2021-02-18 20:29:53 | Your Friday Briefing – The New York Times

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Story by: Melina Delkic The New York Times World News

Seiko Hashimoto, one of Japan’s two female cabinet ministers, is the new head of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee.

Her appointment was in response to intense criticism following the resignation of Yoshiro Mori, who stepped down after saying that women talked too much in meetings. The man the committee had initially planned to turn to next — Mr. Mori’s handpicked choice — is an 84-year-old former leader of Japanese soccer.

Ms. Hashimoto, 56, an Olympic medalist in speedskating, said her first priority would be to protect against the coronavirus at the Summer Games so that “both the Japanese people and people from abroad will think that the Tokyo Games are safe and secure.”

Bigger picture: The shift reflected the potent voice that Japanese people, especially women, have found on social media, and many saw it as an achievement in mobilizing young activists. Others dismissed it as a cosmetic decision that was unlikely to empower women.

Quotable: “In the past, he would have been just criticized, and then the issue would have ended,” said Kazuyo Katsuma, a businesswoman and author of best-selling books on gender and work-life balance.


Facebook initially blamed the proposed law, expected to pass soon, and later promised to restore vital public service pages.

Divided views: Most Australians were outraged, but for different reasons. Some blame Facebook, saying the tech giant has too much market power; some fault the law, which they call too broad; and others say it might be for the best and may help small news publishers swallowed up by big tech.

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Analysis: “Australia is an unwitting test lab for what happens to Facebook, news organizations and the public when Facebook is a news desert,” says Shira Ovide, writer of our On Tech newsletter.


On La Gomera, one of the Canary Islands, a whistled language called Silbo Gomero that dates back centuries is still in use thanks to mandatory classes for schoolchildren, like Arantxa Cifuentes Gutiérrez, 15, above, and a community that acts as a guardian of the language.

Antonio Márquez Navarro, 71, is proud of what he calls “the poetry of my island.” And, he adds, “like poetry, whistling does not need to be useful in order to be special and beautiful.”

Belarus dissent: Two young journalists were sentenced to two years in prison for reporting via video stream from a demonstration against President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s rule, the latest episode in a campaign to silence all forms of opposition.

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Australian Open: Serena Williams made a tearful exit from the tournament after losing to Naomi Osaka. Ashleigh Barty, the No. 1 seed, was out as well. Novak Djokovic beat the underdog, Aslan Karatsev. Next up are Daniil Medvedev and the fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Cook: This beloved, easy-to-assemble pasta alla vodka gets dinner on the table in no time.

Watch: “I Care a Lot,” an unexpectedly gripping thriller that seesaws between comedy and horror, is cleverly written and wonderfully cast.

Do: If you want a healthy heart, the more you exercise, the better, according to an encouraging new study.

Try something new. At Home has ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home.

Pete Wells, our restaurant critic, wrote about his hunt for a good meal in New York City, where the coronavirus pandemic has forced restaurants to adapt to periods of closure and reopening for indoor and outdoor dining.

For months after all of the restaurant dining rooms in the city were ordered to close last March, I wrote nothing that resembled a review. The entire business and all of the people in it were suffering, and I spent my time as a reporter finding out how some of them were getting along.

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Before the pandemic, I normally called chefs after I’d written a review of their restaurant but before it was published, to check facts. The chefs usually sounded as if I were calling with the results of a lab test.

The conversations I had last spring were different. They talked about going bankrupt, they talked about crying and not wanting to get out of bed. What did they have left to lose by talking to me?

By June, the crisis had settled into a kind of desperate stability. On the day outdoor dining began, I rode my bike into Manhattan to have lunch at the first open restaurant I could find. I was as thrilled to eat someone else’s cooking as I was to do something that resembled my old job.

It still took a few weeks before I wrote any reviews. At first, I worried that any opinion of mine would be unfair when restaurants were trying so hard to adapt to the new reality. Eventually, I understood that was exactly what would make the reviews worth writing. Good food in a pandemic was great; great food seemed like a miracle, and I was finding great food all around.


That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Melina


Thank you
Carole Landry helped write this briefing. Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected]

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about Paul Rusesabagina, the “Hotel Rwanda” hero who is now accused of terrorism.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Language of Pakistan (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Kathleen Kingsbury, our Opinion editor, spoke with Nieman Lab about reimagining opinion journalism.

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Source References: The New York Times World News

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