Your Monday Briefing – The New York Times
We’re covering the reactions to a nail-biting German election and a Sino-Canadian prisoner swap.
Voting closed in Germany’s election
Early exit polls showed a tight race after the Germans voted on a new parliament. His choice will determine who will replace Chancellor Angela Merkel at the helm of the EU’s most populous democracy. Here are the latest updates.
The country’s two largest parties, the Social Democrats and Merkel’s Christian Democrats, were either tied or within percentage points of each other in the polls.
For 12 of the past 16 years, each party that has ruled in a coalition led by Merkel has been less than 30 percentage points. Such a result would represent the first time that Merkel’s party had fallen so short among voters since its inception in 1945.
With more people voting by mail than usual due to the pandemic, organizers were cautioning that counting of ballots could take longer than usual.
a theatrical prisoner swap
China welcomed Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who has been in Canada under house arrest for years on fraud charges, to fanfare and a hero.
But in the West, the release of two Canadians from prison in China – and the end of a 1,030-day standoff – was watched with concern, as Beijing was willing to deal boldly in its dealings with foreign nationals.
“They’re not even going to pretend it was anything other than an outright hostage situation,” said Donald C Clarke, a law professor specializing in China at George Washington University Law School.
The exchange could help bring back tensions between Washington and Beijing from the point of crisis. But it will probably do little to address the deeper issues in the game.
background story: In December 2018, Canadian authorities arrested Meng, the chief financial officer of Huawei and the daughter of its founder, at the request of the US, shortly after China detained two Canadians, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.
Time: The swap took place on the same day that President Biden was meeting with the leaders of Australia, Japan and India at the White House for the first time, as part of an effort to forge a coalition to counter China’s influence.
Booster shots to begin in South Korea
South Korea’s Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said on Sunday that the nation would soon start giving booster shots to medical workers and people aged 60 and above as the country grapples with a new wave of infections after the Chuseok holiday.
Infections have increased in recent days as millions return home to visit their loved ones across the country in celebration of the harvest festival.
Kim said the vaccination campaign would be ramped up and the interval between the first and second shots before October would be shortened. More than 85 percent of new cases in the past few weeks involved people who had not been fully vaccinated.
Curfews have recently been eased, and officials have warned that a surge in cases threatens South Korea’s gradual return to normalcy. But the fatigue of the pandemic is increasing.
description: About 45 percent of the total population has been fully vaccinated, and about 74 percent have received a shot. After hovering near 2,000 cases before the holiday, South Korea reported a record 3,273 new cases on Saturday.
Here are the latest updates on the virus and pandemic map.
In other developments:
news from asia
read one morning
Although some parts of the US military allow exceptions to strict dress rules, Marines are less likely to budge. First Lieutenant Sukhbir Toor, a Sikh, was reluctantly allowed to wear the turban. “Ultimately I don’t get to choose what life I want to commit, my faith or my country,” said Lieutenant Toor. “I can be who I am and respect both sides.” But he says the force needs to do more.
Wole soyinka ain’t going anywhere
When the first black winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature – and its first African winner – senses that things like freedom and democracy are in danger in Nigeria, they must join in.
“It’s a temperament,” said 87-year-old Wole Soyinka during an interview in his hometown of Abokuta in southern Nigeria.
Her first novel in nearly 50 years, “Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People in History,” is published in the US on Tuesday. Set in a fictional Nigeria, it is a satire of how the accumulation of power can go awry. (His 1975 drama “Death and the King’s Horseman” is also being produced for Netflix by Ebonylife Media, the empire run by Mo Abudu, which has earned itself the unofficial title of “Africa’s answer to Oprah”. )
“Something has happened to the quality of sensitivity in this country,” he said. “I haven’t completely put my finger on it. But this country has given something. Something has been missed.”
Boko Haram has terrorized northeastern Nigeria for more than a decade. Mass kidnappings have swept north. Police brutality has intensified the protest movement. Separatist groups have attacked government offices.
This keeps Soyinka coming back to the forefront. “I know, I know, I know. I have announced several times my withdrawal from public life,” said Soyinka. “And I meant it! For about 24 hours.”
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