Thursday, September 23, 2021
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Your Tuesday Briefing – The New York Times

Briton Boris Johnson is widely expected to break his vow not to raise taxes today when he announces a plan to boost the country’s social services, a long-standing goal he has unveiled for the first time soon after becoming Prime Minister in 2019.

Even before the announcement, Johnson received overwhelming dissent from members of his own Conservative Party. No less than three former Conservative Chancellors of the Exchequer have joined the chorus of critics.

The discord signals a new phase for the government as it seeks to move away from managing pandemic crises and return to a difficult national agenda, including its commitment to distribute wealth to the most disadvantaged regions of the country.

The context: Britain’s National Health Service, which was already strained before the pandemic, now has a huge backlog of routine treatments and operations that have had to be postponed. The government yesterday announced a cash infusion of £ 5.4bn, or $ 7.4bn, to help address this issue.

And after: Johnson’s proposals are likely to cap the amount any UK citizen pays for social care in their lifetime. The government is expected to increase a tax known as national insurance. The burden falls on wage earners and, therefore, disproportionately on the working poor and the young.

A Belarusian court yesterday sentenced Maria Kolesnikova to 11 years in prison after a closed-door trial in Minsk, the capital.

Kolesnikova tried to run for president last year. She and her colleague, Maksim Znak, another opposition figure and lawyer, have been charged with extremism, conspiracy to seize power illegally and endanger state security. Znak received a 10-year sentence in a maximum security penal colony.

It was another sign that President Alexander Lukashenko was continuing a relentless crackdown on dissent after an election widely condemned by many Western governments as a sham. It is estimated that tens of thousands of opposition supporters have fled Belarus since the crackdown began last year.

The context: Kolesnikova has become one of Belarus’ most prominent opposition leaders after the candidate whose campaign she was leading was arrested and barred from running. Kolesnikova aligned with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and Veronika Tsepkalo, two others facing off against the president. The three women staged pre-election rallies that drew tens of thousands of supporters.

In the nearly 18 months since the pandemic first forced companies to send their employees to work from home, the date that U.S. companies planned to bring workers back to the office has changed again and again: it was first in January 2021, then July, then September.

Now September is an option for many businesses. Google, Amazon, Apple and Starbucks have announced they will postpone their return until next year, with executives looking to end the roller coaster of scheduled return dates and further delays.

Companies have new variables to consider, including different infection rates across the country and mask mandates. In a recent survey of nearly 1,000 companies, 52% of respondents said they plan to have immunization mandates by the end of the year, compared to 21% who said they already have needs in vaccines.

Related: Synagogues, which plan their celebrations of the Great Holy Days months in advance, have also recalled their plans to return. Manhattan’s Central Synagogue, for example, has rented Radio City Music Hall – and will perform services, but at 30% capacity, with masks and proof of vaccination.

Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.

In other developments:

New York City has reopened, in a banquet of sights, smells, flavors, textures and sounds. The Times asked photographers to capture the city as it comes to its senses.

Michael K. Williams, best known for his role as Omar Little in “The Wire” – a man with a sawed-off shotgun – has died at age 54. Tributes poured in for the actor.

Built in 1896, the “Golden Coach” was intended to be a gift from the city of Amsterdam to Queen Wilhelmina: a golden coach, designed to represent the Dutch Empire, with Brabant leather, cushions filled with linen. Zealand and teak from the Netherlands. colony of Java.

These elements glorifying the empire would have been appreciated by most Dutch at this time, reports Nina Siegal. But it is they who today make the car, on display at the Amsterdam museum, such a painful reminder of slavery and colonial repression.

The coach has become a center of anti-colonial and anti-fascist protest, echoing similar debates in the United States over statues and other Confederate monuments, and in Europe over monuments honoring colonialists and slave traders. What will happen to him next has become the subject of intense public debate.

Learn more about the Golden Coach.



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