Johnson & Johnson, India, Oscars: Your Friday Evening Briefing
Here’s what you need to know at the end of the day.,
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Good evening. Here’s the latest.
1. A federal panel recommended restarting use of the Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine, but attaching a warning label about the risk of rare blood clots.
Federal health officials are expected to respond quickly and recommend that states end the pause. Dr. Jose Romero, the chair of the advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said last week’s pause “was essential to our ability to inform the public.”
The decision came after a C.D.C. scientist presented nine new confirmed cases of the uncommon but potentially dangerous disorder, bringing the total to 15 out of nearly eight million doses given. The overall risk of developing the complication is extremely low.
The label presented at the meeting notes that “most cases” of the clotting disorder have occurred in women between 18 and 49 years old.
2. India is scrambling to supply oxygen to Covid-19 patients as virus cases climb at a horrific pace.
The country’s Supreme Court ordered the government to come up with a national oxygen distribution plan as 330,000 new cases were recorded in 24 hours, the second consecutive day that India has set a global record for daily infections. More than 2,200 people died of the virus on Friday, also a new high for the country. In response, countries around the world have barred travelers from India.
The situation in Brazil is also alarming. More than 2,000 people died from the coronavirus on Thursday, and tens of millions of Brazilians are going hungry, stark evidence that President Jair Bolsonaro’s bet that he could protect the country’s economy by resisting health policies intended to curb the virus has failed.
3. After two days of talks on addressing climate change, now comes the hard part.
The second day of the White House virtual summit on climate change focused on how the U.S. and other nations can meet their emissions-cutting targets and ramp up renewable energy. Jennifer Granholm, the energy secretary, described the U.S. goal of cutting emissions at least in half by the end of the decade as “our generation’s moonshot,” and said the administration aimed to cut solar and battery cell prices in half while reducing the cost of hydrogen energy by 80 percent.
The real test for the U.S. will be to leverage its enormous global power to steer the rest of the world toward cleaner energy quickly enough to slow down catastrophic climate change.
4. Assembly lines are quiet. Workers are idle. Dealership parking lots are bare.
A global shortage of semiconductors, the tiny but critical chips used to calibrate cars’ fuel injection or provide the brains for cruise control, has upended automaking. Almost every carmaker, from General Motors to Porsche, has had to curtail production. Buyers who are able to take home a new car may find it lacks options that use specialized chips.
Semiconductor manufacturers have given priority to manufacturers of smartphones, video game consoles and other consumer electronics. The shortage comes just as demand for cars has bounced back from the pandemic slump, with consumers ready to spend money they saved over the past year.
5. President Biden will formally declare the killing of 1.5 million Armenians more than a century ago to be a genocide, equating the violence with the scale of those committed in Nazi-occupied Europe, Cambodia and Rwanda.
The declaration, expected Saturday, would signal that the American commitment to human rights outweighs the risks of fraying U.S. relations with Turkey, whose leaders have resolutely rejected that the killing campaign that began in 1915 amounted to genocide. Above, a memorial today in Yerevan, Armenia.
Separately, Native Americans are stepping up pressure on Congress to revoke Medals of Honor awarded for killing hundreds of unarmed members of the Lakota Sioux tribe, including women and children, at Wounded Knee in 1890.
6. Aleksei Navalny said he had ended a hunger strike of more than three weeks on the advice of his doctors.
The strike was the latest battle in a yearslong competition between President Vladimir Putin and his most prominent domestic critic. Even isolated behind prison walls, Mr. Navalny, pictured in February, managed to confound Mr. Putin with a quandary — either give him access to doctors of his choosing or risk creating a martyr.
In other news related to Russia, Tommy Robinson, Britain’s amplifier of far-right rage, struck gold in Donald Trump’s America. Keeping it might require help from Moscow, where other British activists are also finding allies.
7. As California emerges from a devastating coronavirus outbreak, San Francisco is facing another sort of epidemic: drug deaths.
More people died from overdoses than from the coronavirus in San Francisco last year. Fentanyl has overtaken the drug market, including in the Tenderloin neighborhood, above, and found fertile ground among the city’s thousands of homeless residents, who have died of overdoses in large numbers. Some think the toll should force the city to re-examine its approach to illicit drugs.
Separately, Caitlyn Jenner, the Republican former Olympian and prominent transgender activist, announced that she would challenge Gov. Gavin Newsom of California in this year’s recall election. Mr. Newsom, a Democrat, has come under attack for his handling of the pandemic.
8. Just before dawn, a SpaceX rocket carrying four astronauts launched toward the International Space Station, a success that is making spaceflight seem routine.
The Crew-2 mission is the third to carry people to the station by SpaceX, Elon Musk’s company. It’s a continuation of an effort by NASA to turn over to the private sector the business of taking people to low-Earth orbit. The mission is carrying two Americans, one Japanese and one French astronaut, who will spend six months at the space station.
9. The Academy Awards are back this Sunday — with a red carpet and an in-person ceremony.
Our expert predicts “Nomadland,” starring Frances McDormand and directed by Chloe Zhao, will continue its sweep of prizes and take best picture and best director. He’s also betting on a posthumous best actor award to Chadwick Boseman and a best actress Oscar to Viola Davis, above. They both star in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” See his other picks. If you want to catch up, here’s how to stream the nominees.
10. And finally, pro tip: Don’t forget the mulch.
Margaret Roach, our garden expert, has two pieces of advice when visiting a garden center: proceed at your own risk and take a list. After all, there’s a reason the garden industry affectionately refers to this time of year as the “100 days of hell.”
Before you go plant shopping, Margaret suggests looking out the window and thinking about how to enhance the view; write down what you look forward to in the garden during each month of the year; and think about shoulder season elements, like winterberry hollies, above. Here are some of her other tips.
Hope you get outside this weekend.
Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.
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