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Vaccines, China, Cicadas: Your Thursday Evening Briefing 1
Dibyangshu Sarkar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

1. Besieged with requests to share coronavirus vaccines, the Biden administration said it would distribute 25 million doses across a “wide range of countries.”

The vaccines — which will be sent to Latin America and the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia, and Africa, as well as the Palestinian territories, war-ravaged Gaza and the West Bank — are the first installment of a total of 80 million doses President Biden has pledged to send overseas.

The Biden administration recently backed waiving intellectual property protections for coronavirus vaccines, but activists say donations and waivers are not enough. They have called for pharmaceutical companies to transfer their intellectual property to vaccine makers overseas, so that other countries can build their own vaccine manufacturing operations. (Above, a mobile vaccination center in Kolkata.)

In other developments:

  • In Italy, only three of 20 regions accept the temporary ID numbers given to hundreds of thousands of migrants to book vaccine appointments.

  • As U.S. colleges announce Covid vaccine mandates, some international students are unable to get the required shots.

  • The U.S. is roughly on track to meet the president’s goal of getting at least one Covid-19 shot into the arms of 70 percent of adults by July 4, but some states are lagging.

Gilles Sabrié for The New York Times

2. President Biden issued an executive order barring Americans from investing in Chinese firms that are linked to the country’s military, or selling surveillance technology that is being used to repress dissent or religious minorities.

The order expands another edict issued in November by Donald Trump, and comes at a moment when China is ramping up its ability to spy on its population using facial-recognition cameras and software, phone-scanners and a range of other tools.

Biden also told Senator Shelley Moore Capito, the lead Republican negotiator on an infrastructure package, that her party must embrace $1 trillion in new spending as part of any bipartisan deal. He also suggested a willingness to narrow his corporate tax proposals to win Republican support.

Separately, the Justice Department is investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over potential campaign fund-raising violations when he was in the private sector.

Ted Shaffrey/Associated Press

3. Post-pandemic wage growth is holding up.

Unlike low-wage workers in past recessions, many of those who held on to their jobs saw their wages rise even during the worst months of the pandemic. Above, a Target in New Jersey.

The Biden administration is hoping that broader wage gains will shift power toward workers and away from employers. And Federal Reserve officials have indicated that they would like to see employment and pay keep rising. The stage is set for an economic experiment that will test whether the economy can restart without igniting rampant inflation.

But nothing is certain. Ahead of the jobs report tomorrow, a variety of indicators that normally move more or less together are telling vastly different stories about the state of the economy.

Pool photo by Ronen Zvulun

4. Benjamin Netanyahu isn’t going down without a struggle.

The longtime Israeli prime minister, who is on the verge of being ousted by an unlikely coalition of opposition parties, called on lawmakers to oppose “this dangerous left-wing government.”

On Thursday, he began an all-out campaign against his opponents, listing concessions that he claimed the coalition leaders Naftali Bennett, the head of a hard-right political party, and Yair Lapid, a centrist politician, had made to secure an alliance with Raam, an Arab Islamist party.

Lawmakers from Mr. Netanyahu’s party, Likud, can also use parliamentary procedure to delay a crucial confidence vote until June 14. In that time, his party has promised to pile pressure on right-wing members of the alliance to jump ship, arguing they sold out by aligning themselves with leftist and Arab lawmakers.

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

5. When does a gunman’s motive matter?

One of the biggest questions after every mass shooting is what drove the gunman to violence. But some criminal profilers have begun to discuss the limitations of fixating on motive, with one expert saying “there is no such thing.”

One big exception: With hate crimes, motive is of utmost importance. When six women of Asian descent were killed in Atlanta, the suspect denied any racial motive. The trial could serve as a test of what kind of evidence might persuade jurors that a hate crime was committed, and the credibility of the defendant’s own explanations of his actions. Above, a protest in Georgia.

Separately, a United Nations report suggested that an A.I. drone used in Libya’s civil war may have selected a human target autonomously — a possible first that forebodes a scary new future for unmanned warfare.

Jerome Favre/EPA, via Shutterstock

6. A U.N. agency tasked with reducing carbon emissions in the shipping industry is doing the opposite.

The International Maritime Organization, which has close ties to the shipping industry that it oversees, has repeatedly delayed and watered down climate regulations. Shipping produces as much carbon dioxide as all of America’s coal plants combined. Above, a container ship in Hong Kong.

Just last week, delegates met in secret to debate what should constitute a passing grade under a new rating system. Under pressure from China, Brazil and others, they set the bar so low that emissions can continue to rise at roughly the same pace as if there had been no regulations at all.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

7. Michelle Wie West was ready to hang up her clubs.

Pregnant and struggling with chronic wrist injuries, the champion golfer was considering retirement. But vulgar comments Rudolph Giuliani made about her putting stance crystallized her determination to make a comeback to address inequities and ignorance in women’s sports, and in the broader culture.

“What this person should have remembered from that day was the fact that I shot 64 and beat every male golfer in the field, leading our team to victory,” she said.

In the past year, Wie West has revealed a different side of herself as a leader in the drive for equity and change. Giuliani’s comments triggered her election to the L.P.G.A. board of directors and a determination to speak out.

John Durban and Holly Fearnbach

8. There are only about 360 right whales alive today. And they’re getting smaller.

Scientists have found that the animals have declined in length by roughly 7 percent since 1981, which translates to a size reduction of about three feet. The culprit is most likely fishing gear that entangled whales can carry around for years.

“What we think is going on here is that dragging these big trailing heaps of gear is creating all this extra drag, which takes energy to pull around, and that’s energy that they would probably otherwise be devoting to growth,” one researcher said.

And by looking at the fossil record, researchers believe they’ve discovered a mass shark extinction that occurred 19 million years ago.

Camila Falquez for The New York Times

9. This might be the summer that Anthony Ramos breaks out.

Raised by a single mother in Brooklyn, Ramos worked for years to kick down doors, eventually landing in the original Broadway cast of “Hamilton.” Now, as the star of “In the Heights,” he is hopeful that the film will supply some of the uplift that he feels has been missing from movies released during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We don’t have enough movies right now that feel like a celebration of life,” he said. “We need movies that are telling real and honest stories in a raw way that are hard for people to watch. But also, like, we need to feel happy. There’s also joy. That’s like a thing that exists.”

We also spoke to Stephen King about the new Apple TV adaptation of one his favorite novels, “Lisey’s Story.”

Emon Hassan for The New York Times

10. And finally, maybe don’t eat that cicada.

In celebration of the emergence of Brood X, we recently alerted our readers to the crunchy-turned-creamy texture of cicadas, reminiscent of soft-shell crabs, but health officials are warning that the similarity to crustaceans also makes the cicada an allergy risk.

Cicadas — which do not bite or sting — are gluten-free, high in protein and low in fat and carbohydrates. As insects, however, they also belong to the arthropod family, and people with existing allergies to crustaceans may develop a reaction, according to a new report.

But if that doesn’t apply, bon appétit and have a crunchy Thursday.

Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.

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