Your Friday Briefing – The New York Times

Top US and Chinese officials are meeting in Alaska for tough talks, and EU drug regulator says AstraZeneca is safe.

President Biden’s sharp shift in US policy towards China puts difficult issues on the table today for the first major meeting between senior officials of his government and their Chinese counterparts.

Foreign Minister Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan are meeting in China’s two leading diplomats, State Councilor Wang Yi and Yang Jiechi, the Chinese Communist Party’s foreign affairs chief, in Anchorage. They’ll probably talk about Hong Kong, the status of Taiwan and the oppression of Uyghurs.

The strategy: The US is moving towards a more competitive attitude with Beijing, to thwart its diplomacy around the world and ensure that China does not gain a permanent advantage in critical technology. The Biden government is cultivating allies – particularly Japan, South Korea, India and Australia – to pursue a common strategy in Asia.

From China’s point of view: The meeting will be a first demonstration of Beijing’s determination to stand up to the new government. Chinese officials have focused on increasing their own country’s power, with China’s leader Xi Jinping increasingly turning away from dependence on others.

Cui Tiankai, China’s Ambassador to the United States, told Chinese media that the country ‘did not expect from one dialogue to solve all the problems between the two parties’, but that he hoped that it would initiate a constructive dialogue.


The European Medicines Agency said on Thursday that the AstraZeneca vaccine was safe and effective, which could be found that more than a dozen countries could resume use after temporary suspension.

Germany, France and Italy were among the countries that stopped the shot over concerns about possible rare side effects that include blood clots. The agency said a new warning label would be added so doctors could be on the lookout for a possible rare complication that could lead to bleeding in the brain.

Despite reports of a handful of disturbing incidents with the AstraZeneca vaccine, a review of millions of cases has found that it does not increase the overall risk of blood clots, but ‘there is still some uncertainty’, Drs. Sabine Straus, who heads the agency, said. risk assessment committee.

Quote: “A situation like the one we saw here is not unexpected,” the EMA executive said. “When millions of people are vaccinated, it is inevitable that rare or serious cases or diseases will occur immediately after vaccination.”

Related: Officials said the U.S. should send millions of excess doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Mexico and Canada.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

  • Authorities in Seoul have been criticized for announcing a plan to test all foreign workers in the city against the coronavirus, with politicians and locals calling the plan xenophobic. An official said a group of foreign workers had led the move.


President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris plan to visit Atlanta on Friday, where communities are suffering after a gunman shot dead eight people at three massage parlors in the southern city. Six of the victims were women of Asian descent.

Legislators warned during the first congressional hearing dedicated to the issue in three decades. In deep personal testimony, lawmakers described community trauma, arguing that the increase in attacks on Asian Americans was a direct result of the rise of rhetoric against China. The trial was scheduled for weeks, but resounded at a frightening moment.

LinkedIn was the only major American social network allowed to operate in China. In doing so, the Microsoft Professional Service censored its posts. But now it is in hot water because the political content is not controlled.

Most pop songs since the 1960s – 84 percent by the end of the 1980s – followed roughly the same structure. The opening verse sets the scene, then builds the pre-chorus to a climax with the chorus. Repeat for decades.

Now it’s being raised, as Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding, co – presenters of the music podcast ‘Switched On Pop’, write in The Times. Many hits since the 2010s have eluded the catchy, rigid structure for something wilder and less predictable. In their article, these changes are visualized and the structure of pop hits from Billie Holiday to Billie Eilish is mapped out.

Unpredictability is a matter of survival in the competitive landscape of social media platforms and music streaming services like Spotify. Many artists get hooked on a song faster, so the listener will record the 30 seconds usually required for the streaming payment and then deliver a variety of catchy sections – instead of one repetitive chorus – to get people hooked. listen.

Streaming also encouraged pop songs to get shorter, partly because people can easily shoot around.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about the murders in Atlanta and hate crimes against Asian Americans.

Sanam Yar reported. You can reach Melina and the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

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