Your Thursday Briefing

France’s delayed #MeToo

Since the beginning of the year, a number of powerful men in some of France’s most prominent fields have faced direct and public accusations of sexual abuse, a reversal after years of, mostly, silence. There have been official investigations, while some men have lost their positions and others have been banished outright from public life. (Lisez cet article en français.)

The list of names is already long and getting longer. It includes Gérard Depardieu, France’s biggest film star; Gérald Darmanin, the powerful interior minister; Olivier Duhamel, a prominent intellectual; and Richard Berry, a famous actor, among many others.

Repercussions: The accusations have also resulted in a rethinking of French masculinity, including the archetype of Frenchmen as irresistible seducers. It is part of a broader questioning of many aspects of French society, amid a conservative backlash against ideas about gender, race and postcolonialism supposedly imported from American universities.

Further setbacks for AstraZeneca’s vaccine

Britain said on Wednesday that it would offer alternatives to AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine for adults under 30 as European regulators warned of a “possible link” to rare blood clots.

The government’s announcement came after months of backing AstraZeneca’s shot — a heavy blow for the world’s most widely used vaccine and the more than 100 countries relying on it, particularly in the global south. The European Union’s medical regulator stopped short of advising that use of the vaccine be curbed in the bloc.

British and European regulators said blood clots were occurring at a rate of about one in 100,000 vaccines administered. European officials reiterated that the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risk, but they urged health professionals and recipients of the shot to be cautious about symptoms.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

Three weeks after suspending its vaccination campaign, Nepal has started administering shots again, thanks to a gift of doses from China.

A highly infectious variant of the coronavirus that was first identified in Britain has become the most common source of new infections in the United States.

A 28-year-old man died in the Philippines after the police forced him to do 300 squats as punishment for breaking lockdown rules.

The rise of ISIS in Africa

Two years after the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate suffered stinging defeats in Syria and Iraq, the terrorist group has found a new lifeline in Africa.

Analysts say the group has forged alliances with local militant groups, many of which are only loose connections. But as Islamist extremist violence in Africa reached a record high over the past year, the Islamic State claimed victories in an effort to inspire supporters worldwide.

Most recently, it claimed credit last week for a days-long rampage in northern Mozambique, where militants with distant ties to the Islamic State attacked an important port town. Dozens were killed.

Analysis: “As an organization more broadly, ISIS is hurting,” said Colin Clarke, a counterterrorism analyst. “To improve morale among its supporters, its leadership is seeking to elevate regional branches showing the most promise in launching attacks and maintaining a robust operational tempo.”


Other Big Stories

A tiny particle called a muon appears to disobey the laws of physics, challenging scientists’ understanding of the universe.

Tiger Woods was driving about 40 miles per hour over the speed limit when he crashed his car in February, the police said.

An expert with the Los Angeles Police Department testified that the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had used “deadly force” against George Floyd when no force was warranted. Here are key moments from Day 8 of the trial.

The Biden administration said it would restart aid to Palestinians, reversing a Trump-era policy.

What Else Is Happening

Greenland’s left-wing environmentalist party, Inuit Ataqatigiit, won a victory in general elections on Tuesday, after campaigning against the development of a contentious rare-earths mine partly backed by China.

While Hong Kong cracks down on the freedoms of its population, it is still courting one very important demographic, via a tax break and other sweeteners: the wealthy.

Myanmar’s ambassador to Britain, Kyaw Zwar Minn, was locked out of his own embassy on Wednesday, apparently in retaliation for criticizing the country’s military, which has killed hundreds of people since ousting civilian leaders in February.

A Morning Read

The writer John J. Lennon is serving 28 years to life in a prison about 100 miles north of Manhattan. To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, he and other inmates have been locked in their cells for all but one hour each day.

“In prison, everything that happens feels like part of our punishment,” he writes. “Over the last year, that has included living through a pandemic while behind bars.”

He adds: “As the lawyer and human rights advocate Bryan Stevenson has written, we are ‘more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.’ That’s the ideal. Yet the worst thing we’ve done is part of us, too; we are the sum of all our deeds. I murdered a man, and I sometimes feel that the act did diminish the value of my own life. I sometimes feel that I am less deserving of the vaccine than an innocent person.”


The unsung influence of a pioneering food journalist

Jane Nickerson made Craig Claiborne possible and put the cheeseburger on the map, writes Sam Sifton, the food editor at The Times. This is an excerpt.

In 1947, Jane Nickerson broke news of an innovation in the world of hamburgers: the cheeseburger. “At first, the combination of beef with cheese and tomatoes, which sometimes are used, may seem bizarre,” she wrote in The Times. “If you reflect a bit, you’ll understand the combination is sound gastronomically.”

Two years later, she introduced Times readers to the concept of “food writers” in an article about a press luncheon aboard the ocean liner Ile de France. She brought green-goddess dressing to The Times, and steak Diane. “These recipes, these stories, Craig Claiborne — they don’t exist without Jane Nickerson,” said Kimberly Voss, the author of “The Food Section: Newspaper Women and the Culinary Community.”

Nickerson ran the food desk of The Times from 1942 to 1957 and shepherded Times readers through the austerity of wartime rationing and into the prosperous economy that followed, with hundreds and hundreds of news articles, restaurant reviews and recipes that continue to resonate today.

“It was Nickerson,” the food historian Anne Mendelson wrote in a 1990 review of a revised edition of “The New York Times Cook Book,” “who was chiefly responsible for the national prestige enjoyed by Times food coverage when Claiborne succeeded her.”

Voss credits Nickerson with laying the foundation for modern food journalism. “She did a lot of actual reporting, which shouldn’t be shocking but is,” she told me, “because so many early food editors were just taking recipes from food companies and just putting them in the newspaper. Nickerson was looking for recipes on airplanes and in dining cars on railways and in restaurants and people’s homes. She interviewed James Beard in his apartment. She was exploring new foods and technologies and science.”

Nickerson died in 2000, about a month after her fellow food writer and editor Claiborne. His obituary ran on the front page of The Times. Nickerson’s was on the 25th page of the third section. “Her legacy is in her recipes,” Voss told me. “You just have to look for them.”


What to Cook

Top this creamy white bean soup with a slash of spicy paprika oil — the only garnish it truly needs.

What to Read

In his debut novel, “Open Water,” the British-Ghanaian author Caleb Azumah Nelson incorporates images, scenes and the occasional Kendrick Lamar lyric to communicate what prose alone cannot.

What to Listen to

Take five minutes to fall in love with the music of the German composer Johannes Brahms.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Washing machine cycle (five letters).

And here is today’s Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you on Friday. — Natasha

P.S. Yara Bayoumy, previously a deputy international editor at The Washington Post, is joining Opinion as world and national security editor.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about President Biden’s tax policy.

Reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

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