Climate change, vaccination rates, Tokyo Olympics: your weekend briefing

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Here are the best stories of the week and a glimpse of the future.

1. The extreme weather conditions of the past week have led to a harsh reality: Climate disasters can also hit rich countries.

Unique floods in a millennium swept through Germany, and fires and heat waves choked the American West. Events have ravaged some of the richest nations in the world, whose wealth has been made possible by the very activities that pump the greenhouse gases that heat the planet into the atmosphere.

“I say this as a German: the idea that you could possibly die because of the weather is completely foreign,” said a climatologist.

The big question is whether the growing disasters in the developed world will affect what the world’s most influential countries and companies do to reduce their own emissions.

The floods have killed at least 165 people, most in Germany, and hundreds are still missing in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. As the floodwaters receded in parts of the area, firefighters and soldiers began to clean up the debris and assess the damage. These images show the extent of the devastation.

2. As much of the nation tiptoes toward normality, coronavirus cases are again overwhelming hospitals in areas with low vaccination rates.

Infections increased in all states last week, but counties with low vaccination rates were much more likely to have larger jumps. Among the 25 counties with the largest increases in cases, all but one had vaccinated less than 40 percent of their residents, and 16 had vaccinated less than 30 percent, according to a Times analysis. The new fracture in America is particularly marked in Mountain Home, Ark., Where less than a third of residents are vaccinated.

The global outlook for the pandemic remains bleak as vaccinations lag and the Delta variant takes hold. Indonesia has emerged as the new hotspot for the pandemic, overtaking India and Brazil to become the country with the highest number of new infections in the world. Africa is in its deadliest phase of the pandemic. Only about 1% of Africans are fully vaccinated, and there is no relief in sight because rich countries are hoarding vaccines.

3. Under President Donald Trump, then under President Biden, United States stood ready President Jovenel Moïse as democracy crumbled in Haiti.

Critics say US support for the Haitian president’s increasingly autocratic regime contributed to the chaos that erupted with his assassination. The resulting leadership vacuum and the race for power were predictable, current and former officials said, as Washington had paid little attention to clear warnings of chaos and perhaps made matters worse by publicly supporting Moses.

It’s a playbook that the United States has used around the world for decades: to side with or tolerate leaders accused of authoritarian rule because they serve American interests, or out of fear of instability.

4. One by one, the pandemic relief programs that have financially supported millions of Americans are disappearing.

The moratorium on evictions expires at the end of the month. Unemployment improvements after that. Then the student loan break, food stamp provisions and more. If you are counting on one of the programs that are going to go away, it is a time of anxiety. Fortunately, there is always help – and here’s how you can find it.

Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer has given Democrats until Wednesday to work out the details of a $ 3.5 trillion budget plan that could lead to transformative change in social and environmental agendas. The plan will unlock the use of the Fast Track Reconciliation Process, which will allow Democrats to pass a broad economic package without Republican votes.

5. Two Developments Highlight the Pressure President Biden is Facing on immigration, a problem that could shape its legacy.

Border officials met a total of 188,829 migrants at the southern border in June, the highest monthly number in recent history, according to new federal data. And a federal judge has declared DACA illegal, jeopardizing the legal status of hundreds of thousands of immigrants, most of whom came to the United States as children.

Biden faces criticism from all quarters. If the president expands detention centers to keep cross-border workers for long periods, he risks being accused of adopting the anti-immigrant policies of his predecessor. If he allows tens of thousands of migrants to wait in the United States for their court hearings, he will be accused of allowing a policy of “catch and release” while the pandemic is still raging.

6. The Surfside collapse is causing further turmoil in the struggling Florida insurance market.

Insurers were already nervous after repeated losses from hurricanes. But after the recent condo collapse, which killed at least 97 people, Florida insurance companies are carefully examining the buildings they cover, raising rates that are already among the highest in the country or canceling the tax altogether. blanket.

The change also presents a new problem in the climate crisis: whether parts of the United States are too risky to be insured.

This week’s Cuban protests denouncing the Communist government have rekindled the hopes of Florida exiles for change on the island. But the dizzying anticipation is tempered by suspicion, especially from older exiles, that this could be yet another disappointment.

7. The Olympics represent the height of athletic achievement. But are they still worth it?

Every Olympic cycle unleashes bidding scandals, human rights abuses, overcrowded host cities, widespread cheating and, of course, exciting competitions. In many ways, critics say, the Olympics are frozen in time, a 19th century construct floating in a 21st century world.

A year after being delayed due to the pandemic, the Tokyo Summer Olympics begin on Friday. Here is a calendar of some of the major events.

Skateboarding will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo. Professional skateboarders are finally adopting a practice that is ubiquitous among elite athletes: physiotherapy.

8. The city that never sleeps awakens from an 18-month sleep. New York’s cultural scene is leading the way.

The arts – Broadway, nightclubs, museums, concert halls – are coming back to life after the pandemic closes. Culture is part of New York’s lifeblood – a magnet for visitors and residents that will play a key role if the city is to remain vibrant in the Internet age. As public health and safety concerns weigh heavily, the big question is, will people come?

Bruce Springsteen is already on stage; a real play, “Pass Over”, by Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu, opens in August (panting!); and in September, show after show arrives again or picks up where it left off. We’ve broken down everything you need to navigate Broadway when it reopens, from what to see to how to buy tickets.

9. It’s mid-July, which means it’s that special time of year: corn and tomato season.

If you’re growing tomatoes this year, don’t let these spots on foliage or disfigured fruit cause frustration. Our garden expert offers you a Beginner’s Guide on tomato troubles (and here are some suggestions for how to cook with them).

For corn lovers, consider sweet corn choclo arepas from food stylist Mariana Velásquez. In Colombia, where Velásquez grew up, each region has its own variety, “but the choclo arepas were essential because they are special, unlike the others,” she said. These arepas combine corn kernels with the usual ground corn to make the dough.

For more ideas on what to cook this week, here are five weeknight dishes and 16 no-bake desserts for hot summer days.

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