The E.U.’s new vaccine passports
A digital Covid certificate system became operational in seven E.U. countries yesterday, offering a preview of what could become a standard for post-pandemic global mobility.
The document, known as a digital green certificate, records whether people have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, have recovered from the virus or have tested negative within 72 hours. Travelers can move freely if at least one of those criteria is met.
Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Poland made the certificates available to their citizens as of Tuesday and are accepting them for visitors. The European Commission, the bloc’s administrative branch, said the system would be in use for all 27 E.U. countries as of July 1.
Stateside: The only government-issued vaccine passport in the U.S. is New York’s Excelsior Pass, which is not required by the vast majority of businesses. Other states, including Alabama, Arizona, Florida and Georgia, have banned them.
A Palestinian campaign for rights and justice
For many Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, the possible downfall of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, has prompted little more than a shrug.
Instead, many Palestinians are consumed by their own political moment. In a rare display of unity, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians observed a general strike on May 12 across Gaza, the West Bank and the refugee camps of Lebanon and in Israel itself. Rather than pursuing a Palestinian ministate bordering Israel, the focus is now on the pursuit of rights, freedom and justice in both the occupied territories and Israel.
During Netanyahu’s current 12-year term, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process fizzled, and Netanyahu expressed increasing ambivalence about the possibility of a sovereign Palestinian state. Naftali Bennett, his likely replacement, is a former settler leader who rejects Palestinian statehood outright and would represent little improvement for Palestinians.
Quotable: The events of the past few weeks were “like an earthquake,” said one seasoned Palestinian leader. “We are part of the global conversation on rights, justice, freedom, and Israel cannot close it down or censor it.”
Israeli politics: Israeli newspapers from across the political spectrum offered reactions to the prospective coalition that were as fractured as the electorate.
Three-child limit is out of reach for most Chinese
China’s state news media trumpeted as a positive change the government’s announcement that it would allow married couples to have up to three children. But for most Chinese people, the news was only a reminder of a problem they had long recognized: the drastic inadequacy of China’s social safety net and of the legal protections that would enable them to have more children.
Women worried that the move would only exacerbate discrimination from employers. Young people, who have barely been able to afford homes and necessities, were fuming. Working-class couples said it would be impossible.
On Weibo, users complained of growing education expenses, sky-high housing prices and unforgiving work hours, and pointed out a shortage of child-care options. Many people have to rely on their parents to help with their children. Some millennials are choosing a child-free lifestyle, and many men are having vasectomies to ensure that they remain childless.
As the pandemic has hampered operations and sown chaos in global shipping, many economies around the world have been bedeviled by shortages of a vast range of goods — including electronics, lumber and clothing. Blame decades of companies’ cost-cutting measures.
ARTS AND IDEAS
The show goes on at the Globe
The Globe Theater of Shakespeare’s day survived multiple outbreaks of the plague. So when the pandemic shuttered live performances in London March 2020, many expected the modern recreation of the Globe to make it through. It hasn’t been easy.
The theater, which relies heavily on tourism, let go 180 freelance actors and crew members and furloughed most of its permanent staff members. Even with those cuts, executives said, the Globe might have shut down if not for the British government’s arts bailout.
The Globe reopened last month at a quarter of its usual capacity. To cut down on costs, it’s staging a revival of a 2019 production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Actors must maintain social distancing onstage, and plays will run without intermissions to reduce virus risk.
The Times culture reporter Alex Marshall recently headed to the Globe for its first performance in over a year. The mood outside, he reported, was ecstatic. “It’s just great we’re back and people are hungry for it,” Sean Holmes, the play’s director, said. “We can’t sustain at this level of audience by any means, but I’m feeling optimistic.”