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The Making of an Olympian


The best world-class athletes often dabble in a range of sports when young before rising to the top of their game in one, a new analysis found.


Democrats Seek $500 Billion in Climate Damages From Big Polluting Companies


WASHINGTON — Democrats in Congress want to tax Exxon, Chevron and a handful of other major oil and gas companies, saying the biggest climate polluters should pay for the floods, wildfires and other disasters that scientists have linked to the burning of fossil fuels.

The draft legislation from Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland directs the Treasury Department and the Environmental Protection Agency to identify the companies that released the most greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from 2000 to 2019 and assess a fee based on the amounts they emitted.

That could generate an estimated $500 billion over the next decade, according to Mr. Van Hollen. The money would pay for clean energy research and development as well as help communities face the flooding, fires and other disasters that scientists say are growing more destructive and frequent because of a warming planet.

The bill for the largest polluters could be as much as $6 billion annually spread over 10 years, according to a draft of the plan.

“It’s based on a simple but powerful idea that polluters should pay to help clean up the mess they caused, and that those who polluted the most should pay the most,” Mr. Van Hollen said in an interview. “Those who have profited the most should help now pay the damages that they’ve already cause.”

The proposal comes as the Senate prepares to vote on a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure package that includes billions of dollars to help communities prepare for and recover from extreme weather driven by climate change. Democrats hope to later pass a separate $3.5 trillion budget package that will include measures to cut carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases that result from burning fossil fuels and that are helping to drive up global temperatures.

A tax on polluting companies has the support of liberal lawmakers including Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, as well as Senators Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, all Democrats.

Mr. Van Hollen says he is optimistic that his legislation will find broad support within his party and be attached to the budget reconciliation package, which Democrats hope to pass without Republican votes. But that would require all Democrats in the narrowly divided Senate to back the measure, including Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, who has routinely argued against anti-fossil fuel legislation.

While several major oil companies, the Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute — the country’s largest oil and gas trade group — support a tax on carbon emissions, fossil fuel advocates said on Tuesday that targeting a handful of companies was unfair.

Thomas J. Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, which supports the expanded use of fossil fuels, questioned the legality of Mr. Van Hollen’s tax plan.

“It’s laughable,” he said.

Mr. Pyle said he was stunned by the idea of singling out individual companies to tax, adding “I can’t imagine any court of law that this would stand up in.”

Exxon Mobil and Chevron did not respond to requests for comment.

Frank Macchiarola, senior vice president of the American Petroleum Institute, declined to comment on the proposal but said in a statement that the oil and gas trade group supports “a market-based, economywide carbon price policy” to tackle climate change.

An exhaustive scientific report issued in 2018 by 13 federal agencies concluded that human activities, especially the emissions of greenhouse gases produced by power plants, factories and automobiles that run on fossil fuels, are the dominant cause of the global temperature rise.

The report concluded that extreme weather events made worse by global warming would cause hundreds of billions of dollars a year in damage in the United States alone. In 2020, the nation saw a record 22 disasters that each caused damage of at least $1 billion, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Increasingly, climate activists are making the case for redress from those most directly responsible for carbon emissions: the companies that produced them.

“These oil companies and their executives are by far the most responsible parties for the climate crisis,” said Lee Wasserman, director of the Rockefeller Family Fund, a philanthropic group that helped develop the proposed legislation.

Oil companies have accused the Rockefeller Family Fund of bankrolling a climate conspiracy by funding research that has been used in litigation against the fossil fuel industry.

If the Democratic proposal passed into law, the U.S. government would target companies responsible for at least 0.05 percent of the total carbon dioxide and methane gas emissions in the atmosphere from 2000 to 2019. That would apply to 25 to 30 companies. Aides to Mr. Van Hollen said the legislation aims to look back only as far as 2000 because older data is not considered as reliable or uniform.

To determine the biggest emitters, the government could cite a growing body of research developed by Richard Heede, a researcher at the Climate Accountability Institute, a nonprofit advocacy group. In 2014 Mr. Heede quantified the annual production of every major fossil fuel company and converted it into carbon emissions — finding just 90 companies worldwide were responsible for nearly two-thirds of all greenhouse gas emissions since the start of industrialization.

The top 20 companies are responsible for nearly 30 percent of emissions, the study found.

The list includes foreign entities like Saudi Aramco and Gazprom as well as U.S.-based companies including Exxon Mobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips.

Under the Democrats’ plan, the tax would be applied to U.S. companies and foreign companies with American subsidiaries. Companies also would have the ability to dispute the government’s determination.

“Responsibility to pay would be based on a strict liability standard,” according to a draft of the plan. “There is no requirement to prove negligence or intentional wrongdoing. The proposal does not assign blame for specific damages — it simply ensures that these companies contribute to the solution.”

Amy M. Jaffe, managing director of the Climate Policy Lab at Tufts University’s Fletcher School, said while the proposal may raise money, she was skeptical about whether it would force a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

“The best way to change behavior is to regulate it,” she said. “There is no substitution for proper regulation and enforcement to end pollution.”

Richard J. Lazarus, a law professor at Harvard University, said he believes the proposal could withstand legal challenges.

He likened the climate fund to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, also known as Superfund, which Congress created in 1980 to force polluting companies to pay to clean up toxic sites.

Mr. Lazarus noted that chemical companies sued to block the program but failed. And, he said, “Any differences between the hazardous waste issues of the 1980s and the climate change issues of our times cut in favor of this legislation.”


U.S. Women’s Basketball Beat Australia and Advance to the Semifinals


Breanna Stewart scored 23 points to lead the United States to a 79-55 rout of Australia in the women’s basketball quarterfinals in Saitama, Japan, moving one step closer to the team’s seventh consecutive Olympic gold medal.

The Americans, who avenged a surprising loss to Australia pre-Olympic exhibition game, will face Serbia, the reigning European champion, in the semifinals on Friday. Serbia beat China on Wednesday.

“I think our players had a look in their eyes that they didn’t want to go home,” U.S. Coach Dawn Staley said.

The United States opened a 14-point lead after the first quarter, extended it to 21 points by halftime, pushed it to 30 in the third quarter and never looked back. Brittney Griner added 15 points and 8 rebounds and A’ja Wilson had 10 points against Australia, the world’s second-ranked team.

The United States ran its Olympic winning streak to 53 straight games. This year’s team leads the Olympic tournament in scoring, shooting percentage, rebounds, assists and blocks. But it may have been motivated more by a 70-67 defeat against Australia in a warmup game last month in Las Vegas.

“We didn’t talk much about it,” center Sylvia Fowles said. “We watched film yesterday before practice and pretty much that was the last of it. We try not to harp on it, what happened in Vegas, but I think everybody got the memo and we knew exactly what happened.”


Taliban Claim Responsibility for Major Attack in Afghan Capital


KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban claimed responsibility on Wednesday for an attack on the home of a top military official in Kabul that killed eight people, highlighting the insurgents’ ability to strike in the heart of the Afghan capital as they continue their sweeping military campaign.

The raid began around 8 p.m. on Tuesday with a car bomb that detonated outside the home of Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, the acting defense minister. For several hours afterward, other blasts and sporadic gunfire could be heard in the center of the city after gunmen stormed the building and security forces fought to rescue the roughly 80 people trapped inside.

The complex attack — the largest the Taliban have carried out in the city in nearly a year — penetrated a neighborhood that is home to many high-ranking Afghan officials and close to Kabul’s heavily fortified green zone. It comes as the insurgents push the front lines of their military campaign from rural areas deep into provincial capitals in the south and west of Afghanistan.

A Taliban spokesman described the raid in Kabul as “the beginning of retaliatory attacks,” suggesting that the insurgents planned to target Afghan military officials and the small contingent of foreign troops that remain in the country to protect diplomats and Kabul’s international airport after the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

The Taliban “will no longer remain indifferent” to those groups and “will stand against them with full force,” said the spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid.

Minutes before the initial explosion on Tuesday, Mohammad Azim Mohsini, a member of Parliament who is Mr. Mohammadi’s neighbor, left his home where dozens of people had gathered earlier in the night for a prayer ceremony to mourn the death of his mother. After the blast, one attacker entered his house, killing four people, while other assailants opened fire from outside, he said.

“A number of our civilian neighbors — including women, children and men — were also killed and wounded,” Mr. Mohsini said.

Two police officers as well as an employee with the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation and his child were among the eight people killed in the raid, officials said. The defense minister survived the attack, but some of his security guards were among the 20 people wounded, he said in a video message posted to Twitter.

“I assure all of you that such incidents won’t have the slightest impact on our morale or resolution to defend you and my homeland,” he said, addressing the Afghan public.

Still, that the Taliban could attack the home of a top military official in the middle of Kabul sent an alarming message to the country’s military leaders, whose forces have been battered since international troops began withdrawing in May and the Taliban started a major military offensive.

In a serious escalation of its campaign, the group has laid siege in recent weeks to three provincial capitals — Herat in the west and Lashkar Gah and Kandahar in the south — after sweeping through much of the country’s rural areas. The insurgents now control more than half of the country’s 400-odd districts, according to some assessments.

As the assault unfolded on Tuesday, hundreds of Afghans poured onto the streets of Kabul, chanting “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great,” to show support for Afghan security forces. As others joined the chanting from rooftops and windows, the booming sound of their voices echoed across the city.

The day before in Herat, the capital of the province of the same name, residents also marched through the streets, shouting the phrase in a show of defiance against the Taliban as they besieged the city.

But in a sign of the conflict to come as the Taliban advance on modern urban areas, Mr. Mujahid on Wednesday called the protesters “American slaves and seculars.”

Anyone who sides with Afghan forces, he added, “will be reckoned with for God’s sake.”

Najim Rahim, Sharif Hassan and Fatima Faizi contributed reporting.


Why Covid Took Off in California, Again


Between reinstated mask mandates and spiking coronavirus case numbers, this summer is starting to feel a little too much like 2020.

Even in California, a state with a vaccination rate well above average, the number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 has nearly doubled in the past two weeks, according to a New York Times database. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s map of coronavirus spread shows California bathed in orange and red, signaling the highest levels of transmission.

So how did we get here?

Well, what’s happening in California is a story playing out across the country. Summer ushered in more socializing and fewer restrictions, just as the extremely contagious Delta variant gained a foothold.

Andrew Noymer, a public health professor at the University of California, Irvine, employed a very California analogy to explain it to me: “Delta is a lightning strike and loosening restrictions is the wind” — and they have joined forces to create a threat like a dangerous wildfire.

Although 53 percent of California residents are fully vaccinated, better than most states, it has not been enough to prevent Delta from spreading. Even in San Francisco, which at 70 percent has one of the best vaccination levels among big cities, new coronavirus cases have increased 141 percent over the past two weeks.

“The Delta variant isn’t hyperbole. It isn’t public health people wringing their hands,” Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, told me. “It’s a game-changer.”

The Delta variant is so contagious that it has caused cases to spike like never before, Bibbins-Domingo said. Its proliferation also means that achieving herd immunity — the threshold of vaccinations and previous infections needed to halt a virus’s spread — would most likely require vaccinations of at least 95 percent of people, she said.

But that doesn’t mean vaccinations aren’t helping now. People who already have received shots are far less likely to end up in a hospital if they contract the coronavirus. Nationwide, 97 percent of people hospitalized with Covid-19 are unvaccinated, according to the C.D.C.

So even as Delta spreads in California, the number of hospitalizations and deaths will be much lower than previous surges because more than 21 million Californians are vaccinated, said Dr. Timothy Brewer, an infectious-disease expert at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“The good news is: The vaccines are working,” Brewer said.

My colleague Tara Parker-Pope published a guide for navigating socializing and mask-wearing in this confusing phase of the pandemic. If you’re wondering whether you can still hang out with your vaccinated friends indoors or if it’s safe to travel, this is for you.

I also asked the experts I interviewed how they have adjusted their behavior as coronavirus cases began to rise again in California. To my surprise, they all told me that since they’re vaccinated, they haven’t made major changes.

Indoor public spaces where people don’t wear masks remain the most dangerous locations, they said. So Noymer began wearing a mask at the grocery store again and Bibbins-Domingo said she was thinking twice before eating inside restaurants, which she had been more comfortable doing earlier in the summer.

She and Brewer both said they have out-of-state travel plans that they don’t currently feel compelled to cancel.

For more

  • Americans were promised that the pandemic would recede into the past and be replaced by a summer of joy. Instead, it has been a summer of confusion.

  • Is Los Angeles next? New York will be the first city in the nation to require that people who want to eat indoors or watch a movie in a theater show proof of vaccination.

  • When will this ever end?” asked an I.C.U. nurse at a Santa Monica hospital, where numbers of Covid-19 patients are growing yet again.

Nearly every line in this piece about repatriated Iraqi artifacts is a surprise.

The tale involves 17,000 looted antiquities from ancient Mesopotamia and also the evangelical Christian family that owns the craft store chain Hobby Lobby. I’ll let you find out the rest.

This lemony pasta with zucchini tastes like summer.

We’re soliciting travel tips to share in upcoming editions of the newsletter. Tell us about the best hidden gems to visit in California. Email us at CAtoday@nytimes.com with your suggestions.

When a barn built in 1867 was threatened by the Dixie fire, eight men fought to save it. The barn, on Keefer Ranch in Plumas County, is believed to be the oldest still standing in the state.


New Vaccine Mandates Cover More Workers — and Customers


“Look, I know this isn’t easy, but I will have their backs,” Biden said yesterday, thanking Walmart, Google, Netflix, Disney and Tyson Foods for mandating vaccines for their workforces despite, in some cases, pushback by unions. (Tyson’s mandate on Tuesday was notable for covering all of its 120,000 workers in the United States, including those in slaughterhouses and poultry plants.) Other companies “have declined to step up,” Biden said. “I find it disappointing.”

As for mandates on customers, like the one announced in New York City, some businesses like Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, which runs Blue Smoke and Gramercy Tavern, have already made the move. Others are less sure. “I don’t want the government mandating anything to me,” Tilman Fertitta, the C.E.O. of Landry’s, the parent of Del Frisco’s, Bubba Gump Shrimp and other chains, told CNBC. “I don’t know that I’m quite there yet, telling you you can’t come into my restaurant unless you’re vaccinated.”

It’s not like asking for ID for a drink. Vaccine mandates for restaurants could make an establishment more appealing for some, but also create the potential for strife, as with mask requirements. (The logistics of monitoring New York’s 25,000 restaurants and bars will also be challenging, to say the least.) “Checking vaccination status isn’t like ID-ing a customer before serving them a drink,” a spokesperson for the National Restaurant Association told DealBook. In France, a similar mandate prompted protests.

The country is deeply divided on the issue of mandates, making matters difficult for companies with national footprints to set consistent policies. Ten states have passed legislation to prohibit schools, businesses and state governments from mandating the vaccine, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Fourteen have passed legislation to prohibit vaccine passports or proof of vaccination in general. “If you aren’t going to help,” Biden said, addressing the governors of these states, “at least get out of the way of the people who are trying to do the right thing.”


F.D.A. Aims to Give Final Approval to Pfizer Vaccine by Early Next Month


WASHINGTON — With a new surge of coronavirus infections ripping through much of the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has accelerated its timetable to fully approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine, aiming to complete the process by the start of next month, people involved in the effort said.

President Biden said last week that he expected a fully approved vaccine in early fall. But the F.D.A.’s unofficial deadline is Labor Day or sooner, according to multiple people familiar with the plan. The agency said in a statement that its leaders recognized that approval might inspire more public confidence and had “taken an all-hands-on-deck approach” to the work.

Giving final approval to the Pfizer vaccine — rather than relying on the emergency authorization granted late last year by the F.D.A. — could help increase inoculation rates at a moment when the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus is sharply driving up the number of new cases.

A number of universities and hospitals, the Defense Department and at least one major city, San Francisco, are expected to mandate inoculation once a vaccine is fully approved. Final approval could also help mute misinformation about the safety of vaccines and clarify legal issues about mandates.

Federal regulators have been under growing public pressure to fully approve Pfizer’s vaccine ever since the company filed its application on May 7. “I just have not sensed a sense of urgency from the F.D.A. on full approval,” Dr. Ashish K. Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said in an interview on Tuesday. “And I find it baffling, given where we are as a country in terms of infections, hospitalizations and deaths.”

Although 192 million Americans — 58 percent of the total population and 70 percent of the nation’s adults — have received at least one vaccine shot, many remain vulnerable to the ultracontagious, dominant Delta variant. The country is averaging nearly 86,000 new infections a day, an increase of 142 percent in just two weeks, according to a New York Times database.

Recent polls by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which has been tracking public attitudes during the pandemic, have found that three of every 10 unvaccinated people said that they would be more likely to get a shot with a fully approved vaccine. But the pollsters warned that many respondents did not understand the regulatory process and might have been looking for a “proxy” justification not to get a shot.

Moderna, the second most widely used vaccine in the United States, filed for final approval of its vaccine on June 1. But the company is still submitting data and has not said when it will finish. Johnson & Johnson, the third vaccine authorized for emergency use, has not yet applied but plans to do so later this year.

Full approval of the Pfizer vaccine will kick off a patchwork of vaccination mandates across the country. Like most other employees of federal agencies, civilians working for the Defense Department must be vaccinated or face regular testing. But the military has held off on ordering shots for 1.3 million active-duty service members until the F.D.A. acts.

The City of San Francisco has said its roughly 44,500 employees must be fully vaccinated within 10 weeks of F.D.A. approval. The State University of New York, with roughly 400,000 students, is on a parallel track.

A number of health care systems have issued similar mandates to employees, including Beaumont Health, the largest health provider in Michigan, with 33,000 employees, and Mass General Brigham in Massachusetts, with about 80,000 workers.

Full approval typically requires the F.D.A. to review hundreds of thousands of pages of documents — roughly 10 times the data required to authorize a vaccine on an emergency basis. The agency can usually complete a priority review within six to eight months and was already working on an expedited timetable for the Pfizer vaccine. The F.D.A.’s decision to speed up was reported last week by Stat News.

In a guest essay in The Times last month, Dr. Peter Marks, the agency’s top vaccine regulator, wrote that undue haste “would undermine the F.D.A.’s statutory responsibilities, affect public trust in the agency and do little to help combat vaccine hesitancy.”

The regulators want to see real-world data on how the vaccine has been working since they authorized it for emergency use in December. That means verifying the company’s data on vaccine efficacy and immune responses, reviewing how efficacy or immunity might decline over time, examining new infections in participants in continuing clinical trials, reviewing adverse reactions to vaccinations and inspecting manufacturing plants.

At the same time, senior health officials at the F.D.A. and other agencies are grappling with whether at least some people who are already vaccinated need booster shots. Several officials are arguing that boosters will be widely needed before long, while others contend that the scientific basis for them remains far from settled.

Two people familiar with the deliberations, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that if booster shots are needed, the administration wants a single strategy for all three vaccines currently authorized for emergency use.

Different recommendations on boosters for different vaccines, they said, could confuse the public. Fully approving a vaccine and then authorizing a booster for it soon after might also offer conflicting messages about its effectiveness.

While research is continuing, senior administration officials increasingly believe that at the least, vulnerable populations like those with compromised immune systems and older people will need them, according to people familiar with their thinking. But when to administer them, which vaccine to use and who should get shots are all still being discussed.

In a study posted online last week, Pfizer and BioNTech scientists reported that the effectiveness of Pfizer’s vaccine against symptomatic disease fell from about 96 percent to about 84 percent four to six months after the second shot, but continued to offer robust protection against hospitalization and severe disease.

Administration officials said Moderna and Johnson & Johnson needed to present data as well and Moderna had been asked to do so quickly. Officials have said other studies will also influence their decision-making, including data that the government is collecting on the rate of breakthrough infections among tens of thousands of people, including health care workers.

Pfizer is expected to submit an application for a booster shot to the F.D.A. this month. While the F.D.A. could authorize such shots, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would need to recommend them after a meeting of its outside committee of experts.

A decision to fully approve Pfizer’s vaccine will give doctors more latitude to prescribe additional shots at least for certain Americans, including those with weakened immune systems. The C.D.C. had been exploring possible special programs for that group, but administration officials said it became clear that by the time any such initiative got underway, the Pfizer vaccine would already be fully approved and doctors could prescribe a third shot.

Roughly 3 percent of Americans — or about 10 million people, by some estimates — have compromised immune systems as a result of cancer, organ transplants or other medical conditions, according to the C.D.C. While studies indicate that the vaccines work well for some of them, others do not produce the immune response that would protect them from the virus.

Some people are trying to get booster shots from pharmacies or other providers on their own, without waiting for the federal government’s blessing. Officials in Contra Costa County, home to 1.1 million people in Northern California, were so eager to offer boosters that on July 23 they told vaccine providers to give extra shots to people who asked for them “without requiring further documentation or justification.”

Then, realizing that policy violated the F.D.A. rules on vaccines authorized for emergency use, the county reversed it this week.

Jennifer Steinhauer contributed reporting. Susan C. Beachy contributed research.


Amazon Faces Wider Fight Over Labor Practices


Perhaps the most prominent voice in this discussion is the more than one-million-member International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which approved a resolution at its convention in June committing the union to “supply all resources necessary” to organize workers at the company and help them win a union contract.

The Teamsters argue that holding union votes at individual work sites is typically futile at a company like Amazon, because labor law allows employers to wage aggressive anti-union campaigns, and because high turnover means union supporters often leave the company before they have a chance to vote.

Instead, the Teamsters favor a combination of tactics like strikes, protests and boycotts that pressure the company to come to the bargaining table and negotiate a contract covering wages, benefits and working conditions. While the union hasn’t laid out its tactics in detail, it recently organized walkouts involving drivers and dockworkers at a port in Southern California to protest the drivers’ treatment there.

They hope to enlist the help of workers at other companies, sympathetic consumers and even local businesses threatened by a giant like Amazon, partly to mitigate the challenges presented by high employee turnover.

“Building our relationships within the community itself is the way to deal with that,” Randy Korgan, a Teamsters official from Southern California who is the union’s national director for Amazon, said in a recent interview. “We could have filed for an election in a number of places in the last more than a year, gotten into that process, but we realize that the election process has its shortcomings.”

The union believes that it can pull a variety of political levers to help put the company on the defensive. Mr. Korgan cited a recent vote by the City Council in Fort Wayne, Ind., denying Amazon a tax abatement after a local Teamsters official spoke out against it, and a vote by the City Council in Arvada, Colo., to reject a more than 100,000-square-foot Amazon delivery station. While the Arvada vote centered on traffic concerns, Teamsters played a role in drumming up opposition.

In California, the Teamsters have joined forces with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and the Warehouse Worker Resource Center, an advocacy group, to back a bill that would require certain employers to disclose the often opaque productivity quotas applied to workers, which they can be disciplined or fired for failing to meet. The legislative language makes it clear that Amazon is the main target.


I.O.C. Seeks Answers After 2 Medalists from China Wore Mao Pins


The International Olympic Committee said it was investigating a potential breach of Olympic regulations after two cyclists from China wore pins bearing the silhouette of Mao Zedong in a medal ceremony.

The small red and gold pins — once ubiquitous symbols representing Mao’s three-decade rule over China — were attached to the track suits of the cyclists, Bao Shanju and Zhong Tianshi, when they received gold medals in the women’s sprint on Monday.

The cyclists’ badges are a potential violation of Rule 50 of the Olympic charter, which bans “political, religious or racial propaganda” at Olympic venues.

In a news briefing on Wednesday, Mark Adams, an I.O.C. spokesman, said that the committee had asked China’s Olympic delegation to submit a report explaining the incident, and that it had been promised a “full formal answer soon.”

“They have also assured us already that this will not happen again,” Mr. Adams said.

Separately, the Korea Badminton Association said on Wednesday that it had filed a complaint with the World Badminton Federation after a Chinese player was captured on video swearing in a doubles match against South Korean players.

The Chinese badminton player, Chen Qingchen, repeatedly shouted what has been interpreted as a common Chinese obscenity. She apologized, saying that she was merely celebrating points scored and that she would adjust her “bad pronunciation.” But she did not say what she had intended to shout.

The incident was widely reported in South Korea — where nationalists sometimes chafe at China’s assertions of power — but lauded as a spirited and refreshing performance on Chinese social media.

The Chinese team ended up defeating the South Koreans.


Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times


Many doctors on the front lines say that in recent months, unvaccinated patients in their 20s and 30s have become more severely ill from the coronavirus, and more quickly.

But comprehensive data is lacking. Studies done in a handful of countries suggest that the Delta variant may cause more severe disease, but there is no definitive research showing that the new variant is worse for young adults. Some experts believe the shift in patient demographics is a result of lower vaccination rates in the group.

Still, the anecdotal evidence is growing. “Something about this virus is different in this age group,” said the chief medical officer of a Louisiana hospital.

In the U.S.: Mandates are growing. New York City will require proof of vaccination for indoor activities, including dining and going to gyms or movie theaters. Tyson Foods, with 120,000 workers, and Microsoft, with 100,000, are the latest big corporations requiring vaccinations.

The Biden administration imposed a new, 60-day federal moratorium on evictions in areas of the country ravaged by the Delta variant, a move aimed at protecting hundreds of thousands of renters.

Web attack: The Lazio region of Italy, which includes Rome, has been unable to offer vaccination appointments online because of a cyberattack on its website over the weekend.

Influencers: In a rare display of casualness, President Emmanuel Macron of France made videos on Instagram and TikTok to answer questions by vaccine skeptics.

The 165-page report prompted multiple calls for Mr. Cuomo to resign, including from President Biden, a longtime ally of the governor, and it cast doubt on Mr. Cuomo’s political future. The Democratic speaker of the State Assembly said Mr. Cuomo “can no longer remain in office” and that he intended to quicken the pace of a separate impeachment inquiry.

The report described in detail how Mr. Cuomo’s behavior and actions by his top officials to fight the allegations violated both state and federal law.

The response: Mr. Cuomo denied most of the report’s serious findings, reiterating his contention that he had never touched anyone inappropriately. He suggested the report was politically motivated and declared that “the facts are much different from what has been portrayed.”

Their analysis, published in the journal Sustainability, aimed to identify places that are best positioned to carry on when or if others fall apart. The runners-up were Tasmania, Ireland, Iceland, Britain, the United States and Canada.

The model’s underlying assumption is that when many countries are collapsing at the same time, the ones that are the best set up for self-sufficiency are the most likely to keep running.

New Zealand came out on top because it has plenty of renewable energy capacity, it can produce its own food and it’s an island, meaning it is isolated from other countries.

Another view: The findings were greeted with skepticism by some academics who study topics like climate change and the collapse of civilization, saying it placed too much emphasis on the advantages of islands and failed to properly account for variables like military power.

In the largest-ever repatriation of looted Iraqi antiquities, 17,000 archaeological artifacts were returned by a U.S. museum and an Ivy League university. The holdings underline a thriving market in stolen antiquities, and their return was a victory in a global effort to repatriate culturally vital artifacts.

Some of the most fun Olympics coverage isn’t coming from the major broadcasters — it’s on TikTok.

Athletes from a host of countries have been posting everything from day-in-the-life videos at the Olympic Village, such as one shared by Nick Rickles, an Israeli baseball player, to stress tests of the much-discussed cardboard bed frames, like the one posted by the New Zealand swimmer Lewis Clareburt.

Athletes’ performances in prime time can be limited to mere seconds, with the focus on whether they win a medal. But on the app, they can be more personable. Courtney Hurley, an American fencer, poked fun at herself after she drummed up enthusiasm for her game and then lost. When they win, the athletes can share the joy — as did Jessica Fox, an Australian who won gold in canoe slalom.

Some of the content shows the grueling training that Olympians go through, like Australian divers doing handstands on treadmills and New Zealand athletes pushing cars and lawn mowers.

But most of it is just fun. Ilona Maher, an American rugby player, posted videos of herself and her teammates engaging in silliness in the dining halls, professing love for Jennifer Lopez and basking in TikTok fame. It’s a reminder that many of the athletes are just twentysomethings or even teens. — Melina Delkic