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Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times

Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times
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Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times

Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times

We cover Simone Biles’ exit from the team final at the Tokyo Olympics and a return to masks in the United States.

Simone Biles left the women’s gymnastics final at the Tokyo Games on Tuesday because she was mentally in the wrong place to compete, she said. It is not clear if she will compete in her individual events.

As the star of the USA team, she was expected to bring home gold medals, and the weight of expectations weighed on her. On Tuesday, she said she had started “fighting all these demons” and couldn’t hold them back.

“These Olympics, I wanted it to be for me when I got there – and I felt like I was doing it for other people again,” said Biles, 24. Here are the latest updates.

It was the biggest upheaval for the United States at the Tokyo Games. She had faltered on a jump and left the mat, making sure that Russia would win the gold.

Osaka exit: Hours earlier, another superstar athlete, Naomi Osaka, had been upset in the third round of the women’s singles tennis tournament by a much lower ranked player. She also spoke about the pressures of the Olympic scene.


Just two months ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fully vaccinated people did not have to wear masks indoors. But on Tuesday, the main U.S. health agency recommended people vaccinated against the coronavirus wear masks indoors in areas of the country where the virus is on the rise.

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The change came amid concerns about groundbreaking infections in those vaccinated and outbreaks of Covid, driven by the highly infectious Delta variant, in states like Missouri and Florida. Authorities also recommended that everyone in schools be masked, regardless of their immunization status.

CDC officials have been influenced by new research showing that even people who have been vaccinated can carry large amounts of the variant virus in their nose and throat, suggesting they can pass it to others as well, officials say.

Reply: There was certainly resistance to the rules from pandemic-weary Americans, especially in areas where virus concerns have eased. The vaccines remain effective against the worst outcomes of Covid-19, including those involving the Delta variant.

The context: About 69 percent of adults have received at least one vaccine in the United States. Vaccinated Americans are losing patience with those who have not yet received the vaccine.

Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.

In other developments:


Tong Ying-kit, who was arrested last year for hitting police officers with his motorcycle, was sentenced on Tuesday for terrorism and incitement to secession.

It was the first trial held under Beijing’s security law last year and was seen as a test of how Hong Kong courts would apply it. Under the law, Tong could be sentenced to life in prison.

The court will likely hand down a sentence within a few weeks. Tong was denied bail and a jury trial.

“I think we would be kidding ourselves if we thought that the national security law would not be enforced the way the Chinese government has designed it,” said Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute in London. “The idea that Hong Kong justice could moderate it would be a mistake.”

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The case: Prosecutors argued that a banner Tong carried containing a popular protest slogan – “Free Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time” – amounted to a call for Chinese independence, which is banned.

Asia News

As Beijing has stepped up its crackdown in Xinjiang, more and more Uyghurs living abroad have spoken out against mass internment camps and abuses. But increasingly, their families trapped at home are paying the price and, in some cases, going to jail for years.

Four sports are making their Olympic debuts this summer. Others, including softball, have returned. Here is a preview.

Karate. Athletes can win medals in kumite, a training event, and in kata, which focuses on solo movements. “I can’t wait to show the world the beauty of my sport,” Sakura Kokumai, the first American to qualify in karate, wrote on USA Today.

Skateboarding. Yuto Horigome, 22, of Japan, and Momiji Nishiya, 13, won the gold medal by performing tricks on a fake street in the city. Next week’s events feature a skate park-like course.

Sport climbing. Athletes must compete in three disciplines: lead climbing (with ropes), bouldering (negotiating obstacles without ropes) and speed climbing (climbing a wall). This combined format is “a complete novelty,” said Adam Ondra, a Czech champion climber.

Surfing. Competitors faced unpredictable waves. Team USA’s Carissa Moore and Brazil’s Italo Ferreira won gold medals.

Baseball and softball are back for the first time since 2008, in part because both are popular in Japan (whose softball team beat the United States for gold).

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Getting a new sport into the Games can take years. But many athletes say it’s worth the wait. As surfer Kolohe Andino told The Times, “It’s so sick, just be a part of it.”

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