We’re covering Tunisia’s governmental crisis and deadly monsoon rains in India.
Tunisia’s president moves to take control
President Kais Saied late on Sunday said he was firing the prime minister, suspending Parliament and taking control of the country after large anti-government protests over deepening health and economic crises.
The power grab by Saied was seen as a major threat to the only democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring protests a decade ago. A leading political party, Ennahda, called it “a coup against the Tunisian democracy and its constitution.”
The country has for years suffered from high unemployment and economic paralysis, and the pandemic has overwhelmed the health system. Tunisians are dying of Covid-19 at the highest rate in the Middle East and Africa.
Context: Elected in 2019 and still enjoying strong popularity, Saied has for months expanded his authority by refusing to swear in ministers and blocking the formation of a constitutional court, raising alarm. Last week, he stripped control of the vaccine rollout from the health ministry and handed it to the military.
Russia’s gymnastic win and a Philippine first at the Olympics
Russia edged out Japan for the men’s gymnastics team gold on Monday, unseating the 2016 Olympic champions, Japan, by just 0.103 points. China was third. The U.S. team finished fifth. Here are the latest updates from the Games.
The weight lifter Hidilyn Diaz made history, securing the first gold for the Philippines in her fourth Olympics. “It’s unbelievable,” she said, caressing the gold medal hanging on her neck. “I expected to win, but when you hold this already, it’s like, Wow, I never thought this would happen today.”
Teenagers swept the women’s street skateboarding medals, with 13-year-old Momiji Nishiya of Japan becoming the second-youngest gold medalist ever; the Brazilian skater Rayssa Leal, also 13 and a few months younger than Nishiya, won the silver.
France passes contentious Covid law
France passed a law late on Sunday that makes health passes mandatory for a number of indoor venues as the country faces a fourth wave of coronavirus infections. The pass requires proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or a recent recovery from Covid-19.
The new law also obligates health employees and other essential workers, such as firefighters, to be vaccinated by the fall. A vote came after days of heated parliamentary debates that lasted long into the night and protests against the measure in dozens of French cities. Officials cited the Delta variant and unvaccinated Covid patients filling up hospitals as reasons for the pass.
Context: The pass was already mandatory for large events in stadiums and concert halls, and to enter museums and theaters. Now it extends to bars, restaurants, gyms and some malls. Employees could face pay suspensions — but not firings — if they fail to be vaccinated as well.
China didn’t take climate change into account during its economic boom. Now it has to, as last week’s floods revealed that pell-mell urbanization created cities ill-equipped for climate change.
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 kids’ brains is getting a do-over.
Parents, physicians and researchers have been gravitating instead to a more nuanced message: Screen time or technology can be good for children, but also bad. Dr. Colleen Russo Johnson, a child development expert and mom, said that it’s long overdue to move away from absolute and unrealistic limits on children’s screen time (and judgments on caregivers).
“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 continued. “But these things are not evil. There is a lot of variety and everything is not created equal.”
Dr. Russo Johnson said that it sometimes helps to think about technology that encourages younger children to be creative and do activities away from the screen, such as going on a scavenger hunt. She is a fan of apps from Toca Boca and Sago Mini that encourage young children to explore open-ended games without much instruction.
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