We cover Biden’s call to strengthen the global response to the pandemic and some signs of trouble for the Chinese economy.
Biden urges world to ‘go big’ against Covid
President Biden on Wednesday called on executives, pharmaceutical executives and civil society organizations to develop a global plan to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at a Covid-19 virtual summit hosted with the UN, Biden cited two urgent goals: to vaccinate the world and resolve an oxygen supply crisis. “We are not going to solve this crisis with half measures or intermediate ambitions – we have to go big,” the president said. “It’s a crisis that affects everyone. “
Many leaders at the summit sent in pre-recorded videos, so debate and immediate consensus on a plan was unlikely. Pfizer on Wednesday announced an agreement with the Biden administration to sell 500 million doses in the United States which will be given to countries without vaccines.
Earlier this week, the chief scientist of the World Health Organization urged countries to work together to distribute vaccines and share surplus supplies. “A country-by-country approach, a nationalist approach, will not get us out of this pandemic,” said Dr Soumya Swaminathan.
Vaccine inequality: Less than 10% of the population of poor countries – and less than 4% of the African population – have been fully vaccinated against Covid. Covax, the international immunization initiative, is behind schedule in delivering vaccines to low and middle-income countries that need it most.
Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.
In other developments:
Chinese economy is showing warning signs
Global markets are watching Chinese real estate giant Evergrande flirt with default and investors fear any collapse will spill over into the international financial system. Evergrande could be China’s “Lehman moment”, some market watchers say, referring to the 2008 collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers.
But the larger threat to Beijing is that China’s growth is slowing and the government may need to redouble its efforts to revive it.
Indicators : Retail sales were weaker than expected last month, due to the slowdown in car sales. Industrial production has slowed down. Investments in infrastructure, which Beijing relies on for growth, are keeping the economy afloat right now. But that might not last long.
Predictions: Bank of America on Tuesday lowered its forecast for China’s economic growth next year to 5.3% from 6.2%.
The last: Evergrande has said he has made a deal with investors that gives him some breathing space, but it’s unclear what will happen on Thursday when the bond interest payments are due.
One of the main advisers of the Ukrainian president is attacked
The adviser, Serhiy Shefir, was not injured, but his driver was injured when shots were fired at his car outside Kiev on Wednesday by a person or people hiding in the woods on the edge of the road. Authorities said it was an assassination attempt.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said he would immediately return to Ukraine from New York, where he was attending the United Nations General Assembly to speak out against Russia’s military intervention in eastern Ukraine.
Zelensky said that even if he saw the attack as a message to him personally, he would not be deterred by it. “Saying hello to me while pulling my friend’s car from the woods is a weakness,” he said.
The reason : An adviser to Zelensky’s chief of staff linked the attack to the president’s efforts to limit the influence of the oligarchs. Authorities said there were no suspects and no one had been arrested.
The context: Shefir, 57, is considered the president’s closest confidant. Together with his brother and Zelensky, in 2003 they founded a television production company that propelled Zelensky to fame. The two are neighbors.
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Japanese photographer Rinko Kawauchi tried to take her daughter to visit her parents near Kyoto every two months. The pandemic disrupted that habit, but this summer she captured what it was like to go back to old routines after her parents vaccinated.
A Japanese version of “Star Wars”
Some of Japan’s most creative animation studios explore a galaxy far distant in the animated anthology series “Star Wars: Visions” on Disney +. The show, which consists of short films with very different animation styles, pays homage to the Japanese influence on “Star Wars”, writes Robert Ito in The Times.
George Lucas has previously mentioned Star Wars’ debt to Japanese culture, citing Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 drama “The Hidden Fortress” as the main inspiration for his first film “Star Wars”. There are also the kimono-type dresses, lightsaber duels – kendo experts have worked with the actors in the films – and the Force itself, with its elements of Buddhism and Shintoism.
For the series, the animators developed stories that exist outside of the franchise’s cinematic universe. “There are Sith villains and bunny-girl hybrids, droids sipping tea (OK, that’s really oil) and warriors sipping sake,” Ito writes. “Lightsabers are lovingly stored in traditional wrapping fabrics called furoshiki and in red lacquer boxes.”
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