The New York Times – Gaia Pianigiani / Wildfires ravage Sardinia in ‘a disaster without precedent’
- About 1,000 residents and tourists have been evacuated from areas of western Sardinia that were ravaged by wildfires over the weekend, with forests, pastures and villages on the Italian island engulfed in flames.
- No deaths or injuries have been reported, the Italian authorities said. But the fires were still raging on Monday, when four firefighting planes from France and Greece joined the Italian firefighters’ air fleet to help control the blaze.
- Since early Saturday, when the wildfires started near a forest by the village of Bonacardo, at least 50,000 acres of land have gone up in flames. Hundreds of sheep, goats, cows and pigs died after being trapped in barns at farms in the fires’ path, despite emergency workers’ efforts to save them.
- Flames ran through hectares of cork and holm oak forests that are native to the region. A thousand-year old olive tree that was the symbol of the hilltop village of Cuglieri was destroyed by the fire.
- Euractiv / Southern Europe battles wildfires as north cleans up after floods
- The Guardian – Fiona Harvey / Flash floods will be more common as climate crisis worsens, say scientists
Politico – Stuart Lau / Beijing thrusts long lists of demands at Biden administration
- China shows no sign of toning down the harsh rhetoric with the U.S. during the visit of Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who on Monday held “frank and open” talks with Foreign Minister Wang Yi and one of his deputies in the Chinese city of Tianjin.
- Underscoring an increasingly adversarial relationship between the world’s two richest superpowers, Chinese officials accused the U.S. of “coercive diplomacy,” questioned the moral high ground with which the U.S. has mustered a coalition of international partners against it.
- They also presented Sherman with two lists of action — the lists included revoking sanctions on Communist Party officials, lifting visa bans for students, making life easier for state-affiliated journalists and reopening the door for Confucius Institutes — in the hope that Washington will follow through.
- Sherman raised several human rights issues with Wang, according to Price. Those included Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet, as well as “concerns about Beijing’s conduct in cyberspace; across the Taiwan Strait; and in the East and South China Seas.”
- South China Morning Post – Sarah Zheng and Catherine Wong / China’s new envoy Qin Gang goes to Washington after Sherman talks
Project Syndicate – Josep Borrell and Paolo Gentiloni / A big step forward for global tax justice
- Multilateralism has been on the defensive in recent years. In a global setting that is more multipolar than multilateral, competition between states seems to prevail over cooperation nowadays.
- However, the recent global agreement to reform international corporate taxation is welcome proof that multilateralism is not dead. But it is not healthy, either.
- While globalization has continued during the COVID-19 pandemic – albeit more unevenly than before and despite people’s feelings of increased isolation – interdependence is ever more conflictual.
- Even soft power is being weaponized, with vaccines, data, and technology standards all becoming instruments of political competition. The world is also becoming less free.
- The Washington Post – David J. Lynch / From ports to rail yards, global supply lines struggle amid virus outbreaks in the developing world
The Atlantic – Katherine J. Wu / Your vaccinated immune system is ready for breakthroughs
- A new dichotomy has begun dogging the pandemic discourse. With the rise of the über-transmissible Delta variant, experts are saying you’re either going to get vaccinated, or going to get the coronavirus.
- For some people—a decent number of us, actually—it’s going to be both. Coronavirus infections are happening among vaccinated people. They’re going to keep happening as long as the virus is with us, and we’re nowhere close to beating it.
- When a virus has so thoroughly infiltrated the human population, post-vaccination infections become an arithmetic inevitability. As much as we’d like to think otherwise, being vaccinated does not mean being done with SARS-CoV-2.
- Post-vaccination infections, or breakthroughs, might occasionally turn symptomatic, but they aren’t shameful or aberrant. They also aren’t proof that the shots are failing. These cases are, on average, gentler and less symptomatic; faster-resolving, with less virus lingering—and, it appears, less likely to pass the pathogen on.
- France 24 / World Bank to finance extra Covid jabs for poorer nations
Today’s further reads:
- Foreign Policy – Parker Bolstad and Jordy Lee / Energy independence doesn’t mean what it used to
- Financial Times – Emiko Terazono / What growing avocados in Sicily tells us about climate change and the future of food