Your Wednesday Briefing

With the best variety of coronavirus infections in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is keen to start inoculations within the coming weeks. However one factor is standing in the best way for its tons of of thousands and thousands of Muslims: Is the vaccine halal?

After ready months for solutions from Sinovac, the Chinese language producer whose shot might be distributed there, clerics obtained a one-sentence response that mentioned: The vaccine was “manufactured freed from porcine supplies.” Spiritual leaders need extra particulars, as even the smallest quantity of pork DNA may dissuade some religious Muslims from taking it.

President Joko Widodo has dismissed considerations, saying the emergency virus scenario was the larger precedence. It’s potential {that a} fatwa may very well be issued, as has been completed prior to now. Islamic authorities in different nations with giant Muslim populations, like Malaysia and the U.A.E., have already dominated the vaccine to be permissible.

The objective: Indonesia hopes to inoculate 181.5 million adults inside 15 months.

Listed below are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

Voters are heading to the polls in Georgia for a runoff election that may resolve which get together has management of the Senate. On Wednesday, Congress will meet to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory as Republicans make a last-ditch bid to overturn the election outcomes.

The elections in Georgia are shaping up as a nail-biter. In November, no candidate received 50 p.c of the vote. Early voting information and polls show the race as very close once again.

If the Republicans retain management of the Senate, it is going to be a lot tougher for Mr. Biden to perform his agenda. Republicans have to win solely one of many two races to maintain Senate management; Democrats want each to retake management. Right here’s what to watch.

Subsequent up: The vote in Congress to certify the outcomes of the presidential election is a procedural step that Individuals in most elections wouldn’t take note of. However it has taken on new which means in a 12 months during which the president has tried to derail the method.

Some Republicans are planning a final showdown to invalidate Mr. Biden’s victory, however they’re all however sure to fail. Comply with our latest updates here.

For the primary time on document, the number of newborns in South Korea last year fell below the number of deaths, in accordance with new census information. A shrinking and quickly getting old inhabitants may result in a long-term disaster in one of many world’s most vital economies.

The coronavirus pandemic might have contributed to the issue: Though the dying toll was low, at round 1,000 folks, the well being disaster might have dissuaded folks from having youngsters or getting married. Successive governments have tried to supply {couples} monetary incentives to have extra youngsters, to little avail.

The numbers: There have been 275,815 births, down 10.65 p.c from 2019, and 307,764 deaths, up 3.1 p.c from 2019. South Korea’s fertility charge is the world’s lowest.

Residents of the Taube Pavilion in California get up in non-public rooms with views of the wooded Santa Cruz Mountains and might hand around in landscaped courtyards all through the day. It could sound like a resort, however the middle is a psychological well being facility that opened in June.

For many years, psychiatric hospitals had been grim settings. However new analysis into the well being results of our environment is spurring the development of mental health facilities that feel residential, calming and supportive, with non-public rooms and extra greenery.

Vietnam journalists: Three journalists were sentenced to prison terms of 11 and 15 years, together with a distinguished reporter who had written for international information organizations and advocated press freedom. Because the ruling Communist Occasion’s congress attracts nearer, the authorities have been arresting or prosecuting their loudest critics.

China dying penalty: Lai Xiaomin, the previous chairman of Huarong Asset Administration, was sentenced to death on Tuesday, in a uncommon and dramatic instance of Beijing’s use of capital punishment for financial crimes. He was convicted on costs of taking some $277 million in bribes.

Qatar blockade: Representatives of a number of Gulf states signed an agreement to ease Qatar’s isolation from its Arab neighbors, which have blockaded the nation since 2017, when neighboring nations accused it of aligning too carefully with Iran. The settlement got here at some point after Saudi Arabia agreed to reopen its borders and airspace to Qatar.

Snapshot: Above, a gaggle in a rented igloo between curling video games in New York Metropolis. Eating places and cafes which can be restricted to providing outside eating are getting artistic throughout a grim winter. Heated cabins, igloos and games like iceless curling have begun to crop up across the metropolis.

What we’re studying: This Der Spiegel interview with the BioNTech founders Özlem Türeci and Uğur Şahin. It has reassuring details about the virus variant (sure, the vaccine will nonetheless be efficient in opposition to it) and insights into the wonderful lives of this “first couple of prescribed drugs.”

Cook dinner: This yam and plantain curry with crispy shallots is an adaptation of asaro, a dish of starchy root greens simmered in a seasoned tomato- and chile-based sauce that’s served throughout the south of Nigeria and different components of West Africa.

Learn: Himalaya: A Human History,” by Ed Douglas, a journalist and climber, unfolds the story of the world’s highest mountain vary and its equally outsize affect on mankind.

Do: Faux you’re in Cartagena. The Colombian metropolis is so stuffed with magic that it has impressed whole books by Gabriel García Márquez.

Whether or not it’s books or baking, we’ve got you coated. At Home has ideas on what to learn, prepare dinner, watch, and do whereas staying secure at house.

David Vecsey, a Instances copy editor, wrote about the gaffes and blunders that can keep him up at night. Right here’s an excerpt.

It’s a feeling that each copy editor is aware of. You bolt upright out of a deep sleep at 3 a.m., eyes large open, and also you say to your self, Did I misspell “Kyrgyzstan” final evening? And 9 occasions out of 10, you may return to sleep comfortably understanding … that you just did.

Copy editors have an nearly photographic reminiscence in terms of the phrases that move earlier than our eyes. Sadly, the cameras we use are these old style tripods that use flaming magnesium for a flash and take hours, and even days, for the photographs to develop.

However finally all of it comes again in a rush of readability. You may be pushing your toddler by means of the park on a wonderful sunny day without work when out of the blue you ask your self: Did I say Dallas was the capital of Texas final week? Sure. Sure, you probably did. You fool.

My job, merely talking, is to get issues proper. So there is no such thing as a worse feeling than the conclusion that you’ve got entered a correctable error into print and {that a} correction will seem a day or two later to proclaim, “Due to an modifying error …”

The Instances has strict policies on corrections: If it’s fallacious, even when only for a couple of minutes on-line or in a single version of the print newspaper, it’s presupposed to get a correction. It’s this dedication to accuracy that earns the belief of our readers.

Studying by means of New York Instances corrections is like taking a guided tour of journalism’s pitfalls. It’s the place you uncover the Ginsberg-Ginsburg Vortex, a black gap that has devoured many a journalist who has confused the names of the poet and the justice.

If there’s one factor I’ve realized, it’s that you must shake off your errors and transfer on. And sometime, by God, I’ll discover ways to do this.

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

— Melina

To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the information. You may attain the workforce at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our newest episode is an element 2 of a sequence on the Senate runoff races in Georgia.
• Right here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Enthusiastic (5 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Katie Glueck, who was our lead reporter protecting the Biden marketing campaign, is joining the Metro desk as chief political correspondent.

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