Friday, October 15, 2021
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Your Monday Briefing

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

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:


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.

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

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.

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.

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