Your Monday Briefing

The U.S. lags on vaccines.


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Good morning. We’re covering 9/11 commemorations, G7 vaccination rates and the unexpected stars of the U.S. Open.


People rest after receiving their first dose of the Moderna vaccine in Tokyo.Credit…Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press

The U.S. falls behind

The country ranks last among the Group of 7 nations for the percentage of its population that has received at least one dose.

The turning point came on Thursday, when Our World in Data, a project by the University of Oxford in England, reported that 62.16 percent of Japanese people were at least partially vaccinated, compared to 61.94 percent of Americans.

The United States, which had early access to vaccines, retains a slightly larger percentage of fully vaccinated people compared to Japan. But that lead is all but certain to close as Japan’s vaccination rate accelerates.

Details: Between July 24 and Sept. 9, Japan lifted its full vaccination rate by 25 percent, a jump that doubled the size of its fully vaccinated population. During the same period, the full vaccination rate in the U.S. grew by around 4 percent.

Japan: Using vaccines made by Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca, Japan is administering more than a million doses per day. That’s about 300,000 doses above the U.S. average, even though the American population is more than 2.6 times the size of Japan’s.

U.S.: On Thursday, President Biden ordered sweeping vaccine mandates for around 100 million federal employees, health care workers and many other private-sector workers. Despite a backlash from Republicans, agencies that required vaccines before Biden’s push are seeing early successes.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the coronavirus pandemic.

In other developments:

Denmark lifted the last of its remaining coronavirus restrictions.

Berlin cautiously reopened its revered dance clubs.

The C.D.C. reported that unvaccinated Americans are 11 times more likely to die if infected with Covid-19.

Leaders in Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Hong Kong recently announced they would begin easing restrictions in the coming months, even as cases have risen in some areas.


Jason Gibbs, whose father is a firefighter, carried an American flag and a New York Fire Department flag near the Freedom Tower on Saturday.Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

9/11 and its aftermath

In the U.S., the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks rang out with solemn remembrance.

President Biden, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton all attended the name-reading ceremony in Lower Manhattan, where the twin towers once stood. George W. Bush spoke at a memorial near Shanksville, Pa., where United Flight 93 crashed to the ground.

In Afghanistan, Taliban rule is quickly reshaping life.

In Kabul, several hundred women wore head-to-toe burqas at a pro-Taliban demonstration. And Afghan journalists have been beaten and physically assaulted, even though the Taliban has promised to respect press freedoms.

Drone strike: The Times obtained exclusive security camera footage and witness accounts to show how the U.S. military launched a drone strike that killed 10 people in Kabul on Aug. 29 without knowing whom it was hitting.

Diplomacy: The U.N. faces a crisis when it convenes its annual General Assembly this coming week: Who is the rightful representative of Afghanistan?

Legacy: Across the world, the war on terror grinds on, largely in the shadows and out of the headlines. And teenagers across the world told The Times how they learned about the attacks in school.


Emma Raducanu clutched her trophy.Credit…Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

A surprise U.S. Open victory

On Saturday, Emma Raducanu of Britain won the U.S. Open women’s singles title, defeating Leylah Fernandez of Canada. The two teenagers — known only to the most faithful of tennis fans two weeks ago — fought to the bitter end, as fans in New York chanted their names.

Raducanu, 18, ranked 150th in the world, became the first player to win a Grand Slam title after surviving the qualifying tournament. She won with a straight-sets victory.

And Fernandez, who turned 19 this week and is ranked 73rd, was until a few days ago known as little more than a scrappy, undersized battler.

“Every single player in the women’s draw has a shot at winning any tournament,” Raducanu said.

Men: Novak Djokovic is one match away from completing the Grand Slam in men’s singles for the first time since 1969. He must beat Daniil Medvedev. Here’s how to watch the men’s final, which began after 4 a.m. Monday in Hong Kong. Follow live updates here.


European News


“Your country is a place in which people from other populations have long lived together,” Pope Francis told Hungarian bishops.Credit…Akos Stiller for The New York Times

In Hungary, Pope Francis urged bishops to embrace diversity and appealed to Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the country’s hard-right, anti-migrant leader.

Armin Laschet, the chancellor candidate for Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party, is flagging in the polls in the final days before the German election.

Germany is investigating Russia over pre-election hacking attempts aimed at lawmakers.

France will offer free contraceptives for women up to the age of 25.

Workers at a British golf course found a waterlogged coffin containing the remains of a man who archaeologists said was buried about 4,000 years ago.

U.S. News

The Justice Department sued Texas over its new restrictive abortion law, which Attorney General Merrick Garland called “clearly unconstitutional.”

U.S. forces were training the local soldiers in the West African nation of Guinea when their charges peeled away and mounted a coup.

A Times investigation found that understaffed nursing homes have often used antipsychotic medications to sedate vulnerable residents.

What Else Is Happening

Najib Mikati, a billionaire telecommunications tycoon, became the prime minister of Lebanon on Friday.

The Israeli police said on Saturday that they had captured four of the six Palestinian fugitives who escaped a maximum-security prison last week.

A Morning Read


Lady Gaga arrived at the 2019 Met Gala in a swirl of pink.Credit…Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

On Monday evening, New York City will host The Met Gala, a fashion spectacle whose theme this year is In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” To counterprogram, the Times Style section sent 10 photographers across the United States, looking for the country’s common language of fashion.

Understand the Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan

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Who are the Taliban? The Taliban arose in 1994 amid the turmoil that came after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989. They used brutal public punishments, including floggings, amputations and mass executions, to enforce their rules. Here’s more on their origin story and their record as rulers.

Who are the Taliban leaders? These are the top leaders of the Taliban, men who have spent years on the run, in hiding, in jail and dodging American drones. Little is known about them or how they plan to govern, including whether they will be as tolerant as they claim to be. One spokesman told The Times that the group wanted to forget its past, but that there would be some restrictions.

How did the Taliban gain control? See how the Taliban retook power in Afghanistan in a few months, and read about how their strategy enabled them to do so.

What happens to the women of Afghanistan? The last time the Taliban were in power, they barred women and girls from taking most jobs or going to school. Afghan women have made many gains since the Taliban were toppled, but now they fear that ground may be lost. Taliban officials are trying to reassure women that things will be different, but there are signs that, at least in some areas, they have begun to reimpose the old order.

What does their victory mean for terrorist groups? The United States invaded Afghanistan 20 years ago in response to terrorism, and many worry that Al Qaeda and other radical groups will again find safe haven there. On Aug. 26, deadly explosions outside Afghanistan’s main airport claimed by the Islamic State demonstrated that terrorists remain a threat.

How will this affect future U.S. policy in the region? Washington and the Taliban may spend years pulled between cooperation and conflict, Some of the key issues at hand include: how to cooperate against a mutual enemy, the Islamic State branch in the region, known as ISIS-K, and whether the U.S. should release $9.4 billion in Afghan government currency reserves that are frozen in the country.



Three elderly passengers ride in a nine-cent taxi from downtown Seocheon-gun to their homes.Credit…Jean Chung for The New York Times

South Korea’s 9-Cent Taxis

In 2013, Seocheon County faced a crisis. As its population declined, so did the number of bus passengers. Unprofitable routes got canceled, stranding those in remote hamlets who did not own cars.

The county’s solution? The 100-won taxi, officially known as the “Taxi of Hope.” (The same taxi rides once cost between 10,000 to 25,000 won.) Anyone whose hamlet is more than 700 meters from a bus stop can call one, and the county picks up the rest of the fare.

Government officials say it is far more cost-effective than deploying subsidized buses to the tiny hamlets. Seocheon spent $147,000 last year to subsidize rides for nearly 40,000 passengers, most of whom were elderly. Drivers welcome the extra money, too.

And it gives the older residents real independence. Across rural South Korea, more than 2.7 million passengers used similar taxi services last year. Since the 100-won taxi was introduced, people in remote villages have traveled outside twice as often, according to a government survey.


What to Cook


Credit…Ryan Liebe for The New York Times

If you can fry an egg, then you can make egg rice. Here’s a recipe for gyeran bap, a South Korean dish, to get you started.

What to Read (Aloud)

Modern children’s book authors are upending fairy tales, combining familiar character tropes into strange configurations.

What to Smell

Incense, once used to measure the time, takes on new meaning after a year when so many people lost their sense of smell. Here’s a guide to different scents.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.

And here is today’s Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Amelia

P.S. Ellen Pollock, The Times’s Business editor, received the Gerald Loeb lifetime achievement award.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is on conspiratorial thinking after Sept. 11.

You can reach Amelia and the team at

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