DAKAR, Senegal — The Nigerian authorities say they are searching for about 1,800 inmates who escaped from a prison aided by heavily armed gunmen in the southeastern corner of the country, where anti-government separatists have long been active.
The authorities laid blame for the jailbreak on a rebel group that promotes the decades-old cause of secession for Nigeria’s southeastern corner, popularly known as Biafra.
The escapes came as security has been declining in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, where kidnapping has become rife and the army has been deployed to respond to security threats, including terrorism and banditry, in almost every state.
Prison officials said that early on Monday morning, men armed with sophisticated weapons arrived at a prison in Owerri, in southeastern Imo State. They exchanged fire with security personnel, according to prison officials, and then used explosives to blast their way into the prison yard.
Nigeria’s security services have launched a search operation to recapture the inmates. They put the number of escapees at 1,844.
Prison officials said in a statement that they were “appealing to the good citizens of Imo State and indeed Nigerians to volunteer useful intelligence that will facilitate the recovery effort.”
They said all officers at other prisons should “remain vigilant at this trying moment in our history,” suggesting concern about further prison breaks.
A few prisoners were trickling back into custody, accompanied by their relatives or lawyers, Francis Enobore, a spokesman for the prison system in Nigeria, said in a WhatsApp exchange. Thirty-five inmates refused to leave when the jailbreak happened, he said.
The police said that the attackers were members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, a secessionist group that has been banned in Nigeria since 2017 and is designated as a “militant terrorist organization” by the government.
But a spokesperson for the Indigenous People of Biafra denied that the group — or its paramilitary wing, the Eastern Security Network — were involved.
“E.S.N. is in the bush chasing terrorists and have no business with the said attacks,” the spokesperson, Emma Powerful, said in a statement. “It is not our mandate to attack security personnel or prison facilities.”
There were no casualties among the police, who repelled an attack on the armory at the prison, according to Frank Mba, a police spokesman.
Pope Francis delivered his annual “Urbi et Orbi” (“To the City and to the World”) Easter message to a small group of the faithful inside St. Peter’s Basilica on Sunday, while coronavirus pandemic prohibitions kept the usual audience of about 70,000 pilgrims away from St. Peter’s Square for a second year.
The pope delivered the message after presiding over Easter Mass in the presence of about 200 worshipers.
Francis spoke of the economic and social hardships that many people, and especially the poor, are experiencing because of the pandemic, which has worsened recently in Italy and much of Europe. He also addressed the continuing armed conflicts, unrest and increased military spending in Myanmar, Syria, Yemen, Nigeria and other regions and nations.
As he has in the past, the leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics called on the international community “in a spirit of global responsibility” to ensure that everyone has access to vaccines, which he called “an essential tool” in the fight against the pandemic. Delivery delays had to be overcome to “facilitate their distribution, especially in the poorest countries,” Francis said.
He called on all governments to look after the many people who have lost jobs and experienced economic hardship because of the pandemic, as well as those who lack “adequate social protection.”
“The pandemic has, unfortunately, dramatically increased the number of the poor and the desperation of thousands of people,” he said.
The pope also noted the difficulties of the young, “forced to go long periods without attending school or university or spending time with their friends.” He acknowledged the children who had written meditations for the torchlit Way of the Cross procession on Good Friday, held this year in front of the Basilica instead of the Colosseum, that spoke of loneliness and grief stemming from the pandemic.
“The risen Christ is hope for all who continue to suffer from the pandemic, both the sick and those who have lost a loved one,” Francis said
After almost a week of dredging, drigging and tugging — and with some help from the moon — salvage teams yesterday freed the giant container ship that had been stuck in the Suez Canal, one of the world’s most important shipping lanes.
As a result, traffic has resumed for the hundreds of ships waiting on both ends of the canal. And while estimates have varied wildly, the delay is also expensive. “The disruption has caused the canal authorities in Egypt losses of $95 million in revenue,” The Times’s Peter Goodman told me.
And even though the ship is free, the disruption isn’t over.
“It’s not just like flipping a switch,” Vivian Yee, the Times’s Cairo bureau chief, told me. Now that the ship is out of the way, the backlog will take at least a few days, maybe even weeks, to resolve.
High winds from a sandstorm caused the ship, the Ever Given, to turn sideways in the canal and get stuck, its operators said. But shipping experts have suggested that while the wind probably had a role in the crisis, human error might have, too.
few extra inches of tidal flow and gave workers the boost they needed to set the ship free.
Not a normal ship
It’s rare that a maritime disruption makes international news. But this was not your average mishap. For one, the Suez Canal isn’t like other waterways. “It is a vital channel linking the factories of Asia to the affluent customers of Europe, as well as a major conduit for oil,” Peter writes.
And the Ever Given is one of the world’s biggest container ships. “From a distance, it’s hard to comprehend how big it is,” Vivian told us. “From land, all the containers on top look like Legos — and then you realize each one of those Legos is 20 or 40 feet long.”
a backlog of goods sitting in factories, waiting to be put in boxes, Vivian says.
It took 10 years of hard labor — during which tens of thousands of Egyptian workers died — to build the canal in the 19th century.
For more: This is how giant container ships are built.
THE LATEST NEWS
The prosecution argued that Chauvin acted with excessive force, and played a video that showed him kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. “You can believe your eyes that it’s homicide,” a prosecutor told the jury.
The defense argued that Floyd’s death was caused by underlying medical conditions and a drug overdose, and urged jurors to consider evidence beyond the video.
This two-minute video shows key moments from the first day of the trial.
Other Big Stories
After the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, does the U.S. need a domestic terrorism law?
Yes: Making domestic terrorism a federal crime would help law enforcement punish violent extremists, says Elizabeth Neumann, a former Trump administration official. It would also deter future violence, Mary McCord and Jason Blazakis write in Lawfare.
No: “The problem is not lack of laws. It is a lack of will” to pursue extremists using existing law, the A.C.L.U.’s Hina Shamsi argues. And some progressives fear that the government could exploit the law to limit Americans’ rights or target minority communities, Vox’s Nicole Narea explains.
Makeover: The beauty industry has entered a phase of total pop-culture domination. Celebrities, social media stars and lifestyle influencers are changing the way the sell works.
Lives Lived: A fierce advocate for New York’s disabled, Edith Prentiss fought to make the city she loved more navigable for everyone. She died at 69.
suffered more during the pandemic than most other U.S. restaurants.
Their business began declining sooner — in January of last year, when news broke that a new virus was circulating in Wuhan, China. The restaurants have also had to cope with a rise in anti-Asian racism — “vandalized, robbed, attacked online in racist Yelp reviews,” as The Washington Post reported. Xi’an Famous Foods in New York began closing early after two employees were punched in the face while commuting to and from work.
Grace Young, a decorated author of cookbooks, is worried that traditional Chinatowns, like New York’s and San Francisco’s, will never recover from the pandemic, and she has spent months trying to call attention to the problem. “When you step into those restaurants, you are stepping back in time, and it’s a privilege,” Young said on a recent episode of “The Splendid Table,” a food podcast.
For anyone who wants to help Chinese restaurants, Francis Lam, the host of “The Splendid Table,” offered a suggestion: “If you can, order yourself some Chinese takeout. Get extra. Leftovers are your friend.” In The Times, Bonnie Tsui has more tips for supporting restaurants. — David Leonhardt
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
creamy asparagus pasta to the next level.
What to Watch
See a short opera film starring the drag queen Sasha Velour, a “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner and lip-syncing legend.
Meanwhile, on TikTok
Young artists are bypassing art schools and student loans, quitting their day jobs and pursuing careers as full-time artists on TikTok. But what happens when viewership plummets and copycats arrive?
Bernadette Bartels Murphy, a rare woman on Wall Street in the 1950s whose work as a trader helped legitimize a once-derided approach to anticipating market trends, making her a respected voice in the financial world and giving her a platform on television, died on March 3 in Nyack, N.Y. She was 86.
Her death was confirmed by her niece Mary Ann Bartels. Ms. Murphy died at her niece’s home.
Ms. Murphy began her career at the investment bank Ladenburg Thalmann & Company as a secretary — one of the few roles then available to women in the financial industry. But over time she became a trader and analyst and found a national audience as a regular panelist on Louis Rukeyser’s long-running “Wall Street Week,” a public television side gig of hers for 25 years.
Toiling as a secretary, Ms. Murphy found that it was the work of the traders on her desk that interested her more. She began studying the movements of stocks and the overall market as a way to anticipate future trends, an approach known as technical analysis.
At the time, that method of anticipating market movements was looked down on by traditionalists, who favored an approach called fundamental analysis: forecasting a shift in a stock price by gleaning the intrinsic value of a company and its shares. They referred, often derisively, to technical analysts as “chartists,” for the graphs and data tables they pored over to make their forecasts.
a 1992 interview with an industry magazine. “In those days, technical analysis was not considered an acceptable discipline, not in a conservative firm.”
To learn more about the business, she took classes at the New York Institute of Finance and began creating her own charts. She used the trading floor around her as her training ground, soaking up information on the interactions between the various markets her firm worked in, like corporate and municipal bonds, equities and trade orders from overseas. (After leaving Ladenburg, she went on to work for two more Wall Street firms.)
She also started sharing her ideas with co-workers and industry contacts in a newsletter, “This Is What I Think,” which became her calling card, prompting clients of her firm to ask her bosses for her views on trades they were considering. By the early 1970s, she was monitoring stock portfolios for customers and sharing her forecasts with them.
Her breakout moment came in 1973, when a market crash and global economic crisis sent stocks tumbling in a 21-month-long swoon.
“My readings were very accurate,” Ms. Murphy said in “Women of the Street: Making It on Wall Street — The World’s Toughest Business” (1998), by Sue Herera. She anticipated, for example, a sharp plunge in a popular group of stocks known as the “nifty 50,” which included household names like Coca-Cola and Polaroid.
became a managing director at Bank of America.
Ms. Bartels recalled a story Ms. Murphy often told. As a child, she said, she stopped at a waterside arcade on City Island and put a coin in a vending machine to get her horoscope. “It said her element was fire, her color was red, and that ‘you are an Aries, the ram — a trailblazer and pioneer,’” Ms. Bartels said. “She told us that story so many times, and she really lived by that every day.”
ROME — In an effort to contain costs and save jobs amid a slump in tourist dollars and donations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis has ordered across-the-board pay cuts for the cardinals and other higher-ranking clerics working in the Vatican.
Cardinals will see their income trimmed by 10 percent, according to a decree published Wednesday. The superiors of Vatican departments will have their salaries reduced by 8 percent, while 3 percent cuts will be applied to upper-level priests and nuns. A two-year salary freeze has been imposed on other employees at higher pay grades.
The pandemic has “negatively influenced all sources of income for the Holy See and Vatican City State,” Francis wrote in an apostolic letter. “A sustainable economic future requires today, among other decisions, adopting measures that also concern employee salaries.”
The cuts, which go into effect on April 1, affect only the employees of the Holy See, Vatican City and associated institutions, including the Vicariate of Rome. They will not apply to Vatican personnel who can prove that they cannot sustain the costs of personal medical care or that of close family members.
an interview with the Vatican’s news portal two weeks ago. He said that cost-cutting had reduced travel, overtime and meeting expenses and had led to the postponement of renovations and some purchases. But the Vatican has not cut jobs.
“Pope Francis insists that saving money does not have to mean laying off employees; he is very sensitive to the plight of families,” he said.
The Holy See’s income comes from real estate management, investments and donations. Vatican City State has a separate budget and gets part of its revenue from the Vatican Museums, which had 6.7 million visitors in 2019, according to The Art Newspaper. The museums were open on and off last year because of the pandemic. Of the 1.3 million visitors last year, a million came before the national lockdown started in early March 2020.
“The expenses budgeted for 2021 are the lowest in the recent history of the Holy See, but the savings have been made without decreasing the service to the pope’s mission and defending salaries and jobs for employees,” Father Guerrero Alves said. “We need the support of the faithful.”
Jessica McClintock, a fashion designer whose romantic, lacy confections dressed generations of women for their weddings and proms, died on Feb. 16 at her home in San Francisco. She was 90.
The cause was congestive heart failure, said her sister, Mary Santoro.
In 1969, Ms. McClintock was a newly divorced mother and had been teaching science and music to sixth graders in Cupertino, Calif., when she invested $5,000 in a San Francisco dress business called Gunne Sax. (In creating the name, the founders, Eleanor Bailey and Carol Miller, had riffed on the idea of a “sexy gunny sack,” according to Vogue magazine.)
Soon after, Ms. McClintock became the sole owner, designer and saleswoman. She had no design training, but she could sew.
Inspired by those she called San Francisco’s “flower children,” she began making calico, lace and beribboned pastiches known as granny dresses. It was a style — a little bit Victorian, a little bit prairie — that hippies in the Haight-Ashbury section had popularized by putting together the wares of vintage clothing stores.
Dorothy Rodham, said no way: She had to wear something new for her wedding.
Representative Jackie Speier, who serves California’s 14th District, in the Bay Area. Ms. McClintock designed a wedding dress for her. (Ms. Speier called her “the fashion designer for Democrats” because of her inclusive price points, though Ms. McClintock was a registered Republican.)
Vanna White, who has made a career out of elegantly flipping the letters on the game show “Wheel of Fortune” clad in satiny sheaths, did so for a time in Jessica McClintock gowns.
But Ms. McClintock’s bread and butter was also in gussying up young women for their proms and quinceañeras and even elementary school graduations, particularly in the heyday of the 70s, as they danced to Fleetwood Mac or Peter Frampton, their hair done in Dorothy Hamill-style bobs.
As the decades marched along, so did Ms. McClintock’s styles, from pale Victorians and Great Gatsby-esque satins in the 1970s to poofy silk taffeta in the ’80s to more streamlined dresses in iridescent silk in the ’90s and beyond.
In 1999, when her business, a private company, turned 30, sales were at $140 million, according to Women’s Wear Daily. She operated 26 stores around the country, marketed a fragrance, Jessica, and had licensing agreements for handbags, jewelry, china, eyeglasses, bedding and home furnishings.
signed an agreement with Asian Immigrant Women Advocates, a community organization, to promote fair labor practices and establish an education fund for garment workers.
In addition to her sister, Ms. McClintock is survived by her son. Her longtime partner, Ben Golluber, who was chief financial officer of the company, died in 1998.
Ms. McClintock retired from the day to day management of her company in 2013, only to return a year later.
Since the early 1980s, the company headquarters were in a commercial building in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood, but Ms. McClintock sold the space in about 2016 and thereafter ran the business from her home office.
She lived in a Queen Anne Victorian house in Pacific Heights, which she bought from the filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. With a decorator’s help she turned it into a romantic fantasy, with Venetian chandeliers, billowing pink satin curtains, inlaid marble floors and Aubusson carpets — just the right backdrop for the Old World fashions she favored.
“I have a romantic feeling about life,” Ms. McClintock told a reporter in 2007. “I like Merchant-Ivory movies and candlelight and beautiful rooms. I like the patina of age.”
begun adding back jobs after a winter lull. But he will note that those metrics may not capture the full extent of the damage to workers.
“However, the sectors of the economy most adversely affected by the resurgence of the virus, and by greater social distancing, remain weak, and the unemployment rate — still elevated at 6.2 percent — underestimates the shortfall,” Mr. Powell is set to say.
The Fed chair will add that the central bank, which has rates at near-zero and is buying bonds to keep credit flowing and to bolster the economy, “will not lose sight of the millions of Americans who are still hurting.”
Mr. Powell will say the Fed’s many market-facing programs in 2020, which supported credit to corporations, midsize businesses and municipalities, helped to “keep organizations from shuttering and put employers in both a better position to keep workers on and to hire them back as the recovery continues.”
And he will underline that the programs, in most cases, have either shut down or will soon end. Mr. Powell consistently has said that the lending efforts, supported by the Treasury, were emergency tools that the Fed would stop using once conditions were stable.
Cineworld, the parent company of the U.S. movie theater chain Regal Cinemas, announced on Tuesday that it would reopen its cinemas in the United States in April and in Britain in May as those countries ease lockdown restrictions.
“We have long-awaited this moment,” said Mooky Greidinger, the chief executive of Cineworld, which is based in London. “With capacity restrictions expanding to 50 percent or more across most U.S. states, we will be able to operate profitably in our biggest markets.”
Regal Cinemas is the second largest theater chain in the United States, after AMC Theaters. The announcement by Cineworld comes six months after the movie theater chains were forced to shut down across the United States and Britain last October in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The decision affected a total of 45,000 employees in both countries and forced studios to postpone film releases.
Cineworld also announced a multiyear agreement with Warner Bros. starting in 2022 that will allow the theater chain to show the studios’ films for 45 days in the United States and 31 days in Britain. The deal shortens the typical window that theaters have to show movies before they are released to on-demand streaming services.
The reopening plans in the United States will coincide with the release of two movies from Warner Bros. Pictures, “Godzilla vs. Kong” on April 2 and “Mortal Kombat” on April 16.
“We are very happy for the agreement with Warner Bros.,” Mr. Greidinger said. “This agreement shows the studio’s commitment to the theatrical business.”
Last week, AMC Theaters announced the reopening of nearly all of its U.S. theaters.
The moves come at a time of concern that looser restrictions will lead to rise in coronavirus cases. On Monday, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that relaxed pandemic restrictions could lead to another spike. “If we don’t take the right actions now,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, “we will have another avoidable surge.”
In September, Cineworld reported a pretax loss of $1.6 billion for the first half of 2020. In 2019, 90 percent of the company’s revenue was generated in the United States and Britain.
Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami is selling his city as the world’s cryptocurrency capital. “We want to be on the next wave of innovation,” he told the DealBook newsletter.
To make that happen, Mr. Suarez said he was “refashioning” the city’s “fun in the sun” image. Thanks in part to the mayor’s marketing efforts, tech and finance titans have flocked to Miami during the pandemic.
Last month, Mr. Suarez, a Republican, suggested Miami pay municipal workers and accept tax payments in Bitcoin, as well as invest city funds in the cryptocurrency. Local officials have agreed to study the proposals.
The notion has made Mr. Suarez popular in the crypto community, advancing his rebranding campaign. His efforts have also won him campaign donations from tech investors, attracted money to cultivate Miami’s growing tech sector and may soon pay a big county bill.
The cryptocurrency exchange FTX is seeking naming rights for the city’s N.B.A. arena, known as AmericanAirlines Arena. Miami-Dade County took over branding deals in 2018 and is supposed to pay the team $2 million per year, sponsor or no (American Airlines’ contract ended in 2019). The FTX agreement is nearly final, pending a vote by county commissioners on Friday. “It’s awesome that we’ve attracted a huge cryptocurrency exchange,” Mr. Suarez said, noting that FTX’s bid “complements the brand” that Miami is establishing.
It would be the N.B.A.’s first crypto sponsorship of an arena, but it would also tie a county revenue stream to a relatively young exchange and chief executive. FTX was founded in 2019 and is run by Samuel Bankman-Fried, a 28-year-old billionaire who was one of the biggest donors to President Biden’s campaign.
The pandemic has prompted people to relocate to Florida from Silicon Valley and New York as Bitcoin gained legitimacy and value. The mayor sees the trends as interrelated, and he is seizing the moment.
“People come here and start realizing that there’s way more tech talent than they thought,” he said. All that’s missing, he added, is a regulatory overhaul: Lawmakers are modeling Florida’s approach on Wyoming’s crypto policies.
But the success of the mayor’s effort won’t be apparent until it’s clear that people are making their moves permanent and maintaining their enthusiasm for crypto if — or when — there is another market downturn.
Stocks fell on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 opening slightly lower, amid new concerns about the global economic recovery from the pandemic.
Europe has been reporting a rise in new virus cases and increasing lockdown restrictions. Fresh confusion about the AstraZeneca vaccine were raised on Tuesday morning as U.S. health authorities questioned whether some of the U.S. trial data submitted by the drugmaker was outdated.
Investors were awaiting testimony from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, about the recovery of the U.S. economy. They will be questioned by the House Financial Services Committee later Tuesday. According to prepared remarks, Mr. Powell is expected to tell lawmakers that “while the economic fallout has been real and widespread, the worst was avoided by swift and vigorous action.”
In the Markets
Wall Street slipped on Tuesday, coming off a 0.7 percent rise in the S&P 500 on Monday. European indexes were trading lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 down 0.13 percent. Investors turned to traditional safe assets such as U.S. Treasury bonds, and the 10-year yield dropped slightly to 1.65 percent.
Energy prices fell. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude benchmark, is down 4.3 percent, back below $60 a barrel. Brent, the international benchmark, fell by 4.5 percent, below $62 a barrel. Natural gas also fell.
GameStop’s chief customer officer, Frank Hamlin, will leave the company at the end of the month, according to a regulatory filling on Tuesday. The video game retailer, which was at the center of a retail trading frenzy earlier this year that sent its share price soaring, will release its quarterly earnings later on Tuesday. Last month, GameStop also said its chief financial officer, Jim Bell, would leave. The company is under pressure from an activist shareholder to complete a digital transformation.
Microsoft shares opened up more than 1 percent after reports late Monday that the company was in talks to acquire Discord, a social media company popular with gamers.
Baidu, the Chinese search company that some people once called the Google of China, raised $3.1 billion in a share listing in Hong Kong on Tuesday, the latest homecoming of a Chinese company against a toughening regulatory backdrop in the United States.
Investors showed a muted appetite for the company, which already has a listing in New York and has been eclipsed by other Chinese technology firms in recent years. In the United States, Google has used its search power to become a dominant internet company, but Baidu has not grown as quickly as Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company, or Tencent, a conglomerate with holdings in video games and social media.
Its stock finished its first day trading on the Hong Kong exchange flat at 252 Hong Kong dollars, or about $32, a share.
The broader Hang Seng exchange fell 1.3 percent amid rising tensions between the United States and China. The United States said on Monday it would join the European Union, Canada and Britain in sanctioning Chinese officials over human rights abuses against China’s mostly Muslim Uyghur community.
Baidu follows other New York-listed Chinese companies like Alibaba, NetEase and JD.com in offering their shares to Chinese retail investors through a listing in the Chinese territory of Hong Kong. More companies have done “homecoming listings” in recent years as Chinese officials have tried to lure back companies that chose to list overseas.
Secondary listings by Chinese companies have also become more popular as American regulators have pledged to delist Chinese companies from their exchanges if they do not adhere to local accounting rules. Baidu is among a group of Chinese companies that has denied access to inspections by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, an auditing watchdog created by the U.S. government.
An executive order by former President Donald J. Trump preventing Americans from investing in companies deemed to have ties to the Chinese military has also led to an exodus of Chinese companies. The New York Stock Exchange delisted China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom earlier this year.
The Hong Kong market has shown less interest for secondary listings than it has for newer technology companies like Kuaishou, a short-video app, that nearly tripled in value on its debut last month and valued the company at $160 billion.
Baidu is valued at $92 billion on the Nasdaq stock market.
The Senate confirmed Martin J. Walsh, the mayor of Boston and a former leader of the city’s powerful building trades council, as labor secretary on Monday. The vote was 68 to 29.
The confirmation filled the last leadership role for the 15 executive departments in President Biden’s cabinet. Of nine other cabinet-level leadership roles, seven have been filled.
In a statement after the vote, Mr. Walsh said that he was grateful for the Senate’s bipartisan support and that he shared Mr. Biden’s and Vice President Kamala Harris’s “commitment to building an economy that works for all.”
“I have been a fighter for the rights of working people throughout my career, and I remain committed to ensuring that everyone — especially those in our most marginalized communities — receives and benefits from full access to economic opportunity and fair treatment in the workplace,” Mr. Walsh said in the statement. “I believe we must meet this historic moment, and as the nation’s secretary of labor, I pledge to help our economy build back better.”
Mr. Walsh’s nomination had won widespread praise from union officials, who were enthusiastic about having one of their own oversee the department, a historical rarity. Many union officials regard his close relationship with the president as an advantage for labor groups.
“Because he enjoys mutual trust and respect with President Biden, he will be positioned to put labor’s concerns front and center on the national agenda,” Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said in an email.
One of Mr. Walsh’s top priorities as labor secretary will be re-energizing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which critics have accused of failing to protect workers during the pandemic. The safety agency recently put out new guidance to employers on protecting workers from Covid-19 and is considering a new rule to mandate safety measures that the Trump administration rejected.
The department has already moved to set aside a number of rules issued by the Trump administration that weakened worker protections. One of those rules would probably have deemed most gig workers to be independent contractors rather than employees, making them ineligible for the federal minimum wage and overtime pay.
Under Mr. Walsh, the department will be charged with crafting replacements for some of these rules. It will most likely move to expand other protections, such as raising the threshold — currently set at about $35,500 — below which most salaried workers are automatically eligible for time-and-a-half overtime pay.
As mayor, he offered support to undocumented immigrants whom federal officials were seeking to detain, pressed contractors to set aside at least 40 percent of their work on public construction projects for racial minorities, and created gender-neutral bathrooms in City Hall.
“If you know Marty Walsh, you know that he has transcended race and class lines and fights for all with a real focus on the vulnerable,” said Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers.
Mr. Walsh plans to resign as mayor on Monday evening, according to an aide.
Federal officials are looking into a series of recent accidents involving Teslas that either were using Autopilot or might have been using it.
Autopilot is a computerized system that uses radar and cameras to detect lane markings, other vehicles and objects in the road. It can steer, brake and accelerate automatically with little input from the driver. Tesla has said it should be used only on divided highways, but videos on social media show drivers using Autopilot on various kinds of roads.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed last week that it was investigating 23 such crashes, Neal E. Boudette reports for The New York Times.
In one accident this month, a Tesla Model Y rear-ended a police car that had stopped on a highway near Lansing, Mich. The driver, who was not seriously injured, had been using Autopilot, the police said.
In February in Detroit, under circumstances similar to the 2016 Florida accident, a Tesla drove beneath a tractor-trailer that was crossing the road, tearing the roof off the car. The driver and a passenger were seriously injured. Officials have not said whether the driver had turned on Autopilot.
NHTSA is also looking into a Feb. 27 crash near Houston in which a Tesla ran into a stopped police vehicle on a highway. It is not clear if the driver was using Autopilot. The car did not appear to slow before the impact, the police said.
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has lost more than a million viewers, according to the research firm Nielsen, averaging 1.5 million viewers over the last six months, down from 2.6 million in the same period last year. This year’s season opener in September, in which Ms. DeGeneres apologized in the wake of reports of workplace misconduct at her show, had the highest ratings for an “Ellen” premiere in four years. But since then, the show has seen a 43 percent decline in viewers. Even with the complications affecting all talk shows during the pandemic, the show has suffered a steeper decline than its rivals. “Dr. Phil” is down 22 percent, and “The Kelly Clarkson” show has lost 26 percent of its viewers.
Some investors have started distancing themselves from Dispo, a fast-growing photo-sharing app, after its co-founder, the YouTube creator David Dobrik, became embroiled in controversy. In an investigation by Insider that published last week, Mr. Dobrik was accused of playing a role in a sexual assault scandal involving a former member of his “Vlog Squad.” He later told The Information that he would leave Dispo and step down from its board. And some of Dispo’s investors, including Spark Capital, Seven Seven Six and Unshackled Ventures, have also started backing away.
President Biden on Monday nominated Lina Khan to the Federal Trade Commission, installing a vocal critic of Big Tech into a key oversight role of the industry. If her nomination is approved by the Senate, Ms. Khan, 32, would fill one of two empty seats earmarked for Democrats at the F.T.C. Ms. Khan became recognized for her ideas on antitrust with a Yale Law Journal paper in 2017 called “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” that accused Amazon of abusing its monopoly power.
Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami is selling his city as the world’s cryptocurrency capital. “We want to be on the next wave of innovation,” he told DealBook. To make that happen, Mr. Suarez said he was “refashioning” the city’s “fun in the sun” image. Thanks in part to the mayor’s marketing efforts, tech and finance titans have flocked to Miami during the pandemic.
Visions of Bitcoin City. Last month, the Republican mayor suggested Miami pay municipal workers and accept tax payments in Bitcoin, as well as invest city funds in the cryptocurrency. Local officials have agreed to study the proposals. The notion made him popular in the crypto community, advancing his rebranding campaign. His efforts have also won him campaign donations from tech investors, attracted money to cultivate Miami’s burgeoning tech sector and may soon pay a big county bill.
The cryptocurrency exchange FTX is seeking naming rights for the city’s N.B.A. arena, currently known as AmericanAirlines Arena. Miami-Dade County took over branding deals in 2018 and is supposed to pay the team $2 million per year, sponsor or no (American’s contract ended in 2019). The FTX agreement is nearly final, pending a Friday vote by county commissioners. “It’s awesome that we’ve attracted a huge cryptocurrency exchange,” Mr. Suarez said, noting that FTX’s bid “complements the brand” that Miami is establishing.
It would be the N.B.A.’s first crypto sponsorship of an arena, The Miami Herald notes, but it would also tie a county revenue stream to a relatively young exchange and C.E.O. FTX was founded in 2019 and is run by Samuel Bankman-Fried, a 28-year-old billionaire who was one of the biggest donors to President Biden’s campaign.
The tech center exodus and crypto boom converge in Miami. The pandemic prompted people to relocate to Florida from Silicon Valley and New York as Bitcoin gained legitimacy and value. The mayor sees the trends as interrelated, and he is seizing the moment. “People come here and start realizing that there’s way more tech talent than they thought,” he said.
All that’s missing is a regulatory scheme, Mr. Suarez said: Lawmakers are modeling Florida’s approach on Wyoming’s crypto policies. Ultimately, the success of the mayor’s effort won’t be apparent until it’s clear that people are making their moves permanent and maintaining their enthusiasm for crypto if — or when? — there is another market downturn.
HERE’S WHAT’S HAPPENING
Not so fast, AstraZeneca. American officials said early today that the company may have included “outdated information” from a U.S. clinical trial of its Covid-19 vaccine, providing “an incomplete view” of data that could cast doubt on promising news.
a huge infrastructure proposal. It will go beyond roads and bridges to also address climate change and racial and gender equity.
Microsoft will ease workers back to the office starting next week. The 57,000 employees who left the tech giant’s Redmond, Wash., headquarters because of the pandemic can choose to work from the office, home or both.
BlackRock investigates allegations of employee misconduct. The money-management giant hired a law firm after employees said that they had faced harassment and discrimination over their sex, race and religion. A senior executive, Mark Wiedman, apologized for making inappropriate comments at work events.
Goldman Sachs’s C.E.O. promises to ease the burden on junior bankers. David Solomon told employees that the firm would better enforce a ban on working Saturdays and hire more analysts, after a presentation by first-year bankers that described 100-hour work weeks drew media attention.
Personnel is policy. Or is it?
Though she lost the Democratic presidential primary, Senator Elizabeth Warren is exerting considerable sway over President Biden’s financial policies, judging by the number of people from her orbit who have been picked to join the administration. But her influence is increasingly being tested, The Times’s Alan Rappeport writes.
on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
manufacturers of batteries for electric vehicles. The International Trade Commission recently ruled in favor of LG Chem in a trade secrets case against SK Innovation, issuing a default judgment based on a problematic absence of documentation. SK says its partially built factory in Georgia is threatened by the decision.
ban on imports of a Botox competitor.) But a federal court could order SK to submit to monitoring and impose damages, if warranted, “without killing jobs and setting back the Georgia economy,” Ms. Yates said.
Automakers will need lots of batteries for electrical vehicles, and the decision could make American manufacturers less competitive, said Carol Browne, the former Obama administration “climate czar.” President Biden signed an executive order last month aimed at strengthening the domestic supply chain, including for EV batteries, and “one way to guarantee that is domestic production,” Ms. Browne said.
“The Georgia plant will not sit idle,” countered LG’s lawyer, David Callahan of Latham & Watkins. LG’s attorneys say SK exaggerates the order’s impact on American manufacturing and minimizes its I.P. violations. SK can “redesign” or settle, they suggested, but in any case “the demand for these batteries ensures that another manufacturer will step in” if it abandons the plant. (The Botox dispute was ultimately settled.)
The Biden administration can veto the I.T.C. by early April. Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia has urged the president to do so, citing a 2013 reversal of a ruling in a dispute between Apple and Samsung. (The administration did not respond to a request for comment). Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio — where LG is constructing a battery plant with General Motors — has asked the president to uphold the ruling, saying that “stolen intellectual property” shouldn’t be used to compete with his state’s workers. Mr. Biden is visiting Ohio today.
THE SPEED READ
The social media platform Discord has held talks to sell itself to Microsoft in a deal that could top $10 billion. (NYT)
WeWork said it lost $3.2 billion last year — less than in 2019 — in an investor presentation supporting its potential merger with a SPAC. (FT)
Box, the online storage provider, is reportedly considering a sale as it faces pressure from the activist investor Starboard Value. (Reuters)
Politics and policy
President Biden formally nominated Lina Khan, a critic of Big Tech, to the Federal Trade Commission. (NYT)
Sweden will link aircraft landing fees to greenhouse gas emissions, encouraging the use of newer, more efficient planes. (Reuters)
Shalanda Young is the front-runner for the nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget, but Asian-American groups are pushing for Nani Coloretti, a former Obama administration official. (WaPo)
Cybersecurity researchers at the University of Toronto say TikTok isn’t a national security threat. (WSJ)
Companies including Mastercard and SoftBank pressed Group of 7 governments to coordinate tech issues like A.I. and cybersecurity. (FT)
The C.E.O. of a blockchain tech company won an auction of Jack Dorsey’s first tweet — sold as a nonfungible token — for $2.9 million. (CNBC)
Best of the rest
Ellen DeGeneres has faced a steep ratings decline, losing more than a million viewers after reports of a toxic workplace at her show. (NYT)
Should workers be paid while they sleep? (FT)
Americans over 65 are fully vaccinated, and ready to party. (NYT)
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Pope Francis is struggling to manage powerful bishops in the U.S. and Germany, two groups at opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, as he tries to advance his progressive agenda without jeopardizing the unity of the Catholic Church.
The election of President Biden, a progressive Catholic whom some U.S. bishops want to censure for his support of abortion rights, has exacerbated longstanding tensions between the pope and the largely conservative American episcopate. U.S. church leaders have resisted promoting the pope’s priorities of social and economic justice and care for the environment over opposition to abortion and defense of religious freedom.
On the left, the pope is trying to rein in German bishops who—encouraged by the pope’s liberalizing gestures on topics including sexuality, ecumenism and the role of women—are pressing for changes that go further than Pope Francis is comfortable with, and that conservatives warn could cause a schism.
Pope Francis’ most recent attempt to restrain the Germans came in this week’s Vatican document forbidding clergy to bless same-sex unions, a practice supported by some leading German bishops.
Notes on the News
Today’s headlines, news in context, and good reads you may have missed, with Tyler Blint-Welsh.
Each country presents “a different set of issues, a different set of struggles but I think some of the underlying dynamics are the same,” said Adam DeVille, a professor of theology at Indiana’s University of Saint Francis. “In both cases, the pope I think is really trying to say, ‘come on guys, let’s rein it in here, let’s get back into the same lane all together.’”
For years, a minority of U.S. bishops closely associated with Pope Francis have pressed for greater adherence to his social agenda. In November 2019, the last time the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops met in person, liberals protested a statement in the conference’s voter guide describing opposing abortion as its “pre-eminent priority.”
In response to a request for comment from The Wall Street Journal, the USCCB said, “Advocacy for the poor and marginalized, migrants, people on death row, the unborn, and everyone in need of God’s mercy is central to the mission of the USCCB, and in this, there is an unbreakable unity with the Holy Father.”
Following Mr. Biden’s election, Pope Francis broke protocol by phoning to congratulate the president-elect. But on inauguration day, Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles, president of the USCCB, said, “Our new president has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage and gender.”
Meanwhile, some bishops say Mr. Biden’s abortion stance makes him ineligible to receive the Eucharist.
“I do not think he should be presenting himself for Communion,” said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco. “If I knew he were coming and planning to attend Mass, I’d engage in a conversation with him ahead of time to clarify that.”
Asked about the archbishop’s statement, a White House official said on Friday that it was a private matter.
Cardinal Wilton Gregory, a progressive who as archbishop of Washington, D.C., is Mr. Biden’s pastor, has said that the president may continue to receive Communion there.
For Mr. DeVille, the disagreement over how to handle Mr. Biden exemplifies a larger trend: “The U.S. bishops are hardening in some ways into, not totally divergent paths, but clearly different paths…with differently ranked priorities from the pope,” he said, noting that Pope Francis is 84 years of age and perhaps approaching the end of his pontificate. “A lot of the American bishops, especially those on the younger side, are just going to wait him out.”
Meanwhile in Germany, bishops and leading lay Catholics are engaged in a national synod considering major changes to church life, including the possibility of women clergy, married priests and changes to church teaching on sexuality.
This week’s Vatican statement that clergy may not bless same-sex relationships because God “cannot bless sin,” which contrasted with the pope’s conciliatory approach to homosexuality, was meant specifically as a message to Germany, said Sandro Magister, a Vatican expert who writes for Italy’s L’Espresso magazine. Conservative bishops in both the U.S. and Germany have warned that the German synod could lead the church into a split with the rest of the Catholic world.
The statement drew defiant reactions from clergy in Germany and beyond, including Austria and Belgium, with some priests vowing to bless gay couples despite the prohibition.
“The danger is that the German church, if permitted, will become an autonomous church deviating on important points of doctrine,” Mr. Magister said. “This explains why the pope is putting on the brakes.”
Mr. Magister also saw a warning to Germany in the pope’s decision in February 2020 not to loosen requirements for priestly celibacy or allow the ordination of women deacons in Latin America’s Amazon region, despite his earlier indications of openness to those possibilities to address a serious shortage of clergy there.
Vatican offices have also recently issued statements that rule out giving Communion to Protestants or allowing laypeople to administer parishes on an equal basis with priests, both ideas popular with German bishops.
According to Massimo Faggioli, a professor of theology at Villanova University, Pope Francis prefers to delegate the delivering of messages that his progressive supporters will find disagreeable.
“When there are gestures of welcoming and so on, it is Francis that does them. When there is some bad news, he lets the CDF,” Mr. Faggioli said, referring to the Vatican’s doctrinal office.
Despite disappointment in Germany with the statement on gay couples, liberals there retain an overwhelmingly positive view of the pope, said Ludwig Ring-Eifel, head of the German bishops’ news agency KNA.
“The perception goes somewhat like this: Francis has opened all the doors which [Popes John Paul and Benedict] had previously declared closed on gays, on celibacy, on intercommunion. But the conservatives in the Vatican still stand in his way, and he alone is too weak to complete the revolution,” Mr. Ring-Eifel said.
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JOHANNESBURG—Between treating patients at a hospital in northern Zambia, Kelvin Moonga closely followed the accelerating rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in countries like the U.S. and the U.K. Suffering from asthma and hypertension, Dr. Moonga knew he was at high risk if he caught the coronavirus as infections surged across the southern African nation.
“If the vaccine comes here, I’ll be the first one to get it,” Dr. Moonga told a friend.
But the 51-year-old surgeon, who was also a prolific author, never got his Covid-19 shot. He died on Jan. 24, days after testing positive for the virus and without saying goodbye to his wife and seven children, the youngest of whom had just turned 2 years old the day before.
The global scramble for Covid-19 vaccines has left developing countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa far behind rich nations in inoculating their citizens. That means months after colleagues in developed countries have been immunized—and as some governments are now making shots available to their entire populations—healthcare workers in nations like Zambia are still risking their lives in the fight against the pandemic.
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They often do so without the protective gear that reduces the likelihood of infection, and knowing that sophisticated treatments, such as laboratory-made antibodies or at times even ventilators and oxygen, won’t be available to them should they catch the disease.
Nowhere is the vaccine shortage more acute than in sub-Saharan Africa, which has administered fewer Covid-19 shots per capita than any other continent and where most countries are dependent on free immunizations provided by a World Health Organization-backed facility known as Covax.
Since the start of the year, more than 500 healthcare workers, among them well-known public-health experts and experienced surgeons like Dr. Moonga, have died of Covid-19 in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the WHO. South Africa’s health ministry, one of the first in Africa to start vaccinating healthcare workers in mid-February, said they were three to four times as likely to catch Covid-19 as the general population.
The cost of these deaths goes beyond the personal loss experienced by their families and friends. Because of limited training capacities and brain-drain to richer nations, sub-Saharan Africa has only about two doctors for every 10,000 people—about one-tenth of the WHO-recommended minimum and far below the 26 doctors per 10,000 people working in the U.S. That means the death of a surgeon like Dr. Moonga, who spent time treating patients in rural Zambia and was known to operate at no charge when people couldn’t afford hospital fees, can affect patient care for years to come.
“Many more people are going to die because he can no longer provide these services,” said Francis Mupeta, who heads the infectious-disease unit at the University Teaching Hospital in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka.
Dr. Mupeta recalled being sick at home with Covid-19 in January, and going on social media where doctor friends in the U.S. and other countries were posting pictures of themselves getting their Covid-19 shots. Meanwhile, he received news of colleagues in Zambia being transferred to intensive care or dying.
“The risks we are exposed to are the same, but we are not protected yet,” said Dr. Mupeta, who said he struggled going back to the Covid-19 ward after he recovered and has had to counsel younger doctors terrified of having to declare one of their colleagues dead. “It’s not fair.”
Funded by donations from rich nations such as the U.S. and charitable organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Covax facility aims to vaccinate 20% of the populations of the world’s 92 poorest nations by the end of the year. But with governments in developed countries having bought up much of the early supplies, Covax has so far shipped 14.9 million doses to 22 countries in Africa, a continent of 1.4 billion people. Slow local approvals in some countries, and some governments’ decisions to give priority to other professions have also delayed getting shots to healthcare workers.
Officially, Africa has recorded far fewer cases of Covid-19 than Europe or the Americas, but limited testing suggests that the true toll is much higher. In one study recently published in the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal, the authors, which included Dr. Mupeta, found that nearly one in five corpses in Lusaka’s main morgue tested positive for Covid-19, with only a fraction having been diagnosed before they died.
Dr. Mupeta said he worried that without vaccines, a mutating coronavirus would continue killing Africans long after it has been brought under control elsewhere, similar to malaria, tuberculosis or the virus that causes AIDS.
“We have to make sure that Covid doesn’t become an African problem,” he said.
Even before large numbers of Covid-19 infections had been identified in Zambia, Dr. Moonga, who had done part of his training in China, started warning friends and relatives about the coronavirus. A writer who was constantly taking notes, he meticulously tracked the pandemic from the outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first confirmed cases emerged in December 2019.
“Four months into the outbreak, I realized my story was becoming a documentary,” Dr. Moonga wrote in the foreword of the novel he started in early 2020.
In “Undying Memory: A Covid-19 Tale,” which he self-published last July and dedicated to those who lost their lives to the virus, Dr. Moonga followed a group of graduate doctors thrown onto the front lines just as the pandemic reaches Zambia. Early in the book, the young doctors are warned by their supervisor not to expect N-95 respirator masks, which can filter out virus particles.
Pulling extra shifts in a hospital some 500 miles away from his family, Dr. Moonga never spoke much about the conditions at work, family members and friends said. But he had often said that his novels were partly autobiographical, and other Zambian doctors say it is common for healthcare workers outside Covid-19 wards to rely on regular surgical masks, which provide only limited protection.
Dr. Moonga’s younger brother, Benedict, a pediatrician in Lusaka, said there is little doubt that he picked up Covid-19 at work, since he lived on his own on the hospital grounds. Within days of testing positive, Dr. Moonga’s oxygen levels had dropped to 60%. His wife traveled to see him but wasn’t allowed to enter the intensive-care ward where he was kept.
In the days after his death, comments from bereft friends and former patients filled Dr. Moonga’s Facebook wall, many recalling how his surgeries saved their lives. His brother, meanwhile, went back to work at his Lusaka hospital. “It’s hard,” he said. “But at the same time, patients need to be seen.”
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