Hello. We cover the recall fire in France, the piercing accusations of Peng Shuai in China and the Pakistani madrasa that educated many Taliban leaders.
A French rush for boosters
Thousands of people rushed to make appointments for coronavirus booster shots on Thursday after the French government said health passes would soon no longer be valid without them.
Amid an increase in the number of new cases and an increase in hospitalizations, the government made all adults eligible for booster shots starting this weekend. The Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, indicated that more than 400,000 vaccination appointments had been made on Wednesday.
Véran said the current wave would be “stronger and longer” than the summer wave but that “no lockdowns, no curfews, no store closures, no travel restrictions” would be enforced.
Instead, said Véran, focusing on vaccinations and social distancing measures, “we choose to balance freedom and responsibility.”
Numbers: About 70 percent of the population is fully immunized. But the number of new daily cases has climbed to around 30,000 in the past few days.
Kids: The European Union’s drug regulator has approved the Pfizer vaccine for young children. For many, protection cannot come soon enough: in France, the increase has led to the closure of 8,500 school classes, against 4,100 last week.
Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.
In other developments:
Before Peng Shuai’s charge, Zhang Gaoli was best known as a quiet technocrat. As he quietly ascended to the top of the hierarchy, he skirted scandals and controversy. One of the few profiles of him in Chinese media described Zhang, 75, as “stern, discreet, taciturn”.
Now, Peng’s claim has made Zhang a symbol of a political system that values secrecy and control. His accusation raises questions about the extent to which the party elite carry their stated ideals of clean life integrity into their heavily guarded homes.
Background: At the start of Xi Jinping’s tenure as Chinese leader, sordid reports of the sexual misdeeds of officials occasionally surfaced in state media, revelations intended to signal that he was serious about the party’s cleansing. . Now, Xi’s priority seems to be pushing back the scandal. References to Peng’s account have been nearly erased from the internet in China.
The alma mater of the Taliban
Many alumni of Darul Uloom Haqqania madrasa, one of the largest and oldest seminaries in Pakistan, now run Afghanistan.
Administrators at the madrasa – located near the Afghan border – argue that the school has changed and that the Taliban should be given the opportunity to show that they have exceeded their bloody limits.
But critics call it a jihad university and blame it for helping to sow violence in the region for decades. They also fear that extremist madrasas, potentially emboldened by the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan, will fuel radicalism in Pakistan.
A wide reach: The Haqqani network – the military wing of the Taliban responsible for hostage-taking, suicide bombings and targeted assassinations – bears the name of and maintains links with the madrasa.
Notable alumni: The Foreign Minister, the Minister of Higher Education, the Minister of Justice and the Acting Minister of the Interior, who have led much of the Taliban’s military efforts and carry a bounty of 5 million on his head of US government dollars.
THE LAST NEWS
The boat that capsized in the English Channel, killing at least 27 migrants among the migrants, was like “a swimming pool that you blow up in your garden”, the French interior minister said.
As Russia moves troops along its border with Ukraine, raising fears of an invasion, the Biden administration has remained vague on when and how it might defend Ukraine.
The far-right party in power in Poland has taken advantage of its tough stance on migrants on the Belarusian border.
Sweden chose Magdalena Andersson, leader of the Social Democratic Party, to be its first female prime minister. His tenure lasted less than a day.
An explosion outside a school in Mogadishu has killed at least eight people, the latest in a series of attacks during Somalia’s tense election period.
As you receive this newsletter, people across the United States will be preparing to celebrate. Here is some holiday news.
What else is going on
A police officer on leave in Newark, N.J. was charged with manslaughter and driving after prosecutors said he fatally struck a pedestrian, then returned the body to his home in the trunk of his car .
Due to climate change, the Smithsonian’s buildings are extremely vulnerable to flooding. Nearly two million irreplaceable artifacts are housed in the basement of the National Museum of American History.
Texas has rejected efforts to protect Native American remains buried under the Alamo, a controversial tourist destination.
In a last-minute change to the nomination process, Kanye West and Taylor Swift became Grammy nominees for album of the year.
A morning reading
If your accordion breaks in Mexico City, you take it to Francisco Luis Ramírez. He has preserved countless of the country’s beloved instruments for more than 50 years of activity.
Collectives for the Turner Prize?
The annual British Visual Arts Award, founded in 1984, celebrated a vibrant individual artist. But for three years, there has not been a single winner.
In 2019, the artists surprised the judges and shared the prize. During the coronavirus pandemic, the organizers of the award distributed funds. This year, the judges will draw a winner from a list of five collectives, each of whose work has as much to do with social activism as it does with art.
The nomination of these collectives underlines the dilemma of the Turner Prize today: is its role to capture the zeitgeist, or to reward excellence?
Some have celebrated the move as an anti-capitalist move. Others laughed at it like a prostration before the performative creators of social justice. “It’s fine to have these views, which are probably genuine – but where’s the bloody art?” Said a longtime critic of the award.
These crispy shrimp cakes are served with a herbal and spicy mayonnaise that looks a bit like a tartar sauce, but spicier.
What to watch
Our reviewer calls “Drive My Car”, a Japanese film about grief, love and art based on a short story by Haruki Murakami, a “silent masterpiece”.
What to wear
If you’re trying to look rich, take a look at the Round Jacket, a puffer jacket designed by Kanye West for Gap.
Now is the time to play
Here are today’s mini-crosswords, and a hint: Unlocked (four letters).
And here’s today’s Spelling Bee.
You can find all of our puzzles here.
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. – Amelie
PS Genevieve Ko, editor of The Times Food, spoke to The Splendid Table about Thanksgiving feasts. Listen to the full episode here.
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You can reach Amelia and the team at [email protected]. Send us your comments.