Your Monday Briefing

Watching Xi Jinping last week, in Shanghai.Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Xi Jinping rewrites China’s past

Xi Jinping, China’s leader, will most likely take center stage in a new official summation of Communist Party history. The document is likely to exalt the leader as a peer of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping before his expected re-election at a party congress late next year.

The summation is sure to become the focus of an intense indoctrination campaign — in schools, films and television shows and via censorship laws — that will shape China’s politics and society for decades. It will also insulate Xi from criticism and give his policies the gravitas of destiny.

Mao led the country to stand up against oppression, Deng brought prosperity, and now Xi is propelling the nation into a new era of national strength, the epoch-defining summary reads. It devotes over a quarter of its 531 pages to his nine years in power, just a fraction of the party’s 100-year history. No Chinese leader in recent times has been more fixated than Xi on history and legacy.

Quotable: “This is about creating a new timescape for China around the Communist Party and Xi in which he is riding the wave of the past toward the future,” said Geremie Barmé, a historian of China. “It is not really a resolution about past history, but a resolution about future leadership.”

Fully vaccinated travelers from abroad can return to the U.S. starting today.Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

U.S. lifts restrictions for vaccinated travelers

Airports across the U.S. today are anticipating being filled with people reuniting with loved ones who have been prohibited from traveling directly to the country for more than a year and half.

Travelers from 33 countries, including E.U. member states, were barred from the U.S. early in the pandemic. Under the new rules, travelers must show proof of full vaccination against the coronavirus and a negative test taken within three calendar days of travel. Unvaccinated Americans and children must test negative within 24 hours of travel.

Within the U.S., many Americans seem stuck in a pandemic hangover of pessimism. More than 60 percent of voters in opinion surveys say that the country is heading in the wrong direction. The Biden administration’s sweeping new coronavirus vaccine mandates face new legal challenges, with opponents arguing that the requirements are unconstitutional.

From Opinion: Why do more men die of Covid-19?

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

  • Japan will shorten its mandatory quarantine from 10 days to three for vaccinated business travelers.

  • Austria is tightening the rules of a national vaccine pass program today, in an effort to stem a surge. Pediatricians in Vienna, the capital, will start vaccinating children as young as 5, without official E.U. approval.

A priest and a parishioner during confession in Paris.Credit…Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

A sacrament used to cover up abuse

A devastating church-ordered report issued by an independent commission on sexual abuse inside the French Catholic Church found that the sacrament of confession itself, in rare instances, had been used to cover up abuse cases.

The absolute secrecy of confession is central to the Roman Catholic faith. What is said in confession is between a penitent and God, with the priest a mediator. Any priest who breaks that seal can face excommunication under church laws that the Vatican places above all others. The issue has vexed attempts to address the sexual abuse cases that have roiled the church.

Some victims in France wishing to report past abuses or expose active abusive priests were told to speak about it during confession, effectively suppressing their revelations and turning the sacrament into a “weapon of silence,” said Laëtitia Atlani-Duault, a member of the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church.

Response: After the release of the report, Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, the archbishop of Reims, reaffirmed the Vatican’s position, declaring church law “superior” to the laws of the country. The comment drew a sharp rebuke from the French government, resulting in an apology from the archbishop for his “clumsy” wording.


Around the World

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times
  • After Afghanistan fell to the Taliban, the Marines guarding Kabul’s airport had to decide who could leave and who would stay behind. Those frantic final days still weigh on them.

  • After eight people died at a concert in Houston on Friday, officials are investigating what led to a crowd surge.

  • Daniel Ortega, the leader of Nicaragua, quashed the opposition, all but assuring victory in a presidential contest on Sunday and signaling the country’s descent into autocratic rule.

  • Thousands of protesters gathered in the rain at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow to press the case for more action by world leaders in response to global warming.

What Else Is Happening

  • Peres Jepchirchir, a Kenyan runner who won gold at the Tokyo Olympics, took first at the New York City Marathon in the women’s division. Albert Korir, also from Kenya, won the men’s race.

  • The island of Guam has about 30,000 stray dogs, one for every six residents. Its only dogcatcher is waging a lonely war against the rabid, vicious population.

A Morning Read

Credit…Illustration by Igor Bastidas

The story of how sushi was popularized in the U.S. involves a round-faced messiah, a controversial religion and millions of kilograms of Japanese fish.


Brothers Alex and Zach Frankel at Frankel’s, their deli in Brooklyn, in 2015.Credit…Caitlin Ochs for The New York Times

The rise of the designer deli

Nothing says “New York” like a shabby shop that sells lox and bagels. But as the city’s delicatessens were threatened with extinction, a new species of simulacra has been unleashed, Karrie Jacobs reports for The Times.

New York was once a checkerboard of Jewish neighborhoods, each with at least one kosher deli faithfully upholding Orthodox dietary strictures. In the 1930s, there were upward of 1,500 of these delis; in recent decades, demographic changes and a focus on healthier eating saw their number dwindle to the 10s.

The last of the authentic places — including Katz’s Delicatessen and Russ & Daughters, above — have been joined by modern homages, offering “greatest hits” versions of deli food, Jewish and otherwise. The bagels are hand-rolled, but you can get them with bacon.

What is the source of Jewish deli cuisine’s new allure? One historian points at the Amazon show “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” whose engaging fantasy about Jewish New York may offer a substitute for the now-tarnished Woody Allen version. For others, the delis are an opportunity to celebrate the cranky, cerebral, irreverent Jewish culture that was once a dominant feature of the city’s character — albeit through deft branding.

Read more about revisionist delis.


What to Cook

Credit…Michael Graydon & Nikole Herriott for The New York Times. Prop Stylist: Amy Elise Wilson.

This is the ultimate sweet-and-salty squash recipe.

What to Watch

From “House of Gucci” to franchise updates like “The Matrix Resurrections,” here’s a guide to the upcoming movie season.

What to Read

A new biography of Angela Merkel and a pandemic-era novel are among the 13 new books we recommend this week.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Like the morning after an all-night party (five letters).

And here is the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Natasha

P.S. The Times reporter Edgar Sandoval was honored by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists for excellence in journalism. Read his winning piece.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about the trial of a U.S. teenager accused of shooting and killing two people during protests in Kenosha, Wis., last year.

You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

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