Your Friday Briefing – The New York Times


We cover the new rules for travelers to the United States and Peng Shuai supporters who escape censorship.

President Biden presented a new pandemic strategy on Thursday as the United States grapples with the new Omicron variant and the potential for a winter push.

The administration has shortened the time frame for travelers in the United States to take a Covid-19 test to one day before departure, regardless of their vaccination status. The new testing rules are expected to take effect next week.

This has left would-be travelers nervously calculating whether they’ll get test results in time to complete their flights or wonder if there will be more rules imposed while they are away. A lack of certainty keeps people at home, said Jean-Pierre Mas, president of a union representing France’s major travel agencies.

The United States has not imposed a mandatory seven-day quarantine on arrivals. It also hasn’t improved its standard for an acceptable Covid screening of an antigen on a PCR test, which can take significantly longer to produce results.

Biden’s plan also includes free at-home coronavirus testing, an all-adult recall campaign, and hundreds of family-friendly vaccination sites.

Quote: “The most frustrating thing is you can never plan more than a week in advance because everything can change every day,” said one traveler.

Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.

In other developments:

A virulent, vaccine-resistant strain could tip the economy once again, according to a forecasting company, while a mild strain could take a load off health systems and allow the recovery to get back on track.

As a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development showed, although growth has been uneven, the global economy has rebounded this year faster and stronger than expected. The report, compiled largely before the latest coronavirus news, nevertheless warned that growth is expected to slow.

It’s unclear exactly how the latest outbreak will affect unemployment levels and inflation rates. Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, said concerns about persistent inflation were growing. The OECD also warned that inflation could be higher and last longer than initially expected.

Mood: People and businesses have gone into a wait-and-see mode. “A lot of things seem to be on hold, like the job market or overall consumer decisions,” said Nick Bunker, director of economic research for the job site Indeed.

Chinese tennis fans have started using obscure references online to talk about tennis player Peng Shuai, who disappeared from public life after publishing allegations of sexual assault against a former senior Chinese official.

Instead of identifying his Chinese name and spelling out the details of his allegations, some people have used vague references such as “a tennis player” and “the spat”.

Even media figures have found themselves faced with the question of how to discuss Peng without attracting the attention of state censors. Commenting on Twitter, a state editor called Peng’s accusations “what people were talking about.”

The intensity of the censorship has made people reluctant to talk about it online or even in person. “We know that stuff happens and we care,” said a tennis fan in China. “But most of us choose to remain silent.”

The last: The International Olympic Committee had its second video call with Peng on Thursday, but officials did not release details of the conversation. The IOC said it was using “quiet diplomacy” with Chinese sports organizations to address the issue.

Asia Pacific

Archaeologists who recently discovered the remains of a person buried in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 hope modern technology will help shed light on ancient Rome. “Today it is possible to do types of analyzes that were not possible 20 or 30 years ago,” said an anthropologist who studies DNA. “We are going to tell the story of these people.”

Swedish streaming service Spotify’s most beloved – and perhaps scariest – feature is back: Wrapped.

The colorful year-end synopsis of each user’s top artists, songs, podcasts, and listening habits floods Instagram profiles virtually upon release.

My favorite song this year was “A Case of You” by Joni Mitchell and Spotify let me know that I had listened to it exactly 55 times. I apparently had an aura of “bold” and “confident” listening to music.

Spotify knows where we’re listening to music, what we’re doing when we’re listening to it, and even what mood we are in, according to Wired, which has also posted steps to turn off this tracking.

“Whether it’s a label, Spotify or washing machine makers, there is a lot of market pressure to figure out how to have a richer relationship with the consumer,” Paul Schwartz, privacy expert. privacy and law professor at the University of California. , Berkeley, told me.

“This type of personalization can be a plus,” said Schwartz. It’s also valuable for companies looking for data to market us.

Platforms “constantly follow a fine line” between using data and disclosing to users “what they have learned” about them, said Ben Zhao, professor of computer science at the University of Chicago .

As Kevin Roose, the Times technical columnist, put it, “A year-end on Google Maps probably wouldn’t be so lovely. – Melina

What to cook

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. – Melina

PS The Times has launched Headway, which will explore the challenges of the world through the lens of progress. All Headway articles will be freely accessible without subscription.

The last episode of “The Daily” is about the Supreme Court.

You can reach Melina and the team at [email protected].

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