Breaking News

Your Thursday Briefing

France and Germany impose severe restrictions

President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday that France would go into a second national lockdown starting on Friday and lasting one month. Most schools will remain open and visits in retirement homes will remain possible. Otherwise, people may not leave their homes other than for essential reasons.

“The virus is circulating at a speed that not even the most pessimistic forecasts had anticipated,” Mr. Macron said in a televised address. “Like all our neighbors, we are submerged by the sudden acceleration of the virus.”

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the closure of restaurants and bars, as well as gyms, theaters, museums and nail salons for a month. Schools will remain open.

European shares sank to their lowest levels in months as investors began to worry about the economic impact of the new restrictions.

For weeks, European countries have tried to slow the spread of a second wave of coronavirus infections through targeted restrictions and avoid the nationwide lockdowns that devastated economies. But the number of cases has exploded and hospitals are filling up, leaving them few options. “Within weeks we will reach the limits of our health system,” Ms. Merkel said.

Details: France reported 288 new virus-related deaths in hospitals in 24 hours Tuesday and 235 deaths in nursing homes over the previous four days, the biggest rise since May. In Germany, hospitals have seen the number of patients double in the past 10 days.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

Melbourne comes out of lockdown

Australia’s second-largest city emerged on Wednesday from one of the world’s longest and most severe lockdowns, feeling both traumatized and euphoric.

It took 111 days, but Melbourne and the surrounding state of Victoria recorded no new coronavirus infections on Monday, and on Wednesday stores, cafes, restaurants and beauty salons opened their doors for the first time in months. Many of Melbourne’s five million residents said they felt as if they had survived an emotional roller coaster with effects on the economy, education and mental health that they predicted would linger.

“It’s like this tiny little flower that’s just sticking out one petal at a time,” said Ryan Gribble, 37, who celebrated the start of a return to normal life at a bar, shortly after the lockdown lifted at midnight.

The turnaround: Infections in July were spiraling out of control, hitting a peak of more than 700 a day.

LVMH and Tiffany near agreement on a new deal

Tiffany & Company is close to an agreement to cut the price of its sale to the French conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, three people with knowledge of the talks said on Wednesday, potentially settling a dispute over one of the luxury world’s largest deals.

Tiffany and LVMH have discussed a revised share price that would bring the sale down to just under $16 billion — about $400 million less than before. Directors of Tiffany are scheduled to vote on the proposal on Wednesday. Both brands get about 40 percent of their revenues from Asian buyers.

Context: LVMH agreed to buy Tiffany nearly a year ago, but the pandemic almost made the conglomerate back out.

If you have 7 minutes, this is worth it

A football star’s downfall after speaking out

A year ago, Mesut Özil, the Arsenal midfielder, was one of the Premier League’s highest-paid players. But then he criticized China over its treatment of the Uighur Muslims on Twitter and in an Instagram post.

A lot changed after that moment — though it’s unclear how much of it can be traced back to his criticism of China. Our reporters looked at the fallout for Özil, who quickly disappeared from video games, merchandise and the Chinese internet, got his pay cut, and has not played since June.

Here’s what else is happening

Climate change: A radical proposal to combat climate change is gaining traction: artificially cooling the planet, in hopes of buying humanity more time to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The Australian government is funding research of one technique that scientists hope can save the Great Barrier Reef.

Gay rights in China: A lawsuit brought by a college student, who found that her school textbooks described being gay as a mental disorder, has renewed the conversation about gay rights and tolerance in China.

Qatar airport search: The government expressed “regrets” but defended a decision to subject more than dozen women to medically invasive exams after an abandoned newborn was found in an airport bathroom.

Anonymous Op-Ed: Miles Taylor, a former chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, revealed himself to be the author of an anonymous 2018 Op-Ed in The Times. In the article, he described President Trump as “petty and ineffective” and claimed he was part of a cadre of officials working against the administration’s agenda.

Snapshot: Above, voting in Tanzania. The election on Wednesday is seen as a referendum on President John Magufuli, who is seeking a second five-year term, and on the governing Party of the Revolution, which has dominated Tanzanian politics under one name or another since independence in 1961.

What we’re reading: This Tampa Bay Times investigation, recommended by Matt Apuzzo, an international investigative correspondent. “There’s nothing safer than a bank vault or an armored truck, right?” Matt writes. “Think again. This remarkable piece shows how one company lost millions of dollars from some of the country’s biggest banks by moving money around to stay ahead of audits.”

Now, a break from the news

Cook: These sausages with apples and onions are a tasty pairing. The onions are caramelized and the apples fried in butter.

Watch: “Barbarians” depicts the Battle of Teutoburg Forest, which has long been a rallying cry for German nationalists, including the Nazis. The series has been positively received in Germany.

Do: A plant’s Latin name is the only way to know for certain what you’ll be getting when you buy plants. Here are some tips on learning the language of plants.

The virus is still raging but our At Home collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do can help you stay safe at home.

And now for the Back Story on …

How the pandemic is changing the U.S. election

Drive-through polling places. Candidates meeting voters on Zoom. Canvassers in masks and gloves knocking on doors and then scurrying six feet back. Just days before the Nov. 3 election, our reporters looked at how the coronavirus has upended the election season at nearly every turn.

The pandemic has emerged as the dominant issue among candidates up and down the ballot, scrambled American campaign traditions and complicated the way votes are cast. The collision of an election and a pandemic has thrown campaigns and early voting efforts into a last-minute frenzy.

“All we’re missing is the asteroid landing with flesh-eating zombies, and our year will be complete,” said Paul Lux, the supervisor of elections in Okaloosa County, Fla., and one of the nearly nine million Americans to contract the virus.

Voters who had never considered mailing their ballots are doing that for the first time rather than braving their usual indoor polling places. And some in the nation’s army of Election Day workers are weighing what levels of protective equipment to wear — if they go to the polls again this year at all.

The share of cases reported in Republican counties has grown every month, from 20 percent in March to 56 percent now, a Times analysis of virus data shows. Much of it is occurring in counties that represent President Trump’s base within battleground states that could decide the election.

Thank you
Carole Landry helped write this briefing. Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news.You can reach the team at [email protected]

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the secretive pay-to-play network of partisan local news cropping up across the U.S.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Color that’s Latin for “water” (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times Magazine writer Emily Bazelon spoke to NPR’s Fresh Air about her story on how false content moves through the internet unchecked — undermining the political process along the way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button