Your Tuesday Briefing – The New York Times
We cover the failures of Covax and the return of Simone Biles to the Olympics.
How Covax Failed
The multibillion-dollar alliance of international health systems and nonprofits was supposed to ensure that poor countries receive vaccines as quickly as rich countries. Instead, Covax has struggled in its attempts to secure doses, falling by half a billion below its target, and is now failing to actually deliver the vaccine.
Chad received 100,000 doses in June, but five weeks later, some 94,000 doses remain unused. Nearby in Benin, only 267 injections were given each day – a rate so slow that 110,000 of the program’s AstraZeneca doses expired.
Shortages are leaving poor countries dangerously unprotected as the Delta variant of the coronavirus rages on. And without billions of additional vaccines, experts warn, new variants could continue to emerge around the world.
Quote: “Covax has not failed, but it fails,” said Dr Ayoade Alakija, co-chair of the African Union vaccine delivery program. “We really don’t have any other options. For the good of humanity, Covax must work.
Simone Biles is back for an event
The U.S. gymnastics team star has said she will compete in the balance beam final at the Tokyo Games, after withdrawing from most events due to mental health issues.
Biles, who retired from the team final nearly a week ago, said it would have been dangerous to perform her complicated and daring routines as she had lost the ability to measure where she was in the air in relation to the ground.
The 24-year-old gymnast is considering retiring, but has hinted she could return for the 2024 Games in Paris to honor her French coaches.
Details: Tuesday’s balance beam event will close the women’s gymnastics competition. China’s Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing, who placed first and second in the qualifying round, will be in fierce competition.
The last of the Olympic Games:
US grants refugee status to more Afghans
The State Department offers potential refugee status to Afghans who assisted the United States during the war in their country, including people who worked for news organizations and other non-governmental organizations.
The move will protect Afghans “who may be at risk because of their affiliation with the United States,” but who were not eligible for a special immigrant visa program, the department said in a statement.
The context: The White House has come under intense pressure to offer protections to Afghans with ties to the United States, especially as Taliban fighters are rapidly gaining new territory and threatening major cities. On Monday, the Afghan president blamed the rapid withdrawal of US troops for the escalation of violence in his country.
Venice has banned the large cruise ships that normally fill its lagoon and canals. Some tourists were surprised to be docked hours away from the city’s famous landmarks.
ARTS AND IDEAS
996 work culture
Journalist Vivian Wang written about Chinese work culture in Le Matin today. Here is a condensed version.
To understand the work culture in China, start with a number: 996. It’s a shorthand for the grueling schedule that has become the norm in many Chinese companies: 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week.
The term originated in the tech industry about five years ago, when companies were fighting to compete with Silicon Valley. China’s economy has since grown into the second largest in the world.
But recently, more and more tech workers are resisting the all-cost culture. This year, 996 returned to the news after two workers died at Pinduoduo, an e-commerce giant.
Some companies have taken steps to improve work-life balance. Kuaishou, a short video app, in July ended a policy requiring its staff to work weekends twice a month. A division of another tech giant, Tencent, has started encouraging workers to return home at 6 p.m., but only on Wednesdays.
It’s also clear that many are fed up with the grind. Some Gen Zers have turned to reading Mao Zedong’s writings on communism to rage against capitalist exploitation. And an online craze this year has called on young people to “get rid of” or “lay flat” – in essence, to retire from the mad rush.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to cook
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. – Melina
PS Lauren Lopez joined The Times of the National Basketball Association as senior vice president of talent management.
The latest episode of “The Daily” deals with a new chapter in the pandemic.
You can reach Melina and the team at email@example.com.