Your Wednesday Briefing

The E.U.’s new vaccine passports

A digital Covid certificate system became operational in seven E.U. countries yesterday, offering a preview of what could become a standard for post-pandemic global mobility.

The document, known as a digital green certificate, records whether people have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, have recovered from the virus or have tested negative within 72 hours. Travelers can move freely if at least one of those criteria is met.

Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Poland made the certificates available to their citizens as of Tuesday and are accepting them for visitors. The European Commission, the bloc’s administrative branch, said the system would be in use for all 27 E.U. countries as of July 1.

Stateside: The only government-issued vaccine passport in the U.S. is New York’s Excelsior Pass, which is not required by the vast majority of businesses. Other states, including Alabama, Arizona, Florida and Georgia, have banned them.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

The World Health Organization cleared a Covid-19 vaccine made by the Chinese drugmaker Sinovac Biotech for emergency use.

The coronavirus has claimed the lives of 32 lawmakers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, more than 5 percent of the country’s Parliament.

A Palestinian campaign for rights and justice

For many Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, the possible downfall of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, has prompted little more than a shrug.

Instead, many Palestinians are consumed by their own political moment. In a rare display of unity, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians observed a general strike on May 12 across Gaza, the West Bank and the refugee camps of Lebanon and in Israel itself. Rather than pursuing a Palestinian ministate bordering Israel, the focus is now on the pursuit of rights, freedom and justice in both the occupied territories and Israel.

During Netanyahu’s current 12-year term, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process fizzled, and Netanyahu expressed increasing ambivalence about the possibility of a sovereign Palestinian state. Naftali Bennett, his likely replacement, is a former settler leader who rejects Palestinian statehood outright and would represent little improvement for Palestinians.

Quotable: The events of the past few weeks were “like an earthquake,” said one seasoned Palestinian leader. “We are part of the global conversation on rights, justice, freedom, and Israel cannot close it down or censor it.”

Israeli politics: Israeli newspapers from across the political spectrum offered reactions to the prospective coalition that were as fractured as the electorate.

Three-child limit is out of reach for most Chinese

China’s state news media trumpeted as a positive change the government’s announcement that it would allow married couples to have up to three children. But for most Chinese people, the news was only a reminder of a problem they had long recognized: the drastic inadequacy of China’s social safety net and of the legal protections that would enable them to have more children.

Women worried that the move would only exacerbate discrimination from employers. Young people, who have barely been able to afford homes and necessities, were fuming. Working-class couples said it would be impossible.

On Weibo, users complained of growing education expenses, sky-high housing prices and unforgiving work hours, and pointed out a shortage of child-care options. Many people have to rely on their parents to help with their children. Some millennials are choosing a child-free lifestyle, and many men are having vasectomies to ensure that they remain childless.

Related: China has nearly quintupled the acreage of public green space in its cities over the past 20 years to satisfy demands for parks and a better quality of life from a more affluent and educated populace.

THE LATEST NEWS

News From Europe

Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open could have been avoided through better communication and smarter decisions, our correspondent writes.

The pope broadened the Catholic Church’s definition of sexual abuse to explicitly acknowledge that adults, and not only children, can be victimized by priests.

Giovanni Brusca, an Italian mobster who admitted to involvement in more than 100 killings before becoming an informer, was released after serving 25 years in prison.

The Catholic wedding of Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds left many wondering how a twice-divorced man, with at least one child born out of wedlock, managed to get married in a Catholic Church. The answer is surprisingly straightforward.

Climate & Environment

A drought crisis affecting more than half the American West is threatening to turn into a war over water supplies. Separately, Western states are facing warnings of excessive heat this week.

The Biden administration said yesterday that it would suspend oil drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that were issued in the waning days of the Trump presidency.

The authorities in Sri Lanka opened an investigation into the crew of a cargo ship laden with toxic chemicals that has burned off the nation’s coast for 12 days, spilling debris into the ocean.

Culture News

Over the past year, queer ballet dancers, especially women, have been forging stronger networks and creating work that affirms that they’re not alone.

Activists in Britain are trying to preserve the Victorian jail where Oscar Wilde was sent after his conviction for “indecency,” saying his life was an important part of Britain’s history.

A Jewish family whose relatives’ artworks were looted by the Nazis has given up its claim to a Pissarro painting and transferred ownership to the University of Oklahoma.

A Morning Read

As the pandemic has hampered operations and sown chaos in global shipping, many economies around the world have been bedeviled by shortages of a vast range of goods — including electronics, lumber and clothing. Blame decades of companies’ cost-cutting measures.

ARTS AND IDEAS

The show goes on at the Globe

The Globe Theater of Shakespeare’s day survived multiple outbreaks of the plague. So when the pandemic shuttered live performances in London March 2020, many expected the modern recreation of the Globe to make it through. It hasn’t been easy.

The theater, which relies heavily on tourism, let go 180 freelance actors and crew members and furloughed most of its permanent staff members. Even with those cuts, executives said, the Globe might have shut down if not for the British government’s arts bailout.

The Globe reopened last month at a quarter of its usual capacity. To cut down on costs, it’s staging a revival of a 2019 production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Actors must maintain social distancing onstage, and plays will run without intermissions to reduce virus risk.

The Times culture reporter Alex Marshall recently headed to the Globe for its first performance in over a year. The mood outside, he reported, was ecstatic. “It’s just great we’re back and people are hungry for it,” Sean Holmes, the play’s director, said. “We can’t sustain at this level of audience by any means, but I’m feeling optimistic.”

PLAY, WATCH, EAT

What to Cook

If you’re working from home, let this springtime lemony chicken soup burble along in the slow cooker while you type.

What to Read

“Double Blind,” the new novel from Edward St. Aubyn, tells two love stories against a scientific backdrop.

A Times Classic

Take a virtual walking tour of New York City.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Black-and-white cookie (four letters).

And here is today’s Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

Thanks for starting your day with The Times. — Natasha

P.S. Christina Morales, who has reported for our Express desk, is our newest Food reporter.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about the Tulsa race massacre.

Sanam Yar wrote today’s Arts and Ideas. You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

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