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Your Tuesday Briefing: China Limits Olympic Spectators

We’re protecting dashed hopes for Olympic spectators in Beijing and China’s start charge problem.

China had already barred international spectators from attending the Winter Video games that start in Beijing on Feb. 4. On Monday, it introduced that the majority Chinese language folks gained’t be capable of attend both.

Citing the evolving risk from the coronavirus pandemic, the Beijing 2022 organizing committee introduced that it was ending public ticket sales “to make sure the protection of all contributors and spectators.”

The choice got here lower than two days after well being authorities reported Beijing’s first case of the Omicron variant and ordered a right away lockdown and mass testing in one of many capital’s neighborhoods. The outbreak, although to date restricted, pierced the extraordinary efforts to isolate Beijing, together with a ban on journey into town.

By final week, greater than 20 million folks have been confined of their properties in cities round China, together with Tianjin, a port metropolis simply 70 miles east of Beijing.

The plan: With out providing many particulars, organizers mentioned that they had created an “tailored program” to permit some spectators.

Listed here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In different developments:

China introduced on Monday that its birthrate plummeted for a fifth straight yr in 2021.

The falling birthrate, coupled with the elevated life expectancy in China over the past 4 many years, means the variety of folks of working age, relative to the rising variety of folks too outdated to work, has continued to say no.

The population could soon begin to contract, one thing that might be laborious to reverse and will end in labor shortages. The scenario is creating an enormous political downside for Beijing, which is already going through financial headwinds: Progress within the final quarter of the yr slowed to 4 percent.

Context: The Chinese language Communist Social gathering has loosened its infamous “one youngster” coverage and provided incentives to younger households. However the modifications got here as social and financial situations improved for girls, who’ve turn into much less more likely to need youngsters.

Particulars: Births fell to 10.6 million in 2021, in contrast with 12 million the yr earlier than. That was fewer even than the quantity in 1961, when Mao’s Nice Leap Ahead resulted in widespread famine and dying.

Investigators are trying into whether or not the story of a lady jailed in Texas may have motivated the British attacker who stormed a synagogue on Saturday and took 4 folks hostage.

Aafia Siddiqui, a neuroscientist educated at M.I.T., was convicted in 2010 for “terroristic occasions” in Afghanistan. She was accused of attempting to kill American troopers and plotting a mass casualty assault. Since then, her case has been used as a pretext for different terrorist assaults.

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, from Blackburn in northwestern England, was killed after an 11-hour standoff with regulation enforcement officers on the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, close to Fort Value, in response to the F.B.I.

After one hostage was launched, the rabbi, Charlie Cytron-Walker, and two remaining hostages escaped by throwing a chair on the gunman after which fleeing, Rabbi Cytron-Walker told The Times. The rabbi additionally confirmed that Siddiqui was Akram’s sole focus.

Our reporters contacted Akram’s brother Gulbar Akram, who described him in a phone interview as a deeply troubled man.

Asia Pacific

Namibia’s Skeleton Coast is sometimes called the top of the Earth: An arid desert, the planet’s oldest, that dead-ends into the Atlantic Ocean. Its historical past — stuffed with shipwrecks and Twentieth-century diamond rushes — drew our writer. The journey was “an odd and delightful reminder that we people are powerless in opposition to time, and that in a battle between man and nature, nature at all times wins.”

Yearly or so, the library within the {photograph} above — with stacks of books piled excessive and buttery lamplight aglow — resurfaces on the web. It’s usually (erroneously) attributed to the writer Umberto Eco, or mentioned to be in Italy or Prague.

In reality, Kate Dwyer reports for The Times, the library is just not in Europe. It doesn’t even exist anymore. However when it did, it was the house library of the Johns Hopkins professor Dr. Richard Macksey — a guide collector, polyglot and scholar of comparative literature who died in 2019. His guide assortment clocked in at 51,000 titles, some 35,000 of which finally made their means into the college’s libraries.

Why do folks love this picture a lot? Ingrid Fetell Lee, the writer of the weblog the Aesthetics of Pleasure, pointed on the photograph’s sense of plenitude: “There’s one thing in regards to the sensorial abundance of seeing numerous one thing that provides us just a little thrill,” she mentioned.

And what would Dr. Macksey assume, if he knew his library had taken on a lifetime of its personal? “My dad appreciated nothing higher than sharing his love of books and literature with others,” his son, Alan Macksey, mentioned. “He’d be delighted that his library lives on by means of this photograph.”

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