A transatlantic spit on “vaccine nationalism”
A day after the UK became the first western country to approve a coronavirus vaccine, British and American officials argued over which government method was better for drug approval, prompting scientists to warn that the debate could undermine public confidence .
“Vaccine nationalism has no place in Covid or any other public health issue of global concern,” said Jeremy Farrar, a research adviser to the UK government. “Science has always been the exit strategy from this terrible pandemic – that science was global.”
Several leading UK lawmakers have falsely cited the country’s split from the European Union as a reason for initial approval of a vaccine. In fact, the UK remains under the bloc’s regulatory umbrella and has been able to move faster due to an old law that allowed it to make its own decisions in the event of public health emergencies.
Access to vaccines: Advanced and developing countries could suffer significant economic damage if lower-income countries fail to get a fair share of coronavirus vaccines, according to a new report from Eurasia Group, a political research and advisory firm.
Egypt frees human rights workers
Weeks after the arrest of three employees of one of the last and best-known Egyptian human rights groups, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the authorities released the men under increasing international pressure.
While the Egyptian government has banned many human rights leaders from traveling, frozen their assets and hampered their jobs, most had avoided jail until last month when the three men became the latest victims of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s widespread campaign to suppress dissent.
Thousands of other perceived political opponents, including activists, protesters, lawyers, journalists and political critics, have gone to jail since el-Sisi came to power in 2014.
International attention: Diplomats, Western politicians, and even celebrities pushed for workers’ freedom. However, some activists said the trigger for their release may have been President-elect Joe Biden’s candidate for Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken, who signaled that the future government would take a tougher position on Egypt on human rights issues.
A Liberian warlord is tried for war crimes
Decades after the end of the bloody civil war in Liberia, a Swiss court has indicted former warlord and rebel leader Alieu Kosiah with murder, rape, recruiting child soldiers and cannibalism. Right advocates welcomed the move.
The hearing marks the first time a Liberian has been tried specifically in relation to atrocities committed during the country’s first civil war from 1989 to 1997, which are believed to have caused a quarter of a million deaths. Perpetrators have never been tried in their own country, where former warlords roam free and hold some of the highest offices in Liberia.
Analysis: “The trial is of tremendous importance to Liberians and a powerful statement courting thousands of miles away and many years after the event can play an important role in combating these crimes,” said Balkees Jarrah, international justice expert.
If you have some time, it’s worth it
Life and death in a Covid-19 epicenter
In a busy corner of Queens, NY, upstairs, the coronavirus paved the way, killing nearly 1,400 people in six months. This gripping, deeply human portrait tells the story of six residents and their families who were caught in the crossfire.
The following also happens
Russian chopping: The US sent activists to Estonia in the weeks leading up to the November election to learn more about defending against Russian hackers as part of a broader effort to hunt down foreign cyberattacks.
Tigray: After Ethiopian forces captured the capital of the rebellious region last weekend, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed boasted that his forces won the victory without killing a single civilian. But doctors at the city’s main hospital reported dozens of deaths amid looting and an impending crisis.
Warner Bros .: Seventeen films from the film production studio will hit theaters simultaneously and on HBO Max next year, the biggest challenge to Hollywood’s traditional way of doing business yet.
Jimmy Lai: The founder of Apple Daily, Hong Kong’s largest pro-democracy newspaper, was denied bail on Thursday for fraud and was jailed by a court until April.
South Korea exams: Nearly half a million high school graduates huddled together Thursday to take the annual university entrance exam – a nine-hour marathon of tests that could determine their future.
Snapshot: Up on board the World Dream, one of Singapore’s cruises to nowhere. The city-state, along with Japan and several countries in Europe, has sponsored travel on a limited and highly controlled basis to help the struggling cruise industry. That means socially distant buffet lines, electronic monitoring and hand disinfectants at the slot machines.
Lived life: Historian and Holocaust expert David Hackett, who translated The Buchenwald Report, an important report on life in the concentration camp, died of the coronavirus last month at the age of 80.
England Shipping: Faced with London streets during the pandemic, London taxi drivers are dropping off their rented black cabs by the hundreds. Fields of abandoned taxis show the extent of the devastation of trade.
What we read: This Bloomberg article on QAnon’s rise in Japan. “It’s a look at how conspiracy theories are tailored to the Japanese experience, and there’s an odd admiration for Michael Flynn,” writes Carole Landry of the briefings team.
Now a break from the news
Reduce CO2 emissions everywhere – – Hal Harvey, General Manager of Energy Innovation
Success begins with reducing emissions in the four energy sectors: electricity utilities, vehicles, buildings and industry. Everyone has a path to zero carbon and nobody has to make sacrifices, but everyone requires national commitment. There is a common phrase: “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Let us begin.
Let Mental Health Experts Answer 911 Calls – Chris Magnus, Tucson Police Chief, Ariz.
Properly tested mental health crisis calls to an emergency dispatch center can ensure “the right work in the right hands” and help the answering machines, police officers and mental health center staff at the 911 center work together to provide the best possible care to those in need.
Think of education as more than just school – Kwame Owusu-Kesse and Geoffrey Canada, Directors and President of the Harlem Children’s Zone
An emerging field of activity that focuses on where a child is growing up has campaigned for the provision of comprehensive services to neighborhoods to effectively combat poverty. These services include high quality education and youth programs for cradle to career, physical and mental health support, workforce development, affordable housing, and community leadership development.
Create paid internships for every college graduate – – Félix Matos Rodríguez, Chancellor of the City University of New York
Internships offer students real-world opportunities that suit their desires, complement their academic work, and become an integral part of their college experience. Paid internships also put money in students’ pockets and help with food, transportation, and housing. These opportunities are central to students who cannot afford to do unpaid internships.
Share buttons on social media – Kevin Roose, the Times technology columnist
Share buttons deprive us of the ability to make sense of what we share – by adding the poignant lettering, fun side, and personalized touch. They make us channels for the tastes of others rather than our own curators. If we share less, we can actually share more.
That’s it for this briefing. I wish you a relaxing weekend.
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach Natasha and the team at email@example.com.
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