We are covering a fierce German election and the reactions to a Sino-Canadian prisoner swap.
Closing of the votes in the German elections
The first exit polls showed a close race after the Germans voted on a new parliament. Their choice will determine who succeeds Chancellor Angela Merkel as the head of the most populous democracy in the EU. Here are the latest updates.
The country’s two biggest parties, Merkel’s Social Democrats and Christian Democrats, were either tied or a percentage point apart in the polls.
Each of the parties, which have ruled together in a coalition under Merkel for 12 of the past 16 years, appeared to be below the 30% mark. Such a result would represent the first time Merkel’s party has fallen so low among voters since its founding in 1945.
With many more people voting by mail than usual due to the pandemic, organizers have warned that the counting of the ballots may take longer than usual.
A dramatic prisoner exchange
China has welcomed Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who has spent years under house arrest in Canada on fraud charges, into its home, with fanfare and hailed her as a heroine.
But in the West, the release of two Canadians from jail in China – and the end of a 1,030-day standoff – was viewed with concern, as Beijing was prepared to be boldly transactional in its dealings with foreign nationals.
“They don’t even pretend to pretend it was anything but a simple hostage-taking,” said Donald C. Clarke, a law professor specializing in China at the University’s law school. George Washington.
The exchange could help bring tensions between Washington and Beijing back to a point of crisis. But that probably won’t do much to resolve the deeper issues at stake.
Pass: In December 2018, Canadian authorities arrested Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter of its founder, at the request of the United States. Soon after, China arrested two Canadians, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.
Hourly: The exchanges took place the same day that President Biden first met the leaders of Australia, Japan and India at the White House, as part of an effort to forge alliances to counter the influence of China.
Lashes to be deployed in South Korea
Kim Boo-kyum, the Prime Minister of South Korea, said on Sunday that the country would soon start administering reminders to medical workers and people 60 years and older as the country battles a new wave of infections after the Chuseok vacation.
Infections have increased in recent days as millions return home after visiting loved ones across the country to celebrate the harvest festival.
Kim said the vaccination campaign will accelerate and that from October the interval between the first and second vaccines will be shortened. More than 85% of new cases in the past two weeks were in people who had not been fully vaccinated.
Curfews have recently eased, and officials warn that the increase in the number of cases threatens South Korea’s gradual return to normal. But pandemic fatigue is increasing.
Details: About 45 percent of the total population is fully vaccinated and about 74 percent have received an injection. South Korea on Saturday reported a record 3,273 new cases, after hovering nearly 2,000 cases before the holidays.
Here are the latest updates on the virus and pandemic maps.
In other developments:
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A morning reading
Although some parts of the U.S. military allow exceptions to strict dress rules, Marines are less likely to move. First Lieutenant Sukhbir Toor, who is Sikh, was reluctantly allowed to wear a turban. âI don’t really have to choose which life I want to commit to, my faith or my country,â said Lt. Toor. âI can be who I am and honor both sides. But he says the force has to do more.
Wole Soyinka is not going anywhere
When the first black winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature – and his first African winner – feels that things like freedom and democracy are threatened in Nigeria, he must get involved.
“It’s a temper,” Wole Soyinka, 87, said in an interview in Abeokuta, his hometown in southern Nigeria.
“Chronicles From the Land of the Happiest People on Earth,” her first novel in nearly 50 years, is released in the United States on Tuesday. Set in imaginary Nigeria, it’s a satire of how the accumulation of power can go wrong. (His 1975 play “Death and the King’s Horseman” was also produced for Netflix by EbonyLife Media, the empire led by Mo Abudu, which earned the unofficial title of “Africa’s Answer to Oprah.”)
âSomething has happened to the quality of the sensitivity in this nation,â he said. âI haven’t quite put my finger on it. But something broke in this nation. Something went off the rails.
Boko Haram has terrorized northeast Nigeria for more than a decade. Massive kidnappings swept through the north. The police brutality sparked a protest movement. Secessionist groups attacked government offices.
This brings Soyinka back to the fore. âI know, I know, I know. I have announced several times that I am withdrawing from public life, âSoyinka said. âAnd I really meant it! For about 24 hours.