Your Monday Briefing

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We’re masking a go to to Afghanistan by President Biden’s protection secretary and India’s race to comprise a second wave of the coronavirus.

Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin landed in Kabul on Sunday morning, turning into the primary member of President Biden’s cupboard to set foot within the nation, which is residence to America’s longest warfare.

The journey comes at a pivotal time: The U.S. is tentatively set to withdraw its forces from the nation on Might 1. Mr. Biden stated in an interview final week that assembly the deadline can be “powerful.” He has not introduced any particular plans concerning the pullout.

Mr. Austin’s arrival in Kabul got here on Nowruz, the Persian new yr — a date on which the Islamic State in Afghanistan had pledged to hold out assaults. So the journey was supposed to stay confidential till two hours after he left, however native reporters broke information of his go to after he met with the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani.

The stakes: A U.S. withdrawal might improve the danger of a takeover of the nation’s key cities by the Taliban. Requested concerning the issues Afghans may need over a pullout, Mr. Austin stated: “We’ve achieved rather a lot to work with the Afghan safety forces. And I don’t wish to speculate about what might occur or what couldn’t occur going ahead.”

The numbers: Roughly 3,500 U.S. troops are actually stationed in Afghanistan. American troops have had a steady presence within the nation since 2001.


The coronavirus is once more rippling throughout India. Confirmed infections have risen to about 31,600 day by day from a low of about 9,800 in February. In a latest two-week interval, deaths from the virus shot up by 82 %.

The outbreak is centered on the state of Maharashtra, residence to Mumbai. Total districts have gone again into lockdown. Scientists are investigating whether or not a brand new pressure discovered within the state is extra virulent, like variants present in Britain, South Africa and Brazil.

Officers are underneath stress to aggressively ramp up testing and vaccination, particularly in Mumbai. Stepping up vaccinations in India might have an effect globally. India is an important hyperlink within the vaccine provide chain: It has given away or offered tens of thousands and thousands of doses to different nations, even because it struggles to vaccinate its personal individuals.

The international minister has stated that the supply of vaccines in India will decide what number of doses go abroad. India’s gradual vaccination marketing campaign has additionally been stricken by public skepticism.

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

In different developments:


The Chinese language authorities has upended the political panorama in Hong Kong. Its plan to drastically overhaul the native electoral system, by demanding absolute loyalty from candidates working for workplace, is leaving factions throughout the political spectrum questioning what participation, if any, continues to be doable.

Moderates aren’t positive they’d move Beijing’s litmus take a look at, and opposition leaders are unsure about whether or not they are going to attempt to subject candidates once more. The adjustments are additionally more likely to slash the variety of immediately elected seats within the native legislature, that means the vast majority of lawmakers can be picked by authorities allies.

Quotable: “If we proceed to take part on this recreation, it’s like we’re accepting what they’re doing,” stated a pro-democracy activist. “That will make me really feel like an confederate.”

Context: The adjustments to the voting system sign the gutting of a promise that has been central to Hong Kong since its return to Chinese language management in 1997: that its residents would some day get to decide on their very own leaders, slightly than being topic to the whims of London or Beijing.

Chandro Tomar might appear to be a typical Indian grandmother, however she’s something however: At 89, she’s believed to be the oldest skilled sharpshooter on the planet, and she or he has dozens of medals to indicate for it. She’s additionally a feminist icon in India.

In memoriam: Nawal el Saadawi, an Egyptian creator, activist and doctor who grew to become an emblem of the wrestle for girls’s rights within the patriarchal Arab world and campaigned towards feminine genital mutilation. She was 89.

Caity Weaver, a member of The Occasions’s Kinds desk, ventured to Santa Fe, N.M., to strive Equus, a horse expertise that has an extended checklist of well-known shoppers like Bette Midler and Jeff Bezos. This system’s web site encourages shoppers to “think about creating the life you actually deserve.” In a latest dialog, she mirrored on her expertise as she researched a narrative on whether or not we will study something from horses.

What do you know about Equus earlier than you arrived in Santa Fe?

Not a lot. They purposely don’t have a number of photographs on their web site. The founders informed me that they don’t need individuals coming in with a particular concept of what their expertise will likely be like, as a result of then if it really works out in a different way, shoppers might be disenchanted.

So what elevated it to “I would like to do that”?

One factor you all the time surprise with fascinating experiences is, Is anybody truly paying to do that? And infrequently, the reply isn’t any. However the consumer checklist was so spectacular — Margaret Atwood, Microsoft, a number of different names I acknowledged. So I used to be curious to go and get out of it, presumably, no matter they have been getting out of it. I’d love for my life to be nearly as good as Bette Midler’s — I believe.

What’s one thing enjoyable or sudden you realized?

Candace Croney, a professor of animal habits and well-being at Purdue College, informed me to think about horses the way in which you consider a cat — they’re not like a canine, who desires to be with you and desires consideration. A horse doesn’t actually wish to be the primary factor — possibly it desires to be petted and stroked, possibly it doesn’t. I didn’t study that earlier than I went, but when I ever meet one other horse, I’ll simply consider it like an enormous cat.


That’s it for right this moment’s briefing. See you subsequent time. — Carole

P.S. The New York Occasions Local weather Hub, a 10-day occasion that includes dwell journalism, thought management and motion on local weather change, will likely be held alongside the United Nations Local weather Change Convention (COP26) in Scotland this November.

The most recent episode of “The Day by day” is concerning the profession of New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo.

You’ll be able to attain Carole and the group at [email protected].

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