The future of U.S.-China relations came in for renewed focus after President Joe Biden pressed for answers on whether the Covid-19 virus originated in a Wuhan laboratory and as he revised Donald Trump’s order banning investments in some Chinese companies.
Biden became the first president to visit Tulsa to commemorate victims of a massacre of Black residents in the city by a White mob a century ago, one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history.
Political repression in Belarus showed no sign of easing, while in neighboring Russia opponents of President Vladimir Putin faced increasing state pressure.
Dig deeper into these and other topics with this edition of Weekend Reads.
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Lab Leak Theory’s Revival Risks Upending Any U.S.-China Detente
Of all the issues that have roiled ties between China and the West since the pandemic emerged, none has been more sensitive in Beijing than questions about Covid-19’s origin. That made Biden’srevival of the laboratory theory all the more meaningful.
World’s Best Hope to End the Pandemic Needs More Doses
The nonprofit Covax, which distributes Covid-19 vaccines to mostly poor countries, has been saying for a year no one is safe until everyone is. Rich countries may finally be getting the message, Stephanie Baker and James Paton write.
‘Covid Zero’ Risks Being ‘Covid Limbo’ Amid Slow Vaccine Uptake
Public health experts say “covid zero” countries that used strict border controls to keep the coronavirus largely at bay for more than a year risk being stuck inlimbo and increasingly isolated unless vaccination rates pick up. Jason Gale and Kurumi Mori report.
Biden Draws GOP Contrast With Visit to Tulsa Massacre Site
Biden visited Tulsa on Tuesday to mark the 100th anniversary of a White mob’sdestruction of the city’s once-thriving Black business district, Mario Parker, Justin Sink and Jennifer Epstein report. He also said Vice President Kamala Harris would lead efforts to pass a new federal expansion of voting rights.
Biden Revamp of Trump’s China Blacklist Leaves Room for Dialogue
Biden’s “intentionally targeted”revamp of Trump’s order to ban investments in certain Chinese companies allows him to maintain a tough line on China while still leaving room for dialogue between the world’s biggest economies.
Trump’s Rally Revival Leaves Some in GOP Fearing a Revenge Tour
Trump will resume his trademark rallies this month with onemission at the top of his agenda — seeking revenge against Republican incumbents who turned on him. Mark Niquette reports some GOP leaders fear another round of grievances about the 2020 election results could hurt the party more than it helps in next year’s midterms.
What Goes Wrong When You Anger Putin’s Strongman in Belarus
Andrey was working at a bar in Minsk when he stumbled into thedangerous world of Belarus politics, where protest comes with a prison sentence or worse. As Aliaksandr Kudrytski and Andrea Dudik report, his story encapsulates how hope of change among some Belarusians has been gradually yet fiercely snuffed out by President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime.
- As Putin rolled out the red carpet for foreign investors at his flagship forum in St. Petersburg, the Kremlin continued a sweepingcrackdown on political opponents within Russia ahead of key elections.
China’s massive investment in green energy and desire to prove the supremacy of its socialist-market model has the countrysupplying three quarters of the world’s solar panels, Jennifer A Dlouhy reports. U.S. companies, which 20 years ago made 22% of them, now produce about 1% on American soil.
Netanyahu’s Refusal to Cede Power Made Others Try to Wrest It
During his 15 years in office, Benjamin Netanyahu has clung tightly to the levers of power,Amy Teibel writes. Now, thatunwillingness to cede control may be his undoing as the prime minister’s opponents strive to outflank him by forging an unlikely coalition.
Under Cover of War and Grinding Poverty, Covid Stalks Yemen
As Donna Abu-Nasr writes, Covid-19 is low in the pecking order ofcatastrophe for Yemen, the poorest Arab state and a strategic conduit for global trade, where almost seven years of war produced the world’s worst humanitarian crisis even before the pandemic was born.
Global food prices have extended their rally to thehighest in almost a decade, Megan Durisin writes, heightening concerns over bulging grocery bills as economies struggle to overcome the pandemic.
Mexico Midterms Are Biggest Test Yet for AMLO’s Ambitious Agenda
Midterm elections on Sunday present the biggest challenge yet for President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s self-declared “fourth transformation” of Mexican society, as Max de Haldevang reports.
Vaccinated Europeans Book Their Holiday While Brits Decry U-Turn
Just a few months ago, Britain was the envy ofcontinental Europeans as a rapid vaccination push opened a path to reopen the U.K. economy while the European Union looked stuck in endless Covid-19 lockdowns. Now the tables are turning, write Siddharth Philip and Charlotte Ryan.
And finally … President Xi Jinping urged Chinese officials to create a “trustworthy, lovable and respectable” image for the country, in a sign Beijing may be looking to smooth its hard-edged approach sometimes criticized as “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy. Xi told senior Communist Party leaders Monday that Beijing needed “a grip on tone” in its communication with the world, and should “be open and confident, but also modest and humble.”
— With assistance by Tom Hall
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