Your Monday Briefing

Bloodshed and defiance in Myanmar.

By Carole Landry

Good morning.

We’re covering the killing of dozens of protesters in Myanmar, the start of a pivotal election year in Germany and the Grammys.

Myanmar’s ‘darkest moment’

At least 51 people were fatally shot over the weekend, but the nationwide protest movement against Myanmar’s military coup a month and a half ago shows no sign of waning.

Two districts in Yangon were placed under martial law after large protests on Sunday, including in Hlaingthaya, where 31 people were killed — the highest daily death toll in one location since the coup.

Mahn Win Khaing Than, one of the leaders of a self-declared civilian government formed in hiding, urged ethnic rebels who have fought the army for decades to join the protest movement. He called this “the darkest moment of the nation and the moment that the dawn is close.”

Soldiers and police officers under the authority of the army’s top commander have fired into homes and crowds of protesters, beaten demonstrators in the streets and arrested many hundreds of people, some of whom were also tortured, victims and witnesses have said. So far, the bloodshed has only solidified the resistance.

Death toll: More than 80 people have been killed by the military and the police since the Feb. 1 coup. About a fifth were shot in the head, according to information compiled by The Times. More than a fifth were teenagers.

A crucial election year in Germany

Voters were casting ballots on Sunday in two regional races, kicking off an election year that could change the course of Europe’s largest economy.

Germany is laying the groundwork for the major shift toward politics without Chancellor Angela Merkel. After 16 years in power, Ms. Merkel will step down when a new government is sworn in following parliamentary elections in September.

The outcomes of the races on Sunday, in the states of Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, could indicate how voters are feeling about the two leading parties — the conservatives and the Greens — and help focus the contest for Ms. Merkel’s replacement.

German media: Julian Reichelt, the editor in chief of Bild, Europe’s largest newspaper and an influential force in German politics and society, has taken a leave of absence during an investigation into accusations by half a dozen female employees that he abused his position of authority and created a hostile work environment.

Another suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine

Ireland suspended use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on Sunday, citing reports of unusual blood clotting problems among people who received shots in Norway. Several European countries have stopped using the shot as drug regulators investigate to determine whether there is evidence of any link.

Thailand delayed its rollout of the vaccine, which was to begin on Friday.

Major public health agencies, including the World Health Organization, point out that millions of people have received the vaccine without experiencing such blood clotting issues, and that experts have not found a causative link between any of the vaccines and the conditions.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

Hundreds of Tesla workers tested positive for the coronavirus after Elon Musk reopened a plant last May in California.

The last living male from a dwindling tribal community in Brazil has died from Covid-19.

The emergence of new virus variants in South Africa and Brazil has shown that vaccine makers cannot afford to wait years before testing whether shots made for rich countries work in poorer ones, too.

If you have 5 minutes, this is worth it

An oasis in the pandemic

Taiwan, which has had just 10 Covid-19 deaths and fewer than 1,000 cases, has used its success to sell something in short supply: a chance to live without fear of the coronavirus. Above, shopping in Taipei on Friday.

The island is drawing Covid migrants — largely overseas Taiwanese and dual nationals, including some well-known figures like Eddie Huang, the Taiwanese-American restaurateur. The influx of people helped make Taiwan one of last year’s fastest-growing economies — indeed, one of the few to expand at all.

Here’s what else is happening

Andrew Cuomo: The New York governor is furiously plotting a path to salvage his job as he faces allegations of groping, sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior made by six women, an impeachment inquiry, an investigation into his handling of nursing homes during the pandemic, and collapsing support from his party.

U.S.-Afghanistan: The United States has 1,000 more troops in Afghanistan than it previously disclosed. The undercount complicates President Biden’s deliberations on whether to carry out a complete withdrawal by May 1.

Caligula’s treasures: A mosaic crafted in the first century for the deck of a ceremonial ship commissioned by the Emperor Caligula went on display at the Museum of the Roman Ships in Nemi, Italy. Lost for decades, it re-emerged several years ago as a Manhattan antiques dealer’s coffee table.

Subway sandwiches: Product placement has made the American food chain’s foot-longs a ubiquitous presence on South Korean television shows. Company officials say the push to feature the sandwiches in popular dramas is helping to boost global sales, specifically in China, Taiwan and Singapore.

Snapshot: Above, the cellist Yo-Yo Ma gave a surprise concert at a vaccination site in Massachusetts after receiving his second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. He used the 15-minute observation period after receiving his shot to play “Ave Maria” and Bach’s Prelude in G Major.

What we’re reading: This Foreign Affairs article on how China’s vaccine diplomacy is off to a strong start. But the geopolitics behind Covid vaccines are still in flux.

Now, a break from the news

Cook: These asparagus with crispy leeks and capers are roasted in the same pan and emerge tender and golden-edged.

Watch: The 63rd annual Grammy Awards kick off at 8 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday (that’s 8 a.m. Monday in Hong Kong), with performances by Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, BTS, Harry Styles, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion — to name a few. Here’s how to watch and what to expect.

Do: If you’re a runner, especially one who has hit the pavement more in the past year, there’s a good chance you need to upgrade your running shoes. Here’s some guidance to find your best fit.

Let us help you plan a fun week with our At Home has collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home.

And now for the Back Story on …

Missing the office

A year ago this week, The New York Times shut down its offices because of the pandemic. It happened so fast that we didn’t have time to say goodbye. Sarah Lyall, our writer at large, wrote about how she misses going to the office. Here’s an excerpt.

The Times’s office is on several floors of a building that stretches from 40th to 41st Streets on Eighth Avenue near Times Square. It’s not normally the quietest place in the world — what do you expect, when your nearest neighbor is the Port Authority Bus Terminal? — but it’s our not-quiet place. It has an electricity to it, a frisson, a sense of community and a sense of purpose. It feels like something bigger than itself.

I love our busy newsroom, with its ergonomic desks, its glass-walled meeting rooms, its whiteboards scribbled with strange notations, its people bustling up and down stairways, its random pieces of exotic furniture nobody knows how to use, its layout that snarls up your sense of direction as you try to find a colleague from another department.

I miss all of that. Mostly, I miss the people I work with. I’ve experienced them as disembodied squares on my screen for so long now that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be with them in real life. They’re smart, thoughtful, irreverent, friendly, difficult, brilliant, subversive, surprising. I miss our unexpected conversations in the elevators.

I miss making lunch dates in the cafeteria. I miss the buoyancy that comes when you work side by side with people you love and respect. I miss the office.

I hope we’ll all be back there soon.

That’s it for this briefing. Tomorrow we will be rolling out our redesigned morning newsletter. We hope you enjoy our new look!

— Carole

Thank you
To Melissa Clark for the recipe. You can reach the team at [email protected]

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is Part 2 of “Odessa,” the series about a Texas high school that tries to bring back football during the pandemic.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Coffee, slangily (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Elizabeth Kennedy, a longtime editor and reporter at The Associated Press, will be The Times’s new White House editor.

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