Your Thursday Briefing – The New York Times



We are covering the coal rush in China and the global supply shortage.

China’s power shortage is affecting factories and industries. Authorities on Wednesday announced a rush to extract and burn more coal in response, despite their previous promises to cut emissions.

Mines that have been closed without authorization have been ordered to reopen, as well as mines and coal-fired power plants that have been closed for repair. Local governments have been warned to be cautious about limits on energy consumption.

The shortage has exposed a strategic weakness: China is a big energy hungry and the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. It also called into question Beijing’s ability to generate strong economic growth.

The context: China depends on inefficient factories in energy-intensive industries like steel, cement and chemicals, but it all but halted new investments in coal in 2016 due to sustainability concerns. With demand growing as the pandemic abates, prices have jumped. Power plants were losing money, so they were running at a lower capacity.

And after: The winter heating season officially begins on Friday in the northeast of the country. China’s largest provinces have only nine to fourteen days of coal storage, according to a coal data company.

Chinese authorities are rolling out third coronavirus vaccines for high-risk groups in at least 10 regions, state media say, as the country strives to meet its goal of fully vaccinating 80% of its population d ‘by the end of the year.

After the Delta variant outbreaks, Wang Huaqing, China’s top immunization official, last month recommended that additional injections be given to people in front-line professions, including medical workers; people with weaker immune systems; those aged 60 or over; and travelers to high-risk countries.

A WHO expert panel on Monday recommended that an additional dose be given to people over 60 who have been inoculated with vaccines made by Chinese companies Sinopharm and Sinovac.

Despite its high vaccination rate, China has shown no sign of abandoning its ‘zero Covid’ strategy, and has continued to use a mix of strict border controls, mass testing and instant lockdowns.

Details: Last month, China announced that it had fully immunized 1 billion people, or about 71% of its population of 1.4 billion. The country administered 2.21 billion doses.

And after: Chinese health officials said more studies were still needed to determine whether the rest of the population would benefit from boosters.

Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.

In other developments:

President Biden said on Wednesday afternoon that his administration was taking action to unravel supply chains and eliminate the disruption that has threatened the holiday shopping season, including extending the hours of operation of a key port and from some large retailers.

The Port of Los Angeles will begin operating 24 hours a day, he said from the White House. UPS, Walmart and FedEx will also announce that they will work more during off-peak hours. Biden said the country must “take a longer-term view” and address supply chain vulnerabilities exposed by the Covid-19 crisis.

Problems in ports, factories and shipping lanes helped produce shortages, long delivery times and rapid price increases. It’s unclear how much the White House’s actions will help – blockages are spreading up and down supply chains around the world. Some problems could last until the end of next year or more, analysts said.

The resulting inflation dampened consumer confidence. On Wednesday, the Labor Department announced that the Consumer Price Index, a key indicator of monthly inflation, jumped 5.4% in September from a year earlier. Federal Reserve officials took an increasingly suspicious tone and prepared to slow down support for the economy at their last meeting.

Asia Pacific

A pristine beach is one of the last in Japan. Soon it will be filled with concrete for a dike to stop erosion. The project demonstrates how even the most precious ecological treasures cannot survive Japan’s obsession with construction, which has long been its response to natural threats. It’s also a vital source of economic stimulus in rural areas – but this plan has torn a small village apart.

One of the biggest trends from the Spring 2022 runway shows, which just ended, was neither an accessory nor a color. It was how many designers presented men and women in what has long been called “women’s clothing”. Raf Simons, for example, showed off skirt suits for him and her. At Marni, the models donned giant floral sweaters. “By the end of the season, it had become so common, it barely marked me,” writes Vanessa Friedman in The Times. “I just saw some clothes.”

Friedman and fellow Times fashion critic Guy Trebay discussed how change reflects societal changes, especially among young people, in self-expression and gender identity.

Some shows in recent years have featured clothing that existed beyond the traditional categories of gendered clothing. But “it was something new. Like… gender agnosticism, ”Friedman said. Brightly colored clothes with flowing fabrics and loose decoration were for everyone.

The trend goes beyond the tracks, added Trebay. “Spend some time on social media and you know how easily men are now adopting traditionally feminine elements of clothing and care,” he said. “It’s no exaggeration to imagine normalizing men wearing dresses or whatever in the workplace.”

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