Your Thursday Briefing – The New York Times
Negative Covid test for travelers from China
Visitors from China, including Hong Kong and Macau, must present a negative Covid-19 test before entering the US 5, a move the Biden administration says is aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. The request comes amid growing concerns about the rise in cases in China and the country’s lack of transparency about the outbreak there.
Health officials said the testing requirement would apply to airline passengers regardless of their nationality and vaccination status, as well as those arriving from China who entered the United States through a third country and people connecting through the US to other destinations. Italy and Japan have imposed similar restrictions.
Some experts question whether requiring testing would be of any benefit — especially given the spike in infections in the northeastern states. In the United States, a particularly fast-spreading Omicron sub-variant, XBB, appears to be spreading faster than those associated with the dominant Beijing variant, BF.7, which is associated with BA.5.
Background: After three years of implementing a “no Covid” policy, China took an abrupt turn in early December, after mass protests against the blockade threatened the ruling Communist Party. That led to an explosion of cases.
Dim hopes for Russia-Ukraine peace talks
Ukrainian and Russian officials have stressed that they are ready to discuss achieving peace. But the statements made in recent days show that The claim of either party is unacceptable to the other side, and there seems little hope for serious negotiations in the near future.
Ukraine this week proposed a “peaceful” summit at the end of February but said Russia could only join if it first faced a war crimes tribunal. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Kiev must accept all of Russia’s demands, including that Ukraine give up four regions that Moscow claims to have annexed.
Analysts say the tough stance shows both sides believe they can achieve more on the battlefield. Ukraine has maintained its momentum, after recapturing most of the land that Russia had captured since the beginning of the war. However, Moscow’s forces still hold much of the east and south, and Russia is preparing to add troops and continue to attack infrastructure.
Analysis: Karin von Hippel, general manager of the Royal United Services Institute, said: “Both are in it for the long haul. “Putin still feels he can win this. He still has more men and more money, though you wonder what his tipping point will be.”
In other news from the war:
Pope Benedict XVI ‘gravely ill’
Pope Francis yesterday I ask the faithful to pray for the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI and said he was “very sick.” In his prayers, Francis said, people should ask the Lord to comfort Benedict and “support him in bearing witness of love for the Church, to the end”.
A Vatican spokesman said that Francis then visited Benedict, 95, at the convent on the grounds of Vatican City, where the former pope has lived since announcing his resignation in February 2013. Benedict is the first pope to resign in six centuries. Increasingly weak, he has rarely appeared in public in recent years.
When he resigned nearly 10 years ago, Benedict cited his declining health, both “mental and physical”. He said that “due to his advanced age” he felt that his strength was “no longer suitable to carry out adequately” the job of leading the church and that he had freely decided to resign “for the sake of of the church”. Since then, he has mostly withdrawn from public life.
quote: “I would like to ask all of you a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who is quietly supporting the Church,” Pope Francis said at the conclusion of the hour-long audience.
Life of Benedict: Joseph Alois Ratzinger was born in 1927 and ordained a priest in 1951. He became pope upon the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005 and took the name of a fifth-century monk, Benedict of Norcia, who founded monasteries to spread Christianity in Europe.
Around the world
ARTS AND IDEAS
Mexico’s Digital Nomads
Mexico City is an attractive remote working destination for Americans and Europeans for its vibrant mix of food, history and bustling street life. But the influx of remote workers is pushing housing costs higher, as hosts capitalize on record demand for long-term stays on platforms like Airbnb.
Critics say local residents are being forced out of their apartments, upsetting the fabric of neighborhoods. According to a real estate website, the average monthly rent in Mexico City increased to $1,080 in November from $880 in January 2020. (Average monthly salary in Mexico City is 220 dollars.)
An Airbnb spokesperson said cities around the world, including London, New York and Barcelona, Spain, have targeted Airbnb by imposing stricter rules on lettings go. hire, but in Mexico City, the company is working with government officials “to be part of the solution.” The city’s left-wing mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, has partnered with the company on a campaign to encourage foreigners to spend money in poorer neighborhoods.