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Democrat Eric Adams wins New York City mayoral election

By Joseph Ax

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Democrat Eric Adams wins New York City mayoral election
© Reuters. A person adjusts a U.S. flag ahead of the election night party for Democratic candidate for New York City Mayor Eric Adams in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., November 2, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

By Joseph Ax

(Reuters) – Democrat Eric Adams won New York City’s mayoral race on Tuesday on promises to boost public safety and give voice to working-class residents, drawing on his experience as a police captain and as a Black man who experienced police brutality as a youth.

Adams, the Brooklyn borough president since 2014, was projected the winner by the Associated Press. He will become the city’s second Black mayor after defeating Republican Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels civilian patrol.

The 61-year-old Adams takes over in January from Democrat Bill de Blasio, who was term-limited after eight years in office.

Adams will face the task of overseeing the largest U.S. city’s nascent recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, as well as confronting wealth inequality, lack of affordable housing and struggling public schools.

He had been expected to win handily in the overwhelmingly Democratic city.

His victory could give President Joe Biden’s Democrats some signs of where voters stand as the party strives to maintain a fragile alliance between progressives and centrists in Washington.

Adams prevailed in the party’s primary election with a coalition that resembled, in some ways, the voters who helped elevate Biden to the Democratic nomination in 2020, especially his support among more moderate Black voters.

Progressives worry Adams will cater too much to the real estate industry, a powerful lobby that gave generously to his campaign.

RIGHT ON ‘STREETS,’ NOT ‘TWEETS’

Adams has not been shy about suggesting that his triumph can serve as a blueprint for national Democrats. He has been dismissive of critics of his agenda on the left who he says do not speak for mainstream Democrats.

“I say that it’s time for us to stop believing that we should have the right tweets. We should have the right safe streets,” Adams told CNN after winning the party’s nomination in July.

Portraying himself as a “blue-collar” New Yorker, he said working-class Democrats had been ignored by the party’s more liberal wing.

Perhaps no issue has animated Democrats more in the past year than policing, after the 2020 police killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis sparked months of demonstrations across the country.

But a spike in crime has prompted mayoral candidates across the country to call for more investment in policing, not less, as public safety has risen to the top of many voters’ list of concerns. [nL1N2RN35P]

Adams has argued the city cannot make a full economic recovery without addressing violent crime. He bluntly rejected the “defund the police” movement as a product of left-wing activists.

Instead, he has sought to strike a balance between calling for more aggressive policing and vowing reforms, including more diversity in the department’s senior ranks.

His personal story helped lend credence to his words. Adams has spoken of being beaten by police officers as a teenager. While a member of the New York City Police Department, Adams developed a reputation as an activist after co-founding 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, an advocacy group that spoke out against police brutality.

Adams, who secured key union backing, is seen as labor-friendly. He has also said he will work to connect more low-income residents with city services they are eligible for but do not use.

Adams, who has acknowledged having his eye on City Hall for decades, has sometimes been accused of altering his persona for political expediency. He switched to the Republican Party for several years before running successfully for the state Senate as a Democrat, and he has described himself as both a progressive and a moderate.

Coronavirus

China slashes COVID quarantine time for international travellers

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People line up at a nucleic acid testing station, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Beijing, China, June 16, 2022. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

2/2

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China on Tuesday slashed the quarantine time for inbound travellers by half in a major easing of one of the world’s strictest COVID-19 curbs, which have deterred travel in and out of the country since 2020.

Quarantine at centralised facilities has been cut to seven days from 14, and subsequent at-home health monitoring has been reduced to three days from seven, the National Health Commission said.

The latest guidelines from the health authority also eased quarantine requirements for close contacts of people who have tested positive for the new coronavirus.

China has cautiously eased its COVID curbs on cross-border travellers in recent months, with health officials saying the shorter incubation period of the Omicron variant allows for an adjustment of quarantine periods.

The Chinese capital Beijing in recent months has already reduced the quarantine period at centralised facilities to 10 days from 14.

China, last month, also removed some COVID-19 test requirements for people flying in from countries such as the United States.

“We believe that today’s announcement will be welcomed by the American business community,” the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai said on its official WeChat account.

The quarantine adjustment will make it easier for companies to bring staff to China, and for Chinese companies and their executives to visit the United States, AmCham said.

Stock markets rose in Hong Kong and the mainland, with the Hang Seng Index reversing losses and ticking up roughly 0.4% and the CSI300 Index gaining 0.7%.

Shares in mainland tourism companies jumped more than 5%.

China’s aviation regulator said this month it had been in touch with some countries to steadily increase the number of flights in the second half of 2022.

IN THE CLEAR

Beijing and Shanghai reported on Tuesday no new local COVID infections, the first time both cities were in the clear simultaneously since late February, after months of fighting their worst-ever outbreaks.

The milestone for the two cities, achieved on Monday, came after their daily caseloads dropped to single digits over the past week, allowing Shanghai to gradually resume eating in at restaurants and Beijing to reopen some leisure venues including the Universal Beijing Resort.

Shanghai Communist Party chief Li Qiang declared on Saturday that authorities had “won the war to defend Shanghai” against COVID-19.

The Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) Co’s Shanghai Disney Resort said on Tuesday that it would reopen the Disneyland theme park on June 30; it had been shut for more than three months.

Authorities, however, were adamant the government’s so-called dynamic zero COVID policy, which aims at blocking flare-ups from spreading as they crop up, remains in place.

Beijing would “fight against any new outbreaks at the outset and with speed and resolutely break their transmission channel”, Cai Qi, the city’s top Communist Party chief, was quoted as saying in a report by the party-backed Beijing Daily.

Earlier on Monday, the Beijing Daily apparently misquoted Cai as saying the city would maintain its COVID control effort for “the next five years”.

The newspaper afterwards removed the reference and its chief, Zhao Jingyun, said it was an error but that did not prevent some suspicion among the public.

“Surely it wasn’t a mistake! It’s meant to gauge public opinion!” said a user of the Weibo (NASDAQ:WB) social media platform.

Another Weibo user said even if it was a mistake, “at least the higher-ups are now aware of how helpless we all feel and how we detest the current counter-epidemic policies”.

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Coronavirus

Beijing, Shanghai both free of new local COVID cases for first time in months

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People line up at a nucleic acid testing station, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Beijing, China, June 16, 2022. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s capital, Beijing, and the financial hub of Shanghai reported on Tuesday no new local COVID infections, the first time both cities were in the clear at the same time since late February, after months of fighting their worst-ever outbreaks.

The milestone for the two cities, achieved on Monday, came after their daily caseloads dropped to single digits over the past week, allowing Shanghai to gradually resume eating in at restaurants and Beijing to reopen some leisure venues including the Universal Beijing Resort.

Shanghai Communist Party chief Li Qiang declared on Saturday that authorities had “won the war to defend Shanghai” against COVID-19, following a crushing two-month citywide lockdown that was finally lifted in early June.

Authorities, however, remained wary and were adamant that the government’s so-called dynamic zero COVID policy, which aims at blocking flare-ups from spreading as they crop up, remains in place.

Beijing would “fight against any new outbreaks at the outset and with speed and resolutely break their transmission channel”, Cai Qi, the city’s top Communist Party chief, was quoted as saying in a report by the party-backed Beijing Daily.

The city would build “a solid virus barrier”, Cai was quoted as saying on Monday.

Earlier on Monday, the Beijing Daily apparently misquoted Cai as saying the city would maintain its COVID control effort for “the next five years”.

The newspaper afterwards removed the reference and its chief, Zhao Jingyun, said it was an error but that did not prevent some suspicion among the public.

“Surely it wasn’t a mistake! It’s meant to gauge public opinion!” said a user of the Weibo (NASDAQ:WB) social media platform.

Another Weibo user said even if it was a mistake, “at least the higher-ups are now aware of how helpless we all feel and how we detest the current counter-epidemic policies”.

Despite easing COVID restrictions in Beijing and Shanghai, their combined 47 million residents have been told to go through COVID testing every few days, to maintain access to public spaces and transport.

Elsewhere in mainland China, a total of 22 domestically transmitted infections were reported for June 27, including five in the southern technology hub Shenzhen.

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U.S. appeals court vacates federal vaccine mandate pending additional hearing

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A resident over 50 years old and immunocompromised receives a second booster shot of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine in Waterford, Michigan, U.S., April 8, 2022. REUTERS/Emily Elconin

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court panel said on Monday it would convene a full panel to reconsider President Joe Biden’s executive order requiring civilian federal employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and set aside the order pending that hearing.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which is based in New Orleans, had reinstated the vaccine order in April by a 2-1 vote after it was blocked by a district court judge in January. [L2N2W530Z]

The court said on Monday that it would reconsider the case en banc, which means it will be heard by a larger panel of judges. No date was given for the hearing. Pending that hearing, the court said it would vacate the April ruling, which means that Biden’s order cannot be enforced.

Biden said in September he would require about 3.5 million government workers to get vaccinated by Nov. 22, barring a religious or medical accommodation, or face discipline or firing. Despite the legal fight, more than 90% of federal workers were vaccinated by December, the White House said last year.

The president’s vaccine and mask mandates have faced stiff opposition, led by Republicans, which have turned public safety measures endorsed by disease experts into a political and legal battle in the United States.

The United States passed the milestone of 1 million dead from the coronavirus in May. More than 250 people still die of the disease daily, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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