Your Friday Briefing


We’re covering Europe’s booming vaccine drive and emotional moments at the Olympics.

The 27 member states have now administered more coronavirus vaccine doses per 100 people than the U.S. has: 102.66 to 102.44, as of earlier this week.

This month, the bloc also overtook the U.S. in first injections. Earlier this year, the E.U. faced vaccine shortages and a stumbling rollout while the U.S. was going full steam ahead.

Some member countries, like France and Italy, have implemented mandates to try to speed the inoculations. Across the board, young people are still hard to reach. Over all, around 79 percent of E.U. residents intend to get vaccinated this year, a May survey found.

Turnaround: Just a few months ago, Europe’s campaign was a mess, but its problems proved to be temporary. In July, it has given shots at four times the American pace — something that would have been hard to imagine in the spring.

Tough measures: In France, proof of vaccination or a negative test is now required to enter most venues; appointments soared after the rule was announced. Italy and Germany have similar measures.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

The 18-year-old Minnesota gymnast came into the Olympics wanting to win a gold medal for her father, her biggest fan, and for all the Hmong Americans she feels are unseen in the U.S.

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After years of chasing Simone Biles in the all-around event, which she hadn’t lost since 2013, Lee soared in Tokyo to take the top prize. “It doesn’t even feel like I’m in real life,” she said. (These are the moves that got her to gold.) Here are the latest updates from the Games.

Heat waves are scorching southeast Europe with temperatures surpassing 40 degrees Celsius in parts of Greece, the highest in decades.

In Turkey, at least three people died and dozens were hospitalized as forest fires spread. Wildfires burned in Greece for a third day. The dangerous conditions were expected to last for another week, The Associated Press reported.

Officials in some Balkan countries advised people to stay indoors for parts of the day, adjusted work hours for outdoor professions or recommended that pregnant women and older adults stay home.

The $2.7 million Marble Arch Mound, above, was pitched as an Arcadian dreamscape in the middle of London. Instead, visitors got a widely mocked pile of blocky scaffolding and patchy vegetation. Local officials are offering ticket refunds.

A skilled diver and spearfishing champion, Valerie Taylor was one half of the Australian couple whose shark footage featured in the climax of “Jaws.” A longtime shark conservationist, Taylor, 85, is the subject of a new documentary, “Playing With Sharks,” on Disney+.

“Some are shy, some are bullies, some are brave,” she said of the animals. “When you get to know a school of sharks, you get to know them as individuals.”

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Taylor began studying sharks after she killed one while shooting a film in the 1960s. She regrets how “Jaws” influenced audiences to fear sharks as bloodthirsty, human-stalking monsters. (Only a few species are known to bite humans, whom they often mistake for natural prey.)

Climate change and overfishing have ruined many of the underwater habitats Taylor witnessed, and her arthritis makes swimming in colder waters difficult. Still, she dives.

“I hate being old, but at least it means I was in the ocean when it was pristine,” she said. Today, “it’s like going to where there was a rainforest and seeing a field of corn.”


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