We’re covering Haiti rocked by the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, and signs of trouble ahead for Didi, the Chinese ridesharing app.
Haitian president assassinated
Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in an attack in the early hours of Wednesday at his home on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, the prime minister said, and his wife was also shot dead. Here are the latest updates.
There was little solid information on the perpetrator of the assassination, and entry points into Haiti were closed as authorities attempted to track down the attackers. As millions of Haitians wondered what was to come, there was a feeling the crisis would worsen the unrest of recent months. Claude Joseph, the acting prime minister, said he was in charge of the country at the moment.
In recent months, the streets of Haiti have filled with protests demanding the dismissal of Moses. He had clung to power, reigning by decree for more than a year, with constitutionalists claiming his term had expired.
On the ground: Armed gangs control the streets and have taken to kidnapping even schoolchildren and church pastors. Poverty is on the rise. Experts warn that the political vacuum could lead to violence.
Vaccines are effective against variants
Researchers have been tracking how well vaccines protect against the Delta variant of the coronavirus as it spreads. All the studies so far agree that most Covid-19 vaccines are very effective in keeping people out of the hospital and have generally protected against the Delta variant.
Although figures vary from country to country, experts say this is to be expected, as it is difficult for a single study to accurately determine the effectiveness of a vaccine under real conditions.
Quote: “Their overall implications are consistent: this protection against serious illness remains very high,” said a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Numbers: In Britain, two doses of the Pfizer vaccine had 88 percent efficacy protecting against symptomatic Delta disease. A study in June in Scotland concluded that the vaccine was 79% effective against the variant. On Saturday, a team of researchers in Canada evaluated its effectiveness at 87%.
Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.
In other developments:
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ousted 12 senior cabinet members and inducted a new young team, hoping to improve the government’s image after criticism of its response to the Covid-19 crisis, Reuters reports.
Hospitals are full in Fiji as they battle one of the world’s fastest growing Covid-19 epidemics.
Didi could face more regulatory issues
After Beijing previously told the ridesharing platform to stop registering new users and opened a data security review on Wednesday, China’s internet regulator fined Didi and d other tech companies – including Alibaba – for failing to report the merger deals in advance.
China’s antitrust authority has scrutinized the country’s internet industry with unprecedented vigor. This means that the company, its investors and its underwriters could have even more unpleasant surprises.
Our reporters examined signs that Didi may be the subject of further scrutiny in China, where he has argued for years with city officials over permits and licenses, and even in the United States as ‘He’s trying to tighten up the rules for foreign listed companies. Didi shares lost a fifth of their value on Tuesday and fell again early in New York’s trading on Wednesday.
Quote: “Even though the stock rebounds, US investors still have no idea the company’s financial strength as the Chinese Communist Party is blocking US regulators from reviewing the books,” said Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
THE LAST NEWS
As US troops retreat from Afghanistan, we spoke to Vietnamese veterans of the Vietnam War who know what it is like when troops suddenly leave with little support. “We wanted to fight, but no supplies, no fuel, no rockets. And the Americans didn’t help like they said they would, “recalled a vet from the fall of the Republic of Vietnam in 1975.” I think in the end we felt betrayed.
Lives lived: Dilip Kumar, the iconic Bollywood actor described as “king of tragedy”, died Wednesday in Mumbai following a prolonged illness.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Do we really need 10,000 steps a day?
A watchmaker, hoping to capitalize on interest in fitness after the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, mass produced a pedometer with a name that, when written in Japanese characters, resembled a man walking. It also translated to “10,000 step meter,” creating a goal that became part of our global consciousness – and our fitness trackers.
But the best science today suggests that we don’t need to take 10,000 steps a day, which is about five miles, for the sake of our health or longevity. A happy median seems to lie between this arbitrary goal and the average in many Western countries, which is less than 5,000.
A 2019 study found that women in their 60s who achieved as few as 4,400 steps per day reduced their risk of premature death by about 40%, compared to women taking 2,700 steps or less per day. The benefits capped at around 7,500 daily steps.
Another larger study last year found that people who walked about 8,000 steps per day were half as likely to die prematurely as those who accumulated 4,000. The statistical benefits of extra steps were small.
This is good news, not least because other research shows that even the few people who work conscientiously up to the legendary 10k tend to return to their baseline.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to cook