to about 12,000 per day, from about 42,000 four months ago. Deaths, too, have fallen by half, to about 400 per day. More than three out of four adults have received at least one shot.

Context: India’s progress is a key part of ending the pandemic globally. After a deadly wave, the government threw money at vaccine production, stopped vaccine exports and tossed out cumbersome rules that had made it hard for local officials to procure shots.

What’s next: After Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned from a climate conference, he met with officials to tackle areas of the country where fewer than half of residents were fully vaccinated.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:


Global markets weeks ago were fretting over the possible failure of China Evergrande Group, the property developer, as it grapples with $300 billion of unpaid debts. A broader panic contributed to a wave of defaults among Chinese developers. Property value is still falling, and sales are plummeting.

But the developer says the worst is over, and the Chinese authorities say the risks are manageable even as other companies show signs of trouble. Evergrande and Beijing are managing the company’s struggles in secret, allowing it to meet some payment deadlines without explaining how.

The approach may stem panic, but it papers over broader pressures on the sector. “The fundamental situation for Evergrande hasn’t really changed,” Matthew Chow, a China property analyst and director at S&P Global Ratings, said. “We remain sure that default is almost a certainty.”

In flux: More than a million home buyers are waiting for unfinished apartments, and the company may owe money to just as many workers. Another deadline for Evergrande approaches on Wednesday, when the grace period on $150 million worth of bond payments will end.


As negotiators at the Glasgow climate talks try to agree on greenhouse gas cuts, African leaders say poorer countries can’t be expected to remake their systems as quickly as wealthy ones.

Sub-Saharan Africa contributes about 3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, among the lowest of the world’s regions. Yet African countries are particularly affected by the consequences of climate change.

Improvements can be costly, and many people still don’t have basic needs like electricity. Leaders point out that some wealthier countries keep natural gas in their own transition plans.

Context: Development banks and richer countries alike have been rolling back their support for fossil fuel projects, including ones in African countries with an abundance of fossil fuel resources.

Asia Pacific

A web superhero comic book series about five Asian best friends is debuting this week. The characters in “House of Slay” are based on real friends who work in the fashion industry and became Instagram-famous as a group under the hashtag #Slaysians. “There are so many kids, especially Asians, that feel othered or who don’t fit in,” Phillip Lim, a designer, said. “Showing these kids that real people like us can become superheroes is so important.”

For years, fans have flocked to Travis Scott’s concerts for their wild energy and high-concept stage production. He’s part of a generation of performers “who brought a punk-rock sensibility to the mass scale of modern rap,” Joe Coscarelli writes in The Times. That includes mosh pits, crowd-surfing and the kind of rowdy behavior that happens at many live shows without becoming dangerous.

It turned dangerous at Scott’s Astroworld festival in Houston last Friday, when eight people died and hundreds were injured. The authorities are still investigating what caused the crowd of 50,000 people to surge.

Attendees have already filed at least 20 lawsuits against Scott and the festival’s organizers, including one that accused the rapper of encouraging violence. Others involved with the festival have questioned whether the police should have shut down the show earlier, and whether the medical preparations were sufficient.

Scott said on Saturday that he did not know the extent of the emergency at the time. But, as Coscarelli writes, the tragedy in Houston has turned one of Scott’s biggest selling points — the energy of his live performances — into an argument for his culpability.

What to Cook

These rice cakes with peanut sauce and hoisin are vegan and reminiscent of the classic Cantonese dim sum of fried cheung fun, or steamed rice noodle rolls.

What to Read

In Jung Yun’s mesmerizing second novel “O Beautiful,” all that stands between a writer and the career of her dreams is a trip to the land of her nightmares.



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