Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times

We’re covering how plans by countries to cut emissions are sorely lacking and Aung San Suu Kyi’s appearance in court.

Ahead of the climate summit in Glasgow, many countries including Argentina, Britain, Canada, much of the E.U., South Africa and the U.S. have upgraded pledges to cut planet-warming emissions by 2030.

But those latest plans to tackle climate change over the next decade are far from what’s needed to avert a dangerous rise in global temperatures, according to a United Nations report released on Tuesday. The new pledges make up just one-seventh of the cuts needed.

Were those promises met, the world would be on track to warm roughly 2.7 degrees Celsius by 2100, compared with preindustrial levels, the report found. That broadly aligns with what outside analyses have found. That much warming would drastically increase the risk of heat waves, droughts, flooding and wildfires across the globe in the years to come, scientists have warned.

It is also unclear whether every country will live up to its pledges — the report found that many governments still haven’t put in place policies or laws to achieve their goals. Australia, for example, pledged a last-minute commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050. But its plan, which does not toughen emissions targets for 2030, makes that hard to achieve.

Quotable: “The world has to wake up to the imminent peril we face as a species,” said Inger Andersen, the executive director of the U.N. Environment Program.

More than eight months after she was detained by the military in a coup, Aung San Suu Kyi appeared in a courtroom specially built for her in Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar, to defend herself during a closed-door hearing.

The prosecution has spent months presenting its case against her. She is charged with “inciting public unrest,” illegally importing walkie-talkies and breaching coronavirus regulations. The U.N. and foreign governments have called the charges, which could lead to 102 years in prison, as politically motivated.

No journalists, diplomats or members of the public have been allowed in court and Aung San Suu Kyi’s testimony on Tuesday was not made public. The junta has barred her lawyers from speaking to the news media.

What’s next: Experts say there is little doubt she will be convicted. Aung San Suu Kyi has long been a thorn in the side of the Myanmar military, and the country’s judiciary tends to side with the military.

Employees in New Zealand who have close contact with customers — those who work at restaurants, gyms, bars and hair salons — will be required to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Health workers and teachers were already required to be vaccinated. The new rules mean that about 40 percent of all New Zealand workers will be required to be fully vaccinated or risk losing their jobs. Businesses that do not agree to the vaccination requirements will not be allowed to operate at full capacity.

“Vaccinations will be mandated for everyone who works in any workplace where a vaccine certificate is required for entry,” the country’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said after the decision was taken at a cabinet meeting.

The announcement came after New Zealand set a target to vaccinate at least 90 percent of its eligible population. So far, 74 percent of the population has received at least one vaccine dose and 61 percent are fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

Asia Pacific

Two days after a cricket victory against India in Dubai, Pakistan is still feeling the high and a much-needed burst of joy. “The children couldn’t stop talking about the game and kept praising Pakistani players,” a teacher in Islamabad said. “Some of my students said they couldn’t sleep out of happiness.”

Lives lived: Roh Tae-woo, South Korea’s last military-backed president who ended up in jail for mutiny and corruption, has died at age 88.

Our restaurant critic Pete Wells spent weeks eating in New York City’s Midtown, a neighborhood often maligned by locals but loved by visitors, to see what shape the pandemic had left the area’s restaurants in. The neighborhood is pulsing again, he reports.

There are many New Yorks, but Midtown is the place to go when you want to eat and drink in New York, New York. Tourists understand this better than locals, who love to complain about Midtown.

I explored Japanese Midtown. I checked in on Steakhouse Midtown, flourishing, or at least surviving. I looked for the Midtown where workers on hourly wages stand in line for Cuban ropa vieja, and the one where on any given night three or four billionaires will spend thousands of dollars on wine and pasta without looking at the menu.

It all goes on at once, often on the same block.

If you want a lunch break in a place that leaves no doubt what city you’re in, sit under the tiled ceiling vaults of the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant.

Order a stew or pan roast, and watch as a cook who learned to do this decades ago drops butter and clam juice into the kettle, slips in some shellfish that is quickly drowned in half-and-half, and tilts it all into a bowl — your bowl.

The man on your left may be in from Dallas. The woman on your right has just enough time to make it back to the office before anyone notices she’s gone. For now, all three of you are pinned like butterflies on a board labeled “New York, New York. Date unknown.”

What to Cook

This roasted sheet pan chicken uses earthy, warming spices and pear, with crunchy sunflower seeds added in the final minutes.

What to Read

Kwon Yeo-sun’s “Lemon,” which shows a murder from three perspectives, is “a bright, intense, refreshing” story you can finish in one sitting, our reviewer writes.

What to watch

What keeps fans coming back to sequels of the 1978 scary movie “Halloween”?

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: What gets this puzzle off to a flying start? (four letters).

And here is today’s Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Melina

P.S. Our international president, Stephen Dunbar-Johnson, spoke to The Glasgow Times about The New York Times’s Climate Hub at COP26.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is on the Biden administration’s efforts to expand the U.S. social safety net.

Natasha Frost helped write this briefing. You can reach Melina and the team at

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