How The Death of Vivek Oji inverts the murder mystery

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Probably the best advice I’ve come across when it comes to reading Akwaeke Emezi’s The Death of Vivek Oji, the Vox Book Club’s April pick, is to treat it as an inverted murder mystery.

Vivek Oji begins, like all murder mysteries do, with a death. “They burned down the market on the day Vivek Oji died,” Emezi writes, in the novel’s opening line. That line is all that exists of the first chapter, and it’s all we need to know: Vivek Oji lived, and now he …

Paraguay’s ‘Life and Death’ Covid Crisis Gives China Diplomatic Opening

RIO DE JANEIRO — Taiwan has built thousands of homes for the poor in Paraguay, upgraded the country’s health care system, awarded hundreds of scholarships and even helped fund the futuristic Congress building in the capital, spending generously over decades to nurture their diplomatic ties.

But the alliance, which makes Paraguay one of only 15 nations to have full diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and the only one in South America, is facing an existential threat as Paraguay’s quest for vaccines becomes increasingly desperate.

With its health care system buckling as Covid-19 cases soar, Paraguayan officials across the political spectrum say

Experts say Instagram for kids is a terrible idea

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Public health experts are urging Facebook to leave behind its plans for a new version of Instagram targeted at kids under 13. Such a plan, these groups said in a letter sent on Thursday, would “put young users at great risk,” arguing that Facebook isn’t ready to introduce and oversee an app that could have such a powerful influence over young children.

The new app, which Facebook says will not include ads, is being designed for children under the minimum age for Instagram, which is 13. Facebook also says it’s trying to find new methods, including using artificial intelligence, to …

How Working From Home Changed Wardrobes Around the World

Have months of self-isolation, lockdown and working from home irrevocably changed what we will put on once we go out again? For a long time, the assumption was yes. Now, as restrictions ease and the opening up of offices and travel is dangled like a promise, that expectation is more like a qualified “maybe.” But not every country’s experience of the last year was the same, nor were the clothes that dominated local wardrobes. Before we can predict what’s next, we need to understand what was. Here, eight New York Times correspondents in seven different countries share dispatches from a

In India, a Second Wave of Covid-19 Prompts a New Exodus

This time, the Indian government has not locked down the whole country. But India’s cities are increasingly enforcing lockdown-like restrictions, meaning the tide of migrant workers leaving will most likely get worse. The authorities are reluctant to use the word lockdown — like shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater — but they are tightening up.

On Tuesday night, for example, the state government of Maharashtra, which includes Mumbai, banned public gatherings and ordered most businesses to close for the next two and a half weeks.

The authorities had little choice, health experts say. New daily infections are exceeding the heights …

What the Coronavirus Variants Mean for Testing

In January 2020, just weeks after the first Covid-19 cases emerged in China, the full genome of the new coronavirus was published online. Using this genomic sequence, scientists scrambled to design a large assortment of diagnostic tests for the virus.

But the virus has mutated since then. And as the coronavirus has evolved, so has the landscape of testing. The emergence of new variants has sparked a flurry of interest in developing tests for specific viral mutations and prompted concerns about the accuracy of some existing tests.

“With these Covid diagnostics, we were on a time crunch, we had to

Iran Vows to Increase Uranium Enrichment After Attack on Nuclear Site

Iran said Tuesday that it would begin enriching uranium to a level of 60 percent purity, three times the current level and much closer to that needed to make a bomb, though American officials doubt the country has the ability to produce a weapon in the near future.

Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, did not give a reason for the shift, but it appeared to be retaliation for an Israeli attack on Iran’s primary nuclear fuel production plant as well as a move to strengthen Iran’s hand in nuclear talks in Vienna.

The Israeli attack

How Are You Dividing Housework During the Pandemic?

Housework has always been difficult to divide. Now, perhaps, even more so. Over the last year, people around the world have done a ton of housework while sheltering in place. From nonstop dishwashing and toy gathering to caring for children in remote learning, it seems as if we are constantly cleaning up after ourselves, our roommates and our loved ones.

So the Modern Love Podcast team wants to know: What systems have you developed with your partner, roommates or family members to divvy up housework fairly? Do you flip a coin? Reverse traditional gender roles? Leave passive-aggressive notes? Or have

Why Johnson & Johnson shots were paused — and why that’s so confusing

The US rollout of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine was halted Tuesday as regulators race to investigate rare blood-clotting complications linked to the shot. The move may force thousands of people scheduled to receive the shot this week to scramble for an alternative.

Both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended a pause in distributing the vaccine after six reported cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST). These clots block blood flowing out of the brain and can quickly turn deadly.

The complications were found in women between the ages of 18 …

How to Double the Vaccination Pace

The development of the Covid-19 vaccines happened with great urgency, for obvious reasons.

One of the timesaving techniques by Moderna and Pfizer involved scheduling the two vaccine doses fairly close together — just three or four weeks apart — during the research trials. The companies did not test multiple gaps between the two shots to see which was the most effective. They each chose a short gap to finish the trials as quickly as possible.

The decision made a lot of sense. It allowed the U.S. mass vaccination program to start in December, rather than pushing it back a few