The test of democracy in the USA
Today Congress will hold a joint session to confirm the victory of President-elect Joe Biden. The process is usually superficial, but this time the sitting US president refuses to accept the outcome and a number of Republican lawmakers plan to object.
That moment came as the country waited for the results of two runoff elections in Georgia that will shape the Senate under the Biden presidency. Both races have been close and President Trump and his campaign have behaved in ways that could undermine confidence in the results. Here’s the latest.
Pence is no: Vice President Mike Pence told Mr Trump on Tuesday that he did not believe he had the authority to block confirmation of Mr Biden’s victory today, according to people briefed on the conversation, despite the President’s claims to the contrary.
Scotland’s No: As rumors began to circulate that Mr Trump might try to visit the country when Mr Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20, First Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said newly imposed virus restrictions would rule out that possibility.
Vaccine launches in Europe are lagging behind
Italy and Greece have a shortage of needles. Spain has not trained enough nurses. France has managed to vaccinate only about 7,000 people. Poland’s program was rocked by a celebrity vaccination scandal. The Netherlands start their campaign 10 days after receiving their cans. Almost every European country has complained about annoying paperwork.
Meanwhile, a more contagious variant of the coronavirus has caused an uproar in the world, and although most Europeans have spent months under varying degrees of restrictions, record numbers of virus patients are flooding hospitals.
The number of cases puts a double burden on healthcare providers tasked with leading vaccination campaigns, a situation the US shares
Britain’s breed: Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday that 1.3 million people in the UK had been vaccinated and he hoped the 13 million most at risk, including the elderly, could receive the vaccine by mid-February. But the country has little time. New figures show that one in 50 people was infected there, and its government said that for the first time, more than 60,000 new cases were recorded in a single day.
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
A 27 year old son, the nucleus of Britain’s most expensive divorce
This is Temur Akhmedov, who shares a surname with his parents – and is the focus of Britain’s most expensive divorce.
Trying to wrest nearly $ 100 million in cash and fortune from him, his mother Tatiana argues that Temur was instrumental in bringing his father and her ex-husband Farkhad millions into trusts and tax havens for their efforts to preserve them, thwart divorce settlement for $ 615 million.
Tawdry details: Allegations of infidelity between the husband and wife led to divorce, and Farkhad refused to even send a lawyer to the 2016 trial that established the settlement. However, the regulatory judge assessed documents allegedly showing that a court in Moscow had previously dissolved the marriage as “fake” and things went downhill from then on.
If you have 8 minutes, it’s worth it
“People all over the world were counting with relish until the end of 2020, hoping the idea that the New Year would bring vaccines and something that felt normal. However, the coronavirus does not keep a calendar. It has continued to do what it does: spread, kill, sow grief.
“But it’s not just the realization that the vaccines aren’t an instant panacea that was such a slap in the face. The thing is, life is still excited everywhere. “
Our Rome office manager Jason Horowitz reports on the mood in Europe and elsewhere in 2021.
The following also happens
French scandal: Olivier Duhamel, 70, political scientist and media representative, quit his media and university posts after being accused decades ago in a book written by the stepson’s twin sister, Camille Kouchner, of committing incest with his teenage stepson. The two are the children of Bernard Kouchner, a co-founder of Doctors Without Borders, and the late Évelyne Pisier, a writer who later married Mr. Duhamel.
Julian Assange: WikiLeaks founder’s lawyers are due today to request his temporary release from Belmarsh Prison with maximum security in London, two days after a London judge ruled against his extradition to the United States for espionage.
Oil prices: OPEC, Russia and other oil producers reached a compromise on Tuesday that brought prices to levels not seen since February.
Cold War Bonus: Images from a US spy program directed against the Soviets with so-called Corona satellites in the 1960s and 1970s collected approximately 850,000 images that were classified by the mid-1990s. You’ve helped scientists – including the CIA’s Linda Zall – map climate change.
Snapshot: Above, a group in a rented igloo in New York City. Restaurants and cafes that can only dine outdoors get creative in a gloomy winter.
What we read: This Der Spiegel interview with BioNTech founders Ozlem Tureci and Ugur Sahin. It contains reassuring information about the virus variant (yes, the vaccine will continue to be effective against it) and insight into the amazing life of this “first pair of medicines”.
Now a break from the news
Cook: This yam and plantain curry with crispy shallots is an adaptation of Asaro, a dish made from starchy root vegetables cooked in a flavored tomato and chili-based sauce and served in southern Nigeria and other parts of West Africa.
Read: “Himalaya: A Human History” by Ed Douglas, journalist and climber, tells the story of the highest mountains in the world and its equally enormous impact on humanity.
To do: Imagine you are in Cartagena. The Colombian city is so magical that it has inspired entire books by Gabriel García Márquez.
Whether books or baking, we have everything for you. At home, you have ideas for what to read, cook, see, and do while being safe at home.
And now for the background story about …
The corrections the editors are tracking
David Vecsey, a Times editor, wrote about the gaffes and mistakes that can keep him up at night. Here is an excerpt.
It’s a feeling every editor knows. At 3 am you wake up from a deep sleep with your eyes open and say to yourself: Did I misspell “Kyrgyzstan” last night? And nine times out of ten, you can easily go back to sleep knowing you’ve done it.
Copy editors have an almost photographic memory when it comes to the words that pass before our eyes. Unfortunately, the cameras we use are those old-fashioned tripods that use flaming magnesium for a flash and take hours or even days to develop the images.
But at some point it all comes back in a rush of clarity. You might be pushing your toddler through the park on a glorious, sunny day off if you suddenly wonder: Did I say Dallas was the capital of Texas last week? Yes. Yes you did You idiot.
My job, put simply, is to get things right. So there’s no worse feeling than realizing that you’ve put a correctable mistake on the press and that a day or two later a correction will come up to say, “Because of an editing error …”
The Times has strict guidelines for correcting it: if it’s wrong, even if it’s online or in a print issue for a few minutes, get it corrected. It is this commitment to accuracy that deserves the trust of our readers.
Reading proofs in the New York Times is like taking a guided tour through the pitfalls of journalism. Here you will discover the Ginsberg-Ginsburg Vortex, a black hole that has engulfed many journalists who have confused the names of the poet and justice.
When I’ve learned one thing, there is one thing you need to shrug off your mistakes and move on. And one day I’ll learn from God how to do that.
That’s it for this briefing. Until next time.
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
• We listen to “The Daily”. Our latest installment is part 2 of a series about the Georgia Senate runoff races.
• Here is today’s mini crossword and a clue: Rubberneck (four letters). You can find all of our puzzles here.
• An internal Times email this week reminded reporters not to use “stem” as a synonym for “variant”. A virus strain is less than 94 percent genetically identical to a known virus, as explained in the email. The new coronavirus variant is more than 99.99 percent identical.