China bars travelers in new virus restrictions
Waves of charter flights were canceled on Thursday after Beijing halted the entry of almost all travelers from Bangladesh, Belgium, Britain, India or the Philippines except for Chinese citizens, in the latest move to control coronavirus risk.
Even people with valid residency visas in China and recent tests showing that they do not have the virus will not be allowed to enter from these countries, according to the new regulations. It remained unclear whether citizens of those countries could enter if they traveled to China from other countries.
“The suspension is a temporary response necessitated by the current situation of Covid-19,” read a statement by the Chinese Embassy in Britain. Diplomats, flight crews and other people with special visas will be allowed in.
Context: The new restrictions are preventing businesspeople and teachers who were foreign residents of China before the pandemic from returning. They add to separate Chinese health rules requiring people to obtain two tests less than 48 hours before flying.
Joe Biden is gaining ground
The counting of ballots in the U.S. presidential election continues, and more results are expected soon. We may get a clearer picture of who won the presidency in the coming hours and tomorrow.
At the time of this writing, Former Vice President Joe Biden needed 17 more Electoral College votes to reach the 270 threshold to win, while President Trump needed 56. Both campaigns tried to project optimism. Here are the latest updates.
What we’re waiting for: Mr. Biden increased his lead in Nevada, while Mr. Trump’s leads in Georgia and Pennsylvania were narrowing. Mr. Trump made up some ground in Arizona. Here’s more about when the states report their results.
Chinese journalists in limbo in the U.S.
More than 100 Chinese news media employees in the U.S. are caught in a heated dispute between Beijing and Washington over the rights of foreign journalists.
Yuhui Chai, a New York-based correspondent who covers technology for SunTV, a Hong Kong news outlet, has decided to leave her job to return to China because she is unable to secure a long-term U.S. visa. Others are doing the same — or, under growing scrutiny, are considering changing jobs.
Context: The American government has put new limits on the number of employees of Chinese state media organizations, and shortened the length of visas. China has expelled 17 foreign journalists, including some from The Times, and frozen the credentials of others. The tit-for-tat moves risk cutting off a critical source of insight into both Chinese and American societies.
A counterpoint: While a majority of Chinese journalists in the U.S. work for the Chinese government’s news outlets, others represent more commercially minded organizations that strive to produce in-depth journalism. Though they have to abide by China’s strict censorship rules, they can help balance out the Communist Party’s propaganda machine back home.
If you have 5 minutes, this is worth it
How many more Earths are out there?
A decade ago, a band of astronomers set out to answer one of the oldest questions taunting philosophers, scientists, priests, mystics and the rest of the human race: How many far-flung planets exist that could harbor life as we know it?
A new analysis of data from NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has found a much larger number of habitable exoplanets in this galaxy than previously known. Our science reporter explains.
Here’s what else is happening
No smoking in North Korea: The government expanded a national campaign and banned smoking in public places. But state news media continues to show the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, smoking on the subway, at schools and in hospitals.
Kosovo war crimes: President Hashim Thaci, a guerrilla leader during Kosovo’s war with Serbia, resigned on Thursday to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at an international court in The Hague. Prosecutors accused him and other former independence fighters of being “criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders.”
Snapshot: Above, Tiffanie Davis, an American who moved to Paris in 2017, posts videos about expat life. Many travel influencers are hitting their stride as stressed out people in lockdown (especially Americans) scroll through Instagram to find an escape.
What we’re reading: This Guardian article on funny memes from the U.S. election. Anxiety and laughter can be complementary.
Now, a break from the news
Cook: This onion tart is straightforward and uncomplicated, rustic and refined all at once.
Watch: “Koko-di Koko-da,” an unsettling Swedish horror movie, will ensure you never go down to the woods again, our reviewer writes.
Do: There is plenty of evidence that aerobic exercise can elevate your mood. Now, a new study shows that weight training may help ease anxiety.
The weekend is a good time to unwind. Our At Home collection can help you do just that, with ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the Back Story on …
A pandemic during the U.S. elections
As Americans waited for the outcome of a nail-biting election, the number of new daily coronavirus cases hit a record of 107,000 on Wednesday, and expectations grew that the outbreak in the U.S. was likely to get worse in the coming weeks. Lisa Lerer, a reporter who writes about politics, spoke to our colleagues from the Coronavirus Briefing about covering the election during a pandemic. Here’s an excerpt.
What has been your experience as a political reporter covering this election?
Lisa: It has basically been all but unrecognizable to how we normally cover elections. One example is that voters have not been eager to talk to me. My go-to spot for talking to voters is Costco parking lots because it takes people a long time to load up their cars with all their avocados or whatever, so you have time to talk to them. But this year I was kicked out of two parking lots, and that’s never happened to me before. I think it’s a combination of this heightened concern from voters about talking to people in the middle of the pandemic, and this concern about how polarized and tense everything is right now.
How will this election shape electoral contests in the future?
I think people want to keep mail-in voting and early voting. I also think there has been some innovation because of technology. Maybe we’ll see more Zoom fund-raisers, particularly for lower-dollar events, because we’ve seen that you can scoop up a lot of money that way. And conventions are so expensive and require such a massive use of time and resources.
Based on the conversations you’ve had, how has the pandemic changed the tenor of the election?
I think that the isolation from the pandemic has contributed to a lot of the rage on both sides. I definitely have felt that people are more reluctant to give me their name because they’re worried that if their name shows up in the paper, someone is going to go after them for their political views.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
— Melina and Carole
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected].
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the state of the election.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Espresso or cappuccino, to Italians (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times hit seven million subscribers in the third quarter. For the first time, the publisher brings in more revenue from online readers than from print subscribers.
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