Your Friday Briefing - The New York Times

We cover the US evacuations from Afghanistan and the frustrations of the pandemic in Australia. United States prepares to evacuate ...


We cover the US evacuations from Afghanistan and the frustrations of the pandemic in Australia.

The Pentagon is move thousands of Marines into position for an evacuation of the American Embassy and citizens in Kabul. Authorities say the city could fall to the Taliban within 30 days.

The sharply deteriorating situation in Afghanistan – Kandahar and Herat, two of the the cultural capitals of the country, were on the verge of collapse – forced the Defense Ministry to speed up plans to get the Americans out.

Officials said troops would deploy within the next two days to Hamid Karzai International Airport to help evacuate Americans and embassy staff. A thousand more military personnel will travel to Qatar, the Pentagon said, to help process visa applications from Afghans who assisted the US military during the war.

US negotiators are also trying to get the Taliban’s agreement that they will not attack the embassy if the group invades the capital, two US officials said. On Thursday, the embassy sent the latest in a series of alarming alerts urging Americans to “immediately leave Afghanistan using available commercial flight options.”

Across Australia, hope struggles to gain momentum as hyper-contagious epidemic Delta variant threw nearly half of the population into lockdown.

Almost 18 months after the start of the pandemic, as other Western countries have vaccinated their way to relative safety or have simply decided to live with the coronavirus, Australia remains locked in an all-out war with the odds of victory. , with a return to zero Covid, have grown ever steeper.

Many Australians feel betrayed by the government’s rollout of the sputtering vaccine, which they say wasted sacrifices made last year. Others are looking for ways to contribute to grassroots efforts to speed up immunity and escape the growing restrictions in the country.

Quote: “We had this amazing window that no one else in the world had, with almost a year of minimal transmission of Covid, and we were told all the time that ‘this is not a race’,” said Maddie Palmer, 39, of Sydney. “It was a race – and they screwed it up.”

Progress: Australia’s drug regulatory authority only approved the Moderna vaccine this week, several months after other countries. Even though stocks of doses of Pfizer and AstraZeneca have increased, only 24 percent of adults are fully immunized.

Related: Olympic athletes return home to South Australia state must spend 28 days in quarantine.

here is the latest updates and pandemic cards.

In other developments:


The hottest day in Europe perhaps just recorded in Sicily, where the locals were sizzling at 48.8 degrees Celsius. In addition, the continuous operation of the air conditioning caused blackouts there.

“We are used to scorching summers, but I have no memory of such unbearable heat,” said Francesco Italia, the mayor of Syracuse.

British Columbia: The province is fight nearly 300 forest fires at a time, enveloping parts of the province in opaque clouds of rising smoke. Canadian officials are urging residents to obey evacuation orders during the worst wildfire season since a devastating season in 2018.

WE: Over 150 million people are in a form of heat alert from the Pacific Northwest to the Northeast. The power outages only added to the misery in the Midwest.

Turkey: At least nine people were killed in floods, and at least five children are missing.

More climate news: Many see hydrogen as the future of clean energy. But the way the industry aims to do it is worse for the climate than burning natural gas, according to a new study.

The crowds that have filled Hong Kong in recent weeks are not protesters fighting for democracy. They are fans of the city’s hottest boy group, Mirror. The group of 12 young men took control of the city overnight and filled it with a burst of joy.

Amid new evidence that vaccinated people with breakthrough infections may carry the coronavirus, US officials have urged people living in high transmission areas to wear masks in indoor public spaces, regardless of their vaccination status. .

here is what you need to know about breakthrough infections and the Delta variant:

  • Vaccines remain very effective in preventing serious illness and death, producing antibodies in the blood that prevent the coronavirus from taking root and damaging the lungs and other organs.

  • At the onset of infection, when people are most likely to be contagious, the Delta variant appears to replicate in amounts that may be 1000 times more like those seen in people infected with other variants, destroying the immune system of the nose and throat.

  • Some experts believe breakthrough infections are more likely after exposure to the Delta variant than previous forms of the virus. Even when more recent data becomes available, however, it is still likely that most hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19 will occur in unvaccinated people.

  • A few small studies have looked at how common or severe persistent symptoms, sometimes referred to as long Covid, can be after breakthrough infections. This is likely to be rare, some experts say, because breakthrough infections are rare and of shorter duration.

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