Germany plans booster shots
As concerns grow over the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, Germany has become the biggest Western country to announce that it will offer vaccine booster shots to a wide range of people considered potentially vulnerable.
Israel, Russia, Hungary and France already are offering boosters to specific populations. In Britain, health officials are preparing to give them as early as September. And Italy and Spain have said they will likely make boosters available to certain groups this fall.
But none have indicated that they would go as far as Germany has. It wants to administer booster vaccines to older people, residents of care homes and people with compromised immune systems — as well as anyone who was already fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson shots, which clinical trials have shown are not as protective.
Another view: The E.U. foreign policy chief criticized the bloc for falling short of vaccine donations to Africa and Latin America, creating a vacuum that China is filling. And health experts say the top priorities should be distributing doses to poor countries and persuading vaccine-resistant people in wealthy countries to get their first shots.
U.S. companies fight for foreign workers
Since the coronavirus pandemic first halted and then seriously constrained the stream of foreign workers into the U.S., the competition for seasonal workers from overseas has been particularly fierce.
Even with a visa cap increased, roadblocks like travel restrictions, backlogs and delays at consulates in approving applicants have left American businesses in the lurch.
Temporary guest workers have also gotten entangled in broader and more bitter arguments over immigration. In the meantime, employers are struggling.
“Fifteen, 20 years ago we were able to get local summer kids in high school or college,” the owner of a Utah landscaping business said. “Those workers are just not there anymore.”
Context: Programs for temporary guest workers have long come under attack from several corners. Labor groups and immigration critics argue that it robs American workers of jobs and depresses wages.
Biles, who skipped the team final nearly a week ago, said it would have been dangerous to perform her complicated and daring routines because she had lost the ability to gauge where she was in the air in relation to the ground.
The gymnast, 24, is considering retirement, but she has hinted that she might try to return for the 2024 Games in Paris to honor her French coaches.
Details: The balance beam event, which takes place in a few hours, will wrap up the women’s gymnastics competition. Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing of China, who ranked first and second in the qualifying round, are also contenders for the gold. Here’s what to watch for.
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996 work culture
The reporter Vivian Wang wrote about Chinese work culture in The Morning today. Here’s a condensed version.
To understand work culture in China, start with a number: 996. It’s shorthand for the grueling schedule that has become the norm at many Chinese firms: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week.
The term originated in the technology sector around five years ago, when companies were racing to compete with Silicon Valley. Now, tech behemoths like Alibaba, Huawei and ByteDance, which owns TikTok, are household names.
Tech workers are starting to resist the at-all-costs culture. This year, 996 shot back into the news after two workers died at Pinduoduo, an e-commerce giant. Some Gen Zers have turned to Mao Zedong’s writings on communism to rage against capitalist exploitation. And an online craze this year called on young people to “tangping,” or “lie flat” — essentially, to opt out of the rat race.
Some companies have taken steps to improve work-life balance. Kuaishou, a short-video app, in July ended a policy requiring its staff to work on weekends twice a month. One division of another tech giant, Tencent, began encouraging workers to go home at 6 p.m. — though only on Wednesdays.