Your Monday Briefing
The Ffos-y-Fran coal mine in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. The open-air mine, which is due to close in 2022, is one of the few of its kind left in the United Kingdom.Credit…Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
Action on climate change now rests with a handful of nations
The U.N. global conference on climate change closed on Saturday in Glasgow with calls for countries to return next year with stronger emissions-reduction targets and promises to double the money available to help nations cope with the effects of global warming.
A handful of political leaders hold much of the influence over whether those promises are kept. They face competing demands from industry interests that oppose regulation, developing countries that need aid and a vocal citizenship that wants to rein in emissions more quickly.
But even if countries fulfill all the emissions promises they made, they will miss by a wide margin the target of limiting warming by a level that scientists say is necessary to avert the worst consequences of warming.
The key nations: The U.S., China, India, Britain and Brazil are among the countries facing the biggest pressures for fast results.
Other takeaways: Our reporters compiled a list of the six biggest conclusions from the two-week conference.
Crisis at the Poland-Belarus border
The last major air route from the Middle East to Belarus was closed in an effort to halt a humanitarian crisis that has left thousands of people stranded at Belarus’s border with Poland. Poland said that at least nine people have died there.
Hoping to stem the flow of migrants stuck at the Polish border, Dubai banned Iraqi and Syrian passengers from traveling to Minsk, the Belarusian capital.
The flight ban followed an intense diplomatic campaign by E.U. members alarmed by a tide of thousands of mostly Iraqi migrants lured to Belarus after it loosened its visa rules in August.
Hoping for a path into the E.U., the migrants instead found themselves in freezing forest camps on the border of Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.
Another angle: The E.U. has called the moves by Belarus an attempt to “weaponize” migrants and force a crisis in order to punish the bloc for its criticism of its strongman leader, Aleksandr Lukashenko.
‘I am dead among the living’
For over five weeks in October and November, at a courthouse in central Paris, more than 300 survivors and members of bereaved families testified at a trial over the terrorist attacks in and around the French capital on Nov. 13, 2015. One hundred and thirty people were killed.
Gaëlle, 40, told the court how, lying on the floor of a music hall that was attacked, with her cheek blown off by a bullet, she had to remove dislocated teeth from her mouth to avoid coughing and attracting a gunman’s attention. She underwent her 40th surgery in August.
Maya, 33, told the court that she lost her husband and two of her best friends at the Carillon cafe, their Friday meeting spot. The assailants sprayed the terrace with bullets, hitting her legs as she crouched for cover between a gutter and a car.
The audience hung on every shuddering sob, every excruciating detail, every devastating anecdote, every display of horror, grief, resilience, anger and hope.
Quote: “I made it out alive among the dead,” one survivor said. “But now I am dead among the living.”
THE LATEST NEWS
Austria will confine unvaccinated adults and minors over age 11 to their homes as part of a targeted lockdown, lawmakers announced. The move is aimed at calming the worst surge in infections the country has faced since the pandemic started. Above, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer.
A Portuguese law that took effect over the weekend bars employers from contacting their staff outside working hours and from remotely monitoring their work. It is one of the world’s boldest efforts to regulate the remote work environment that the pandemic created.
Three men in their 20s were arrested under Britain’s Terrorism Act after a taxi exploded yesterday outside a hospital in Liverpool, England, killing one person and injuring another, the authorities said.
Queen Elizabeth II, 95, sprained her back, Buckingham Palace said yesterday. An official said that she had not been hospitalized and hoped to continue carrying out “official light duties.” The queen has canceled multiple engagements over the past month because of poor health.
Around the World
A young generation of Cuban dissidents, many of them artists and intellectuals, called for a protest to take place today to demand food, medicine and liberty, a bold move with little precedent in the Communist nation. Above, Cubans waited in line to buy food in Havana on Thursday.
Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, the son and former heir apparent of the deposed Libyan dictator Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, yesterday announced that he would run for president in Libya’s next election. The younger el-Qaddafi helped his father crack down on opposition rebels during the Arab Spring uprising of 2011.
The U.S. military hid an airstrike that killed dozens of Syrian civilians in 2019, as the battle against the Islamic State came to a close. An American attack jet dropped a 500-pound bomb on a crowd of women and children. Then, a jet tracking the crowd dropped two 2,000-pound bombs, killing most of the survivors. The Times reported the details for the first time.
Japan’s economy tipped back into contraction in the third quarter as the country struggled to find its economic footing in the face of coronavirus restrictions and a supply chain crunch that hit its biggest manufacturers.
A Morning Read
Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has re-emerged in the U.S. as a formidable mix of A-list celebrity, business owner, investor and social activist. In Britain, however, she remains a polarizing figure.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Seeing the world through rice
“Before there was bread or pasta, much less meat or fish, there was rice,” Hanya Yanagihara writes in T magazine. Though rice has origins in both Asia and Africa, it’s hard to find a culture that hasn’t made the foodstuff its own: fried, puréed, roasted, baked or scorched. And so, for T’s winter travel issue, writers explored the world through the grain. Some highlights:
Senegal, which consumes more rice per capita than almost any other African nation, is attempting to resuscitate its homegrown varieties.
Mansaf, a dish of lamb and rice, is a national symbol in Jordan and a taste of home for suburban Detroit’s Arab American diaspora.
In Mexico, rice arrived via the Spanish Conquest, making its presence there inextricable from colonialism.
And when browned on the bottom of a pot, rice becomes a treasure prized by food cultures in Iran, Vietnam, the Philippines and elsewhere.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
Fancy yet fast: gochugaru salmon with toasted rice.
What to Read (Aloud)
Check out the first English translation of Hayao Miyazaki’s favorite childhood book, “How Do You Live?” a Japanese classic that has sold more than two million copies since its 1937 publication.
What to Listen To
“An Evening With Silk Sonic,” a collaborative new album from Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars, is a sleek ode to 1970s R&B.
Now Time to Play
Here’s today’s Mini Crossword and a clue: Nintendo princess (five letters).
And here is the Spelling Bee.
You can find all our puzzles here.
That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Victoria
P.S. Stuart Thompson will be our new misinformation reporter.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is an interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Sanam Yar wrote the Arts & Ideas section. You can reach the team at [email protected].