Your Friday Briefing

As European international locations brace for a possible surge of coronavirus circumstances linked to the brand new variants, countries have reimposed strict lockdown measures, and a few have made “medical” grade masks necessary in some areas.

Beginning this week in Germany, N95 or surgical-grade masks are obligatory for folks on public transportation, in workplace areas and in outlets. The upper-grade masks may also develop into necessary in Austria, and France may observe, regardless of criticism that the costlier N95 will likely be out of attain for a lot of low-income earners.

“We now have to sluggish the unfold of this variant. Meaning we can’t wait till the hazard is palpable,” Chancellor Angela Merkel stated. Successfully, the German authorities are attempting to purchase time by slowing the unfold of the brand new variant lengthy sufficient for the climate to heat and for the variety of folks vaccinated to extend, Ms. Merkel stated.

World context: The extra contagious variant found in Britain has been present in 60 international locations, however it stays unclear the way it spreads, and whether or not it has already contributed to international locations’ surges.

President Biden recommitted the U.S. to the Paris climate agreement and reinstated environmental rules that had been scrapped by former President Donald Trump, amongst his first government actions after his inauguration on Wednesday.

The return to the worldwide local weather settlement, which has 200 signatories, places the U.S. again on monitor to maintain up with international locations like China and France of their commitments to slash planet-warming emissions. It’s a major transfer because the U.S. is the world’s second-worst emitter of carbon after China. (Right here’s a refresher on what the agreement does and what re-entry means.)

“No president has introduced on this many individuals initially of an administration to work on local weather change,” Lisa Friedman, who covers local weather coverage, instructed our colleagues at The Morning. Nonetheless, there are various extra massive steps essential to confront international warming, and Republicans plan to push again on lots of Mr. Biden’s new local weather insurance policies.

Diplomacy: Specialists say Mr. Biden will likely be more visible and active on the world stage than many count on, whilst he grapples with the pandemic, an enormous financial restoration effort and the deep divisions left by the Trump period.

The Russian authorities is threatening Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty with multimillion-dollar fines and doable legal expenses. Its editors worry that they are going to be pressured to close down within the nation for the primary time because the collapse of the Soviet Union.

With public discontent rising in Russia, extensively accessible content material that criticizes the Kremlin has develop into an issue for President Vladimir Putin. The outlet has invested in protection of the Belarus protests, for instance.

Context: The federal government’s escalation in its strain marketing campaign towards the information outlet reveals how Mr. Putin is elevating the stakes in his battle with Washington simply as President Biden takes workplace.

Particulars: RFE/RL says the federal government has in current weeks notified it of dozens of violations of recent necessities that it label all of its content material as being produced by a “overseas agent.” Editors say doing so would injury credibility.

When Gottlieb’s Bakery, above, reopened in Savannah, Ga., after shutting its doorways in 1994, Herbert Buchsbaum, a Occasions editor, rediscovered a style of his childhood: a sandwich on the bakery’s tangy, chewy rye.

“A morsel of madeleine in a spoonful of tea evokes a childhood in a French village,” he writes. “A chunk of rye with Dijon mustard calls up mine in Savannah.” However that link to the past shattered with a pandemic, and a demise.

Australia detention: Dozens of refugees and asylum seekers have been held in hotels in Melbourne for the past year, typically with solely an hour spent exterior their rooms every day. Two detainees have tried to commit suicide, in line with activists, and lots of had been shellshocked once they had been lastly launched this week.

South Korea rape cost: Cho Jae-beom, an ex-coach for South Korea’s nationwide speedskating group, was sentenced to 10 years for raping a two-time Olympic gold medalist beginning when she was 17. Brief-track speedskating has produced extra Olympic gold medals for South Korea than for some other nation.

Iraq bomb assault: Two suicide bombers detonated explosive vests in a crowded market in central Baghdad on Thursday morning, killing not less than 32 folks in the biggest such attack in a number of years.

Snapshot: Above, President Biden and the primary girl, Jill Biden, watching the fireworks from the White Home. Katy Perry carried out her music “Firework” on the finish of the Inauguration Day celebrations, in a star-studded digital occasion hosted by Tom Hanks.

What we’re studying: This Washington Post look at Donald Trump’s last day as president. It supplies closure of some type.

Cook dinner: Two pantry staples, chickpeas and pasta, come collectively to provide you this hearty fried tagliatelle dish with smoky tomatoes.

Watch:The White Tiger,” Ramin Bahrani’s rags-to-riches story of contemporary India makes use of the story of a younger businessman’s rise to indict the iniquities of the society that created him.

Do: When you’ve got knee arthritis, we provide tips on the best shoes to scale back ache.

Take a break throughout your hectic day and switch to our At Home collection of ideas on what to learn, prepare dinner, watch, and do whereas staying secure at dwelling.

President Biden is inheriting difficult tech questions, together with tips on how to rein in highly effective digital superstars, what to do about Chinese language expertise and tips on how to deliver extra People on-line. Our OnTech publication has this glimpse at the challenges and opportunities in expertise coverage.

Restraining tech powers: Below the Trump administration, there have been investigations and lawsuits over the facility of Google, Fb, Amazon, Apple and different tech firms. Tech giants can count on extra of the identical beneath Mr. Biden and a Congress managed by Democrats. The brand new administration is predicted to proceed lawsuits towards Google and Fb.

Tech and China: The Trump administration’s fumbling over Chinese language apps like TikTok was a missed alternative to handle an vital query: What ought to the U.S. authorities do about globally vital expertise from international locations that don’t share America’s values? Mr. Biden has expressed assist for extra authorities funding in U.S. expertise to counter China’s ambitions however hasn’t stated a lot past aiming for a extra coherent coverage.

What else? Mr. Biden’s financial revival plan contains ideas to “launch probably the most formidable effort ever” to modernize U.S. cyberdefenses. Perhaps that is the yr for a federal information privateness regulation? And there are rifts amongst Democrats on particular employment therapy for “gig” staff.

That’s it for this briefing. See you subsequent time.

— Melina

Carole Landry helped write this briefing. Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh offered the break from the information. You possibly can attain the group at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our newest episode is concerning the Biden inauguration.
• Right here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Queen Elizabeth’s favourite canine breed (5 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Our interactive graphic permits you to have a closer look at who attended President Biden’s inauguration.

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