Your Friday Briefing

We’re covering a deadline for U.S. workers to get their Covid-19 vaccines and a climate deal to end the use of coal.

Getting a vaccine in Anchorage, Alaska.Credit…Ash Adams for The New York Times

U.S. workers must be vaccinated by January

The Biden administration on Thursday set a deadline of Jan. 4 for large companies to ensure that their workforces are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The vaccine requirement will cover 84 million private sector workers.

The plan requires all businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccination. Workers who refuse must undergo weekly testing and wear masks.

U.S. officials also unveiled new emergency rules for health care workers, requiring 17 million of them who received Medicare or Medicaid funding to get vaccinated by the same date.

Some major companies including Tyson Foods — which now has a 96 percent vaccination rate — and United Airlines were quick to embrace the mandates, but others have held off.

Biden has imposed vaccine requirements on federal workers, but the new rule covering employees of all large private businesses is a more dramatic use of his executive power.

The numbers: Seventy percent of adults in the U.S. are now fully vaccinated. Some experts have estimated that 90 percent or more of the total population — adults and children — would need to be fully vaccinated for the U.S. to reach herd immunity.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

  • The U.K. issued its first approval for an antiviral pill to treat Covid, Merck’s molnupiravir.

  • Europe is again experiencing near-record levels of coronavirus infections.

  • Hundreds of thousands of people traveled around India this week for Diwali. Health experts worry it could seed a major outbreak.

Mining in Jharkhand state, India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised net-zero emissions by 2070, later than other nations.Credit…Altaf Qadri/Associated Press

Over 40 countries agree to quit coal

The major deal announced at the climate summit in Glasgow on Thursday included 23 countries that are promising to stop building and issuing permits for new coal plants for the first time.

But the U.S., China, India and Australia — all major coal producers or consumers — were not part of the pact. Observers in Glasgow said they were disappointed in the absence of the U.S. from the sweeping pledge to phase out the use of coal. The decision appeared to be driven by U.S. domestic politics.

Among those countries that did sign on, however, are five of the world’s top 20 power-generating countries: Poland, Indonesia, South Korea, Vietnam and Ukraine.

The Biden administration did join a pledge to end financing for unabated oil and gas, as well as coal, in other countries by the end of next year. That move will steer public financing away from fossil fuels.

Quotable: Alok Sharma, the British politician who heads the COP26 conference, declared that “the end of coal is in sight.”

Few details: The promise to phase out coal, which is the single biggest source of planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions worldwide, was short on specifics and offered leeway in phaseout dates. Future presidents could also reverse the progress.

New Ethiopian military recruits in Addis Ababa on Thursday.Credit…EPA, via Shutterstock

Fear spreads across Ethiopia’s capital

Authorities in Addis Ababa accelerated their crackdown against ethnic Tigrayans, who are accused of sympathizing with the rebels pressing toward the city.

The U.S. diplomat Jeffrey Feltman landed in the capital for talks with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed with the backing of regional African leaders, who are alarmed about a possible all-out collapse in Ethiopia.

Door-to-door searches and arrests targeted Tigrayans, who are from the same ethnic group as the fighters who have battled Ethiopian government forces the past year, raising concerns of bursts of ethnic violence.

The fighting seemed to be spreading. A Tigray People’s Liberation Front leader said the group’s fighters had reached a town about 120 miles northeast of Addis Ababa, where they were locked in battle with Ethiopian forces.

The government teeters: Abiy, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, now finds his very future as leader in doubt. Facebook deleted an inflammatory message that he posted urging citizens to take up arms and “bury” approaching rebel forces.


Around the World

Members of a pro-Russia unit in Donetsk, Ukraine, in 2014.Credit…Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times
  • One of the most comprehensive studies to date of weaponry in the war in Ukraine shows that Russia has been systematically fanning the conflict with arms shipments.

  • Facing anger over corruption and collapsing services, South Africa’s African National Congress suffered its worst election showing since coming to power in 1994.

  • OPEC and Russia shook off pressure from the U.S. and decided to stick with their plan to raise oil production by a modest 400,000 barrels a day.

  • President Biden rejected a proposal to compensate migrant families affected by the Trump administration’s border separation policy, saying, “That’s not going to happen.”

  • Britain and France are feuding over fishing rights off the island of Jersey, but the root causes of the dispute run deeper and have to do with Brexit. Our reporters took a closer look.

  • Israel passed its first budget in more than three years, a sign the country may be headed for a period of more political stability.

Asia Pacific

Forests cleared for oil palm plantations in Subulussalam, Indonesia, in 2019.Credit…Hotli Simanjuntak/EPA, via Shutterstock
  • After Indonesia signed a global pledge to end deforestation by 2030, the country’s environment minister backtracked and dismissed the pact as “inappropriate and unfair.”

  • The Australian police charged a man over the abduction of Cleo Smith, a 4-year-old girl who was found after an 18-day search that had transfixed the country.

A Morning Read

Protesters in Trieste, Italy, in October.Credit…Borut Zivulovic/Reuters

Trieste was the center of anti-vaccine protests in Italy last month. Two weeks later, the city is a Covid hot spot, with an outbreak among mostly unvaccinated people that is threatening to burden intensive care units. The region’s president, Massimiliano Fedriga, said, “It is the moment to say with clarity: Enough idiocy.”


Ruth Negga in “Passing.” Credit…Netflix

Like it’s the 1930s

This movie season, black-and-white films are everywhere. Kyle Buchanan spoke with the cinematographers behind three major monochromatic features to examine the trend.

A new spin on Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” is not only leached of color, but also shot in a claustrophobic aspect ratio rarely used since the 1950s. “It’s meant to bring theatricality, and to lose temporality,” the cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel said.

The technique can also have a narrative purpose, as it does in “Passing,” which follows two light-skinned Black women, one of whom has been passing for white. In a scene where the friends are reunited, the movie’s cinematographer, Eduard Grau, flooded the shots with light. “We didn’t want to clearly show to the audience at first whether our characters were white or Black or mixed-race,” Grau said.

One of the strengths of black-and-white “is not to tell you how a person or place looks, but how they feel,” said Haris Zambarloukos, the cinematographer for “Belfast,” a film about a boy in Northern Ireland during the 1960s. “It has a transcendental quality to be of the past and the present. It’s realistic, but it has a certain magical sense to it as well.”


What to Cook

Credit…Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

This savory couscous cake is versatile — use whatever herbs, cheeses or spices you have.


People had strange dreams during the pandemic. What did they teach us?

What to Read

Scottie Pippen’s new memoir takes aim at Michael Jordan.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Flip on its head (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. Raja Abdulrahim is joining our Jerusalem bureau to write about Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, with a special focus on Palestinian affairs.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about a rough election night for Democrats.

Sanam Yar wrote the Arts and Ideas section. You can reach Melina and the team at

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