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We’re covering the W.H.O. approving a coronavirus inquiry, Germany and France joining forces and Italy’s Great Beautification as salons reopen.
W.H.O. approves coronavirus inquiry
The World Health Organization agreed to begin an inquiry into the global response to the pandemic, at the end of a rocky annual meeting in which the U.S. and China swiped at each other.
The resolution calls for an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of the international response to the outbreak. But it fell short of what the U.S. wanted, which was a thorough review of the Chinese origins of the virus and the W.H.O.’s actions in response.
President Trump threatened to permanently end U.S. funding for the W.H.O. unless it committed to “substantive improvements within the next 30 days,” accusing the organization of an “alarming” dependence on China.
The resolution, brought by the European Union on behalf of more than 100 countries, gained momentum after Australia worked to form a coalition of countries demanding an inquiry.
Related: The U.S. is also battling China over the tech industry, with the Trump administration challenging Chinese access to Taiwan’s high-tech supply chain — a touchy point for Beijing, who claims the island as its territory.
Explainer: What we know about the coronavirus-related inflammatory disease affecting children, which is rare and easy to spot.
In other news:
Just a week after many schools were reopened in France, the discovery of 70 coronavirus cases in classrooms across the country forced the authorities to close some preschools and elementary schools.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned of “permanent damage” to the U.S. economy if lockdowns are extended for months. The Federal Reserve chair, Jerome Powell, said a full recovery would not come until the health crisis is resolved.
More than 70 percent of coronavirus samples tested in Israel in a new study had originated in the U.S., calling into question the government’s decision to let in travelers from there until March 9, despite already barring some European visitors.
Cambridge University on Tuesday became the first British university to move all student lectures online for the upcoming academic year. Also, a 100-year-old former British army officer who raised $40 million for Britain’s National Health Service will be knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
As face masks become the norm in public spaces, laws informally known as “burqa bans” that forbid full-face coverings are being questioned.
Futures markets predicted a weak opening for European stocks but a stronger morning for Wall Street later in the day. Follow our live briefing.
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Germany puts Europe first to fight virus
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to back a 500 billion-euro recovery fund on Monday broke with two German taboos: the transfer of funds from richer countries to poorer ones, and the borrowing of money by the European Union as a collective.
The decision will not be popular in Germany and may fuel populist opponents, our diplomatic correspondent in Brussels writes. But faced with Europe’s cratered economy, Ms. Merkel has joined with President Emmanuel Macron of France to prioritize the European Union’s future.
Leaders are fending off political discontent at home. Lawmakers disgruntled over Mr. Macron’s economic policies defected from the ruling centrist LREM party on Tuesday, costing its majority in the lower house of Parliament.
And with the highest death toll in Europe, Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, is being grilled weekly by the lawyer turned opposition leader Keir Starmer on his handling of the coronavirus.
Looking ahead: With Britain gone, Germany and France, which have Europe’s largest and most powerful economies, have more room to assert themselves if they can find common ground.
Quotable: “We need to get a little bit outside our bubble,” said one Swedish director for the Atlantic Council who supported Ms. Merkel. “These are exceptional times, and you need to make exceptions from your principles. People are suffering.”
If you have 4 minutes, this is worth it
In Hong Kong, life goes on
Hong Kong was one of the first places outside mainland China to be hit by the coronavirus, and the landscape of the city changed immediately: Temperature checks, sanitizing and reminders to stay vigilant cropped up everywhere.
Four months later, those signs remain. But the city is humming back to life — not really in spite of those reminders so much as alongside them, writes our correspondent.
For Hong Kongers, who were scarred by the SARS outbreak 17 years ago, masks and social distancing are a part of life.
Here’s what else is happening
Cyclone Amphan: Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated from India and Bangladesh before one of the most powerful storms in decades makes landfall as expected on Wednesday afternoon.
Afghanistan: The security forces bombed a clinic in Kunduz on Tuesday to thwart a coordinated run by the Taliban on the provincial capital that the militants continue to besiege. The conflict is back into full-fledged bloodletting after a brief period of hope.
Germany: Privacy rights protect the digital data of foreigners living abroad from being searched by intelligence services, Germany’s highest court ruled on Tuesday, a decision welcomed by civil rights activists.
Snapshot: Above, a hair salon in Milan that reopened on Monday. Italians flooded salons for months-delayed haircuts, manicures, waxing and more — a chance for the Great Beautification ahead of summer, our Rome bureau chief writes.
In memoriam: Cécile Rol-Tanguy, a French resistance fighter who helped lead an uprising against the German occupation of Paris, died on May 8 at 101.
What we’re reading: This article in The Cut about how much wellness right now has to do with wealth. It’s a fascinating look at the increasing divide in what health means for different sectors of the population.
Now, a break from the news
Cook: This baked tofu with peanut sauce and coconut-lime rice from Yewande Komolafe is simply the best tofu recipe, says Sam Sifton, our Food editor.
Listen: In 2020, having gone platinum 10 times, Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP” hits differently. But it’s still a vivid snapshot of the late culture wars. Listen to the songs that came first, and the ones he inspired.
Some lockdowns are easing, but if you’re staying safe at home, we have a lot more ideas about what to read, cook, do and watch.
And now for the Back Story on …
Voices from overtouristed cities
You’ve seen the pictures of popular places now emptied out. Our Travel desk asked locals in some of the world’s most-visited cities about the bittersweet experience of having their cities back.
DARKO PEROJEVIC, 41, is the chef and owner of the restaurant Azur. He has lived in Dubrovnik most of his life.
The Old Town of Dubrovnik, where I’ve lived most of my life, hasn’t been empty like this since the war and the eight-month shelling of Dubrovnik in 1991 and ’92. We all have had some lingering sadness because the emptiness of the city is a reminder of that time.
The situation here is bittersweet, really. Bitter because I’m the chef and owner of a restaurant in Old Town — called Azur — that relies on a lot of tourists for business. But it’s sweet because walking the empty streets on a sunny day feels great.
Kids are playing on the streets just like I did when I was a kid. For a moment it feels like we got the city back for ourselves.
Halong Bay, Vietnam
LIND NGUYEN, 29, along with her husband, Trung, own the Wander Station restaurant.
On May 1, it was the [Labor Day] holiday and it’s supposed to be busy everywhere, but then we are empty, we have no customers, so I decided to close and have a look around. Everywhere was empty, the road, the stores, the walking street, everything. Like a scary movie.
In normal life there’s supposed to be hundreds of boats cruising in the bay, music playing — pum, pum, pum — and people having beer outside and walking around. But now no more.
I’m sad and worried. How long does it take to get back to the normal life? I just want tourists back here, meeting up, chatting and having fun.
That’s it for this briefing. Remember fun conversations? See you next time.
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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