published in February noted that F.A.C.T. fighters were based at a major military air base in Al Jufra, in central Libya — an airfield that is also a hub for Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group, and which has received cargo flights carrying weapons from the United Arab Emirates, the report notes.

The U.N. also noted that an airplane owned by Erik Prince, the former Blackwater owner who organized an ill-fated $80 million mercenary operation for Mr. Hifter, had been photographed at the Jufra air base.

Following the collapse last year of Mr. Hifter’s assault on Tripoli, the warring factions in Libya signed a cease-fire agreement in October that has mostly held.

As the fighting in Libya ended, the Chadian fighters returned home for the uprising they launched against Mr. Déby on April 11. They may have brought some of the advanced weaponry from Libya with them, said Cameron Hudson, a former State Department official now at the Atlantic Council, a research body in Washington.

He said that the Chadians appeared to be traveling in the same kind of armored vehicles that the Emiratis had donated to Mr. Hifter.

The U.N. official said that, even at the height of the Libyan war, the rebels had always intended to go home to Chad.

“That’s their real interest,” he said. “They talked about gathering as many weapons as they could and going back to Chad.”

Mahamat Adamou contributed reporting from Ndjamena, Chad, and Elian Peltier from London.

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Is Sheikha Latifa, Dubai Princess Unseen in Public, Still Alive?

GENEVA — United Nations human rights experts expressed alarm on Tuesday that Dubai’s government has not responded to repeated requests for proof that Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, a daughter of Dubai’s billionaire ruler, is alive and well.

“Evidence of life and assurances regarding her well-being are urgently required,” the U.N. analysts said in a statement, which comes two months after friends of Sheikha Latifa released dramatic video footage in which she said she was being held prisoner in a Dubai palace and feared for her life.

The 13 experts, including members of a panel that deals with enforced disappearances, sought to escalate international pressure on Dubai’s government by calling for Sheikha Latifa’s immediate release.

“It’s now incumbent on world leaders to support the U.N. and give their backing for her immediate release,” David Haigh, a British lawyer campaigning for Sheikha Latifah’s freedom, said in a phone interview.

2018 lunch attended by the former Irish President Mary Robinson. At the time, Ms. Robinson said she believed Sheikha Latifa was mentally troubled and receiving good care from her family, but she later told the BBC she had been “horribly tricked.”

“Every day, I’m worried about my safety in my life,” Sheikha Latifa said in her recent video, which friends said was recorded on a mobile phone and smuggled out by intermediaries. “I don’t really know if I’m going to survive this situation.”

Dubai’s prior assurances that she is being looked after by family and medical professionals are “not sufficient at this stage,” the U.N. panel said.

United Arab Emirates diplomatic missions in Geneva and London could not be reached for comment on the U.N. panel’s statement.

A judge found last year that Sheikh Mohammed had also abducted Sheikha Latifah’s sister Shamsa. The court heard she was seized on the streets of Cambridge in August 2000 after leaving an estate owned by her father, then taken by helicopter to France and then flown back to Dubai.

In a bid to step up international pressure, Mr. Haigh said the campaign will ask the British and American governments and the European Union next week to impose financial sanctions and travel bans on Sheikh Mohammed and five others he said are implicated in Sheikha Latifa’s detention. They include the Emirati security chief, Maj. Gen. Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi, who the United Arab Emirates has put forward as a candidate to lead the international policing organization Interpol, Mr. Haigh said.

Sheikh Mohammed, ranked among the world’s richest men, has major holdings and investments in Britain and the United States. A passionate horse enthusiast, his investments include the racing organization Godolphin, whose horse Essential Quality is a favorite to win the Kentucky Derby on May 1.

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Greece relaxes some quarantine rules as it prepares to welcome back tourists.

ATHENS — As part of a plan to revive its crucial tourism sector, Greece is lifting quarantine restrictions beginning Monday for arrivals from European Union member states and several other countries including the United States and Britain.

The move effectively opens the country’s borders to travelers from the United States for the first time in more than a year.

Having suffered heavy economic losses last year because of the pandemic, Greece is determined to save its summer tourist season even though a third wave of coronavirus infections is in full force. Pressure on hospitals is high, with around 200,000 active coronavirus infections and a death toll of 9,462 as of Sunday.

Greece had previously required arrivals to quarantine for seven days, but will waive that rule for passengers from the listed countries as long as they have a vaccination certificate or a negative PCR test conducted within 72 hours of their arrival.

The rule relaxation will also apply to travelers from Serbia and the United Arab Emirates, and echoes a system put in place last month for passengers from Israel, which has a world-leading inoculation campaign.

Greek government officials have said the aim is for a “gradual” welcoming of tourists before a planned official reopening of the country’s tourism sector on May 14.

A test run was arranged by travel-industry experts last week on the island of Rhodes in the southern Aegean, with a group of 188 Dutch tourists.

The Dutch visitors were given exclusive use of a hotel on the island, to which they were confined for the duration of an eight-day vacation. They were tested for coronavirus before their arrival, during their stay and before their departure on Monday, and will have to self-quarantine for 10 days on their return. The trial is so far seen as successful over all, though eight of the group were obliged to self-isolate within the hotel after inconclusive mid-vacation test results. Follow-up tests were negative.

The authorities have ramped up testing in recent weeks as they gradually lift lockdown restrictions — retail stores were permitted to open this month, on an appointment-only basis, and high schools reopened after a five-month closure. Free weekly self-administered rapid tests are available at Greek pharmacies and their use is compulsory in schools as well as much of the retail sector.

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The Success of Top-Down Simplicity

In the early weeks of Covid-19 vaccinations, the shining examples of success were all places with politically conservative leaders. Globally, the countries with the largest share of vaccinated people were Britain, Israel and the United Arab Emirates. In the U.S., the states that got off to the fastest starts were Alaska and West Virginia.

This pattern made me wonder whether many progressive-led governments were spending so much effort designing fair-seeming processes that they were failing at the most basic goal of a mass vaccination program: getting shots into arms. That error has held down vaccination rates across much of continental Europe. And it appeared to be an early problem in California and New York.

But it has not turned out to be much of an issue in the U.S. Instead, the states with the highest vaccination rates are now mostly Democratic-leaning, and the states with the lowest rates are deeply conservative.

Russ Bynum of The Associated Press wrote this week.

the chaos of the Trump administration’s virus response to the Biden administration’s. Democrats’ belief in the power of government certainly doesn’t ensure they will manage it competently, but it may improve the odds.

In the most successful state programs, one theme is what you might call centralized simplicity. In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont gave priority to older residents, including people in their 50s, rather than creating an intricate list of medical conditions and job categories that qualified people for shots (and that more privileged families often figure out how to game).

In New Mexico — which has the country’s highest rate of fully vaccinated people, despite also having a high poverty rate — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has overseen the creation of a centralized sign-up system. The state has one vaccine portal that all residents can use to sign up for shots, rather than the piecemeal, confusing systems in many other states, my colleague Simon Romero reports from Albuquerque.

South Dakota, the red state with the highest share of vaccinated residents, has also taken a centralized approach, NPR’s Ailsa Chang points out.

polls show. But it is still notably high among registered Republicans.

CNN’s Harry Enten writes, “while the reverse is true in the states with high vaccination rates.”

Dr. Vernon Rayford, an internal medicine doctor in Tupelo, Miss., told The Times that he had noticed a difference in the sources of skepticism. White skeptics often express a general distrust of government. Black skeptics are particularly mistrustful of the medical system, which has a long history of giving them substandard care — and even outright harmful treatments.

Across much of Mississippi — the state with the smallest share of residents to have received a shot — vaccine appointments are going unfilled largely because of a lack of demand. Two big reasons for the skepticism, Dr. Brian Castrucci, a public health expert, told The Times’s Andrew Jacobs, are misinformation on social media and mixed messages from Republican governors about the urgency of vaccination.

“It’s time to do the heavy lifting needed to overcome the hesitancy we’re encountering,” said Dr. Obie McNair, an internal medicine physician in Jackson.

Vaccine rates still are not high enough — in any state — to have ended the pandemic. In Connecticut and New Mexico, combined, about 11 people have died on a typical recent day. But that toll has fallen more than 80 percent since mid-January, even more than in the rest of the country.

declined to testify in his trial over the killing of George Floyd. Both sides will make closing arguments on Monday.

  • Officials in Chicago released video of the fatal police shooting of Adam Toledo, 13, last month. Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the footage “excruciating.”

  • A Hong Kong court sentenced several opposition leaders to prison for holding an unauthorized protest. The sentences send a clear message that activism carries severe risks, The Times’s Austin Ramzy writes.

  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Afghanistan to reassure its leaders that the U.S. would continue its support after withdrawing troops.

  • The Dallas Wings selected Charli Collier, a center from the University of Texas, as the No. 1 pick in the W.N.B.A. draft.

  • Can Biden be as transformative as Franklin Roosevelt?

    And it did.

    Lives Lived: Carol Prisant was a 51-year-old former antiques dealer with no journalism experience when she decided she wanted to work for the magazine The World of Interiors. She went on to an illustrious three-decade career. Prisant died at 82.

    will be buried tomorrow in England. The ceremony will be limited to 30 people and will have “minimal fuss,” according to the BBC, which will televise the funeral.

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    Gauging the Prospects for International Travel

    If 2020 was the summer of the pandemic-enforced road trip, many people seem to be hoping that 2021 will be the summer they can travel overseas. But that’s a big “if.” Roadblocks abound, among them, the rise of variant cases in popular destinations like Europe and confusion about the role that vaccine “passports” will play as people begin crossing borders. The recent pause on Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine adds a new wrinkle.

    Still, there is reason for optimism. The number of vaccine doses administered each day in the United States has tripled in the last few months, and President Biden has said the United States is still on track to vaccinate every American adult who wants it by the end of May. Globally, the number of shots has been rising, with more than 840 million vaccines administered worldwide.

    Currently, Americans are restricted from entering many countries for nonessential trips. Travelers can check the U.S. State Department website for specific country entry restrictions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to view recommendations for international travelers (vaccinated and unvaccinated), and the C.D.C. COVID Data Tracker to monitor country conditions.

    Iceland announced on March 16 that it would allow all vaccinated travelers into the country, Delta Air Lines followed soon after with an announcement that in May it would resume its Iceland routes from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Minneapolis St. Paul Airport, and offer a new route from Boston.

    it’s been reported that the Biden administration may cancel existing travel restrictions for foreign nationals coming from Britain, Europe and Canada, around mid-May.

    Still, the market is very much in flux, Mr. Grant said, so even though airlines may be increasing their flight schedules, they will continue to adjust to demand, possibly consolidating some of the flights.

    United Airlines plans to increase international flights, but will still be operating just about half of its 2019 schedule. Among the flights it is eyeing are those between Chicago and Tokyo’s Haneda airport and Tel Aviv. The company also plans to increase service from Los Angeles to Sydney and Tokyo Narita.

    Beach destinations that are open to Americans have seen an increase in demand and United is scheduling 90 more flights per week to or from the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America than it had in May 2019.

    Patrick Quayle, the vice president of the United Airlines’ international network, said the company had been adding more flights to countries that were open, but was uncertain when additional destinations like Canada — which is currently closed to American tourists and which has recently seen a rise in cases — would be added to that list. United is trying to be nimble, he said, so “if something were to open up, we can put our aircraft in the sky quickly.”

    At American Airlines, new routes are planned this summer from New York to Athens and Tel Aviv, and from Miami to Suriname and Tel Aviv. (Israel has announced it would allow some vaccinated tourists into the country beginning May 23.) American also announced it was restarting a number of flights to Europe. Beyond that, the company won’t speculate on where air travel will open next.

    Travel-Ready Center allows passengers with booked tickets to view country-specific entry requirements and schedule tests, and will soon allow customers to upload and store their vaccination records on the website before they travel. American’s online travel tool on the company’s website already allows passengers to store required documents like proof of negative coronavirus tests.

    One airline that has been focusing on flights between the United States and international destinations is not a U.S. carrier, but a Middle Eastern one: Emirates. The United Arab Emirates opened up to leisure and business travelers last July and Emirates is already offering direct service to Dubai from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York and Boston. Passengers can also connect from there to other destinations in the Middle East, Africa and West Asia. The company recently announced it would resume its flight between Newark and Athens on June 1.

    health and cleaning protocols they put in place during the pandemic. Some have been adding on-site virus testing. In addition, so-called “touchless technology,” like phone apps for ordering food, will continue to be rolled out. A report by Medallia Zingle, a communications software maker, found that 77 percent of consumers surveyed said the amount of in-person interaction required at a business will factor into their decision on whether or not they visit that business.

    Marriott, one of the world’s largest international hotel companies, with some 7,600 hotels under 30 brands, has implemented a set of practices it calls Commitment to Clean that includes sanitizing properties with hospital-grade disinfectants, using air-purifying systems and spreading out lobby furniture to facilitate social distancing. Some properties offer free coronavirus testing.

    Recently the company announced a pilot program introducing self-serve check-in kiosks that create room keys and allow guests to bypass the front desk. It is also adding more “grab and go” food options.

    Hyatt, another major international brand, is also continuing to focus on cleanliness. Currently, it is working with the Global Biorisk Advisory Council and Cleveland Clinic to create its Global Care and Cleanliness Commitment. Those practices will “remain in place during the pandemic and beyond,” Amy Weinberg, Hyatt’s senior vice president of loyalty, brand marketing and consumer insights, wrote in an email.

    its Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz, France, one of its last remaining closed properties. Almost all Hyatt properties have been open since last December, and in February the company began arranging for guests staying at Hyatt resorts in Latin America who planned to travel back to the United States to get free on-site coronavirus testing.

    IHG’s Kimpton brand with 73 hotels in 11 countries plans on modifying its protocols this summer where it feels they are safe and local ordinances allow — for example, bringing back the manager-hosted social hour, a guest favorite.

    The four Kimpton hotels in Britain that closed because of the pandemic are currently scheduled to reopen by the end of May. A new Kimpton property in Bangkok that opened in October of 2020 to local guests will welcome international travelers this fall. The company also plans to open a new hotel in Bali and one in Paris later this year.

    “Hoteliers are chafing at the bit” to reopen and are able to do so quickly, said Robin Rossman, the managing director of the hospitality analytics company STR. The global hotel sector, though, will likely take up to two years to make a full return, he said.

    Geographic Expeditions, which did not run any trips last summer, reported that its bookings have picked up significantly in the past few months. It plans to run 20 international trips this summer, both to familiar destinations such as the Galápagos, and some off the beaten path, including Pakistan and Namibia. There are only about 25 percent fewer guests signed up now than there were for 2019 summer trips, according to the chief executive, Brady Binstadt, and they are “spending more than before — they’re splurging on that nicer hotel suite or charter flight or special experience.”

    The company chose its first destinations based on entry requirements and client interest and then adjusted itineraries to avoid crowds, minimize internal flights and make sure guests had access to required testing. One expedition required flying a Covid-19 test into a safari lodge in Botswana via helicopter.

    A guest recently moved a Geographic Expeditions trip planned for 2022 departure forward to 2021. The company hopes this will become a trend.

    Abercrombie & Kent restarted its small-group and private trips last fall and early winter to places like Egypt, Costa Rica and Tanzania, and is continuing to expand choices as countries open up. “There’s been a noticeable spike in people calling who have had their first vaccine,” said Stefanie Schmudde, the vice-president of product development and operations. Bookings in March rose more than 50 percent over bookings in February, according to the company.

    Ms. Schmudde monitors global travel conditions intently, and can rattle off names of countries that have been open to tourists for a few months and those she expects to open soon. She predicts Japan and China will open up this fall, but does not expect Europe to welcome many visitors any time soon.

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    The Iran Question

    For all of his disorganization in other policy areas, Donald Trump had a pretty clear vision for Mideast policy: The U.S. would become closer to its allies and more hostile toward its longtime adversary, Iran.

    The Trump administration embraced Israel and Saudi Arabia, avoiding almost any criticism of their governments. That part of that strategy seemed to work. The new diplomatic closeness helped lead to the Abraham Accords, in which the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain became the first Arab governments in a quarter-century to recognize Israel.

    Trump’s ambitions with Iran were also grand. He scrapped Barack Obama’s nuclear deal, claiming that it was too weak and wouldn’t keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons. In its place, Trump imposed harsh sanctions, predicting they would weaken Iran’s leaders, strengthen their domestic opposition and eventually cause Iran to come begging for a new (tougher) deal.

    Virtually none of that has happened.

    “Iran never once came begging for a deal. They never even came to talk to the U.S.,” as the Times’s David Sanger, who’s been covering Iran policy since the 1990s, told me. Instead, Iran ramped up its nuclear program during Trump’s presidency, potentially bringing it closer to having a weapon.

    an explosion — apparently caused by an Israeli attack — damaged Iran’s main nuclear enrichment site, in the city of Natanz. Today, negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, involving multiple countries, are scheduled to restart in Vienna.

    The key question for the Biden administration is whether it can put a nuclear deal back together — and, if it can’t, how it will try to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, with the ability to threaten Israel, Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

    reasonably wonder whether the next Republican president will pull out of any new deal. Other participants in the talks, like the European Union, have similar concerns. “Who wants to make a deal with us now when Trump has shown how the next president can simply yank the plug?” Michael Crowley, who covers the State Department, asks.

    Trump also took steps that make a new deal tricky. He imposed new sanctions that cite factors other than Iran’s nuclear program, like its support of terrorism. As part of any deal, Iranian leaders want the U.S. to lift these additional sanctions. But, as David Sanger points out, “it would be politically very difficult for Biden to say we are now going to lift these sanctions because we have determined that Iran no longer supports terrorism — of course it does.”

    Azadeh Moaveni and Sussan Tahmasebi have written in The Times.)

    “This is a really hard calculation for the Iranians,” David says. “If they don’t do a deal, they don’t get their oil revenue, and they desperately want their oil revenue.” The recent surge in oil prices, which are up more than 50 percent since last fall, strengthens Biden’s hand.

    How close is Iran to having a nuclear bomb? Probably not close, David says — months if not years away. That buys Biden some time.

    Iran does seem to be making progress toward enriching uranium to a level that a weapon requires. After that, the program would need to build a weapon, which would most likely take months, although North Korea may end up helping and reducing the necessary time.

    With Trump’s policy having failed, what do opponents of Obama’s deal favor? Some Republicans and Israeli officials argue that Trump’s approach will work if given more time: Eventually, they say, Iran will be weak enough to submit to nuclear restrictions so tight that the world can have confidence in them. But that view seems based more on hope than any evidence.

    The more likely scenario, absent a new deal, is that Iran will continue building its nuclear program — and that Israel and the U.S. will use a combination of sabotage and military attacks to debilitate the program.

    “mowing the lawn”: Iran’s program grows, Israel cuts it back down and the cycle repeats.

    Not anymore.

    Lives Lived: John Naisbitt’s ability to see a link between the counterculture of the 1960s and Reagan-era Washington made him a favorite bedside read for yuppies in the 1980s. He died at 92.

    Programmers often use computer engineering terms like “master” and “slave” in code. Some in the tech community are calling for that language, along with other offensive terms, to be updated.

    Last year, members of an industry group proposed as much to the group: “Primary,” for example, could replace “master.” The responses from within the group were mixed, and it has yet to issue guidance on terminology. Though it cannot force giants like Amazon or Apple to follow its standards, tech companies often do.

    Still, some companies have taken action on their own: Twitter replaced several terms after an engineer advocated for changes. Microsoft-owned GitHub now uses “main” instead of “master.” Some programmers view the changes as vital, Elizabeth Landau writes in Wired. Others see it as “empty symbolism” that does not fix the tech industry’s diversity problems.

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    U.S. Is Expected to Approve Some Arms Sales to U.A.E. and Saudis

    WASHINGTON — The Biden administration plans to suspend the sale of many offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia approved under the Trump administration, but it will allow the sale of other matériel that can be construed to have a defensive purpose, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

    The plan, which was briefed to Congress last week, is part of an administration review of billions of dollars in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that the White House announced soon after President Biden’s inauguration.

    The original sales were met with strong opposition last year from Democrats in Congress, who are angry over the countries’ involvement in the war in Yemen and wary of the transfer of advanced military technology to authoritarian Middle Eastern states with ties to China.

    The Biden administration will approve $23 billion in weapons sales to the United Arab Emirates, according to a State Department spokesman, including F-35 fighter jets and armed Reaper drones. Biden administration officials signaled at the time of the review that those arms, sold to the Emirates soon after it had signed a diplomatic agreement with Israel brokered by the Trump administration, were likely to be approved.

    killings of civilians, including many children, because of the use of such bombs by the Saudi-led coalition.

    Raytheon Company, the biggest supplier of the bombs, lobbied the Trump administration to continue the sales, despite a growing outcry from humanitarian groups, members of Congress and some in the State Department.

    The suspension does not cover sales of any other kinds of weapons to Saudi Arabia, U.S. officials said. Weapons used by helicopters would still be permitted, as well as ground-to-ground munitions and small arms. Electronics equipment, including jamming technology, would also be permitted. The Saudi military receives almost all its weapons from the United States.

    formally notified lawyers about the decision, which officials say was made this year as part of a lawsuit opposing the agreement brought by the nonprofit New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs.

    The Emirates played a big role in the Yemen war but stepped back recently. As part of negotiations last year to try to persuade the Emirates to normalize relations with Israel, the Trump administration told Emirati officials that it would accelerate approval of sales of F-35 fighter jets and drones.

    U.S. officials said on Wednesday that Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken received the report this week from other offices in the State Department, and that he was expected to approve it. The report would then go to the National Security Council for final approval.

    “I and many other House members remain concerned about the proposed sale of $23 billion in arms to the U.A.E.,” said Representative Gregory W. Meeks, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He said he had “many questions about any decision by the Biden administration to go forward with the Trump administration’s proposed transfers” of the fighter jets, drones and munitions to the Emirates.

    Israeli officials and some members of Congress have expressed concerns that the sales of F-35s would weaken what they called Israel’s “qualitative military edge” over other countries in the region, and that Congress requires presidential administrations to maintain it as a matter of law. Israel is currently the only country in the region with F-35s.

    Other U.S. officials have been concerned about selling the F-35, one of the military’s most advanced pieces of hardware, to the United Arab Emirates when it is developing a closer relationship with China, which is notorious for technological espionage. American officials are worried about the radar and stealth abilities of F-35s and some drone technology, among other things.

    Ms. Fontenrose added that some officials had additional concerns that the Emirates might employ American-made weapons, including Reaper drones, in the Libyan civil war, where it has intervened. She said the Emirates had provided the Trump administration with “assurances” on that front.

    The State Department official, who requested anonymity to discuss policies that had not been officially announced, noted that it would take years to complete the Emirati arms deal and that during that period the administration would ensure that the country was living up to obligations, such as to protect American technology and to ensure that U.S. arms were not used in contexts that violate human rights and the laws of conflict.

    Mr. Meeks echoed that point. “Fortunately, none of these transfers would occur anytime soon,” he said, “so there will be ample time for Congress to review whether these transfers should go forward and what restrictions and conditions would be imposed.”

    Mr. Trump’s deal with the Emirates was approved soon after it had agreed to join the Abraham Accords, which normalized its diplomatic relations with Israel for the first time.

    Some Democrats complained that the arms sales appeared to have been an inappropriate inducement for the Emirates to agree to the accords, which largely formalized a relationship that had grown steadily friendlier for many years.

    “I still don’t believe it’s in our interest to fuel a spiraling arms race in the Middle East,” said Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut and a leading critic in Congress of the arms sales and of U.S. ties to Gulf Arab states. “I have requested a briefing from the administration regarding the status of the review of both the U.A.E. and Saudi sales.”

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    John Kerry Heads to China to Talk Climate

    President Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, was set to arrive in China on Wednesday, the first Biden administration official to visit the country at a moment of high diplomatic tensions.

    In its formal announcement of the trip, the State Department said that Mr. Kerry would “discuss raising global climate ambition” ahead of a virtual climate summit that President Biden plans to host for dozens of world leaders later this month. The summit’s goal is to prod countries to do more to reduce carbon emissions and limit planetary warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius, a threshold scientists argue is needed to avert catastrophic changes to life on the planet.

    President Biden has invited China’s leader, Xi Jinping, to the summit, but Mr. Xi has not yet accepted the invitation. His participation in an American diplomatic initiative, were it to happen, would be a significant sign of China’s willingness to work with the United States despite rising tensions over sanctions and other measures the new administration has taken in coordination with its allies.

    Mr. Kerry’s visit to China underscores the Biden administration’s intent to cooperate with China on shared challenges, including climate, the coronavirus and nuclear proliferation even as the countries are locked in an increasingly fraught political, technological and military competition.

    Hong Kong and Xinjiang, and its military operations near Taiwan and in the South China Sea.

    In a move likely to anger Beijing, the State Department also announced on Tuesday that a delegation of former American officials, including two former deputy secretaries of state, would visit Taiwan as a “personal signal” of Mr. Biden’s commitment to the island democracy, which Beijing claims as part of its territory. Chinese officials have sharply criticized the administration’s signals of support for Taiwan.

    Mr. Biden has made clear that he sees China as a leading strategic threat to America. At a testy diplomatic summit in Anchorage last month, senior Chinese and American officials traded sharply critical assessments of each other’s policies.

    The visit by Mr. Kerry comes after the release of a major annual intelligence report on Tuesday that warned China’s effort to expand its growing influence represents one of the largest threats to the United States. China’s strategy, according to the report, is to drive wedges between the United States and its allies. The report also identified climate change as a growing threat to the United States.

    Biden officials understand that effectively tackling climate change requires cooperation from China, the world’s top emitter of greenhouse gas. As secretary of state in the Obama administration, Mr. Kerry himself helped to secure China’s agreement to join the 2015 Paris Climate accords.

    specific new targets for reducing emissions. He pledged last year to speed up the point when emissions peak in China, which had previously been in 2030, and to reach “carbon neutrality” by 2060 — meaning that the country would emit no more emissions than it takes from the atmosphere by planting forests or engineering.

    Environmentalists cheered those goals, but later expressed disappointment that the Chinese government did not detail how to reach them when they unveiled a new five-year economic plan in March.

    At the same time, China has continued to approve new coal plants, one of the leading sources of carbon emissions, prioritizing social stability and economic development of an important industry at home.

    Thom Woodroofe, an analyst at the Asia Society Policy Institute who is studying Chinese-American climate cooperation, said at a talk last month that both countries seemed to want to insulate the issue of climate change from their other disputes.

    “From China’s perspective, there’s a recognition that they have more to gain than lose from finding a way to cooperate with the United States on climate,” he said.

    While President Trump was in the White House, China raised its profile as a leading player in climate change policy. “With Biden’s inauguration, they don’t simply want that position to be swept aside,” he said.

    Chris Buckley contributed reporting and Claire Fu contributed research.

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    A Ramadan Closer to Normal for 2021

    CAIRO — Compared with Ramadan 2020, when mosques around the world were closed for prayer during the holiest month of the year for Muslims, and curfews prevented friends and family from gathering to break the fast, the religious holiday this year offered the promise of something much closer to normal.

    “Last year, I felt depressed and I didn’t know how long the pandemic would last,” said Riyad Deis, a co-owner of a spice and dried-fruit shop in Jerusalem’s Old City. On Tuesday, the first day of the Muslim fasting month, its narrow alleys were alive with shoppers browsing Ramadan sweets and worshipers heading to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

    Mr. Deis, 51, who was selling whole pieces of turmeric and Medjool dates to a customer, recalled how empty and subdued the Old City had felt last year as virus cases surged and the authorities closed Al-Aqsa to the public. “Now, I’m relaxed, I have enough money to provide for my family and people are purchasing goods from my shop,” he said. “It’s a totally different reality.”

    rising coronavirus infections across many countries.

    In Kenya, the authorities have introduced longer curfews, closed bars and schools, restricted gatherings at spaces of worship, and limited travel in and out of five counties including Nairobi, the capital.

    For Nairobi residents like Ahmed Asmali, this means a prolonged inability to break the fast with loved ones or attend prayers with larger congregations.

    “It’s the second year now that we are in a lockdown,” said Mr. Asmali, a 41-year-old public relations worker. The experience, he said “feels weird. Feels out of place.”

    Lebanon Crisis Observatory, a project by the American University in Beirut.

    The pandemic still shadows much of the festivities. Shop owners in Jerusalem’s Old City said they were worried that Israel would not allow large numbers of Palestinians from the West Bank, where few have been vaccinated, to visit the Old City this Ramadan, depriving the area of their holiday spending.

    Prepandemic, Israel usually allowed tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank to visit Jerusalem on Fridays during the fasting month. The arm of the Israeli government that liaises with the Palestinian Authority said on Tuesday that Israel would allow 10,000 vaccinated Palestinians from the West Bank to pray at the Aqsa on Friday. It also said authorities would permit 5,000 vaccinated Palestinians from the West Bank to make family visits in Israel between Sunday and Thursday next week.

    Omar Kiswani, the director of the Aqsa Mosque, said he was overjoyed that the compound was open to worshipers — an estimated 11,000 attended the taraweeh prayers at the compound Monday evening — but he emphasized that people would still need to be careful. He said masks and two meters’ distance between worshipers are required at the mosque, and the indoor and outdoor spaces will be sterilized daily.

    “These are times of great happiness,” Mr. Kiswani said. “We hope the blessed Aqsa Mosque will return to its prepandemic glory. But these are also times of caution, because the virus is still out there.”

    Vivian Yee reported from Cairo, and Adam Rasgon from Jerusalem. Asmaa al-Omar contributed reporting form Istanbul and Abdi Latif Dahir from Nairobi.

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    Iran Vows to Increase Uranium Enrichment After Attack on Nuclear Site

    Iran said Tuesday that it would begin enriching uranium to a level of 60 percent purity, three times the current level and much closer to that needed to make a bomb, though American officials doubt the country has the ability to produce a weapon in the near future.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, did not give a reason for the shift, but it appeared to be retaliation for an Israeli attack on Iran’s primary nuclear fuel production plant as well as a move to strengthen Iran’s hand in nuclear talks in Vienna.

    Mr. Araghchi said that Iran had informed the International Atomic Energy Agency of its decision in a letter on Tuesday.

    Iran also attacked an Israeli-owned cargo ship off the coast of the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, officials said, the latest clash in its maritime shadow war with Israel. The attack was another sign of increased tensions in the region but was reported to have caused little to no damage.

    threat assessment report released on Tuesday.

    The report said, however, that “if Tehran does not receive sanctions relief” — as Iran has demanded — “Iranian officials probably will consider options ranging from further enriching uranium up to 60 percent to designing and building a new” nuclear reactor that could, over the long term, produce bomb-grade material. That would take years.

    The assessment would seem to give President Biden some breathing room as he enters negotiations in Vienna aimed at restoring some form of the nuclear agreement.

    the attack on Sunday at the nuclear fuel-production center at Natanz, where an explosion knocked the facility offline. He said that Iran would install an additional 1,000 centrifuges there to increase the plant’s capacity by 50 percent.

    An Iranian official also provided a new estimate of the damage caused by the attack, saying that several thousand centrifuges were “completely destroyed.” That level of destruction takes out a large portion of Iran’s ability to enrich uranium.

    But the full extent of the damage is unknown, and Iran presumably is vulnerable to continued attacks on its nuclear infrastructure. Until the electric power systems are rebuilt at Natanz, it would be impossible to make new centrifuges spin.

    Iran is expected to replace the first-generation centrifuges damaged in the Israeli attack with more advanced, more efficient models.

    uses about 1,000 centrifuges.

    To raise the level to 60 percent purity, Iran would have to turn over roughly half of those machines onto the new enrichment job. Purifying it to 90 percent would require another hundred or so machines.

    apparent mine attack by Israel on an Iranian military vessel in the Red Sea, the American official said.

    A cargo ship owned by the same company, the Helios Ray, was attacked by Iran earlier this year.

    Iranian officials also revealed more details about the Natanz attack on Tuesday, suggesting that the damage was greater than Iran previously reported.

    Alireza Zakani, a member of Parliament and head of its research center, said on state television that “several thousand of our centrifuges have been completely destroyed,” representing a large portion of the country’s ability to enrich uranium.

    He described official statements on Monday that the facility would be quickly repaired as false promises.

    Foreign intelligence officials have said it could take many months for Iran to undo the damage.

    Iranian officials have been livid about the security lapses that have allowed a series of attacks on Iran’s nuclear program over the past year, ranging from sabotage of nuclear facilities to the theft of classified documents to the assassination of Iran’s chief nuclear scientist. Most of these attacks were presumed to have been carried out by Israel.

    Mr. Zakani criticized Iran’s security apparatus as lax, saying it had allowed spies to “roam free,” turning Iran into “a haven for spies.”

    He said that in one incident, some nuclear equipment belonging to a major facility was sent abroad for repair and that when it returned the equipment was packed with 300 pounds of explosives. In another incident, he said, explosives were placed in a desk and smuggled inside the nuclear facility.

    Iran has long maintained that its nuclear program is peaceful and aimed at energy development. Israel claims that Iran had and may still have an active nuclear weapons program and considers the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran an existential threat.

    The nuclear talks that began in Vienna last week have been delayed because a member of the European Union delegation tested positive for the coronavirus. The talks could resume as early as Thursday if the member tests negative.

    Patrick Kingsley, Ronen Bergman and Steven Erlanger contributed reporting.

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