An Omicron wave heads for the U.Okay.
As Britain braces for a brand new COVID-19 coronavirus surge, with circumstances of the Omicron variant doubling each three days, the nation’s expertise with the brand new variant could also be a harbinger of what different rich nations can count on. It is unclear if the surge will probably be a comparatively minor occasion or a return to the darkish days of earlier pandemic waves.
Omicron seems to be probably the most contagious type of the virus but, and extra capable of evade immunity from earlier infections or from vaccines. Though it additionally appears to trigger much less extreme sickness than earlier variants, specialists warn that an enormous surge in circumstances may nonetheless overwhelm hospitals and trigger a spike in deaths.
On Wednesday, Britain launched new restrictions, together with masks mandates and requiring vaccine passports, and urged individuals to earn a living from home the place attainable. It was a putting reversal for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who had beforehand opposed the stricter controls which have been adopted round Europe.
Quotable: “I think we are looking at a horrible winter,” mentioned Peter English, a retired advisor in communicable illness management, noting the exponential unfold of Omicron.
Ukraine says it could stand no probability towards Russia
Ukrainian generals say that if Russia have been to invade, they would wish navy assist from the West to struggle off the assault. Intelligence companies say there isn’t a indication that the Kremlin has made up its thoughts whether or not to invade.
New tanks, armored autos and ships have been delivered to frontline Ukrainian models preventing Russian forces and Kremlin-backed separatists. But that might not be sufficient to repel the full-on Russian assault that Ukrainian and Western officers worry Moscow is likely to be getting ready.
Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, dismissed issues concerning the troop buildup on the border throughout a video name with President Biden on Tuesday, and he shifted blame to the U.S. and NATO for supporting Ukraine. Biden has dominated out sending U.S. forces to Ukraine to discourage Russia. He held a name with Ukraine’s president on Thursday.
Details: U.S. intelligence officers have discovered that Russia has devised plans for an offensive involving 175,000 troops. Ukraine has solely barely extra troops in its whole navy. It is outgunned on land, at sea and within the air.
Uneven progress for girls in Saudi Arabia
Since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman turned the de facto chief of Saudi Arabia greater than 4 years in the past, Saudi ladies have had extra decisions concerning employment, which public areas they might entry and even the colour of their abayas, conventional Muslim ladies’s robes.
The adjustments are a part of Prince Mohammed’s broad modernization plan, known as Vision 2030, which is supposed to wean the dominion away from its historic reliance on oil and shift it towards new industries, together with expertise, prescription drugs and tourism.
But progress has been uneven. The ongoing guardianship system signifies that ladies should get permission from males — typically their fathers or husbands, however generally their sons — to marry and make key selections. Women’s apparel remains to be removed from liberal. And, total, the tradition stays deeply conservative.
THE LATEST NEWS
Around the World
In Pittsburgh, Memphis and Los Angeles, big billboards proclaim, “Birds Aren’t Real.” On Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, Birds Aren’t Real accounts have garnered tons of of 1000’s of followers.
The Gen Z-fueled conspiracy principle posits that birds don’t exist and that they’re actually drone replicas put in by the U.S. authorities to spy on Americans. But what’s it actually about?
ARTS AND IDEAS
Best-of lists, simplified
The onslaught of best-of lists in December will be overwhelming. Consider this a information to the guides.
For music nerds, Pitchfork unveiled its annual checklist of finest songs. It pairs effectively with The Times’s wide-ranging picks for finest albums of the 12 months — or our personal tackle the most effective songs. Each of our pop music critics made lists, and two albums overlapped on all of them: Tyler, the Creator’s “Call Me if You Get Lost” and “Sour” from Olivia Rodrigo.