Your Wednesday Briefing

More people died in Britain last year than in any year in the past century, and the toll has surpassed even that of the 1918 flu pandemic, the government’s statistical agency reported on Tuesday.

But officials warn that the worst is yet to come, as a recent explosion in new coronavirus infections translates into more hospitalizations and more deaths. An estimated one in 30 people in London is currently infected, and hospitals are on the verge of being overwhelmed, even as the authorities struggle to convince the public of the moment’s urgency.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with his cabinet on Tuesday to discuss ways to tighten what are already some of Europe’s most sweeping restrictions.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:


A government-commissioned report found a shocking number of deaths and widespread emotional abuse over a period of decades at religious institutions in Ireland where unmarried women and girls were sent to give birth in secrecy and were pressured to give their children up for adoption.

About 56,000 unmarried mothers and 57,000 children went through the so-called mother and baby homes, the six-year investigation found. Over a 76-year period, some 9,000 children died. The last of the facilities closed in 1998.

Official remarks: The report outlined a “a dark, difficult and shameful chapter” of the country’s past, said Ireland’s leader, or Taoiseach, Micheal Martin, adding, “We did this to ourselves as a society.” An official apology is forthcoming.

Response: Survivors say that the document is a small step forward after decades of horrors and that the Roman Catholic Church, which ran the homes, needs to be held more fully accountable.

The dig, carried out beneath the rubble of a condemned 19th-century apartment complex, yielded such treasures as gems, coins, cameo glass, a theater mask, above, and bones of peacocks, deer, lions, bears and ostriches.

Renminbi boom: China’s currency, also known as the yuan, has reached its strongest level in more than two years against the dollar and other major currencies, and it shows no signs of stopping.

Contraband sandwich: Dutch officials are seizing packed lunches from truck drivers entering the European Union from Britain under Brexit-related import rules that came into effect at the start of this year.

Indonesian plane crash: Navy divers recovered one of the “black boxes” from Sriwijaya Air Flight 182, which will help officials understand why the 26-year-old Boeing 737-500 jet crashed on Saturday just four minutes after takeoff from Jakarta.

Snapshot: As violence engulfs Kabul, some Afghans are carrying notes, like the one above, with their names, blood types and relatives’ phone numbers, in case they are severely wounded or killed.

Sally Rooney: The acclaimed Irish novelist will release her next novel, “Beautiful World, Where Are You,” in September as part of a two-book deal.

How to Wear a N95 Mask

Cook: Cauliflower soup with rosemary olive oil is creamy and delicious.

Watch: Peruse our list of the 50 best shows now on Netflix. And there’s more in the offing: The streaming platform announced some 70 forthcoming movies.

Action: Imagine you’re exploring the white-sand beaches and cafe districts of Tunis with this guide.

Make home a haven: At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe indoors.

House Democrats have introduced an article of impeachment charging President Trump for his role in inciting the mob that stormed the Capitol last week. The process could ultimately prevent Mr. Trump from becoming president again, as our reporters explain.

If President Trump is impeached in the House and subsequently convicted by a two-thirds vote in the Senate and removed from office, the Senate could then vote to bar him from ever holding office again.

The Constitution says that the Senate, after voting to convict an impeached president, can consider “disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.”

This would be determined by a second vote, requiring only a simple majority of senators to disqualify him from holding office in the future.

Mr. Trump, who is said to be contemplating another run for president in 2024, has just a week left in office. It’s an impeachment timeline that is tight, but not impossible. Constitutional scholars say that a Senate trial and a vote for disqualification could happen after he leaves on Jan. 20.

Because of the stakes and the lack of a precedent for disqualifying a president from future office, the matter would probably go before the Supreme Court.


That’s all for today. Wishing you a peaceful and productive Wednesday.

— Natasha


Thank you
Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news. You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the impeachment of President Trump.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Jedi’s power, with “the” (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• An accidental New York Times haiku, published yesterday in our Tiny Love Stories: “Their funeral was / a blend of six feet under / meets six feet apart.”
• Our pop culture reporter Kyle Buchanan joined WNYC’s “All of It,” where he talked about the future of movies after the coronavirus.

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