We’re covering the conviction of Myanmar’s ousted civilian leader and China’s rapid campaign to vaccinate its young children.
Aung San Suu Kyi in 2018.Credit…Pool photo by Mark Metcalfe
Ousted civilian leader sentenced by Myanmar court
Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s former civilian leader who was detained by the country’s military in a Feb. 1 coup, was convicted on Monday for inciting public unrest and breaching Covid-19 protocols.
Her trials, which the U.N. and foreign governments have described as politically motivated, have been held in closed-door hearings in Myanmar’s capital. The initial four-year sentence was quickly reduced to two years, of which she has already served 10 months. But she still faces nine other charges that could keep her locked up for the rest of her life.
The guilty verdict is likely to galvanize a protest movement that has spurred thousands of people to take up arms against the powerful army. While Aung San Suu Kyi remains widely popular, a new democratic movement has emerged that is younger, more progressive, more confrontational and ready to look beyond past leaders.
This new group, known as the National Unity Government, operates underground schools, clinics and hospitals. And although Aung San Suu Kyi is considered one of the group’s top leaders, it has distanced itself from some of her politics, especially policies concerning ethnic minorities such as Rohingya Muslims.
Crackdown: Protests have not let up since the February coup, and neither has the military response. The junta has killed more than 1,300 people and arrested more than 10,600 others, according to a rights organization.
U.S. officials will boycott 2022 Beijing Olympics
The Biden administration said it would not send any American government officials to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, making official a long-rumored diplomatic boycott in an effort to pressure China for human rights abuses.
American athletes will still be able to compete in the games, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said, but the U.S. will break from the tradition of using a government delegation to show support for American athletes and the host country. The move was in direct response to China’s crackdown in Xinjiang — where the authorities have rounded up and detained Uyghurs — which the U.S. government has called “genocide.”
“This is just an indication that it cannot be business as usual,” Psaki said. “That does not mean that is the end of the concerns we will raise about human rights abuses.”
Some hawkish members of Congress, including Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, have called for a total boycott of the Beijing Games, but Psaki said that would unfairly penalize athletes.
Next: It appears that the U.S. will move forward with the boycott without other allies. Several European nations have been pressured to take similar steps but have not made a decision on any potential boycott.
Context: The calls for the boycott have only intensified after the disappearance from public life of the tennis star Peng Shuai, who accused a top Communist Party leader of sexual assault.
China’s ‘little inoculated warriors’
The Chinese government has embarked on a massive and ambitious campaign to fully vaccinate 160 million of its youngest children by the end of the year.
The first weeks of the campaign, which started in late October, have shown significant strides: About 84 million kids from 3 to 11 years old, roughly half of those eligible, received the first of two shots. (The U.S. vaccinated about 10 percent of 5- to 11-year-olds during the same period.)
The campaign faces significant obstacles, including parental reluctance. The government insists that child inoculations are voluntary, but parents have described coming under pressure to get their children vaccinated.
Context: While the Chinese vaccines are generally considered safe, the country also has a history of administering spoiled shots and guarding any information about negative incidents. In 2013, 17 infants died after receiving a Chinese-made hepatitis B vaccine.
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
The Omicron variant has been found in at least 45 nations, causing worries, especially in Europe, that tougher restrictions are looming over the holidays.
New York City announced a sweeping coronavirus vaccine mandate for all private employers.
THE LATEST NEWS
China’s debt-loaded property market is headed for a reckoning as multiple housing developers face deadlines for millions of dollars’ worth of payments.
Prices of the chemical urea (yes, the stuff in urine) are sharply rising, leaving agricultural workers desperate in places like India and South Korea, who use the industrialized chemical as fertilizer.
The Indian government announced expanded defense ties with Russia, including the purchase of a $5.4 billion missile defense system, despite the risk of sanctions from the United States.
Around the World
A Times investigation found that Tesla may have undermined safety in designing its Autopilot driver-assistance system to fit Elon Musk’s vision.
A seasonal cyclone known as a kona low could bring “catastrophic flooding” to Hawaii.
At least some of the ransom money paid by American companies to online extortionists passed through a prestigious business address in Moscow, investigators found.
Three more hostages from a group of 17 missionaries kidnapped in Haiti in October have been released.
As Angela Merkel hands over power in Germany to a male successor, the incoming cabinet will have more women than ever. Eight, to be exact — half of the cabinet.
The highly intricate global supply chain is in upheaval. Here’s how the crisis has unfolded.
A Morning Read
Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago, appears now to be a timeless region of true wilderness. But its clock is ticking. Climate change all but guarantees an eventual (and probably fairly imminent) collapse of its exceptionally fragile ecosystem. Travelers in upcoming years may worsen the problem — or they may be part of the solution.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh of Cambodia, a son and brother of kings who rode a wave of royalist sentiment to briefly serve as co-prime minister until he was ousted in a coup, died at 77.
ARTS AND IDEAS
How to celebrate the holidays in 2021
If the 2020 holiday season was the year to cancel everything, this year’s is about figuring out how to get our groove back.
We talked to experts about the new rules for hosting a safe and comfortable holiday party. Here’s what you should consider:
People have different comfort levels when it comes to Covid. So be direct and clear in your invitation about what yours is.
“The best host is the one who provides the most information,” Mary Giuliani, a caterer in Manhattan, said. “The more information the better.”
If the party is indoors, will the windows be open? If so, remind guests to bring a sweater. If the event will be maskless, let guests know before they arrive. Lay out your vaccination rules, too. If you plan to restrict the invite list to the fully vaccinated, explain how you will enforce the policy.
Room to mingle
Create an environment that feels spacious so guests can spread out. If you have outdoor space, make it accessible, even if the party is largely indoors. If you’re planning a seated dinner indoors, don’t overcrowd the tables; and group people based on their households, or seat them near their closest friends, rather than mixing them up.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
Looking to make a hit dinner using only one pot? Try this brown-butter orzo with butternut squash.
What to Listen to
Five minutes that will make you love the organ.
What to Read
Robert Gottlieb’s scrupulous study of Greta Garbo would make a great gift for film buffs. For nonmoving pictures, try these immersive photography books.
Now Time to Play
Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Energetic spirit (three letters).
And here is today’s Spelling Bee.
You can find all our puzzles here.
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Matthew
P.S. Tuesday is the 80th anniversary of Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is about Jeffrey Epstein’s associate Ghislaine Maxwell.
You can reach Matthew and the team at email@example.com.