Your Monday Briefing :
England’s troubled reopening
On average, nearly 45,000 cases of coronavirus per day have been reported in the UK over the past week, an 83% increase from the average of two weeks ago. Deaths rose 141%, while England’s chief medical officer warned hospitalizations were doubling every three weeks and could reach “frightening numbers”.
Despite these disturbing statistics, England will lift its final restrictions today, even as more than 500,000 people last week were asked to quarantine by the National Health Service’s testing and traceability app after being in contact with a person who tested positive for coronavirus.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his senior finance official, both of whom have had contact with an infected cabinet minister, are among those currently in quarantine. Downing Street initially said yesterday they would avoid a quarantine, prompting a quick and fierce backlash from critics who accused them of a double standard.
British politics: Johnson is under fire for refusing to condemn crowds who booed England’s national football team for kneeling down to protest racial injustice. His refusal is a distinct echo of former President Donald Trump’s targeting of NFL players who knelt for the same cause in the United States.
Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.
In other developments:
Indonesia, the fourth most populous country, now has the highest number of new coronavirus infections in the world, with 57,000 new cases reported on Friday. Experts estimate that the real number is three to six times higher.
American tennis star Coco Gauff has tested positive for the coronavirus and will not compete in the Tokyo Olympics, adding to the first cases inside the Athletes’ Village.
After scandals and outrages, overcrowded host cities and now a pandemic, some are wondering if the Games are worth it.
Some local governments in China have started requiring that all students – and their families – be vaccinated before students can return to school in the fall.
First person: “The flash floods brought so much in their wake – cars, containers and torn trees – that it was impossible to even launch lifeboats,” a witness said. “I have never seen such a fast and tumultuous river.”
Destruction: Videos, photos and a map show the extent of the damage.
The devastating effects of climate change
The floods in Europe are just a sign of a global warming crisis, making it clear that the richest nations of the world are unprepared for its consequences. But it remains to be seen whether growing disasters in the developed world, including wildfires in Canada and scorching weather in the California wine country, will affect climate change policy.
The extreme weather disasters come months ahead of the UN climate talks in Glasgow in November, in fact a time to determine whether the nations of the world will be able to agree on ways to limit emissions enough to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
The European Commission presented an ambitious roadmap for change last week, including a tax on imports from countries with less stringent climate policies. But the proposals are generally expected to meet strong objections both inside and outside Europe.
Quote: “While not all are affected in the same way, this tragic event is a reminder that in the climate emergency no one is safe, whether they live in a small island nation like mine or in a developed state. ‘Western Europe,’ said Mohamed Nasheed, the former president. of the Maldives, floods said.
Scenes in Siberia: The people of northeastern Siberia are reeling from the worst forest fires they can remember. Thick smoke hung over Yakutsk, the coldest city in the world. Outside the city, villagers dug trenches to keep fires away from their homes and fields.
THE LAST NEWS
Other great stories
Four months after the mega-ship Ever Given got stuck in the Suez Canal, neither the canal nor the shipping industry have addressed some of the most critical issues that led to the grounding. Our investigation examines what went wrong.
ARTS AND IDEAS
The Louvre detective is on the hunt
Emmanuelle Polack is a 56-year-old art historian and archival detective who seeks to uncover the troubled stories of some of the Louvre’s most treasured works – and help them find their way back to their rightful owners.
France has been criticized for being behind countries like Germany and the United States in identifying and returning works of art looted during World War II. The Louvre has recently sought to restore its image, with further investigations into the provenance of its works.
The museum holds more than 1,700 stolen works of art that were returned to France after WWII for which no rightful owner has so far come forward.
For Polack, the key to uncovering the secret stories of works of art that suspiciously changed hands during the Nazi occupation is to follow the money. She goes through the voluminous files of the Louvre to follow how works of art have been bought and sold over the years. The backs of paintings often give clues about sales, restorations, and framers that might refer to their owners.
“For years, I cultivated a secret garden in the art market during the occupation,” she said. “And finally, it is recognized as a crucial field of investigation.”
Learn more about the Louvre’s restitution efforts.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to cook
This frozen cake revisits banana pudding by using chocolate wafers instead of the classic vanilla.
What to watch
“Naomi Osaka,” a new three-part miniseries on Netflix, deftly explores the tennis star’s psychology instead of focusing on his technical prowess.
What to read
In “The Cult of We,” Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell examine how Adam Neumann, co-founder of WeWork, built a billion dollar business simply by renting a common workspace.