Gemstone traders in Thailand are hit hard as the country battles a virus surge.

As a resurgent coronavirus threatens countries across Southeast Asia, the health authorities in Thailand are working to contain an outbreak that is ripping through the tight-knit community of gemstone traders in the southeastern reaches of the country near the border with Cambodia.

The town of Chanthaburi — which has a long history as a center of the country’s business in rubies, sapphires and other stones — is at the heart of the outbreak, which has infected at least 166 in the community of traders from Africa who work in the country. At least 103 Thais in the town have also tested positive as a result of the latest outbreak, officials reported.

The cluster of cases comes as Thailand battles its worst outbreak since the pandemic began. For nearly three weeks, the country has averaged about 2,000 new cases a day — more than double its worst peak in January. The largest outbreak has been reported in Bangkok, which is under a partial lockdown.

On Wednesday, the government reported 34 deaths, a record, and 1,983 cases. One of those who died was from Finland.

Thailand was among the most effective countries last year in controlling the virus, but it has been slow to contain outbreaks this year and has lagged behind other countries in procuring vaccines.

Now, with the latest surge in cases, it is scrambling to obtain shots and to develop a mass inoculation program.

Some officials have declared that foreigners will not be vaccinated despite earlier outbreaks among migrant workers from Myanmar and now among the African gemstone traders. Other officials have said that Thailand will inoculate foreigners but have not provided specifics.

Thailand, which has a population of about 70 million, is home to more than two million foreigners who live in the country legally. More than two million more are believed to live in the country illegally.

Over the years, the gem business has attracted traders from several predominantly Muslim countries in Africa, including Gambia, Guinea and Mali. Many of them have settled in Thailand, married Thai wives and import gemstones from Africa.

Sankung Kongeh, a trader from Gambia, said members of the African community gathered daily at their offices and at the market, where they work, talk and eat together. During Ramadan, which began April 12, many also have prayed together, he said.

It is precisely that kind of close social contact that has fueled outbreaks around the world, but Mr. Kongeh discounted the group prayers as a significant risk.

“The possibility of the Covid spread has nothing to do with praying together,” said Mr. Kongeh, who recently tested negative. “It’s during the time hanging out at the office where we have the AC on, the door closed, and we chat with each other, drinking hot tea. There could be 10 or 12 of us sitting together. We don’t talk to each other during prayer.”

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Was That a Giant Cat? Leopards Escape, and a Zoo Keeps Silent (at First).

For a zoo to let a leopard escape is worrisome. To lose three of them and fail to warn residents for days seems something else altogether.

A safari park near the city of Hangzhou in eastern China is facing an onslaught of questions after it achieved that dubious feat, belatedly admitting late last week that three of its leopards had somehow absconded into the nearby hills.

By Monday, searchers had found two of the big cats, and teams with dogs, drones and dart guns were looking for the third.

A search for answers was also underway. The government put a senior manager of the zoo under criminal investigation, and officials promised an inquiry. Many Chinese people wondered how the Hangzhou Safari Park could lose several wildcats and hold back the news for up to a week, maybe longer.

on Saturday after the local government confirmed the escape and warned residents to be on guard.

The Chinese internet has been agog with updates and discussion about the missing leopards. Many were not impressed by the park’s explanation and had questions about the government’s actions, the frantic search and the well-being of the leopards that were hunted down. Leopards are an endangered species, and are found in the wild across remnant patches of western China.

“The ‘leopard hiding’ affair has exposed gaps in management that warrant more scrutiny and reflection,” Chinese Central Television News opined in an online article.

Chen Fang, the owner of a rural leisure lodge in the area of the search, said in a telephone interview, “The zoo should have notified us earlier, but at the start they didn’t own up, and so nobody knew about it.”

“If you say you worried about triggering public panic, wouldn’t someone panic if they ran into a leopard on the city outskirts?” one person wrote on Weibo, the popular Chinese social media platform.

stepping out of their cars in drive-through animal parks.

told The Shanghai Observer. “This was much bigger than a cat.”

Mr. Zhu was alarmed but kept his cool. He used his phone to snap a picture of the creature gazing at him quizzically among the tea plants. But he was too busy with farm work to overthink encountering an exotic wildcat. After it walked off, he said, he kept working in his fields.

Mr. Zhu later made another sighting of a leopard, but friends in the village advised him not to report it to the authorities in case that brought “unnecessary hassles and interfered with work,” he said.

announced on Saturday that it was closing temporarily to deal with unspecified “safety issues.”

Later that day, the government of Fuyang District, the site of the park, disclosed that the three leopards had gone missing and one was still at large, and the park issued its apologetic admission. Since then, search teams have swarmed the lush hills on the edge of Hangzhou.

So far, there have been no reports of injuries from the leopards, and the safari park and some experts said the shy, youngish cats were unlikely to attack people.

one article said. “Whatever you do, don’t panic,” said another. If attacked, it added, consider as a last resort ramming your fist down the leopard’s throat. “That’s the only chance of saving your life.”

Liu Yi contributed research.

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Black Pound Day Aims to Support U.K. Black-Owned Businesses

LONDON — For Aimée Felone, whose children’s bookstore in London stocks tales with ethnically diverse characters, the Black Lives Matter protests last summer were, in a word, overwhelming.

“We had attention like we’ve never had before,” Ms. Felone said. People across the country clamored for books about antiracism and sought out Black-owned businesses like her store, Round Table Books, as a way to help reverse years of economic racial inequality. In early June, the store’s sales went through the roof.

But pandemic restrictions had shuttered the store’s warehouse. After two weeks, the four-person team was struggling to fulfill online orders. A publishing company affiliated with the bookstore, which Ms. Felone also co-founded, sold out of every book it had published. New customers grew impatient.

“The sales were wonderful,” Ms. Felone said. The problem was “the additional stresses that I think a lot of people don’t realize they’re putting” on the small Black businesses they are trying to help.

the largest social movement in U.S. history and quickly spread across the globe, businesses are looking for ways to convert that chaotic surge of interest into regular, reliable sales.

In Britain, one effort was created by Swiss, a British rapper. He calls it Black Pound Day, and the idea is simple: Once a month, people should spend money with Black businesses.

according to a study conducted by Jamii, a company supporting Black businesses, and Translate Culture, a marketing agency.

pardner. Small groups still use it to save together outside the banking system.

Swiss, 38, whose real name is Pierre Neil, grew up in South London. His grandparents had come to Britain from Barbados and Jamaica. At 17, he found fame with So Solid Crew, a garage and hip-hop group with dozens of members. In 2001, their song “21 Seconds” topped the British charts.

But the group’s reputation was always entwined with gang culture and violence — a point Swiss pushed back against in “Broken Silence,” a song he co-wrote describing how the group felt that it had been mistreated by the media and government and unfairly blamed for its low socioeconomic status.

“I’ve been making socially conscious tunes from back when I was a teenager,” Swiss said, adding that he was inspired by the rappers Tupac and Nas.

Swiss said he had mulled over the idea for Black Pound Day for years, noting how few businesses that Black people appeared to own.

A study by the British Business Bank, a state-owned bank supporting small businesses, and the consulting firm Oliver Wyman found that entrepreneurs who come from an ethnic minority background face systemic disadvantages, and that the average annual revenue for a Black entrepreneur was 10,000 pounds less than it was for white business owners in 2019.

0.02 percent of venture capital money invested in Britain from 2009 to 2019 went to Black female founders. That’s 10 women in a decade.

Those barriers contribute to large income and wealth gaps between Black and white households in Britain. The total wealth for a median household headed by a white British person (including property, investments and pension) is £313,900 ($436,000). For a Black Caribbean household, it’s £85,900 and just £34,000 for a Black African household, the national statistics agency estimates.

Ms. Ismain, the founder of Jamii, which offers a one-stop shopping site for Black businesses, said her organization and initiatives like Black Pound Day sought to remind consumers to keep Black businesses in mind even when antiracism protests weren’t front-page news.

“When it’s not trending, you don’t always think about it, you fall into old habits, and if you can’t find alternatives to things you are already buying anyway it’s just not very sustainable,” Ms. Ismain said. “That’s the thought process behind Jamii — making it super easy to find businesses.”

For Afrocenchix, a hair care brand for natural Afro hair, Black Pound Day has been transformative. Every month on Black Pound Day, the company gets two or three times its normal sales. To promote the day, it offers customers free delivery and a packet of tea and biscuits — a.k.a. cookies in the United States — with their order.

“We got trolled a bit on the first Black Pound Day by lots of people telling us we were racist and not British,” said Rachael Corson, a co-founder of Afrocenchix. So in response, she said, she and her co-founder, Jocelyn Mate, thought: “What’s more quintessentially British than tea and biscuits?”

Since the first Black Pound Day, they have doubled their number of customers, and in 2020, Afrocenchix’s sales were five times that of the previous year.

“It made a huge difference in terms of brand awareness for us,” Ms. Corson said.

And the influx of customers and revenue should help Afrocenchix’s founders with their next goal of overcoming the venture capital fund-raising odds. They are trying to raise £2 million.

For others, the advantages of Black Pound Day have dipped with time, and they speculate that consumer interest has been spread across more Black businesses. But Natalie Manima, the founder of Bespoke Binny, a housewares brand sold online, said the attention her company had gotten since people sought out Black-owned retailers during last summer’s protests had been “life changing.”

The interest “didn’t end,” Ms. Manima said. “It’s not the same barrage that it was, but I have not ever gone back to pre-protest level of sales.”

She recalled the day in early June when she woke up to hundreds of orders for her products, which include lampshades, oven mitts and blankets. It took her a few days to track the source of the surge — a list of Black-owned businesses circulating on Instagram at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests.

Because Britain was under lockdown, the manufacturer of her products was closed, as was her daughter’s nursery school. So Ms. Manima was packing orders herself, late at night and early in the morning, until she sold out of everything and had to pause taking orders.

But once the manufacturers reopened and her business was running smoothly again, customers have kept coming back. She has since moved into a larger office (twice) and hired a team.

“I have gone from a one-woman show to this, and I know that it’s all down to what happened in June,” she said.

That said, the experience at Round Table Books, the children’s bookstore, is a testament to how hard it can be to permanently alter people’s spending habits, even with the help of initiatives like Black Pound Day. The store has been shut all winter in line with government restrictions. It sells books online, but it’s still hard to compete against giants like the British bookseller Waterstones and Amazon.

“When you don’t have the physical bookshops open, I find that a lot of the attention goes to the bigger brands,” Ms. Felone said. But she said that the store will reopen in early May and that she still supported Black Pound Day.

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Renée Fleming Was Back Onstage. Here’s What Happened First.

The soprano Renée Fleming sauntered onstage in a shimmering long-sleeve gown, perched on a chair and started to sing.

For a renowned performer decades into her career, it might have been an uneventful Wednesday evening at the Shed, the expansive performance space in Hudson Yards. But after 13 months in a pandemic, a sea of faces was a novel sight for the opera star and the trio accompanying her.

“Wow, applause!” she remarked after finishing the meditative opening number. “Very exciting.”

Exciting, indeed — and no mean feat to pull off.

After the Shed and other flexible New York performance spaces lobbied to let audiences in, it got the go-ahead to open its doors for a live event on April 2, after 386 days of shutdown. Fleming’s April 21 show there, before a limited audience, was the fourth performance in a series co-sponsored by NY PopsUp, a public-private program aimed at reviving the arts.

acted in a play during the Shed’s opening season, wouldn’t be left completely untended: Bottled water, tea bags and a kettle would be in her dressing room.

Alex Poots, the Shed’s chief executive, had one big announcement to share with the staff. The venue had not received state permission to expand the size of the audience. In the days leading up to the concert, the Shed had asked to double capacity from 150 to 300, which would still only be a fraction of the roughly 1,200 people the McCourt, its largest performance space, can seat.

But the state had essentially told them: Not so fast.

The concert had sold out in two hours. Audience members who did secure tickets had already received the first of four emails explaining the coronavirus protocols they would need to follow.

Gone was the chance to rush to a concert after work and plop down into your seat as the curtain rose. Before they entered the Shed, concertgoers would need to check one of three boxes: show proof of full vaccination; demonstrate a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the event; or have taken a rapid antigen test, which is less reliable, within six hours of showtime.

This was such a jumble of rules and dates that the front-of-house staff would be provided printed cheat sheets for the day of the show.

Bill Frisell was surrounded by piles of sheet music — some Handel, some Stephen Foster — laid out on the dining room table and the living room floor of his Brooklyn home. He was writing out his parts in pencil, referencing a list of songs that Fleming had sent to him, the bassist Christian McBride, and the pianist Dan Tepfer.

“Down in the Depths (on the Ninetieth Floor),” Fleming was up on East 57th Street, visiting her longtime hair stylist, Michael Stinchcomb, at Vartali Salon.

Stinchcomb has been an avid fan since the 1990s and first met Fleming backstage at Carnegie Hall. He’s been doing her hair for more than two decades, often traveling around the world when she performs.

But last winter Fleming moved from New York to Virginia, and the pandemic had prevented her from visiting Stinchcomb until the day before her Shed performance.

“She was so happy to come in,” Stinchcomb said. “She’s a woman who likes to look good.”

Later that afternoon, Fleming arrived at the Shed for a three-hour rehearsal, where she and the musicians discussed harmonies, tempos and spots for improvised solos.

“A full rehearsal the day before a show?” McBride said. “That’s a lot in the jazz world.”

José Rivera pointed at the space between two clusters of seats. “From here to here, it’s 6-foot 4,” he announced, bending to scrutinize his yellow tape measure. “From here to here is 6-foot 1.”

That made the grade: According to state rules, the distance between audience members had to be over six feet.

He and another facilities employee, Steven Quinones, had been arranging the chairs for some two hours, ensuring that the setup matched a detailed paper diagram.

“And see, this is the big aisle that people walk through, so it’s 9 feet, 5 inches,” Rivera continued, raising his voice to be heard over the whirring of a third colleague zooming around the room on an industrial floor scrubber.

Five floors up, Josh Phagoo, an operations engineer, checked up on one of the Shed’s most important technologies for Covid safety: the HVAC system. Massive air handlers and chillers in the building’s engine room whirred constantly as Phagoo made sure the machines that keep the air at roughly 70 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity at 50 percent were functional.

On the stage itself, the first piano notes of the day were vibrating through the air, up to the McCourt’s 115-foot ceiling.

Stephen Eriksson had arrived at 11 a.m. to tune the gleaming Steinway grand piano. While he said his business had disappeared for the first four months of the pandemic, now he is busier than ever.

For nearly 30 minutes, he used a tuning wrench to make sure that the piano was concert ready. Afterward, he played a bit of Debussy and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

“That’s a bit of pure indulgence,” he said.

Within 15 minutes after arriving at the Shed, Fleming — who was scheduled for her second vaccine in New York the morning after the show — got the rapid Covid test in her dressing room. Negative.

Afterward, she rehearsed onstage with the musicians, their instruments positioned more than six feet apart from one another, while an audio crew member in a mask and a face shield flitted around them, making sure everything was working properly.

The six-person crew working the show was slightly smaller than usual, according to Pope Jackson, the Shed’s production manager. Everywhere they went, they brought along what Jackson referred to as a “Covid cart,” which contained a stock of masks, gloves, sanitation supplies and brown paper bags, which the musicians’ union requires so that players have a clean place to put their masks while they perform.

Downstairs, a staff of eight security guards had their nostrils swabbed to make sure that they tested negative.

Fleming and the musicians had been doing virtual and outdoor concerts throughout the pandemic, but the security staff was filled with people whose careers had been even more upended.

Allen Pestana, 21, has been unemployed for more than a year after being let go from working security at Yankee Stadium; Duwanna Alford, 53, saw her hours cut at a church in Morningside Heights; Richard Reid, 33, had worked in April 2020 as a security guard at a field hospital in Manhattan, where he had tried to forget his health fears and focus on the hazard pay he was receiving.

This was the moment before a concert where the theater was alive with preparation and nerves — a bustle missing in the city during the first year of the pandemic.

“It’s like doing the electric slide, the moonwalk and the bachata all at once,” Jackson said of the minutes before showtime. “But when the lights go up, it all fades away.”

The front-of-house staff had only 20 minutes to review the audience members’ IDs and Covid-related documents; take their temperatures; and show them to their seats.

Icy gusts of wind just outside the doors weren’t making things any easier.

But by 8:05 p.m., 150 people had settled into their precisely placed seats, able to snap a photo of the QR code on the arms of the chairs to see the concert program.

In between performances of the jazz classic “Donna Lee” and “Touch the Hand of Love,” which Fleming had once recorded with Yo-Yo Ma, the artists chatted onstage about what they’d been doing with their lives for the past 13 months.

“Wishing this pandemic would be over,” McBride said.

Tepfer said he had been improving a technological tool that made it easier for musicians to play in unison over the internet — a tool that he and Fleming had used to rehearse together virtually.

Frisell had not performed for an indoor audience since the beginning of the pandemic. “This is such a blessing,” he said.

The show ended with a standing ovation, and then the musicians played an encore: “Hard Times” by Stephen Foster, which Fleming described as a song that tends to resonate in times of crisis.

“Hard times,” she sang, “come again no more.”

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Jane Austen Museum to Address Ties to Slavery

Austen’s novels are about a narrow, upper class of British society and are set in picturesque villages, mostly cut off from the troubles of the outside world. “Jane Austen is now on a pedestal as an expression of something delightful, comforting, beautiful, clever,” said Paula Marantz Cohen, an English professor and the dean of the honor’s college at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Many of her fans, she said, want to relish her stories about a simpler time and place.

Some Austen scholars say passages in her novels “Emma” and “Mansfield Park” suggested that she supported abolitionism, but others say that is unclear. Few of her letters survived. But her favorite authors — Samuel Johnson, Thomas Clarkson and William Cowper — were abolitionists. Still, like almost all English families of any means in the 18th century, her family had ties to the slave trade, according to “Jane Austen: A Life,” a book by Claire Tomalin.

In addressing the topic of slavery, Sherard Cowper Coles, the president of the Jane Austen Society, said, “This is England’s story, and as our understanding increases, we should tell it and update it.”

But Mr. Cowper Coles, a former diplomat who was Britain’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2009-10, cautioned: “Expecting people to have consciousness outside of their time is not fair. But equally, in our time, we are aware of slavery, we’re living with its consequences in Minneapolis and many other places.”

Frances Brook, a tour guide in England who has led groups to Austen sites, said that she was in favor of the museum presenting more context about Austen’s time, but that condemning her for wearing cotton and taking sugar in her tea would amount to “woke-ism gone a little too far.” Like the rest of us, Austen did things in her everyday life that conflicted with her broader views about the world, said Ms. Brook, who last visited the museum in 2017.

Prof. Johnson of Princeton said that the museum’s attempt to add context to Austen’s life would not quell readers’ enthusiasm for her.

“Just because you involve Austen in the messiness of history doesn’t mean you don’t love her,” she said.

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Prince Philip’s Death Adds Urgency to Royal Family’s Transition

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II turned 95 last week, four days after burying her husband, Prince Philip, and with him the partnership that guided Britain’s royal family for nearly 70 years. Now, as the queen faces the future alone, her son and heir, Prince Charles, is reshaping the family to carry on after her.

Philip’s death has given new urgency to a transition already underway in the House of Windsor. With the queen’s reign in its twilight, Charles has moved to streamline the royal family and reallocate its duties — a downsizing forced by the loss of stalwart figures like Philip, as well as by the rancorous departure of Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, and the messy internal exile of Prince Andrew.

Buckingham Palace is conducting an after-action report on Philip’s funeral ceremony, people with knowledge of the palace said, applying lessons from it to Operation London Bridge, the long-in-the-works, minute-by-minute blueprint for what will transpire in the days and weeks after the queen dies.

By all accounts, Elizabeth is in good health, bothered only by stiffness in her knees, which makes it hard for her to climb stairs. Royal watchers point out that her mother lived until 101. Buckingham Palace is busy planning her platinum jubilee, a four-day celebration in June 2022 to mark the 70 years since her accession to the throne.

poignant image of an aging, isolated queen, grieving alone in a choir stall at St. George’s chapel during the funeral because of social distancing restrictions, drove home to many a sense of her vulnerability and fragility. It also raised questions about how active she will be, even after the pandemic ebbs.

reconciling the family’s workload with its reduced ranks. He has long favored a slimmed-down monarchy, built around him and his wife, Camilla; Prince William and his wife, Kate; and Harry and his wife, Meghan. Princess Anne, his younger sister, also remains a full-time royal.

But the decision of Harry and Meghan to withdraw from their duties and move to California blew a hole in those plans. There was no sign of a change of heart from Harry, or even much hope for a reconciliation with William, when Harry attended his grandfather’s funeral. The brothers chatted briefly as they left the service, but Harry flew home before the queen’s birthday on Wednesday.

There is also little prospect that Andrew will ever return to the fold. If anything, the palace is girding itself for further embarrassing disclosures this July when his friend Ghislaine Maxwell goes on trial in New York on charges that she trafficked underage girls on behalf of her employer, Mr. Epstein. Andrew has been accused of sexual misconduct by one of Mr. Epstein’s victims, an accusation that he denies.

showcased by the troops at Philip’s funeral — and its diplomatic responsibilities, he predicted that the family would scale back its charity work.

But that would raise a separate set of problems. The modern royal family, experts said, has defined itself and justified its taxpayer support largely through its public works. Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, maintained ties to hundreds of charities until he retired from official duties at the age of 96.

“The key development of the monarchy in the 20th century is the development of the welfare monarchy, without which it won’t survive,” said Vernon Bogdanor, a professor of government at King’s College London who has written about the role of the monarchy in Britain’s constitutional system.

The short-term fix for the workload problem, people with ties to the palace said, is to elevate another royal couple, Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, also known as the Earl and Countess of Wessex. Edward, 57, the queen’s youngest son, and his wife emerged as prominent figures after Philip’s death, speaking about his legacy and how the family was dealing with its grief.

Super League, which would have pulled in several of the top clubs in Britain.

“There is a difference between the way Charles envisages things and William envisages things,” said Valentine Low, the royal correspondent of The Times of London. But he added, “Charles acknowledges and even welcomes that William should have a role in these conversations.”

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Prince Philip’s Death Adds New Urgency to U.K. Monarchy’s Transition Plans

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II turned 95 last week, four days after burying her husband, Prince Philip, and with him the partnership that guided Britain’s royal family for nearly 70 years. Now, as the queen faces the future alone, her son and heir, Prince Charles, is reshaping the family to carry on after her.

Philip’s death has given new urgency to a transition already underway in the House of Windsor. With the queen’s reign in its twilight, Charles has moved to streamline the royal family and reallocate its duties — a downsizing forced by the loss of stalwart figures like Philip, as well as by the rancorous departure of Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, and the messy internal exile of Prince Andrew.

Buckingham Palace is conducting an after-action report on Philip’s funeral ceremony, people with knowledge of the palace said, applying lessons from it to Operation London Bridge, the long-in-the-works, minute-by-minute blueprint for what will transpire in the days and weeks after the queen dies.

By all accounts, Elizabeth is in good health, bothered only by stiffness in her knees, which makes it hard for her to climb stairs. Royal watchers point out that her mother lived until 101. Buckingham Palace is busy planning her platinum jubilee, a four-day celebration in June 2022 to mark the 70 years since her accession to the throne.

poignant image of an aging, isolated queen, grieving alone in a choir stall at St. George’s chapel during the funeral because of social distancing restrictions, drove home to many a sense of her vulnerability and fragility. It also raised questions about how active she will be, even after the pandemic ebbs.

reconciling the family’s workload with its reduced ranks. He has long favored a slimmed-down monarchy, built around him and his wife, Camilla; Prince William and his wife, Kate; and Harry and his wife, Meghan. Princess Anne, his younger sister, also remains a full-time royal.

But the decision of Harry and Meghan to withdraw from their duties and move to California blew a hole in those plans. There was no sign of a change of heart from Harry, or even much hope for a reconciliation with William, when Harry attended his grandfather’s funeral. The brothers chatted briefly as they left the service, but Harry flew home before the queen’s birthday on Wednesday.

There is also little prospect that Andrew will ever return to the fold. If anything, the palace is girding itself for further embarrassing disclosures this July when his friend Ghislaine Maxwell goes on trial in New York on charges that she trafficked underage girls on behalf of her employer, Mr. Epstein. Andrew has been accused of sexual misconduct by one of Mr. Epstein’s victims, an accusation that he denies.

showcased by the troops at Philip’s funeral — and its diplomatic responsibilities, he predicted that the family would scale back its charity work.

But that would raise a separate set of problems. The modern royal family, experts said, has defined itself and justified its taxpayer support largely through its public works. Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, maintained ties to hundreds of charities until he retired from official duties at the age of 96.

“The key development of the monarchy in the 20th century is the development of the welfare monarchy, without which it won’t survive,” said Vernon Bogdanor, a professor of government at King’s College London who has written about the role of the monarchy in Britain’s constitutional system.

The short-term fix for the workload problem, people with ties to the palace said, is to elevate another royal couple, Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, also known as the Earl and Countess of Wessex. Edward, 57, the queen’s youngest son, and his wife emerged as prominent figures after Philip’s death, speaking about his legacy and how the family was dealing with its grief.

Super League, which would have pulled in several of the top clubs in Britain.

“There is a difference between the way Charles envisages things and William envisages things,” said Valentine Low, the royal correspondent of The Times of London. But he added, “Charles acknowledges and even welcomes that William should have a role in these conversations.”

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Overdue VHS Tape of ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ Prompts Arrest Warrant

They once dotted shopping plazas in America with ubiquity, beckoning binge watchers with shelves of VHS cassettes, microwave popcorn and boxes of candy — and a reminder to “Be Kind, Rewind.”

Video rental stores, pushed closer to the brink of extinction by streaming services like Netflix and changing technology, may be a thing of the past but an overdue rental became an issue of the present for a Texas woman.

The woman, who was identified in court records as Caron Scarborough Davis, recently learned that there was a 21-year-old outstanding warrant for her arrest in Oklahoma.

reported on Thursday.

“I thought I was going to have a heart attack,” she said.

Ms. Davis said motor vehicle officials referred her to the district attorney’s office for Cleveland County, Okla., where a woman explained the charge against her.

last Blockbuster video store, in Bend, Ore., said in an interview on Sunday that bringing criminal charges for an unreturned movie seemed overly punitive.

“We’ve definitely not sent out a warrant for anybody for that,” she said. “That’s a little a bit crazy to me.”

Blockbuster assesses daily late fees of 49 to 99 cents for overdue videos up to 10 days. After that, the store charges customers up to $19.99 to replace one of its DVDs or Blu-ray discs, Ms. Harding said.

In some cases, the store, which does not rent VHS cassettes, will refer past-due accounts for collection, she said.

“We would never charge someone $100 for a copy of ‘Scooby-Doo’ that they never returned,” she said.

It was not immediately clear who owned the now-shuttered video store where Ms. Davis rented the tape or whether she owed any late fees. She told KOKH Fox 25 that she had no recollection of renting the video, saying that she lived with a man at the time who had two young daughters.

“I’m thinking he went and got it and didn’t take it back or something,” she said. “I have never watched that show in my entire life — just not my cup of tea.”

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Egyptology Is Having a Big Moment. But Will Tourists Come?

CAIRO — On a cool morning last November, Egypt’s tourism and antiquities minister stood in a packed tent at the vast necropolis of Saqqara just outside Cairo to reveal the ancient site’s largest archaeological discovery of the year.

The giant trove included 100 wooden coffins — some containing mummies interred over 2,500 years ago — 40 statues, amulets, canopic jars and funerary masks. The minister, Khaled el-Enany, said the latest findings hinted at the great potential of the ancient site and showcased the dedication of the all-Egyptian team that unearthed the gilded artifacts.

But he also singled out another reason the archaeological discoveries were crucial: it was a boon for tourism, which had been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.

unearthed an ancient Pharaonic city near the southern city of Luxor that dated back more than 3,400 years.

The discovery came just days after 22 royal mummies were moved to a new museum in a lavish spectacle that was broadcast worldwide. In addition, the discovery of 59 beautifully preserved sarcophagi in Saqqara is now the subject of a recent Netflix documentary; a bejeweled statue of the god Nefertum was found in Saqqara; the 4,700-year-old Djoser’s Step Pyramid was reopened last year after a 14-year, $6.6 million restoration; and progress is apace on the stunning Grand Egyptian Museum, scheduled to open sometime this year.

But the pandemic has dealt a severe blow to the industry, and what had been expected to be a bonanza season became a bleak winter.

Tourism is a crucial part of Egypt’s economy — international tourism revenues totaled $13 billion in 2019 — and the country has been eager to attract visitors back to its archaeological sites.

attacks on tourists, bomb blasts that damaged prominent museums and a downed airliner that killed hundreds of Russian tourists in 2015.

But the sector was steadily recovering, with visitors attracted by both antiquities and the sun-and-sea offerings, growing to over 13 million in 2019 from 5.3 million in 2016. The coronavirus pandemic has reversed these gains, leaving hotels, resorts and cruises empty, popular sites without visitors and revenue, and thousands of tour guides and vendors with drastically reduced incomes or none at all.

“Tourism in Egypt just had one of its best years in 2019 and then came the pandemic which severely impacted it all,” Amr Karim, the general manager for Travco Travel, one of Egypt’s largest tour operators, said in a telephone interview. “Nobody knew what would happen, how we will handle it, how it will affect us. It’s strange.”

The pandemic, he said, disrupted how tour companies operated, how they priced their packages and how to work with hotels and abide by their new hygiene playbooks.

exposed the fragility of Egypt’s health care system, with doctors lamenting shortages in protective equipment and testing kits while patients died from lack of oxygen. With over 12,000 deaths, Egypt also recorded one of the highest fatality rates from the virus in the Arab world.

With a growing number of cases, health officials in Egypt have recently warned of a third wave of the virus. Authorities have also canceled large gatherings and festivals, and promised to fine those not complying with protective measures like mask-wearing, but many Egyptians do not abide by these rules.

Travelers are required to have a negative Covid-19 test taken 72 hours before arriving in Egypt, and hotels are mandated to operate at half capacity.

The crisis affected not just big companies like Travco but also smaller ones that had started betting big on the growing tourism industry.

Passainte Assem established Why Not Egypt, a boutique travel agency, in 2017 by interviewing prospective travelers and customizing itineraries for them. But after the pandemic began, most of her clients, who are from Australia, Canada and the United States, canceled their plans, she said, pushing her to suspend the business for now.

The experience left her feeling that “tourism is not stable at all,” she said. “It cannot be the only source of income. I have to have a side hustle.”

a company trying to revive and preserve traditional Egyptian handicrafts.

offered Egyptians discounts on domestic plane travel, hotels and museum admissions.

But Ahmed Samir, chief executive of the tour company Egypt Tours Portal, said the direct cash support for tourism workers was minimal. With reduced bookings, he was able to keep his employees in his marketing and social media departments on the payroll but at half salary.

“As a kind of sympathy to my employees, we tried to balance,” he said. But still, he added, “most of my friends’ companies closed completely.”

The slowdown in tourist arrivals has left areas usually swamped by tourists quiet.

At the Egyptian Museum in downtown Cairo, Mahrous Abu Seif, a tour guide, sat waiting for clients one morning. A few small tour groups, including from Russia and China, were going through metal detector scans to go into the museum. But he hoped that more clients would come.

“What can I tell you? We sit here and wait and wait,” he said, throwing his hands in the air and adjusting his sunglasses. “We don’t know what the future holds.”

On the other side of town, at the historic El Fishawy coffee house, a few locals gurgled their water pipes and drank mint tea or Turkish coffee while melodious Quran recitation ascended from a nearby speaker. Located in the centuries-old Khan el Khalili market, the cafe, along with souvenir and jewelry shops, was hit badly by the pandemic.

“I used to bring people here and it would be packed, but look at it now,” Mohamed Said Rehan, a guide with a local company, said of the cafe. “The pandemic is a big problem.”

Mr. Rehan said that he knows many colleagues and friends who had to stay home for months without income or who left the industry altogether. But he still clings to a thread of hope that tourism will pick up soon.

And some tourists have indeed started coming back.

In February, Marcus Zimmermann, a 43-year-old architect from Germany, was visiting Egypt for the first time, stopping first in Cairo and planning trips to the southern city of Luxor, home to the iconic Valley of the Kings. Mr. Zimmermann had hoped to come to Egypt last year with his mother, who dreamed of being an archaeologist, for her 70th birthday. But they had to cancel their plans because of the pandemic.

This year, he decided to come alone but promised to “plan the trip again” with her once she’s vaccinated.

Even though it will be tough attaining the prepandemic figures quickly, people like Mr. Karim who work in the industry hope tourists will start coming back by year’s end.

With all the new discoveries, renovations and the planned opening of new sites and museums, tourists will gradually flock back to Egypt, he said.

“People will start to move. People will start to travel,” he said. “I am optimistic.”

Nada Rashwan and Asmaa Al Zohairy contributed reporting.

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