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Your Tuesday briefing – The New York Times

We cover the food crisis in Afghanistan and a missile test in North Korea.

United Nations officials have warned that millions of Afghans could run out of food before winter arrives and a million children could die if a food shortage is not quickly resolved.

“After decades of war, suffering and insecurity, they are perhaps facing their most perilous hour,” Secretary-General António Guterres told a United Nations conference in Geneva. He said the international community pledged more than $ 1 billion in emergency funding at the event.

Efforts to distribute much-needed aid are complicated by the lack of international aid workers. Many have fled the country for safety reasons, and those who remain do not know if they will be able to continue their work. The UN has urged the Taliban to allow aid workers to go about their business safely.

Without sufficient help, the healthcare system is on the verge of collapse, public health experts have warned.

The context: Even before the Taliban took control, Afghanistan was hit by a drought. The World Food Program estimates that 40 percent of crops are lost and the price of wheat has increased by 25 percent.

Thailand and Vietnam, two countries whose economies rely heavily on tourism, are pushing to reopen their travel industries despite rising coronavirus cases and outbreaks of the Delta variant.

Vietnam, which recently opened Phu Quoc Island to fully vaccinated foreign tourists, records a daily average of 12,724 new cases, with just 4.9 percent of the population fully vaccinated.

In Thailand, fully vaccinated tourists can travel to Bangkok and other popular destinations from October. The country reports around 14,000 new cases daily. In 2020, it recorded less than 100 deaths linked to Covid, but the toll in 2021 already exceeds 12,000.

Even in countries with fewer cases, Delta has been difficult to fight: China’s Fujian Province reported 22 new locally transmitted infections, the country’s largest outbreak in a month. While the number of cases is far lower than many other countries, the number reflects what health experts have long warned: that it is probably almost impossible to eradicate the Delta variant completely, and that Beijing needs to rethink its zero-Covid strategy.

Yanzhong Huang, a global health expert specializing in China, recently wrote in our Opinion section that “China cannot afford to keep its borders closed forever.”

Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.

In other developments:

  • New York City classrooms reopened to around one million children on Monday, most of whom were returning for the first time since the school system, the largest in the United States, was closed in March 2020.

  • Australia has opened up vaccination against Covid to children from the age of 12.

The country’s state news agency said on Monday it had successfully launched long-range cruise missiles in its first missile test in six months, as Pyongyang continues to refine its arsenal as the Nuclear disarmament talks with the United States have stalled.

The missiles hit targets 1,500 kilometers away on Sunday after flying for more than two hours and altering their flight path, according to the official Central North Korean news agency.

What this means: UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from developing or testing ballistic missiles, but not cruise missiles. The country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, who usually oversees all major weapons tests, did not make an appearance.

Asia News

Twenty years after the September 11 attacks, the United States still grapples with the consequences of brutal interrogation. Studies have shown that the use of torture is sterile or counterproductive, and the country has abandoned it.

But the use of torture complicates efforts to bring men accused of instigating the attacks to justice. During a decade of court proceedings, defense attorneys brought the CIA to justice and sought to present the evidence against the men as a product of torture and therefore unreliable.

The Met Gala, the exclusive black tie extravaganza known as the East Coast Oscars, is back tonight. The major fashion event kicks off a blockbuster exhibition at the museum’s Costume Institute, which this year focuses on American fashion.

Another unofficial theme is youth, writes Vanessa Friedman, fashion director and chief fashion critic for The Times. Many of the designers are young, as are the hosts: inaugural presidential poet Amanda Gorman, actor Timothée Chalamet, tennis champion Naomi Osaka and pop star Billie Eilish.

For more on who can go, what they might wear, and how to watch the red carpet, read Vanessa’s explanation.

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