Fri. May 27th, 2022


The Real News Network

Your Thursday Briefing

5 min read

We’re covering looser border restrictions in the U.K. and falling records at the Tokyo Olympics.

England and Scotland will ease border controls

Fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. and most of the E.U. will be allowed to enter England and Scotland without quarantining starting Monday.

The British authorities are trying to attract visitors again, and the tourism industry has long pushed for the change. The relaxation of travel restrictions comes after a week of declining cases. “We’re helping reunite people living in the U.S. and European countries with their family and friends in the U.K.,” Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, wrote on Twitter.

Travelers will still need a negative coronavirus test before traveling and after landing. The government has been criticized for discriminating between travelers who were vaccinated in Britain and those who were inoculated elsewhere, without any medical justification.

As of Monday, the rules will apply equally to all travelers from the U.S. and most of the E.U., as well as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, if they have been fully vaccinated with shots authorized by either American or European drug regulators.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

Citing new data, Pfizer outlined a case for booster shots, but whether they will be widely needed is far from settled.

The U.S. will send nearly 10 million vaccine doses to Nigeria and South Africa, two of Africa’s most populous nations.

Vaccine appointments have been hard to get in South Korea, where some users of an overloaded system were told they’d have to wait more than 100 hours.

Google said it would require employees to be vaccinated and pushed back its return-to-office date.

Daiki Hashimoto wins gold for Japan

The 19-year-old Japanese gymnast won the gold medal in the men’s individual all-around event. Follow our live Olympics updates.

In the 200-meter breaststroke, Zac Stubblety-Cook of Australia set an Olympic record for the gold, and Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands won silver. The American swimmer Caeleb Dressel won his first individual gold in the men’s 100-meter freestyle, setting an Olympic record in 47.02 seconds. Zhang Yufei of China set an Olympic record in the women’s 200-meter butterfly.

China’s team won a tight 4×200-meter freestyle relay race, with the U.S. and Australia narrowly behind. All three broke world records.

After bowing out of the women’s gymnastics team finals at the Tokyo Games, Simone Biles — the greatest gymnast in history — said she would also skip the all-around individual competition on Thursday. Biles will be evaluated daily as she considers whether to participate in the event finals next week.

Catch up: Katie Ledecky, an American swimmer, won the inaugural women’s 1,500 freestyle. Her teammate, Erica Sullivan, a first-time Olympian, finished second. Women paddlers canoed in the Olympics for the first time.

Senate takes up a vast U.S. infrastructure deal

The U.S. Senate voted to advance a far-reaching, $1 trillion bill, with Republicans joining Democrats hours after lawmakers and the White House reached a long-sought compromise.

About $550 billion in new federal money would be designated for roads, bridges, rail, transit, water and other physical infrastructure programs. Investing in the nation’s public works system is a priority for the Biden administration.

Asked about the deal while touring a truck manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania, President Biden was upbeat, telling reporters, “I feel confident about it.”


Cuba’s government is cracking down weeks after thousands of people joined rare public protests, above. Many of the demonstrators have been detained.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s top leader, injected new doubts Wednesday into the stalled effort to revive the country’s 2015 nuclear pact with major powers. Khamenei accused the U.S. of duplicity and chastised Iran’s outgoing president, one of the deal’s architects, as naïve.

Heavy rains and flooding in Bangladesh have left thousands of Rohingya refugees homeless again. At least 11 people have died.

Beijing is stepping up talks with the Taliban and the Afghan government, after top Chinese officials criticized the American troop withdrawal as hasty.

Two red space rocks found in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter appear to have originated beyond Neptune, scientists reported. The discoveries could one day provide evidence of the chaos that existed in the early solar system.

News From Europe

People in Poland are fighting over the legacy of Solidarity, the independent trade union that once helped defeat Communism but is now a narrow and deeply conservative force.

A Syrian doctor accused of torturing opponents of President Bashar al-Assad a decade ago was indicted in Germany on charges of crimes against humanity.

Hopes of finding anyone who survived an explosion in a waste plant in Leverkusen, Germany, are dimming, officials say. Residents have been warned to avoid soot that rained down after the explosion on Tuesday.

A Morning Read

Every 18-year-old in France got about $350 to spend on culture. Instead of going to exhibitions or picking up the collected works of Proust, the teenagers flocked to manga.


Falling into Olympic sports

When athletes take a tumble during a sport like skateboarding, they often get right back up and continue with their routine.

That’s not just a mark of good sportsmanship. Instead, athletes practice falling in ways that keep them from serious injury.

Often, they tuck and roll, using momentum to disperse the energy across their bodies instead of hitting the ground at a vulnerable point like a wrist or an ankle. Pads and wrist guards help, as does staying loose and looking at the ground.

“Skateboarding is all about falling,” said Ryan Sheckler, a world-champion skateboarder. “It’s key to everything. If you aren’t falling, you aren’t learning. You have to hit the ground to progress.”


What to Cook

In paneer con tomate, bites of fried cheese anchor the bright acidity of grated tomatoes.

What to Read

A new novel by Stephen King, a dive into California’s Cambodian American community and a tennis great’s autobiography are on this list of August reads.

Tech Tip

Is your phone’s home screen jampacked with pages of apps? Our columnist helps you take control of your display for smoother navigation.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: On the ocean (four letters).

And here is today’s Spelling Bee.

You can find all of our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Melina

P.S. Paula Szuchman, the head of Opinion Audio, will become the director of Audio for The Times.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is on the investigation of the storming of the U.S. Capitol.

You can reach the team at

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