India’s Covid Vaccinations Fall as Its Outbreak Reaches New Highs

As India recorded a single-day high in new coronavirus cases on Thursday, its vaccination campaign has been marred by shortages and states are competing against one another to get doses, limiting the government’s hope that the country can soon emerge from a devastating outbreak.

The Indian health ministry recorded about 410,000 cases in 24 hours, a new global high, and 3,980 deaths, the highest daily death toll in any country outside the United States. Experts believe the number of actual infections and deaths is much higher.

A second wave of infections exploded last month, and some Indian states reintroduced partial lockdowns, but daily vaccination numbers have fallen. The government said it had administered nearly two million vaccine doses on Thursday, far lower than the 3.5 million doses a day it reached in March. Over the past week, 1.6 million people on average were vaccinated daily in the country of 1.4 billion.

India’s pace of vaccinations has become a source of global concern as its outbreak devastates the nation and spreads into neighboring countries, and as a variant first identified there begins to be found around the world. The outbreak has prompted India to keep vaccine doses produced by its large drug manufacturing industry at home instead of exporting them, slowing down vaccination campaigns elsewhere.

delay the expansion of vaccine access to younger age groups because of shortages.

India also lacks enough doses to meet the growing demand. Two domestic drug companies — the Serum Institute of India, which is manufacturing the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca, and Bharat Biotech, which is making its own vaccine — are producing fewer than 100 million doses per month.

About 3 percent of India’s population has been fully vaccinated, and 9.2 percent of people have received at least one dose. Experts say that at the current rate the country is unlikely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s target of inoculating 300 million people by August.

India has recorded 20.6 million coronavirus cases and more than 226,000 deaths, according to a New York Times database.

India’s government has said it will fast-track approvals of foreign-made vaccines, and on Wednesday the Biden administration said it would support waiving intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines to increase supplies for lower-income countries.

approved the departure of family members of U.S. government employees in India and is urging American citizens to take advantage of commercial flights out of the country. It said on Wednesday that it would approve the voluntary departure of nonemergency U.S. government employees.

On Thursday, Sri Lanka became the latest country to bar travelers from India, joining the United States, Britain, Australia and others.

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Chlorinated U.S. Chickens Fuel British Consumers’ Fears

LONDON — In this post-Brexit, mid-pandemic moment in the United Kingdom, with its economy battered by recession and the royal family in mourning and turmoil, it is hard to find a topic that unites this fractious nation. But U.S. chickens — yes, the lowly, clucking farm animal, consumed daily by the millions in all 50 states — have done it.

Everybody hates them.

The odd thing is that U.S. chicken is not sold anywhere in Britain, and if people here get their way, it never will be.

What precisely have U.S. chickens done to so thoroughly appall the British, even though few of the latter have ever sampled the former?

The short answer is that some U.S. chicken carcasses are washed in chlorine, to eliminate potentially harmful pathogens. Americans for years have been devouring these birds without any fuss, but in Britain, U.S. chickens are now attached to the word “chlorinated” the way warning labels are attached to cigarettes — which is to say, always. U.S. chickens have been denounced by editorialists, academics, politicians, farmers and a wide variety of activists. In October, a group of protesters dressed in chicken costumes milled around Parliament.

forward an article that quoted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which stated that one in six American suffered from a food-borne illness every year. In the United Kingdom, that figure as tallied by the Food Standards Agency, the article continued, is one in 60.

The chlorine dunk isn’t just kind of gross, in other words. It’s ineffective.

Nonsense, says Tom Super, spokesman for the National Chicken Council, which represents the companies that process about 95 percent of U.S. chicken. He pointed out that the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency’s own website offers a caution about comparing food-borne illness numbers between countries.

the site reads. “This makes any comparison and interpretation of differences challenging.”

Mr. Super notes that only 5 percent of chickens are now washed with chlorine because the industry has moved on to a better cleaner. (Peracetic acid, if you’re curious.) But focusing on how chickens are washed misses the safety and care built into the U.S. system, he added, starting with how eggs are hatched and chickens are fed. Lower hygiene standards? A total canard, an excuse for protectionism, he says, and one that glosses over the findings of the European Food Safety Authority, which in 2008 could find no evidence that chlorinated chickens are unsafe.

“The science is on our side; the data is on our side,” said Mr. Super. “Americans eat about 150 million servings of chicken a day, and virtually all are eaten safely. We’d send the same chicken to the U.K. that we now feed our kids and that we send to 100 countries around the world.”

The timing for any U.S.-U.K. trade deal is unknown; the Biden administration has said little on the subject. Katherine Tai, the U.S. trade representative, said at her confirmation hearing that she wanted a pact that “prioritizes the interest of America’s workers and supports a strong recovery for our economy.”

Several trade experts said that negotiations could take years, largely because the deal doesn’t seem to be a high priority in the United States. But a long wait might be just what the British need, said Professor Boyd of St. Andrews. Agriculture here has long had a claim on the national psyche that far outweighs its actual economic significance, he explained. Consumers here are more interested in sustaining an institution — farming — than buying slightly cheaper cutlets. And lecturing the British public about studies and test results won’t change that.

“If we were to address fears about U.S. chicken with evidence-based arguments and expensive publicity campaigns, then something else would arise,” Professor Boyd said. “This is a sociopolitical problem which will be resolved through enlightened partnership to build a trading relationship, not by browbeating people with scientific facts.”

David Henig, director of the U.K. Trade Policy Project, which is part of a think tank in Brussels, said trade between the countries will carry on, using terms and agreements that have been in place for years, he said. When the United States is prepared to tackle the thornier issues, the British will be ready.

“The U.K. side is keen for a deal,” he said. “It’s just not keen about the chickens.”

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Jamie Dimon, LeBron James and the Super League Debate

The biggest business and policy story in the world at the moment isn’t about taxes or infrastructure. It’s about the fate of European soccer, as the fight over the Super League draws in everyone from Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase to President Emmanuel Macron of France to the N.B.A. star LeBron James.

Critics have denounced the proposed league, which would guarantee 15 of Europe’s top teams a spot, as a cash grab by the richest clubs. We’ve also heard from sports executives who argue that the plan could hurt the economies of cities whose teams are excluded.

JPMorgan, which is backing the plan, faces a backlash. Irate soccer fans denounced the bank for providing over $4 billion to finance the creation of the league. (“#JPMorgan” was a trending topic on Twitter yesterday, and not in a good way.) The bank was brought into the deal through its relationship with the Super League’s chief architect, Florentino Pérez, the billionaire president of Real Madrid. Its bet is that supporting a star-studded competition, in a sport with a gigantic worldwide fandom will pay off in the long run, not least through broadcast rights.

  • JPMorgan’s involvement was vetted by its internal reputation committee, which assesses high-profile and potentially controversial assignments, according to people briefed on the decision. But that committee didn’t fully expect the emotional reaction from sports fans that has flooded the airwaves around the world, these people added.

Big media and tech companies could get entangled. Many are expected to bid on the broadcast rights for the Super League, with speculation surrounding Amazon, Apple and Facebook. But they may have to worry about more than ratings. Political leaders like Mr. Macron and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain (and even Prince William) have spoken out against the league; is that a fight they want? And do they want to run afoul of FIFA, the sport’s global governing body, or UEFA, its European counterpart, and risk losing out on rights to the World Cup or other high-profile competitions?

courting corporate America to support its infrastructure initiative, taking advantage of a rift with Republicans over political and social issues like restrictions on voting rights. But opposition to higher taxes and more regulation may yet reunite the estranged allies.

Exxon Mobil unveils a $100 billion plan to profit from carbon capture. The oil giant said it would make a business based on trapping the carbon emissions of industrial plants around Houston. But the strategy would require government support, including a new carbon tax — which has little political backing.

Amazon is accused of corrupting the recent warehouse unionization election. The union, which lost the vote 2-to-1, said the e-commerce giant had intimidated and surveilled workers. If the National Labor Relations Board agrees with the claims, it could order a new election.

Xi Jinping warns against economic decoupling. In a speech today, the Chinese president called for greater global economic integration and made thinly veiled critiques of America’s efforts to reduce its dependence on Chinese exports like computer chips. “Bossing others around or meddling in others’ internal affairs will not get one any support,” Mr. Xi said.

disclosed in its prospectus that sales more than doubled last year, to $421 million, though it lost about $60 million. It’s reportedly aiming for a $10 billion valuation, betting on the plant-based food trend.

published an open letter in The Financial Times urging asset managers to match their pledges on social and political issues with their votes at coming shareholder meetings. Of top importance: votes on board diversity, racial equity and political spending disclosures.

The top three asset managers have significant power to influence corporate decisions. BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street control about 80 percent of all indexed money, making them a dominant force in the governance of public companies. The activists behind today’s letter — including Rashad Robinson, the president of Color Of Change; Alicia Garza, the principal of Black to the Future; and Derrick Johnson, the president of the N.A.A.C.P. — argue that the money managers are not sufficiently exercising their power:

The “big three” asset managers made commitments to racial justice after the killing of George Floyd last year. They’ve incorporated that focus into their voting guidelines: BlackRock has said it may vote against directors when it considers a board to be “insufficiently diverse.” State Street said it would vote against certain directors at firms that do not disclose diversity data this year and firms that do not have at least one director from an underrepresented community next year. When it comes to voting rights, BlackRock and Vanguard signed a recent letter opposing “any discriminatory legislation” that would make voting more difficult.

The activists are asking funds to do more, including:

The letter sets the stage for a potentially contentious proxy season, targeting specific shareholder resolutions at a host of S&P 500 companies in its “voting guide” for investors. Neuberger Berman, which manages $429 billion in assets, said yesterday it plans to vote against management at Berkshire Hathaway on topics including diversity reporting, which also features in the activists’ guide. “We’re trying to behave like owners and shareholders and help make the company better,” Neuberger’s C.E.O., George Walker, told CNBC.


in a USA Today op-ed. (He did not address the increase in corporate taxes that would pay for it.)


a private Discord chat with Casey Newton, a reporter who writes a Substack subscription newsletter.

Facebook sent a message that the traditional gatekeepers are gone. The private channel chat was just one sign; another was Mr. Zuckerberg saying so explicitly. “If you look at the grand arc here, what’s really happening is individuals are getting more power and more opportunity to create the lives and the jobs that they want,” he said of the new media age.

What about fair disclosure? Mr. Zuckerberg was speaking on social media but using a restricted channel. Companies can’t selectively disclose material information but the S.E.C. has said that “most social media are perfectly suitable methods for communicating with investors.” Still, the rules were designed to ensure that no one can get a jump on other investors, so channels don’t qualify “if the access is restricted or if investors don’t know that’s where they need to turn to get the latest news.”

“Issuers must take steps” to let investors know the news channels they’ll use, the S.E.C. wrote in a 2013 investigation of Netflix after its C.E.O., Reed Hastings, posted data about the company on his private Facebook page. The S.E.C. didn’t take action, noting “market uncertainty” about how fair-disclosure rules applied to social media at the time, and said it would consider each case individually.

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Key Chains and Teddy Bears in Riot Gear: Hong Kong Promotes National Security

HONG KONG — Teddy bears clad in black police riot gear, on sale for more than $60 apiece. Messages of gratitude to the authorities, pasted by children onto the walls of their schools. Uniformed police officers goose-stepping in formation, accompanied by a counterterrorism drill complete with a helicopter and hostage simulation.

This is National Security Education Day in Hong Kong, the first since the central Chinese government imposed a wide-ranging security law on the territory last year.

The law, a response to months of fierce and sometimes violent antigovernment protests that began in 2019, has become synonymous with the authorities’ efforts to clamp down on dissent and ensure staunch loyalty. And the panoply of activities on Thursday indicated how they plan to do so: with a mixture of cutesy cajolery and overt shows of force, for a law that an official once said should hang over Hong Kongers like a “sword of Damocles.”

“Any ‘hard resistance’ that undermines national security will be struck down by the law. Any ‘soft resistance’ will be regulated by the law,” Luo Huining, the central government’s top official in Hong Kong, said at a ceremony kicking off the day’s events.

arrest around 100 people, gut the political opposition and remake Hong Kong’s electoral system.

frequently deployed in 2019.

show of goose-stepping. Traditionally, many of the disciplined services in Hong Kong, a British colony until it was returned to Chinese rule in 1997, had marched in the British style. But the Chinese Army is known for the distinctive goose-step, in which the leg does not bend at the knee.

“After enjoying this wonderful performance,” an official website for National Security Education Day promised, viewers would be led inside to view armored vehicles, the explosives disposal team and recruitment information.

riot-gear-clad teddy bear, a pair of zip ties strapped to its chest ($62); key chains engraved with crowd-control phrases like “Disperse or we fire” and “Warning: Tear smoke” ($4 each); and a set of 18 three-inch figurines, clutching rifles and shields and bearing police warning flags about illegal assembly (“festive special offer”: $114).

It seemed unlikely that any sort of protest would break out in such a heavily fortified location. Still, officials seemed eager to forestall even a hint of the so-called soft resistance Mr. Luo had singled out in his speech. As journalists waited to enter the open house, security officers asked some who were wearing yellow or black face masks — colors associated with the pro-democracy movement — to swap them for blue ones the authorities provided.

four pro-democracy activists tried to march through parts of downtown, bearing a poster that said “Without democracy and human rights, there is no national security.” They were followed by dozens of police officers.

In other parts of the city, schoolchildren — including those in kindergarten — were enlisted in the promotion of national security. Education has been a particular focus for the authorities, who have blamed what they call biased curriculums for turning Hong Kong’s youth against the government.

On Thursday morning, many schools hosted ceremonies to raise China’s national flag and sing the national anthem (which the Hong Kong government last year made a crime to disrespect).

At the Wong Cho Bau middle school, which is run by a pro-Beijing teachers’ union, the principal told students during a morning assembly that national security should be incorporated into every part of their curriculum, including geography and biology classes, as well as weekly flag-raising ceremonies.

“These daily accumulations can help us construct our own national concept and identity, so as to achieve prosperity and glory for the country,” said the principal, Hui Chun-lung. “So everybody should study hard. If the youth are strong, then China is strong.”

Afterward, school officials showed off colorful slips of paper that students had filled out and pasted onto a “community mosaic wall.” “Please express your opinion toward the idea of ‘Support national security, guard our home,’” the prompt said.

In response, the students expressed their gratitude to the government and their relief that the pro-democracy protests had subsided. “Those people who protest everywhere are intolerable, destroying public places and hurting our home,” one student wrote.

Other students’ responses were even more effusive.

“I think the idea of supporting national security and guarding our home is extremely without problems! Support! Support! Extremely support!” one student wrote. “Whatever the national security law says, goes! I very much have no opinion!”

Joy Dong contributed research.

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