Wednesday, June 16

Your Tuesday Briefing – The New York Times


After months of surging coronavirus cases and lockdown after lockdown, the world got a glimmer of good news on Monday. Pfizer announced preliminary results from its clinical trial that indicate its vaccine, developed with the German company BioNTech, is robustly effective. If the results hold up, the level of protection would put its Covid-19 vaccine on a par with highly effective childhood vaccines for diseases like measles. Stock markets soared after the announcement.

The United Kingdom expects to have 10 million doses of the vaccine available by the end of the year, pending regulatory approval. Frontline workers and older adults would be among the first to receive it. Here’s what we know so far about the vaccine.

Vaccine tracker: Eleven vaccines are in late-stage trials, including four in the U.S. Pfizer’s progress could bode well for Moderna’s vaccine, which uses similar technology. Check our tracker here.

President-elect Joe Biden says he will re-enter the Iran nuclear deal, renew a nuclear arms treaty with Russia and double down on American commitments to NATO, moving quickly to bury “America First” — President Trump’s guiding principle of foreign policy.

But the world looks different now. Power vacuums have been created, and filled, often by China. Democracies have retreated. Although foreign allies may find Mr. Biden reassuring, they also concede that they may never fully trust that the U.S. won’t go back to building walls and making cooperation with allies an afterthought.

Israel: President Trump’s defeat has left Israel and its longtime prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on the receiving end of an abrupt demotion on the list of U.S. foreign-policy priorities after four years of doting treatment. Mr. Biden has promised a return to a more balanced approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Britain racism: Lord Kilclooney, a member of the House of Lords, drew heavy criticism from lawmakers for referring on Twitter to Kamala Harris, the U.S. vice president-elect, as “the Indian.” He removed the comment but defended his post.

U.S. politics: The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, backed President Trump in his refusal to concede the presidential election, arguing on the Senate floor that Mr. Trump was “100 percent within his rights” to challenge the election outcome. Only four Republican senators have recognized Mr. Biden’s victory.

Myanmar’s second election: Voters turned out en masse on Sunday in elections that were expected to leave the governing party of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as the biggest force in the country’s Parliament.

Watch: “Transhood,” a documentary that chronicles the lives of families raising transgender children, and “Industry,” a new drama that follows graduates working in London’s banking world, are among the new offerings on HBO this week.

Do: Older adults who break a bone are at high risk of breaking another, often within two years. Here’s some advice to help prevent more fractures.

You might be overdue for something new. At Home has ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do while staying safe at home.

President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team has announced four priorities for his administration: Covid-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change. Our DealBook reporters outlined some of the biggest hurdles Mr. Biden faces.

Divisions among Democrats. Immediately after the race was called, the progressive and moderate wings of the party blamed each other for Democrats’ ceding ground in the House and failing to win clear control of the Senate.

Gridlock with Republicans. Whether Republicans keep hold of the Senate won’t be decided until two Georgia runoff elections are held in January. If they do, Mr. Biden has a solid working history with the lawmaker who will be majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. That makes possible some bipartisan action on matters like infrastructure and economic stimulus, though after such a bitter election, neither side may be in a mood to compromise.

Balance the cabinet. Mr. Biden’s first major appointments came on Monday: He chose 13 members for his coronavirus task force. Future appointments will reveal how he plans to balance the concerns of the left, right and center.





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