Your Wednesday Briefing

Biden knocks China and Russia.


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We’re covering Biden’s jab at Russia and China at the climate summit in Glasgow and Ethiopia’s state of emergency.


“By showing up, we’ve had a profound impact,” President Biden said at the climate summit in Glasgow. Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

COP26: Biden rebukes Russia and China

On Day 2 of the climate summit in Scotland, President Biden said the two nations’ leaders were wrong not to join more than 100 world leaders looking for solutions to the climate crisis. We have live updates here.

“I think it’s been a big mistake for China” not to show up at the conference, he said. “It just is a gigantic issue and they walked away,” Biden said.

Of Putin, he said, “Literally, his tundra is burning.”

World leaders promised to curb methane emissions and end deforestation by 2030. At the same time, though, the most important goals remain elusive.

Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, can warm the atmosphere 80 times as fast as carbon dioxide in the short term. More than 90 countries agreed to limit it.

Russia and China, despite abstaining from the methane pact, joined Brazil and more than 100 countries in pledging to end deforestation in the coming nine years. The pact encompasses about 85 percent of the world’s forests.

Analysis: Although the two agreements are potentially big wins in the battle against climate change, leaders failed to secure aggressive commitments to reach net-zero carbon emissions globally, and slow the rising temperatures that have led to lethal fires, floods and more.


An exhibit celebrating 100 years of the Chinese Communist Party at the National Art Museum in Beijing.Credit…Gilles Sabrie for The New York Times

Mocking heroes can lead to jail time in China

A young woman in Beijing posted online about the toxic masculinity of those who idolized Dong Cunrui, a textbook war hero for the Communist Party. She was sentenced to seven months in prison under an amended criminal code that punishes slander of China’s martyrs and heroes.

Since it went into effect in March, the statute has been enforced with zeal. It has been used at least 15 times to punish people who slight party history.

Dissent has long been policed in China, but this new law goes beyond previous restrictions. It has criminalized topics that were once subjects of historical debate and research, including Mao Zedong’s rule.

Context: The new law is part of an intensified campaign under China’s leader, Xi Jinping, who is seeking to solidify a moral foundation for the Communist Party’s supremacy.

Risky questions: Was Mao’s Long March really not so long? Was Mao’s son, Mao Anying, killed by an American airstrike during the Korean War because he lit a stove to make fried rice? Asking those questions could lead to arrest and prosecution.

Quotable: “It is a sign of the establishment of an absolute political totalitarianism,” said Wu Qiang, an outspoken political analyst in Beijing.


Tigrayan soldiers outside Mekelle in June.Credit…Finbarr O’Reilly for The New York Times

Ethiopia calls on citizens to defend the capital

After Tigrayan rebel forces captured two crucial towns about 160 miles from Addis Ababa, the government declared a state of emergency and called on citizens to pick up arms.

The Tigrayans, who have been fighting the government for the past year, have joined forces with another rebel group. The Ethiopian military suffered a major defeat when it was forced to withdraw from Tigray in June. Now the war is rapidly moving toward the capital.

Under the state of emergency, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has sweeping powers to arrest and detain critics, impose curfews and restrict the media. Any citizen over 18 could be called into the fight, the justice minister said.

What’s next: Jeffrey Feltman, the Biden administration’s envoy to the Horn of Africa, said the deepening conflict could have “disastrous consequences” for Ethiopia’s unity and its ties to the U.S.

U.S. sanctions: President Biden said that he would revoke trade privileges to Ethiopia, citing “gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”


Asia Pacific


A boy, injured during the blast, at the entrance to a hospital in Kabul on Tuesday.Credit…Zohra Bensemra/Reuters

At least 25 people were killed and more than a dozen wounded during an attack on a military hospital in the Afghan capital of Kabul.

A cryptocurrency inspired by “Squid Game” plunged to nearly zero in a few short hours of trading, leaving millions of dollars in losses for investors.

Coronavirus Pandemic


A cemetery outside Moscow last month.Credit…Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press

Russia recorded its highest number of daily Covid deaths, 1,178 on Tuesday.

China urged families to stock up on daily necessities for winter as stringent restrictions are put in place.

The end of the U.S. ban on international visitors on Nov. 8 has kicked off a surge in travel. Here’s what to expect.

Other Big Stories


Facebook is ending a feature launched in 2010 that automatically identifies people in digital photos. Credit…Noah Berger/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Facebook announced it would shutter its facial recognition system — including the suggested photo-tagging feature — and delete more than one billion people’s face prints. Our correspondent Kashmir Hill called it “the end of an era.”

Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, said that the company had not yet signed a contract to sell Hertz 100,000 of its cars. The deal, which was announced last week, had sent stocks surging.

Voters in the U.S. are choosing candidates to fill governor and mayor posts across the country, but the tight Virginia governor’s race is drawing the most attention.

In its first major antitrust lawsuit, the Biden administration sued to stop the publishing giant Penguin Random House from acquiring its rival Simon & Schuster.

A Morning Read


In the first nine months of 2021, the Gaza City police issued 448 arrest warrants for indebted bridegrooms. Credit…Hosam Salem for The New York Times

A large wedding is an important rite of passage for many Palestinian men, who take out wedding loans, often worth about $2,000, or nearly an average annual salary in Gaza. We followed Wasfi al-Garosha, who ended up in prison more than a dozen times for failing to repay a wedding loan. His story is emblematic of the economic crisis in the area, and the stresses of life in the Gaza Strip.



Backstage at the Metropolitan Opera.Credit…Todd Heisler/The New York Times

A six-hour opera epic

Cultural institutions have been trying to lure audiences back with shorter shows. Not the Metropolitan Opera.

The Met is staging the longest opera in its repertory, Wagner’s nearly six-hour “Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg,” about love and music-making in medieval Germany. The show includes more than 400 artists and stagehands, breakneck set changes, fight scenes and two 40-minute intermissions. “There’s always room for epics,” Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, told The Times. “There is always an appeal for huge events.”

For now, the audience has been slow to turn out. On opening night last week, a little more than half of the auditorium’s 3,700 seats were filled. On Saturday, about two-thirds of the seats were full.


What to Cook


Credit…Julia Gartland for The New York Times

These Korean barbecue-style meatballs are savory and sweet.

What to Read

In “1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows,” the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei writes about family, exile and the inseparable nature of art and politics.

What to Watch

“The Tomorrow War,” a mega-budget time-travel extravaganza is among the five science-fiction movies to stream now.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Broadway’s “___ Boots” (five letters).

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. — Melina

P.S. Emma Goldberg will cover the future of work in our Business section.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about inflation in the U.S.

You can reach Melina and the team at

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