Your Monday Briefing – The New York Times

Hello. We are covering the rising death toll from a building collapse in Florida and the strict Covid-19 lockdown in Sydney to contain the Delta variant.

On Sunday, four days after a residential building collapsed north of Miami Beach, the death toll rose to nine as rescuers found additional bodies and remains. More than 150 people are still missing. Here are the live updates and what we know so far.

The search was extremely slow: the fire under the rubble hampered efforts and rescuers must balance their own safety with their search. More than 300 emergency personnel are working around the clock, and the Army Corps of Engineers have been called in to help. Yet some families are starting to lose hope.

The collapsed building, which was located in Surfside, Florida, was about to undergo repairs to address “major structural issues” an engineer identified in 2018.

The next door: Residents of a twin tower are stuck in limbo. Home inspectors determined it to be structurally sound, a member of the condominium board said. Still, while some residents are confident; others hastily packed their bags and found other places to sleep.

Security controle: The collapse raised questions about the safety of similar buildings along South Florida beaches, where salty air tends to eat away at steel and concrete structures. The Miami-Dade County Mayor on Saturday announced a 30-day audit of all buildings 40 and older.

A global problem : Around the world, sloppy construction, poor maintenance or poor quality materials often cause buildings to collapse. But the biggest problem is weak, patchy, or no oversight.


As the Delta variant spreads across Australia’s largest city, authorities have put in place a strict two-week lockdown that began on Saturday for all of greater Sydney and its surrounding areas. This is the first such lockdown since early 2020 and reflects rising concerns about the rapidly growing epidemic.

A cluster that started with an airport limousine driver has grown to nearly 100 cases, with dozens more expected over the next few days. Officials are also concerned about a hair salon that had 900 customers when at least a few employees were contagious, and a seafood wholesaler where a delivery driver tested positive after several days of transporting fish across town.

Officials, who initially resisted such strong measures, said they were now needed after several new chains of transmission were discovered. Until at least July 9, Sydney residents can only leave their homes to exercise, see a doctor, take care of loved ones, buy food or perform other essential activities.

Vaccines: Australia is one of many countries in the Asia-Pacific region that continue to struggle with the ups and downs of the coronavirus, mainly due to new variants and a slow rollout of vaccines. Most Sydney residents are not vaccinated. Less than a quarter of Australians have received at least one dose, according to data from the New York Times.

Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.

In other developments:

  • Dozens of mountaineers on Mount Everest have first-hand reported being infected with the coronavirus, but Nepal refuses to acknowledge any cases.

  • Indonesian doctors, who received the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccines, are still getting sick.

  • Indian doctors are worried about a new version of the virus: Delta Plus.

  • The British Minister for Health resigned after photos surfaced of him kissing a senior official – an apparent violation of social distancing guidelines.


Pope Francis sent a deep message encouraging handwritten letter to a leader in the Roman Catholic Church’s effort to reach LGBTQ people. But a growing dissonance has developed between its inclusive language and the actions of the church.

Last week, the Vatican confirmed it was gravely concerned about legislation currently in the Italian parliament that increases protection for LGBTQ people. Days later, the second in command insisted that the church had nothing against gay rights, but was protecting itself against possible charges of discrimination arising from the new bill.

Francis’ note adds to the political confusion over whether he is a liberal trying to reform the church or just a social conservative trying to please everyone, writes our Rome bureau chief.

Background: François appeared open to homosexuality: in 2016, he replied: “Who am I to judge? on the issue of homosexual Catholics and recently he expressed his support for homosexual civil unions. But in March, the church’s top doctrinal office – with the support of Francis – denied the Catholic clergy the power to bless same-sex unions.

Chinese tourists flock to the attractions to experience the official version of the Communist Party’s history ahead of its centenary on July 1. This wave of “red tourism” – in which old tourist spots have been brightened up in the age of Instagram and TikTok – presents a sanitized, sometimes misleading narrative.

People have held meetings for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians had hieroglyphics to convey the concept of “advice”. George Washington, tired of writing letters, summoned the founders of his study to help set up the US government, writes Caity Weaver in The Times.

During the pandemic, face-to-face meetings turned into online meetings. But they were almost never without technical difficulties, and many people found them insufficient.

So, asks Caity, what do we miss when we don’t meet in person?

By emphasizing collaboration, meetings can “play a psychological role in motivating the workforce,” said Caitlin Rosenthal, economic historian.

Avoiding a bad meeting requires purpose, a mix of introverts and extroverts, and ideally designated decision makers. As Caity writes, “A meeting can be good, in short, but only if it has to be a meeting. “

For more: Do Chance Meetings at the Office Really Promote Innovation?

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