Your Tuesday briefing – The New York Times
President Biden and Xi Jinping meet
The leaders of the United States and China have held their third conversation in 10 months, a three-hour virtual summit, in a bid to keep “open lines of communication” and avoid military action as tensions rise. ‘intensify.
Among the main issues were human rights violations in the Xinjiang region, trade measures, the future of Taiwan and cybersecurity. China has increased its military presence in the South China Sea in recent years and cyber clashes have intensified.
Xi was joining the virtual meeting from China, where he has been since January 2020, while Biden attended from Washington. Since becoming president, Biden has spoken with Xi twice, but they haven’t met in person this year.
Avoid climbing: Biden has repeatedly stated that he believes improving relationships is possible and wise. Xi said in his opening remarks that countries should work together.
Analysis: “No relationship shapes the planet more,” writes our correspondent Raymond Zhong. “And no relationship is bubbling up, across such a vast and consistent set of issues, with more tension and suspicion.”
An overhaul of American infrastructures
President Biden yesterday signed a $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill, a bipartisan victory that will pour billions into the country’s roads, ports and power lines.
The bill is a hallmark of President Biden’s political goals. While he didn’t realize his large-scale ambitions for overhauling America’s transportation and energy systems, Biden said it was proof that lawmakers can work beyond the lines of gone and solve major problems.
Major spending under the law includes $ 47 billion for climate resilience, $ 73 billion for the country’s electricity grid, $ 66 billion for rail lines and $ 65 billion for broadband internet. Here is a preview.
European nations welcome the unvaccinated
European governments, once again the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, distinguish the unvaccinated.
Austria took the toughest line yesterday, starting a lockdown of the unvaccinated as it faces a 134% increase in cases in the past two weeks. Unvaccinated people should stay home unless they are traveling for work, school, food or medical care.
In Germany, the new government has said unvaccinated people will need a negative test to travel on buses or trains. In France, reminders will be mandatory for people aged 65 and over in order to obtain a health passport. And in Italy vaccinations or negative tests are mandatory to function.
Some European leaders felt that these tough measures were too far-reaching.
Despite the wave of new cases in Britain in recent weeks, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resisted mask warrants and health passes. Still, he said he was worried about “storm clouds gathering over the continent.”
Signs of trouble: The outbreaks of Covid in Eastern Europe continue, especially in Romania and Bulgaria. Latvia has responded to an outbreak with a complete lockdown. Russia and Ukraine have also increased restrictions.
Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.
In other developments:
THE LAST NEWS
News from Europe
In southwest Bulgaria, the Rhodope Narrow-Gauge Railway – a century-old railway and the last of its kind in the country – is the only form of transport connecting locals to a nearby market town, supporting their income. But ridership is declining and maintenance costs are high, threatening the survival of the railway. See what it is for the daily commuters who rely on the train.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Ukraine wants to be the crypto capital of the world
An international cryptocurrency competition appears to be underway. Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Malta, Mexico, Thailand and Vietnam are all in the race. But tech entrepreneurs like Ukraine, above, and Ukrainians love crypto.
Ukrainians are among the world’s most avid cryptocurrency users, ranking fourth in an index compiled by Chainalysis, behind Vietnam, India and Pakistan. The volume of cryptocurrency transactions every day, around $ 150 million, exceeds the volume of interbank exchanges in government-issued currency.
Residents don’t have better options. Banks in Ukraine are so sclerotic that sending or receiving even small amounts of money from another country involves an obstacle course of paperwork. The country itself has suffered too many scandals to expect a large influx of international investment banks.
The government is hoping to bury its bad reputation with the help of cryptocurrency. The first step in this ambitious campaign was to legalize and regulate Bitcoin.
But the status quo is still attractive to some. âI like that it’s corrupted here,â said a crypto entrepreneur from New Jersey. “Here we are playing the game that only America’s elites play.”
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
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That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. – Melina
PS Raymond Zhong, a tech journalist currently based in Taiwan, will join our climate office as a climate science journalist.
The latest episode of “The Daily” examines how the US military hid a deadly airstrike in Syria.
Matthew Cullen and Victoria Shannon contributed. You can join the team at [email protected].