Saturday, June 19

Your Friday Briefing – The New York Times


A day after Britain became the first Western country to authorize a coronavirus vaccine, British and American officials bickered over which government’s drug-approval process was better, leading scientists to warn that the debate could undermine public faith.

In Britain, official euphoria was giving way to the difficult choices involved in how to administer it. Roughly 800,000 doses of the approved Pfizer vaccine were being packaged in Belgium for shipment to Britain, which plans to begin vaccinations on Monday.

“Vaccine nationalism has no place in Covid or other public health matters of global significance,” said Jeremy Farrar, a scientific adviser to the British government. “Science has always been the exit strategy from this horrendous pandemic — that science has been global.”

Access to vaccines: Advanced and developing countries alike could suffer significant damage if lower-income nations do not get a fair share of coronavirus vaccines, according to a new report from the Eurasia Group, a political research and consulting firm. If vaccine access is equitable, the analysis found, it would generate at least $466 billion in economic benefits by 2025 for 10 of the world’s largest donor countries.

For more than six decades, Kazuo Odachi had a secret: At the age of 17, he became a kamikaze pilot, one of thousands of young Japanese men tasked to give their lives in suicide missions in World War II.

Over the years, as Japan’s complex relationship with the war changed, Mr. Odachi, now 93, gradually began to share his story. “I don’t want anyone to forget that the wonderful country that Japan has become today was built on the foundation of their deaths,” he said in an interview. His memoir has just been released in English translation.

India marriage arrest: The police in northern India have made their first arrest under a new anti-conversion law intended to curb interfaith marriage. The law is the latest in a series of measures that have steadily marginalized the country’s Muslim minority.

Four-day workweek: Unilever New Zealand said it would begin a one-year experiment to allow its employees to earn their full salaries while working one day fewer per week, a move it said might actually boost productivity and improve employees’ work-life balance.

South Korea’s exam: Nearly a half-million high school seniors hunkered down on Thursday to take the annual university-entrance exam — a nine-hour marathon of tests that could decide their futures. The coronavirus pandemic complicated the process.

China’s moon mission: Two days after it landed on the moon, the country’s Chang’e-5 mission is on its way again, blasting into space for the journey back to Earth, ferrying a bounty of soil and rocks for scientists to study.

Valéry Giscard d’Estaing: The former president of France has died of Covid-19 at age 94. As a conservative president and a descendant of nobility, he sought to make government more responsive but was thwarted by an economic slowdown and demographic shifts.



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