WASHINGTON — As many as 320,000 Venezuelans living in the United States were given an 18-month reprieve on Monday from the threat of being deported, as the Biden administration sought to highlight how dangerous that country has become under President Nicolás Maduro.
The immigrants also will be allowed to work legally in the United States as part of the temporary protective status the administration issued as it considers the next steps in a yearslong American pressure campaign to force Mr. Maduro from power.
“The living conditions in Venezuela reveal a country in turmoil, unable to protect its own citizens,” Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary, said in a statement. “It is in times of extraordinary and temporary circumstances like these that the United States steps forward to support eligible Venezuelan nationals already present here, while their home country seeks to right itself out of the current crises.”
Venezuela is mired in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises under Mr. Maduro, who, through a mix of corruption and neglect, oversaw the decay of the country’s oil infrastructure that had propped up its economy. The United Nations has estimated that up to 94 percent of Venezuela’s population lives in poverty, with millions of people bereft of regular access to water, food and medicine.
Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader and former head of Venezuela’s National Assembly, as the country’s legitimate leader.
But one of the officials who briefed reporters on Monday on condition that he not be identified said the Biden administration was reviewing whether to lift a raft of economic sanctions that experts believe have cost Venezuela’s government has much as $31 billion since 2017.
The official said that review would assess whether the economic pressure exacted against Mr. Maduro and his government was worth the risk of exacerbating the dire living conditions for Venezuelans.
The new protections were welcomed by Democrats and Republicans in Congress who had appeared divided on the approach to immigration policy under Mr. Trump.
Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said he supported the protections, although “it is critical that we continue working with our democratic allies to secure a Venezuela free from tyranny and ensure this temporary status in the U.S. does not become a permanent one.”
Senators Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, both Democrats, noted that earlier efforts to allow Venezuelan immigrants to remain in the United States were blocked by the former president’s supporters in Congress.
“For years, the world watched in horror as man-made humanitarian and political crises turned Venezuela into a failed state,” the senators said in a joint statement. “Despite these disastrous and dangerous conditions, Venezuelans were still forcibly deported back to their country by the Trump administration.”
federal appeals court sided with the Trump administration’s argument that immigrants from places like El Salvador, Haiti and Sudan, which were recovering from disasters or political turmoil, no longer needed safe haven in the United States.
Monday’s announcement signaled that the Biden administration was likely to continue at least some of the protections.
Roberto Marrero, a Venezuelan opposition leader who moved to Florida after spending a year and a half in jail in Venezuela, called Monday’s decision a “bittersweet victory.”
“It gives us protection,” he said, “but also reminds us that we’re here because there’s a dictatorship in our country.”
Lara Jakes reported from Washington, and Anatoly Kurmanaev from Bogotá, Colombia.
Federal health officials on Monday told millions of Americans now vaccinated against the coronavirus that they could again embrace a few long-denied freedoms, like gathering in small groups at home without masks or social distancing, offering a hopeful glimpse at the next phase of the pandemic.
The recommendations, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, arrived almost exactly a year after the virus began strangling the country and Americans were warned against gatherings for fear of spreading the new pathogen.
Now the agency has good news for long-separated families and individuals struggling with pandemic isolation: Vaccinated grandparents can once again visit adult children and grandchildren under certain circumstances, even if they remain unvaccinated. Vaccinated adults may begin to plan mask-free dinners with vaccinated friends.
As cases and deaths decline nationwide, some state officials are rushing to reopen businesses and schools; governors in Texas and Mississippi have lifted statewide mask mandates. Federal health officials have repeatedly warned against loosening restrictions too quickly, fearing that the moves may set the stage for a fourth surge of infections and deaths.
had received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and about 31.3 million had been fully vaccinated, according to a database maintained by The New York Times. Providers are administering about 2.17 million doses per day on average.
Mr. Biden has promised that there will be enough doses for every American adult by the end of May. C.D.C. officials on Monday encouraged people to be inoculated with the first vaccine available to them, emphasizing that the vaccines are highly effective at preventing “serious Covid-19 illness, hospitalization and death.”
scientists do not yet understand whether and how often immunized people may still transmit the virus. If they can, then masking and other precautions are still needed in certain settings to contain the virus, researchers have said.
The C.D.C. said on Monday that research indicated that people who are fully vaccinated are less likely to have asymptomatic infections and “potentially less likely to transmit the virus that causes Covid-19 to other people.” Still, the agency did not rule out the possibility that they may inadvertently transmit the virus.
There is also uncertainty about how well vaccines protect against new variants of the virus that are more transmissible and possibly more virulent, as well as about how long the vaccine protection lasts. Some of the variants carry mutations that seem to blunt the body’s immune response.
The C.D.C. advised that vaccinated Americans do not need to quarantine or get tested if they are exposed to the virus, unless they develop symptoms of infection. If they do so, they should isolate themselves, get tested if possible and speak with their doctors.
Vaccinated Americans should not gather with unvaccinated people from more than one household, and should continue avoiding large and medium-size gatherings. (The agency did not specify what size constitutes a large or medium-size gathering.)
The guidance is slightly different for fully vaccinated residents of group homes and incarcerated individuals, who should continue to quarantine for 14 days and be tested if they are exposed to the virus, because of the higher risk of transmission in such settings.
Vaccinated workers in high-density settings like meatpacking plants do not need to quarantine after an exposure to the coronavirus, but testing is still recommended.
The C.D.C. did not revise its travel recommendations, continuing to advise that all Americans stay home unless necessary. Dr. Walensky noted that virus cases had surged every time there had been an increase in travel.
“We are really trying to restrain travel,” she said. “And we’re hopeful that our next set of guidance will have more science around what vaccinated people can do, perhaps travel being among them.”
The new guidelines clearly detail the rewards of vaccination and are likely to motivate even more Americans to seek immunizations and curb lingering vaccine hesitancy, said Dr. Rebecca Weintraub, an assistant professor of global health and social medicine at the Harvard Medical School.
“You can resume an activity that many people are yearning for — to be in proximity with those they love, in small gatherings where you can see each other smile and give each other a hug,” Dr. Weintraub said.
“It’s been well studied that anticipation is a significant component of joy,” she added. “These guidelines help each person coming in for a vaccine anticipate future joy. As a physician and vaccinator, I’m thrilled.”
Noah Weiland contributed reporting.
The Biden administration’s review comes at a time when skyrocketing waves of terrorism and violence have seized Africa’s Sahel region, a vast sub-Saharan scrubland that stretches from Senegal to Sudan, and is threatening to spread. The Islamic State in Libya has actively sought fresh recruits traveling north from West African nations, including Senegal and Chad.
Armed groups have attacked bridges, military convoys and government buildings. The threat is pushing south from the Sahel into areas previously untouched by extremist violence, including the Ivory Coast, Benin, Togo and Ghana, where the Pentagon has a logistics hub.
Security has worsened to the point where the Pentagon’s Africa Command told the Defense Department’s inspector general last year that it had abandoned for the moment a strategy of weakening the Islamist militants, and instead was mainly trying to contain the threat.
“Security continues to deteriorate in the Sahel as instability spreads and threatens coastal West Africa,” Colin Kahl, Mr. Biden’s nominee to be the Pentagon’s top policy official, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in written responses to questions in advance of a hearing last week. “We cannot ignore that persistent conflict in Africa will continue to generate threats to U.S. personnel, partners and interests from violent extremist organizations.”
The Pentagon’s Africa Command operates MQ-9 Reaper drones from Niamey, Niger’s capital, 800 miles southwest of Dirkou; and from a $110 million drone base in Agadez, Niger, 350 miles west of Dirkou. The military has carried out drone strikes against Qaeda and Islamic State militants in Libya, but none since September 2019.
Some security analysts question why the United States needs both military and C.I.A. drone operations in the same general vicinity to combat insurgents in Libya and the Sahel. In addition, France, which has about 5,100 troops in the Sahel region, began conducting its own Reaper drone strikes from Niamey against insurgents in Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali.
A recent report by the International Crisis Group concluded that the military-first strategy of France and its allies, including the United States, has failed. The research and advocacy organization, which focuses on conflict zones, noted in its report that focusing on local peacemaking efforts could achieve more.
Meghan and Harry’s bombshell interview
Hours after the interview was broadcast in the U.S. on Sunday, Britain was already grappling with the shock wave rippling out across the Atlantic, exposing a deep royal rift.
For many Black Britons, in particular, the interview offered a scathing assessment of the royal family and resurfaced barely submerged tensions over entrenched racism.
Recap: Meghan Markle made dramatic disclosures, including that there were “concerns and conversations about how dark” her son Archie’s skin might be when she was pregnant with him. (Harry later said neither Queen Elizabeth II nor Prince Philip was the source of that comment.) Meghan also disclosed that her life as a member of the royal family had become so emotionally desolate that she contemplated suicide. When she asked for help, she said, palace officials rebuffed her. Here’s what else we learned.
Reactions: The interview left the country divided, with major news outlets publishing biting commentary. On social media, some denounced the couple’s infidelity to the family, while others firmly defended them. The palace has not yet responded, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wanted to stay out of royal matters.
attracted 17.1 million viewers on CBS, according to preliminary Nielsen figures. The program is airing in Britain Monday night.
setting up makeshift operations on university campuses, hospitals and Buddhist pagoda complexes.
On Sunday, security forces stormed Yangon General Hospital and universities in Mandalay. “I think they are trying to prepare for a brutal war against the people,” a security guard at Mandalay Technological University said. The abbot of the Mahamuni Buddha Temple in Mandalay said that soldiers had taken over the pagoda’s grounds for a month.
U Kyaw Moe Tun, Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations, gave the U.N. General Assembly the defiant three-finger salute adopted by the protest movement, calling the military rule illegitimate. The generals fired him, but his replacement refused the job and the U.N. declined to recognize his dismissal, so he remains at his post.
plans to vaccinate at least 110,000 Palestinians over the next two weeks, including about 80,000 employed in Israel and about 30,000 employed in the West Bank.
Israel has outpaced the rest of the world in vaccinating its own citizens, including Jewish settlers in the West Bank, but has faced intense criticism for providing only token amounts of vaccine for Palestinians living under its control. The new vaccination campaign was worked out with the Palestinian Authority more than a month ago and approved by the Israeli government late last month.
episodes of high heat and high humidity that go beyond the limits of human survival, according to a new study.
Extreme heat and high humidity prevent the body from cooling down, stressing the cardiovascular system. The tropics, a region that encircles Earth at the Equator, is home to more than 3 billion people. Above, Aceh, Indonesia, part of the region.
Here’s what else is happening
Australia murder case: In 2003, a court sentenced Kathleen Folbigg to 40 years in prison for smothering her four children, with tabloids calling her a murderer. But after years of her claiming innocence, saying the children died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, 90 scientists say she is right and are demanding her release.
George Floyd: Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Monday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged in connection with Mr. Floyd’s death. Mr. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Afghan peace: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has proposed a United Nations-led peace conference in Turkey aimed at forming an inclusive Afghan government with the Taliban and establishing a three-month reduction in violence leading to a cease-fire. The U.S. has not decided whether to withdraw its remaining 2,500 troops from Afghanistan by May 1.
Foreign Affairs article by Cai Xia, a former Chinese Communist Party insider, on why she backed away from Beijing.
Now, a break from the news
Thai curry risotto, effortlessly lending lots of flavor.
Read: Imbolo Mbue’s “How Beautiful We Were” is set in an African village ravaged by an American oil conglomerate. What starts as a David-and-Goliath story slowly transforms into a nuanced exploration of self-interest, of what it means to want in the age of capitalism and colonialism.
Do: Here are five workouts that take less than 10 minutes.
Let us help you discover an interesting pastime. At Home has ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the Back Story on …
A translator’s book recommendations
The prolific translator Margaret Jull Costa, who has brought Portuguese- and Spanish-language fiction and poetry into the English-speaking world, spoke to our Books desk about what she’s reading.
What books are on your night stand?
Well, none, since I never read in bed, but there’s always a pile next to my favorite chair. At the moment, this includes “Buddenbrooks,” which we’re reading with a group of friends, “Le Château de Ma Mère,” by Marcel Pagnol, which my husband and I are reading with our French tutor, a collection of novellas and short stories by the Portuguese writer Maria Judite de Carvalho, who I’m keen to translate more of. And Michael Gorra’s “Portrait of a Novel,” about the writing of “Portrait of a Lady” (possibly my favorite novel), which has been on my pile for far too long and should be read soon.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain on Monday refused to discuss the drama engulfing the royal family, praising the contribution of Queen Elizabeth while declining to comment on damaging claims made by her grandson Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan.
“I have always had the highest admiration for the Queen and the unifying role she plays in our country and across the Commonwealth,” Mr. Johnson said at a news conference in London.
“As for all other matters to do with the royal family I have spent a long time now not commenting on royal family matters and I don’t intend to depart from that today,” Mr. Johnson added.
Pressed to say whether he believed the royal family, aside from the Queen, is racist, Mr. Johnson again stonewalled, saying that “when it comes to matters to do with the royal family the right thing for the prime ministers to say is nothing, and nothing is the thing that I propose to say today about that particular matter.”
wrote on Twitter. “What Meghan wants, Meghan gets.”
The issues raised are sensitive for Mr. Johnson who, during his career as a journalist, used racist language on some occasions, and the claims made in the interview reverberated around British politics.
On Monday Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour Party, said that the allegations that had surfaced in the interview “need to be taken very, very seriously” because they are “allegations in relation to race and mental health.”
“For too many years we have been too dismissive and too willing to put these issues to one side,” he added.
Twitter. “Now that Meghan has revealed comments about her child’s skin color, will they investigate racism in the Palace? I won’t be holding my breath.”