Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times

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After a sluggish start to inoculation efforts on the continent, the European Union’s executive arm said on Tuesday that the bloc’s 27 member states should aim to vaccinate at least 80 percent of health care workers and citizens over the age of 80 by March, and at least 70 percent of their whole populations by this summer.

“We are racing against time, but not against each other,” said Stella Kyriakides, the E.U. health commissioner. “And we’re all racing together as one team.”

Related: Hoping to salvage border-free travel across the bloc, the commission also opened a debate over so-called vaccination certificates, which could permit easier travel for people who’ve gotten shots.

Even before the pandemic, American culture was embracing numbness as an antidote for the overload of digital capitalism — sensory-deprivation “float tanks,” noise-canceling headphones, the expensive nothing of open-plan start-up offices.

Alongside so much despair, mass quarantine has represented a final fulfillment of the pursuit of nothingness, particularly for the privileged classes who could adapt to it in relative comfort. But is it really an escape — or another trap?

Italian politics: The Italian government survived a near-collapse on Tuesday as Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte narrowly won a confidence vote in Parliament and temporarily staved off an unexpected attack by a key rival, former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Aleksei Navalny: A team led by the Russian opposition leader published a sprawling investigation on Tuesday describing a secret billion-dollar palace built for President Vladimir Putin on the Black Sea. On Monday, Mr. Navalny was jailed for 30 days ahead of a court decision that could put him behind bars for years.

Thai monarchy: A former civil servant who shared audio clips on social media that were deemed critical of Thailand’s monarchy was sentenced to 43 years in prison by a criminal court in Bangkok. It was the longest sentence yet for violating Thailand’s tough lèse-majesté law, which makes it a crime to defame senior members of the royal family.

Arab Spring anniversary: Ten years after Tunisia’s uprising, the country has become a democracy, with a right to free speech that is rare in the Arab world. But as youth unemployment remains high and corruption rampant, some Tunisians wonder if the revolution was worth it.

What was your own personal interaction with him like?

President Trump does know me by name and has pointed me out on a number of occasions. During a G7 summit in Canada, he told French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel that I was one of the world’s best photographers, but that I worked for The New York Times.

While I was covering President Trump’s dinner with the Queen of England at Buckingham Palace, he pointed me out to the queen and said, “That’s Doug Mills of The New York Times.” I was shocked and just looked at the queen and said, “Your Majesty,” and the photo op was over.

Out of all the shots you took, is there one in particular you’re proud of?

I have a number of memorable photos. Mr. Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and “the clap.” Mr. Trump with a lightning bolt. A shot of Mr. Trump walking to St. John’s Church from the White House after protesters were removed from Lafayette Park.

How would you summarize the past four years for you as a photographer?

It’s been a great four years for presidential photography — incredibly exhausting but very rewarding. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

That’s it for this briefing. Have a good Wednesday.

— Natasha

Thank you
Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected]

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is on how Republicans see the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Snake that can weigh up to 60 lbs. (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times’s website debuted 25 years ago this week. “With its entry on the Web,” an article at the time noted, “The Times is hoping to become a primary information provider in the computer age.”
• The Times announced “The Ezra Klein Show,” a new podcast about ideas that matter, from New York Times Opinion.

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