Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times

With the best variety of coronavirus infections in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is keen to start inoculations within the coming weeks. However one factor is standing in the way in which for its a whole bunch of hundreds of thousands of Muslims: Is the vaccine halal?

After ready months for solutions from Sinovac, the Chinese language producer whose shot might be distributed there, clerics obtained a one-sentence response that mentioned: The vaccine was “manufactured freed from porcine supplies.” Spiritual leaders need extra particulars, as even the smallest quantity of pork DNA may dissuade some religious Muslims from taking it.

President Joko Widodo has dismissed considerations, saying the emergency virus state of affairs was the larger precedence. It’s doable {that a} fatwa could possibly be issued, as has been achieved prior to now. Islamic authorities in different nations with giant Muslim populations, like Malaysia and the U.A.E., have already dominated the vaccine to be permissible.

The purpose: Indonesia hopes to inoculate 181.5 million adults inside 15 months.

Listed here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

Voters are heading to the polls in Georgia for a runoff election that may determine which celebration has management of the Senate. On Wednesday, Congress will meet to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory as Republicans make a last-ditch bid to overturn the election outcomes.

The elections in Georgia are shaping up as a nail-biter. In November, no candidate received 50 % of the vote. Early voting information and polls show the race as very close once again.

If the Republicans retain management of the Senate, will probably be a lot tougher for Mr. Biden to perform his agenda. Republicans must win solely one of many two races to maintain Senate management; Democrats want each to retake management. Right here’s what to watch.

Subsequent up: The vote in Congress to certify the outcomes of the presidential election is a procedural step that Individuals in most elections wouldn’t take note of. But it surely has taken on new which means in a 12 months through which the president has tried to derail the method.

Some Republicans are planning a final showdown to invalidate Mr. Biden’s victory, however they’re all however sure to fail. Comply with our latest updates here.

For the primary time on report, the number of newborns in South Korea last year fell below the number of deaths, based on new census information. A shrinking and quickly growing older inhabitants may result in a long-term disaster in one of many world’s most necessary economies.

The coronavirus pandemic might have contributed to the issue: Though the loss of life toll was low, at round 1,000 individuals, the well being disaster might have dissuaded individuals from having youngsters or getting married. Successive governments have tried to supply {couples} monetary incentives to have extra youngsters, to little avail.

The numbers: There have been 275,815 births, down 10.65 % from 2019, and 307,764 deaths, up 3.1 % from 2019. South Korea’s fertility price is the world’s lowest.

Residents of the Taube Pavilion in California get up in personal rooms with views of the wooded Santa Cruz Mountains and might hand around in landscaped courtyards all through the day. It might sound like a resort, however the heart is a psychological well being facility that opened in June.

For many years, psychiatric hospitals have been grim settings. However new analysis into the well being results of our environment is spurring the development of mental health facilities that feel residential, calming and supportive, with personal rooms and extra greenery.

Vietnam journalists: Three journalists were sentenced to prison terms of 11 and 15 years, together with a distinguished reporter who had written for international information organizations and advocated press freedom. Because the ruling Communist Social gathering’s congress attracts nearer, the authorities have been arresting or prosecuting their loudest critics.

China loss of life penalty: Lai Xiaomin, the previous chairman of Huarong Asset Administration, was sentenced to death on Tuesday, in a uncommon and dramatic instance of Beijing’s use of capital punishment for financial crimes. He was convicted on expenses of taking some $277 million in bribes.

Qatar blockade: Representatives of a number of Gulf states signed an agreement to ease Qatar’s isolation from its Arab neighbors, which have blockaded the nation since 2017, when neighboring nations accused it of aligning too intently with Iran. The settlement got here in the future after Saudi Arabia agreed to reopen its borders and airspace to Qatar.

Snapshot: Above, a bunch in a rented igloo between curling video games in New York Metropolis. Eating places and cafes which are restricted to providing outside eating are getting artistic throughout a grim winter. Heated cabins, igloos and games like iceless curling have begun to crop up across the metropolis.

What we’re studying: This Der Spiegel interview with the BioNTech founders Özlem Türeci and Uğur Şahin. It has reassuring details about the virus variant (sure, the vaccine will nonetheless be efficient towards it) and insights into the superb lives of this “first couple of prescription drugs.”

Prepare dinner: This yam and plantain curry with crispy shallots is an adaptation of asaro, a dish of starchy root greens simmered in a seasoned tomato- and chile-based sauce that’s served throughout the south of Nigeria and different elements of West Africa.

Learn: Himalaya: A Human History,” by Ed Douglas, a journalist and climber, unfolds the story of the world’s highest mountain vary and its equally outsize influence on mankind.

Do: Faux you’re in Cartagena. The Colombian metropolis is so filled with magic that it has impressed whole books by Gabriel García Márquez.

Whether or not it’s books or baking, we have now you coated. At Home has ideas on what to learn, prepare dinner, watch, and do whereas staying secure at dwelling.

David Vecsey, a Occasions copy editor, wrote about the gaffes and blunders that can keep him up at night. Right here’s an excerpt.

It’s a feeling that each copy editor is aware of. You bolt upright out of a deep sleep at 3 a.m., eyes extensive open, and also you say to your self, Did I misspell “Kyrgyzstan” final night time? And 9 instances out of 10, you possibly can return to sleep comfortably realizing … that you just did.

Copy editors have an nearly photographic reminiscence relating to the phrases that move earlier than our eyes. Sadly, the cameras we use are these old style tripods that use flaming magnesium for a flash and take hours, and even days, for the images to develop.

However finally all of it comes again in a rush of readability. You is likely to be pushing your toddler by way of the park on an excellent sunny day without work when all of the sudden you ask your self: Did I say Dallas was the capital of Texas final week? Sure. Sure, you probably did. You fool.

My job, merely talking, is to get issues proper. So there isn’t any worse feeling than the belief that you’ve got entered a correctable error into print and {that a} correction will seem a day or two later to proclaim, “Due to an enhancing error …”

The Occasions has strict policies on corrections: If it’s unsuitable, even when only for a couple of minutes on-line or in a single version of the print newspaper, it’s presupposed to get a correction. It’s this dedication to accuracy that earns the belief of our readers.

Studying by way of New York Occasions corrections is like taking a guided tour of journalism’s pitfalls. It’s the place you uncover the Ginsberg-Ginsburg Vortex, a black gap that has devoured many a journalist who has confused the names of the poet and the justice.

If there’s one factor I’ve discovered, it’s that you need to shake off your errors and transfer on. And sometime, by God, I’ll learn to try this.

That’s it for this briefing. See you subsequent time.

— Melina

To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the information. You possibly can attain the staff at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our newest episode is an element 2 of a collection on the Senate runoff races in Georgia.
• Right here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Enthusiastic (5 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Katie Glueck, who was our lead reporter masking the Biden marketing campaign, is joining the Metro desk as chief political correspondent.

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