Your Wednesday Briefing

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Good morning. We’re masking India’s calamitous Covid surge and China’s unpopular plan to lift the retirement age.

“Crematories are so stuffed with our bodies, it’s as if a battle simply occurred. Fires burn across the clock. Many locations are holding mass cremations, dozens at a time, and at evening, in sure areas of New Delhi, the sky glows.”

Jeffrey Gettleman, the New Delhi bureau chief for The Occasions, wrote a first-person account of life within the pandemic’s world epicenter. Mates are sick. Neighbors are sick. Colleagues are sick.

“I’m sitting in my residence ready to catch the illness,” Jeffrey writes. “We all know the terrifying power of this second wave, hitting everybody on the similar time.”

India now data extra infections per day — as many as 350,000 — than some other nation has for the reason that pandemic started. Most specialists suppose that official quantity is an enormous underestimation.

A number of days in the past, the positivity charge in New Delhi hit a staggering 36 %. Even rich and well-connected folks can’t skirt traces or get oxygen, now in brief provide. There are simply no extra strings left to drag.

Science: A brand new variant, a “double mutant” is wreaking havoc. The science remains to be early, however it appears the variant is extra contagious and extra immune to vaccines.

Grim predictions: Epidemiologists say the numbers will preserve climbing, to 500,000 reported instances a day nationwide and as many as a million Indians useless from Covid-19 by August.

Listed here are the newest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In different developments:


China plans to delay retirement — now at 50 or 55 for girls, and 60 for males — as its inhabitants ages and pension funds run low. The thought is deeply unpopular.

Older folks say they are going to be cheated of their promised timelines. Youthful folks fear that competitors for jobs, already fierce, will intensify.

China mentioned final month that it could “regularly delay the authorized retirement age” over the following 5 years. Its graying inhabitants — and declining birthrate — means the labor power is shrinking. A 2019 report predicted that the nation’s primary pension fund would run out by 2035.

Context: The Chinese language authorities deserted an effort to lift retirement ages in 2015 within the face of an outcry. This time, it appears decided to observe by way of and tackle one of many nation’s most urgent points.

A robust response: After the announcement, retirement-related matters trended for days on Chinese language social media, racking up lots of of hundreds of thousands of views and important feedback.

Background: China’s present requirements have been set within the Nineteen Fifties, when life expectancy was, on common, within the early 40s. However because the nation has swiftly modernized, residents can now count on to stay almost 77 years.

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Fee, was left standing throughout a gathering in Turkey this month whereas her colleague, a person, and the president of Turkey, additionally a person, took the one two chairs set out for the official talks.

Von der Leyen, the primary girl to go the European Fee, spoke frankly of her harm and frustration on Monday. “Would this have occurred if I had worn a swimsuit and a tie?” she mentioned. “Within the photos of earlier conferences, I didn’t see any scarcity of chairs. However then once more, I didn’t see any girl in these photos, both.”

She mentioned that no authorities protocol defined how she was handled — she and her male counterpart rank equally within the European Union’s hierarchy. “So, I’ve to conclude, it occurred as a result of I’m a lady.”

Watch: A video of the assembly held on the Turkish presidential palace confirmed Von der Leyen’s clear shock as she let loose an “um” on the lack of applicable seating. The pictures triggered a storm on social media. #GiveHerASeat quickly began trending on Twitter.

On Monday, Shohei Ohtani turned the first player since Babe Ruth to start out a sport as a pitcher whereas additionally main Main League Baseball in dwelling runs. Practically each different fashionable participant is both a hitter or a pitcher. Ohtani is concurrently one of many world’s hardest-throwing pitchers and greatest sluggers — and a fleet base runner. He’s “a unicorn, a miracle, a revelation unto himself,” Sports activities Illustrated’s Emma Baccellieri has written.

There’s a drawback, although. Since shifting from Japan in 2018 to affix the Los Angeles Angels, Ohtani has usually been injured. He has wanted arm surgical procedure, and has had knee issues and blisters. Many individuals have begun to surprise if Ohtani ought to keep away from additional pressure and follow solely hitting.

“All people’s rooting for him, but when he continues to battle with common pitching duties, it’s nearly like a Bo Jackson sort of profession — we know he’s able to being a two-way star (in Bo’s case, soccer and baseball),” our colleague Tyler Kepner informed us. “However we solely get a style of it, and we’re at all times left hungry for extra.”

In his look on Monday, Ohtani gave up 4 runs in 5 innings — and had two RBIs — because the Angels beat the Texas Rangers, 9 to 4.

This one-pot surprise of hen, black beans and rice will delight everybody on the desk.

In “Mother Genes,” the creator Abigail Tucker climbed the mountain of inconclusive science about how people succeed on the terrifying activity of mothering solely to search out the solutions nearer to dwelling.

The way in which you gown your mattress ought to talk one thing about the way you wish to stay. Right here’s what the professionals know in regards to the artwork of creating your mattress.

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