France and Germany impose strict restrictions
With the number of coronavirus cases rising rapidly and hospitals in France and Germany already under pressure, the heads of state and government of the countries announced significant restrictions on Wednesday in order to reduce infection rates.
As of Friday, France will begin a second national one-month suspension. Most schools will remain open and visits to retirement homes will remain possible, said President Emmanuel Macron. Otherwise, people are only allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons. “The virus is circulating at a rate that not even the most pessimistic predictions expected,” he said in a televised address. “Like all of our neighbors, we are inundated with the sudden acceleration of the virus.”
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the closure of restaurants and bars as well as fitness studios, theaters, museums and nail studios for one month. The schools remain open.
Economic impact: European stocks fell to their lowest level in months as investors braced themselves for new economic problems.
Details: France reported 288 new virus-related deaths in hospitals and 235 deaths in nursing homes in the last four days in a 24-hour period Tuesday, the largest increase since May. In Germany, the number of patients in hospitals has doubled in the last 10 days.
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
A nationwide strike against Polish abortion laws
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Poland on Wednesday in a nationwide strike to protest a court ruling banning almost all abortions. Now, on its sixth day, the protests drew thousands of women, along with numerous men who gave up their offices in dozens of cities, including Warsaw.
The ruling, passed last week by a Supreme Court, stopped abortions for fetal abnormalities, virtually the only type of abortion currently performed in the country. The protests have become a broader expression of anger at a right-wing government accused of hijacking the judiciary and violating the rights of women and minorities.
Official answer: The ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski accused protesters of seeking the destruction of the nation and appealed to supporters to “defend churches”, a handful of which were destroyed by demonstrators.
Could the UK fisheries sign a Brexit trade deal?
In the larger scheme of the larger British economy, fishing is a tiny industry. Only 12,000 people in the UK fish out of 6,000 ships and contribute less than half of 1 percent of gross domestic product – less than London’s upscale Harrods department store, according to an analysis. The same applies to most of the continental European countries.
As negotiations between the UK and the European Union on a long-term trade agreement develop on December 31, fishing is proving to be one of the politically most insidious sticking points.
What’s next: Without an agreement, continental fishing fleets could be locked out of British waters, which gives the European Union an incentive to settle. And the UK fishing industry (including farmed salmon producers) desperately wants access to continental European markets. One possible solution could be a transition – or “glide path” – in which UK fishing quotas are gradually expanded at the expense of continental nations.
If you have 10 minutes, it’s worth it
The fall of a star footballer after speaking out
A year ago, Mesut Özil, the Arsenal midfielder, was one of the Premier League’s highest paid players. But then he criticized China on Twitter for its treatment of Uighur Muslims and in an Instagram post.
A lot has changed since that moment – although it’s unclear how much of that was due to his criticism of China. Our reporters looked at the impact of Özil who quickly disappeared from video games, merchandise and the Chinese internet, received his wage cut, and has not played since June.
The following also happens
Climate change: A radical proposal to combat climate change is gaining in importance: the planet is artificially cooled in the hope of giving mankind more time to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Australian government is funding research into a technology that scientists hope can save the Great Barrier Reef.
Anonymous Op-Ed: Miles Taylor, a former chief of staff at the US Department of Homeland Security, emerged as the author of an anonymous Op-Ed 2018 in The Times. In the article, he described President Trump as “petty and ineffective” and claimed to be part of a cadre of officials working against the government’s agenda.
Put a ring on it: Tiffany & Company is about to agree to lower the price of its sale to French conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Three people who are aware of the talks that became known on Wednesday may have settled a dispute over one of the largest stores in the luxury world.
Snapshot: Above voting in Tanzania. Wednesday’s election is seen as a referendum on President John Magufuli, who is seeking a second term of five years, and on the ruling party of the Revolution, which has dominated Tanzanian politics under one name or another since independence in 1961.
Lived life: Cook Cecilia Chiang, whose San Francisco restaurant introduced American diners to the richness and diversity of authentic Chinese cuisine in the 1960s, died Wednesday at the age of 100.
What we read: This Tampa Bay Times investigation was recommended by Matt Apuzzo, an international investigative correspondent. “There’s nothing more secure than a bank vault or an armored truck, right?” he writes. “Think again. This remarkable piece shows how one company lost millions of dollars from some of the largest banks in the country by moving money to stay ahead of the tests.”
Now a break from the news
Cook: These sausages with apples and onions are a delicious combination. The onions are caramelized and the apples fried in butter.
Clock: “Barbaren” shows the battle of the Teutoburg Forest, which has long been a rallying cry for German nationalists, including the Nazis. The series was well received in Germany.
To do: The Latin name of a plant is the only way to know for sure what you are getting when buying plants. Here are some tips for learning the language of plants.
Grappling with new restrictions on staying at home? Our collection of ideas for reading, cooking, watching, and doing at home can help.
And now for the background story about …
How the pandemic is changing the US elections
Transit polling stations. Candidates meet voters in video chats. Advertisers in masks and gloves knocked on doors and then hurried back a meter. Just a few days before the November 3rd elections, our reporters investigated how the coronavirus had changed the election season almost at every turn.
The pandemic has emerged as the dominant topic up and down among the candidates, disrupting American campaign traditions and complicating the way votes are cast. The collision of elections and pandemics has frenzied last-minute campaigns and early voting efforts.
“All we miss is the asteroid landing with carnivorous zombies, and our year will be over,” said Paul Lux, the polling officer in Okaloosa County, Florida, and one of the nearly nine million Americans who have signed this Virus.
Voters who had never thought of sending their ballots are doing so for the first time, rather than defying their usual indoor polling stations. And some employees of the country’s electoral army are weighing which protective equipment to wear – if they even vote again this year.
The percentage of cases reported in Republican counties has increased from 20 percent in March to 56 percent each month, according to a Times analysis of the virus data. Much of it takes place in counties that represent President Trump’s base in battlefield states that could make the election.
That’s it for this briefing. See you on Friday.
Thank you very much
Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh took the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected]
• We listen to “The Daily”. Our latest episode is about the secret pay-to-play network of local partisan news surfacing in the US
• Here is our mini crossword puzzle and a clue: “Seventh Heaven” (five letters). You can find all of our puzzles here.
• An accidental haiku from a recent Times article (courtesy of the Twitter bot @nythaikus): “When the sun goes down, / students take shelter / shade from boat sails.”
• Times Magazine writer Emily Bazelon spoke to NPR’s Fresh Air about her story of how fake content moves uncontrollably through the internet – undermining the political process along the way.