Your Tuesday Briefing

We’re covering the events that led to China’s takeover of Hong Kong and good news about mRNA vaccines.

Behind China’s takeover of Hong Kong

A year ago, a national security law unleashed a stampede of actions to bring Hong Kong into political lock step with the Chinese Communist Party: arresting activists, seizing assets, firing government workers, detaining newspaper editors and rewriting school curriculums.

While the clampdown seemed to arrive with startling speed, it was the culmination of yearslong efforts by Beijing, The Times reports, a process that began with a single phrase in a dry policy paper: Beijing, the document declared, would wield “comprehensive jurisdiction” over the territory.

Interviews with insiders and advisers, as well as speeches and policy papers, show that Chinese officials took action because of growing alarm over protests in Hong Kong; impatience with wavering among the city’s pro-Beijing ruling elite; and their growing conviction that Hong Kong had become a haven for Western-backed subversion.

Party anniversary: Beijing has shut down traffic, decorated streets with patriotic slogans and ramped up security this week in preparation for the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party.

MRNA vaccines may offer protection for years

The vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna set off a persistent immune reaction that may protect against the coronavirus without the need for a booster shot, scientists reported on Monday.

It’s unclear exactly how long immunity lasts for people who receive vaccines that use mRNA technology, but it could be for years, if not for a lifetime — especially for people who were infected with the coronavirus and later vaccinated.

“It’s a good sign for how durable our immunity is from this vaccine,” said Ali Ellebedy, an immunologist at Washington University in St. Louis who led the study, which was published in the journal Nature. The study did not consider the Johnson & Johnson shot, which is made with a different technology.

Caveats: The protection is most reliable if the virus and its variants do not evolve much beyond their current forms — which is by no means guaranteed. And older adults and people with immunodeficiencies may still need boosters.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

A cascading series of failures — including officials’ lack of preparation for a second wave they knew was probably coming — left hospitals across India without medical oxygen.

Australia has simultaneous outbreaks in several parts of the country — most notably in Sydney — fueled by the spread of the Delta variant.

Migrant workers fled Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, ahead of a national lockdown that will soon go into effect.

World Health Organization officials have said that even fully vaccinated people should still wear masks, advice that diverges from many national health authorities.

Biden meets with Rivlin

President Biden will host the departing Israeli president, Reuven Rivlin, at the White House as the U.S. tries to revive a nuclear agreement with Iran. Here are the latest updates.

It will most likely be Rivlin’s last visit as president of Israel, after the country elected Isaac Herzog, a former leader of the Labor Party and government minister to the role. The president of Israel does not wield as much power as the prime minister but plays an important role in diplomacy and in unifying the parliamentary democracy.

The two leaders will discuss the formation of Israel’s new government and the country’s defense needs.

Timing: It’s a critical juncture in the negotiations between the U.S. and Iran over reviving a nuclear deal, which Israel opposes. The deal would ease sanctions on Tehran in return for limits on its nuclear program. The White House meeting also comes less than a day after the U.S. carried out airstrikes against Iranian-backed militias.

THE LATEST NEWS

News From Asia

The Iraqi government condemned U.S. airstrikes on Iranian-backed militias near the border between Iraq and Syria.

China released images from its Zhurong Mars rover, Al Jazeera reports.

North Koreans have been worrying about the “emaciated looks” of their leader, Kim Jong-un, state media said, in a rare acknowledgment of foreign speculation about his weight loss.

WhatsApp hired a former Amazon executive to lead its payments service in India, its biggest market.

Around the World

A rescue operation at a collapsed building near Miami entered its fifth day, with the likelihood of finding survivors fading. Officials said another body had been recovered, bringing the known death toll to 10.

Wimbledon began with a first-round exit from Stefanos Tsitsipas, the No. 3 seed. Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka and other tennis stars will not be there.

The Catholic Church in Poland said it had received 368 reports regarding the sexual abuse of minors, including 144 deemed “verified and reliable” by preliminary investigations.

A heat wave in the Pacific Northwest produced a record-breaking temperature of 112 degrees in Portland, Ore., creating dangerous conditions in a part of the country unaccustomed to air-conditioning.

Art experts are using high-tech scanning techniques developed by drug companies and the military to look deeply at masterpieces and famed artists’ techniques.

A Morning Read

For migrants in Mexico, life is often in flux. Our journalists asked people to take their own pictures as they waited to cross the border into the U.S.

ARTS AND IDEAS

Broadway (and Bruce) are back

On Saturday, Bruce Springsteen returned to the St. James Theater to perform his one-man show — the first Broadway show since New York’s theaters went dark on March 12, 2020.

Broadway’s biggest musicals — including “Hadestown,” “Hamilton” and “Wicked” — will not return until September. But for the 1,700 people at “Springsteen on Broadway,” the first strums on Springsteen’s guitar felt like “proof that the rhythms that moved New York City were emerging from behind a heavy, dark and weighty curtain,” The Times’s Nick Corasaniti writes.

PLAY, WATCH, EAT

What to Cook

Make lobster pasta with yellow tomatoes.

What to Read

For the restless heroine of Dana Spiotta’s new novel, “Wayward,” menopause is a reason to re-evaluate everything.

What to Watch

Our list of the best American comedies of the 21st century annoyed many readers by leaving off their favorites. Here are the shows that inspired the most impassioned incredulity.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Africa’s ___ Coast (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 next time. — Melina

P.S. The Times’s feature documentary “Time,” directed by Garrett Bradley, won a 2021 Peabody Award.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about what the Japanese public thinks of the Olympics.

You can reach Melina and the team at [email protected].

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