Your Tuesday Briefing

We’re covering U.S. borders reopening to foreigners and divided views on progress at COP26.

Airline employees at Heathrow Airport in London welcomed travelers heading to the U.S. on Monday.Credit…Alex Ingram for The New York Times

U.S. borders open to fully vaccinated foreigners

The U.S. reopened its borders for fully vaccinated travelers from dozens of countries on Monday, ending 18 months of restrictions on international travel.

Emotional scenes and reunions played out at airports across the country, like in Miami, where a woman from Brazil met her newborn grandchild at the airport. In San Diego, a traveler from Mexico arrived for medical treatment.

Fully vaccinated travelers will be allowed to enter the U.S. if they can show proof of vaccination and a negative virus test taken within three days of travel. Unvaccinated Americans and children are exempt, but must take a test within one day of travel.

Data: The loss in visitor spending amounted to nearly $300 billion, and more than one million American jobs were lost. The U.S. Travel Association does not expect international inbound travel to recover to 2019 levels until at least 2024.

The basics: Here’s what you need to know.

U.K.: Thousands flocked to Heathrow Airport in London on Monday for the first flights to America. Airline employees were dressed in Elvis costumes and waved flags. The mood was jubilant.

Changes: Some countries are restricted by the new rules. Russia was not one of the 33 countries under the old ban, but the country’s Sputnik V vaccine is not on the list of accepted vaccines for entry. So the door to the U.S. shut for many Russians on Monday.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

  • Auckland, New Zealand, will relax many virus restrictions nearly 12 weeks into its lockdown.

  • In Romania, which now has the world’s highest Covid-19 death rate, doctors are fighting vaccine refusal.

  • In the U.S., the partisan gap in Covid’s death toll has grown faster over the past month than at any previous point.

  • Northern Ireland’s health minister is suing Van Morrison over Covid criticism.

Former President Barack Obama in Glasgow on Monday.Credit…Paul Ellis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Obama adds urgency to COP26

Barack Obama, who helped to seal the Paris climate agreement six years ago, returned to an international climate summit to rally nations to heal the planet.

“To be honest with ourselves, yes, this is going to be really hard,” Obama said. He added: “Sometimes we will be forced to settle for imperfect compromises. But at least they advance the ball down the field.”

Negotiators from about 200 countries were entering Week 2 of climate talks trying to resolve big issues around money, transparency and timelines. Attendees are sharply divided over how much progress is being made.

Some are optimistic, pointing to flashy new promises and heads of state coming together. Others note that the gauzy commitments with decades-long deadlines often lack the concrete details to follow through. As the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg put it, “Blah, blah, blah.”

Quotable: “The actual negotiations here are in danger of being drowned out by a blitz of news releases that get great headlines, but are often less than meets the eye,” said Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa, a research institute based in Kenya.

Recap: More than 100 countries agreed to cut methane emissions. Another 130 countries vowed to halt deforestation by 2030 and committed billions. India committed to net zero emissions by 2070.

The Israeli firm NSO Group in the Arava Desert, Israel.Credit…Amir Cohen/Reuters

Palestinians were targeted by Israeli spyware

International hacking experts said on Monday that Palestinians belonging to rights organizations that Israel outlawed had been targeted by spyware made by the Israeli tech firm NSO Group.

It raised questions about whether the Israeli government was behind the hacking, a claim that officials there denied.

NSO, which was recently blacklisted by the U.S., has been criticized for years for selling its spyware program, Pegasus, to clients that include authoritarian governments. Pegasus allows users to remotely monitor a phone’s location and extract contents including encrypted messages, video and photographs.

Details: The findings were presented in an analysis by Front Line Defenders, a rights group in Dublin; Citizen Lab, a cybersecurity watchdog affiliated with the University of Toronto; and Amnesty International.

Adam Shapiro, a spokesman for Front Line Defenders, said that the investigation did not definitively prove or identify who used Pegasus in this case.


Business News

A sign at a roadside vendor with a QR code for the digital wallet company Paytm, in Mumbai. Credit…Shailesh Andrade/Reuters
  • Paytm, a payments company, is aiming to raise $2.5 billion amid India’s stock boom.

  • A chip shortage has empowered low-profile chip makers in the U.S., many of which build chips in their own factories.

  • British businesses are escaping a maze of Brexit regulations and heading to Estonia. It’s a boon for the former Soviet nation, with tax revenues rising.

  • Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s president, has brought millions of his followers to Telegram, seeking more leeway to say what he wants as other platforms crack down on disinformation.

Other Big Stories

A makeshift memorial for the eight people killed at a concert in Houston on Saturday.Credit…Annie Mulligan for The New York Times
  • Before a crowd surge killed eight people at a concert in Houston, officials worried about crowd control.

  • The Roman Catholic Church in France will sell some of its assets to compensate victims of sexual abuse and create an independent reparations body to process their cases.

  • Wang Yaping became the first Chinese woman on Monday to conduct a spacewalk, CNN reports.

  • A French police officer was attacked and stabbed as he sat in his patrol car early Monday morning in Cannes.

A Morning Read

A Tenggerese woman tossed an offering into the crater of Mount Bromo.Credit…Putu Sayoga

During the Hindu ceremony of Yadnya Kasada, the Tenggerese people toss offerings — food, money, flowers, livestock — into the hazy crater of Mount Bromo on the Indonesian island of Java. Our Travel desk observed the volcanic ritual.


The new hot cakes are messy

A spread of kooky layer cakes.Credit…Photograph by Jennifer Livingston

A new, Instagram-native generation of pâtissier is eschewing the primness and precision of traditional cakes and creating confections as delightful as they are subversive.

Out: fondant-covered smoothness; piped filigree and buttercream rosettes; the naked cakes of recent rustic wedding dominance. In: a complete disavowal of neatness, which has defined American cake making since the first recipes migrated from France in the late 1700s.

These cakes allude to the millennial childhood aesthetic of Nickelodeon slime and neon signs, of brightly beaded anklets and painted macaroni necklaces. They reflect a kind of colorful, seemingly synthetic 1990s postmodernism that has likewise influenced many of today’s rising furniture and jewelry designers.

That veneer of silliness doesn’t mean that these bakers shouldn’t be taken seriously. Though the cakes may seem at first glance like joyous follies, ready to topple under the weight of their own Rainbow Brite frosting, the women behind them say they’re rallying against nostalgia and perfection in part because there’s no use looking back.


What to Cook

Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times

Our Gruyère and black pepper scones have a savory richness and will fill your house with wonderful smells.


Whether you’re looking for décor or tech gifts, for loved ones or acquaintances, we’ve got a holiday gift guide to match all your needs.

What to Read

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

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Pisces symbol (four 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. Hannah Poferl was named the company’s first chief data officer and head of Audience.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about a U.S. Supreme Court decision that could impact America’s relationship with guns.

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

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