Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times
A choice “between leaving or increasing”
Speaking from the White House a day after the last US military plane left Kabul, President Biden vehemently defended the decision to end the war in Afghanistan.
The operation to evacuate the Americans and Afghan allies was an “extraordinary success,” he said, as he declared the end of an era in which the United States used military power “to remake other countries”.
Biden blamed Donald Trump for negotiating a bad withdrawal deal with the Taliban. “It was the choice, the real choice between leaving or stepping up,” he said. “I was not going to prolong this war forever.”
With the exit from Afghanistan, the United States faces a new dilemma: how to deal with the new Taliban government. Some of the problems include the depth of cooperation against a common enemy, ISIS-K, and the desirability of freeing up $ 9.4 billion in Afghan government foreign exchange reserves that are frozen in the United States.
EU takes important vaccination milestone
Around 70% of adults in the EU have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, officials said yesterday, placing the bloc among the world leaders in immunization, despite a slow start.
While countries like France and Italy have put in place strong incentives for people to get vaccinated by requiring proof of vaccination to dine indoors or enter cultural venues, the reluctance to vaccinate and poor communication have led many Eastern European countries to fall behind.
In numbers : More than 80 percent of adults have been fully vaccinated in Belgium, Denmark and Portugal, and more than 75 percent in Spain and the Netherlands. Including adolescents and children, more than 55% of the overall EU population has been fully vaccinated.
Quote: “The pandemic is not over,” warned Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. “We need more. I call on everyone who can to get vaccinated.
Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.
In other developments:
Slow recovery from Hurricane Ida
Widespread power outages in Louisiana and Mississippi hamper recovery efforts after Hurricane Ida. Authorities pleaded with residents not to return home immediately. Follow live updates here.
As search and rescue efforts halted in small towns, the grim reality of the storm’s aftermath, even in places like New Orleans that have been spared the worst, was becoming dismally clear.
Officials stressed that they had not completely ruled out the possibility of large-scale evacuations for the 200,000 people they say remain in New Orleans.
Difficult decisions: Some resent the warnings from officials to stay away. A hotel stay is an expensive alternative, while some people for whom home insurance is prohibitively expensive find that they cannot afford not to go home and get what they can. .
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A century after collectors from the American Museum of Natural History traveled to Colombia to study its avian fauna, collecting more than 800 birds, a team of researchers carried out a similar expedition to see what remains and what has changed. Above, a pair of Lafresnaye piclets, tiny tropical peaks.
“We are not trying to create high quality bird collections for the sake of accumulation or nationalism,” said a scientist working on the project. “We are doing this because we need it. “
Find Aretha Franklin
Throughout her career, Aretha Franklin has remained relatively unknown to the public. “I didn’t make a hole in his armor,” lamented David Ritz, a biographer.
Because of this confidentiality, it is difficult for on-screen depictions of Franklin to fully capture the artist. The most recent attempt – the movie “Respect,” starring Jennifer Hudson, above – sticks “too closely to Franklin’s self-image, a narrative she controlled tightly,” Salamishah Tillet writes in The Times. .
Sydney Pollack’s documentary “Amazing Grace”, by contrast, wouldn’t have hit screens if it was up to Franklin, who has repeatedly sued to block its release. Shot in 1972 for two nights at a Baptist church in Los Angeles, the film was released after Franklin’s death.
The film, Tillet writes, is “all gospel, a cinematic capture of spiritual ecstasy and religious exaltation, and a Franklin surrendering his voice to God, and is at its most sublime.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to cook
A marinade of herb yogurt makes these chicken thighs extremely tender and helps them brown beautifully on the grill.
What to read
In his latest novel, “The Magician”, Colm Toibin imagines the life of Thomas Mann, the Nobel Prize-winning author of “The Magic Mountain” and “Death in Venice”.