Britain weighs in on another lockout
The country’s health secretary said yesterday that the outbreak of corona virus cases in the UK was driven by a highly contagious Omigran variant and that the government had not refused to impose restrictions. So far, 85 people have been hospitalized in the UK with confirmed Omigran cases, and seven have died.
Health Secretary Sajid Javed did not deny speculation that the government was considering a two-week “circuit breaker” lockout. The government’s emergency committee held a private meeting with national leaders yesterday to discuss the escalation of cases, which the mayor of London declared a “major event” over the weekend – a state of emergency to free up resources.
Scientific advisers have warned lawmakers that more action is needed. The uprising threatens to sink the UK health system, urging people to work from home if possible and extending the mask order, even after the government announced a long-opposed corona virus contingency plan this month.
Political crisis: Fears of a public health emergency just days before Christmas coincided with problems for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, including the resignation of Brexit negotiator and Johnson’s key ally, David Frost.
Number of U.S. airstrikes over the years
A five-year Times investigation has found that US air wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan have been plagued by deeply flawed intelligence, emergency and inaccurate targeting, thousands of civilian deaths – and less responsibility. All of these findings provide a sharp contrast to the US government’s image of war waged by drones and precision bombs.
The military’s own covert estimates, obtained by The Times, document more than 1,300 civilian casualties since 2014, many of them children. The second part will be released in the coming days. Read our magazine feature focusing on the human cost of airstrikes.
Despite the Pentagon’s highly codified system for investigating civilian casualties, its promises of transparency and accountability have led to opacity and impunity. Estimates were made public only in a few cases. No error or disciplinary action was found in any of the records provided.
Posts: The Times received records of claims for information freedom and lawsuits filed against the Department of Defense and the U.S. Federal Command. Click here to view the full package.
Peng Shuai denies allegations of sexual abuse
Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai’s account of a former Communist Party leader’s sexual harassment has sparked tensions for weeks and calls for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Withdrawing from the comments of a Chinese-language newspaper in Singapore is unlikely to extinguish global concerns about his well-being and doubts as to whether he was the target of well-known pressure techniques and propaganda by Chinese officials. His comments quickly aroused suspicion from human rights lawyers.
Chinese officials are likely to seize his statement to the newspaper against calls for a full investigation into her claims and to oppose the suspension of the Women’s Tennis Association tournament in China.
Twist: In a post on the Chinese social media site Weibo last month, Peng, in an interview with the official, described that he “never agreed” and “cried all the time”. But in comments to the newspaper, he said: “I want to emphasize one very important thing – I never said or wrote that anyone sexually abused me.”
All over the world
T Magazine has asked six chefs and food experts to compile a list of 25 essential foods to eat in New York City. The final selection of the most delicious and memorable palettes in the city, appearing in an unlisted, alphabetical order, is far from what you would expect.
Art and ideas
Faces of 2021
The New York Times Face Quiz gives you the opportunity to see how well you know some of the defined personalities of 2021, featuring 52 familiar or less familiar faces. Give us a name that fits each face. (And, yes, we are soft on spelling.)
See how well you perform compared to other Times readers.
Play, watch, eat
What to cook