Tunisia’s democracy in turmoil
Kais Saied, the president of Tunisia, has tried to seize power from the rest of the government in what his political opponents denounced as a coup. He announced on Sunday that he was firing the prime minister, suspending Parliament and taking control amid large anti-government protests over deepening health and economic crises.
With Syria, Yemen and Libya undone by civil war, Egypt’s attempt at democracy crushed by a counterrevolution and protests in the Gulf States quickly extinguished, Tunisia was the only country to emerge from the Arab Spring revolutions with a democracy, if a fragile one.
Saied did not appear to have completely succeeded in taking control as of yesterday evening, as chaos enveloped the North African country. But many Tunisians expressed support and even jubilation, frustrated with an economy that never seemed to improve and soaring death rates from the coronavirus.
U.S. response: “Tunisia must not squander its democratic gains,” the State Department said in a statement. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a phone call on Monday with Saied, encouraged him “to adhere to the principles of democracy and human rights,” a spokesman said.
White House to maintain virus travel bans
The Biden administration will continue to restrict entry of Europeans and others into the U.S., citing concerns that travelers infected with the coronavirus may further spread the Delta variant across the country.
“The more transmissible Delta variant is spreading both here and around the world,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said yesterday afternoon, adding that cases were rising in the U.S., particularly among the unvaccinated. She did not give a timeline for when the restrictions might be lifted.
The decision is a setback for the travel industry, which hoped that a lifting of the bans would increase tourism for the remaining summer months, helping hotels, airlines and other struggling businesses.
The latest from the Olympics
On the fourth day of the Tokyo Olympics, teenagers dominated the women’s skateboarding street competition, with four of the eight women in the final age 16 or younger. The gold and silver medalists are both 13.
Katie Ledecky, the five-time Olympic gold medalist, swam in her first final in Tokyo, the 400-meter freestyle, but lost to Ariarne Titmus of Australia. Lydia Jacoby of the U.S. upset her teammate Lilly King in the 100-meter breaststroke. British swimmers dominated the men’s 200-meter freestyle.
In the women’s road race, Anna Kiesenhofer of Austria took the gold, upsetting 38-year-old Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands, who threw her hands up in victory when she crossed the finish line on Sunday, only to realize moments later that she was not, in fact, the winner.
Though officially barred from the Olympics, Russia is very much a presence at the Games. The country edged out Japan, the 2016 champions, for the men’s gymnastics team gold yesterday, unseating the host nation by just 0.103 points.
Here’s the medal count and the latest updates.
Making history: The weight lifter Hidilyn Diaz secured the first Olympic gold for the Philippines.
Weather challenges ahead: The Summer Olympics have already been hampered by sweltering heat. Starting on Tuesday, athletes will also have to contend with strong winds and heavy rain, with a typhoon expected to make landfall north of Tokyo. The weather has also led to a schedule change for surfing.
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ARTS AND IDEAS Screen time for kids
Our OnTech newsletter talked to an expert about the changing debate on children’s use of tech.
The belief that screen time is rotting children’s brains is getting a do-over, as parents, physicians and researchers gravitate to a more nuanced message: Screen time or technology can be good — and bad — for children.
Dr. Colleen Russo Johnson, a child development expert and mother, said that it was long overdue to move away from absolute and unrealistic limits on children’s screen time.
“We have to stop looking at this as a black-and-white issue,” Dr. Russo Johnson said. “You don’t want your kids always glued to screens. That is common sense,” she added. “But these things are not evil. There is a lot of variety, and everything is not created equal.”
Dr. Russo Johnson said that parents and caregivers might try seeking out technology that actually encourages younger children to be creative and do activities away from the screen, such as going on a scavenger hunt from onscreen prompts.
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The latest episode of “The Daily” explains rare breakthrough coronavirus infections among the vaccinated.
Melina Delkic contributed to today’s Arts and Ideas. You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected]