Your Wednesday Briefing - The New York Times

We cover the takeaways from the Biden-Xi meeting and how Pfizer’s Covid pill could help poor countries. Polite words, not much more...

We cover the takeaways from the Biden-Xi meeting and how Pfizer’s Covid pill could help poor countries.

A virtual meeting between President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping produced no breakthrough. The two leaders sought to prevent the escalation of the many disputes between their countries in a larger conflict.

After three and a half hours of talks, the two sides have not even concocted a joint statement. Instead, they issued their own statements, each highlighting long-standing points of contention.

Biden raised concerns over human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong, as well as China’s “unfair trade and economic policies” harming American workers, according to the House statement. White.

Xi, according to China’s own reading, said US support for Taiwan “was playing with fire” and explicitly warned the world was in danger of relapsing into the superpower clashes of half a century ago.

Persistent problems: The trade war that former President Trump started is still unresolved and China is not buying as many American products. US officials have declined to discuss what has been said about China’s growing nuclear arsenal.

More discussions: The two sides agreed to talks between lower-level officials, giving hope that tensions could at least ease a bit.

Xi’s power: Hours after the meeting, the Chinese Communist Party finalized a resolution that anointed Xi one of his revered leaders.

The deal follows a similar deal signed by Merck, and together the deals have the potential to significantly expand global production of two simple antiviral pills that help prevent serious illness from the coronavirus.

The pill is urgently needed in places where few people have had the chance to get vaccinated. Health equity advocates said the Pfizer deal did too little to address the crisis created by the huge disparity in access to vaccines.

The United States plans to pay more than $ 5 billion for a stockpile of Pfizer’s new pill, enough for about 10 million cures, after the company ramped up production next year, according to people familiar with the deal.

Challenges: The impact of Pfizer and Merck’s pills will depend on how easy it is for patients to access Covid tests. Treatments should be given within a few days of onset of symptoms. Experts predict it will be more difficult in countries where people have less reliable access to health care providers.

here is the latest updates and pandemic cards.

In other developments:

Polish border guards said on Tuesday they were pushing back an attempt by migrants to cross the heavily guarded border with Belarus, where tensions have been mounting for weeks.

Polish authorities said guards at the border post were assaulted by people throwing “stones, bottles and logs” and firing “stun grenades”. (As journalists were excluded from the area, it was impossible to confirm the Polish authorities’ claims.)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the actions of Polish forces “absolutely unacceptable”. Moscow has backed Belarus amid accusations it is using migrants as a political weapon against EU country Poland.

Across the border, Belarusian guards began moving hundreds of migrants from the foul and frozen camp to the shelter of a nearby warehouse. The Belarusian authorities’ plans for the migrants they were transferring were unclear.

Humanitarian crisis: At least 11 people have died at the border in recent weeks. As freezing temperatures begin to take hold of the region, there are fears of yet another tragedy for thousands of men, women and children stranded at the border.

Asia-Pacific News

Fifteen generations of the indigenous Abrauw group in Indonesia lived on the island of Biak. Now the members of the group fear being evicted from their land as Indonesia continues its plan to build a spaceport there and attract SpaceX founder Elon Musk.

Last week Taylor Swift unveiled “Red (Taylor’s Version)”, her latest re-recorded album. First released nearly a decade ago, “Red” marked the beginning of Swift’s transition from country to pop. And among the real Swifties, the favorite track was “All Too Well,” a “painfully rendered portrayal of a breakup,” Lindsay Zoladz writes in The Times. (There are a lot of speculation about the actor who allegedly inspired the song.)

So when Swift debuted the clip for a new 10 minute version of “All Too Well” – and performed the whole song on “Saturday Night Live” – ​​fans went wild. While the shorter version of the song featured “tense and streamlined storytelling,” writes Zoladz, the new version is “gloriously unruly and viciously bubbling.”

Swift started the re-recording project to keep control over his songs, after selling his first six albums to investors. It’s a smart business decision: the re-recorded songs are surpassing the originals on streaming services, reports the Wall Street Journal.

But the extended cut of “All Too Well” shows how re-recordings can enhance original works as well. The new track’s most striking lyrics highlight the age gap between an older man and a younger woman, and the video emphasizes that point with actors who are more than a decade apart. . The result, writes Zoladz, is a young woman’s attempt to retroactively correct an imbalance of power.

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Your Wednesday Briefing - The New York Times
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