We’re covering Germany’s election and a plan for the return of normalcy in Sydney.
Olaf Scholz is poised to be Germany’s next leader
The center-left Social Democratic Party won Germany’s election, defeating Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union by 1.6 percentage points, with 25.7 percent of the vote. Olaf Scholz did the unthinkable, carrying his long-dead Social Democrats to victory.
The hardest part is yet to come: For the first time since the 1950s, the next chancellor will have to get at least three different parties behind a governing deal. The process could take months.
If Scholz does become chancellor, his term is likely to be full of compromise with his coalition partners. The conservative runner-up, Armin Laschet, could still beat him to the top job.
“No one should behave as if he alone could build a government,” Laschet told reporters Monday. “He who can build a majority to back him will become chancellor.”
What’s next: Germany’s political landscape has fractured into multiple parties that differ less in size. Scholz said that voters gave a “clear mandate” that the next government should be created by his party, as well as the progressive Greens, with 14.8 percent of voter support, and the pro-business Free Democrats, with 11.5 percent.
Impact: E.U. policy may be delayed as leaders wait for Germany’s new government to take shape.
Related: Two Greens candidates, Tessa Ganserer and Nyke Slawik, became the first transgender women to join the German Parliament.
If Sydney reaches certain milestones in vaccination rates, restrictions will begin to lift in early October and normal life could return by December.
The city’s five million residents will begin to emerge from lockdown on Oct. 11, Gladys Berejiklian, the leader of New South Wales, said on Monday. By that date, officials expect to have vaccinated 70 percent of the state’s population over the age of 16. Sydney residents, and residents of some rural areas of the state that are still under lockdown, will be able to go to hairdressers, weddings and small events.
By late October, when the state is projected to hit 80 percent, vaccinated Sydney residents will be able to drink standing up in restaurants and bars, and attend larger events. Melbourne, Australia’s second biggest city, is set to start emerging from lockdown on Oct. 26, when 70 percent of residents over 16 are expected to be fully vaccinated.
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
Tens of thousands of health care workers in New York appeared to be risking their jobs by defying a state mandate to receive a vaccine dose by Monday.
U.S. President Joe Biden received a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
China’s electrical outages could increase prices
Power outages slowed or closed factories across China in recent days, adding problems to the country’s slowing economy and to snarled global supply chains.
The outages have rippled across most of eastern China, where the bulk of the population lives and works. Municipalities have shut down pumping stations. Building managers have turned off elevators.
Compared with last year, electricity demand is growing this year in China at nearly twice its usual annual pace. The rise has been driven by swelling orders for the smartphones, appliances, exercise equipment and other manufactured goods that China’s factories churn out.
Context: Demand has greatly increased for China’s export factories, which use tons of electricity, particularly in the production of aluminum, steel and cement. The price of coal to generate that electricity has gone up. But regulators have kept utility rates low, and the utilities haven’t been able to cover their costs, causing them to reduce hours or shut down.
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News From Asia
Australia has won praise from allies for redefining its ties with China — including its submarine deal with the U.S. But to increasingly vocal critics, Australia’s turn in policy and tone also offers warnings. Farmers wonder about a Chinese blockade on their products, and a climate change collaboration was brought to a halt.
Those familiar containers
Our food writer Priya Krishna wrote about the containers we use over and over, like Cool Whip tubs and Taster’s Choice jars, and how they can evoke stronger feelings than the food that came in them.
It was a tweet heard round the internet. Two images, side by side: two regal blue Royal Dansk tins, filled with sugar-studded butter cookies slotted in white wrappers, next to an identical tin with a much less enticing assortment of buttons and thread. Written beneath the first image: “My fall plans.” Under the second: “The Delta variant.”
The tweet hit on a seemingly universal experience: the repurposing of a Royal Dansk tin as a sewing kit, and the dismay of all of the children who’ve opened one.
“This thing that I thought was a very niche and specific to being Latin and being Mexican turned out to be a global phenomenon,” said the film critic Carlos Aguilar, who wrote the tweet. He grew up in Mexico City and lives in Los Angeles.
Food can inspire strong emotions. And sometimes the container it came in can evoke an even stronger response. Royal Dansk tins, Cool Whip tubs, Dannon yogurt containers and Bonne Maman jam jars all belong to an unofficial hall of fame of receptacles that have been redeployed for myriad uses, giving them countless afterlives and often imbuing them with special meaning.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
Meefun, a stir-fried rice noodle dish common in Taiwan, is easy to make and packed with umami.
What to Read
The poetry collection “Stones,” by Kevin Young, the poetry editor of The New Yorker, is about family, about death and about how families absorb and repurpose loss.