Your Tuesday Briefing

We’re covering Germany’s election and a plan for the return of normalcy in Sydney.

Olaf Scholz, center, at the Social Democratic Party headquarters in Berlin on Monday.Credit…Christof Stache/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Olaf Scholz is poised to be Germany’s next leader

The center-left Social Democratic Party won Germany’s election, defeating Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union by 1.6 percentage points, with 25.7 percent of the vote. Olaf Scholz did the unthinkable, carrying his long-dead Social Democrats to victory.

The hardest part is yet to come: For the first time since the 1950s, the next chancellor will have to get at least three different parties behind a governing deal. The process could take months.

If Scholz does become chancellor, his term is likely to be full of compromise with his coalition partners. The conservative runner-up, Armin Laschet, could still beat him to the top job.

“No one should behave as if he alone could build a government,” Laschet told reporters Monday. “He who can build a majority to back him will become chancellor.”

What’s next: Germany’s political landscape has fractured into multiple parties that differ less in size. Scholz said that voters gave a “clear mandate” that the next government should be created by his party, as well as the progressive Greens, with 14.8 percent of voter support, and the pro-business Free Democrats, with 11.5 percent.

Impact: E.U. policy may be delayed as leaders wait for Germany’s new government to take shape.

Related: Two Greens candidates, Tessa Ganserer and Nyke Slawik, became the first transgender women to join the German Parliament.

People sat inside a social distancing circle at a park in Sydney.Credit…Loren Elliott/Reuters

A plan for returning to normal life in Sydney

Three months after Australia’s biggest city locked down to contain its latest coronavirus outbreak, the authorities have outlined a path to reopening.

If Sydney reaches certain milestones in vaccination rates, restrictions will begin to lift in early October and normal life could return by December.

The city’s five million residents will begin to emerge from lockdown on Oct. 11, Gladys Berejiklian, the leader of New South Wales, said on Monday. By that date, officials expect to have vaccinated 70 percent of the state’s population over the age of 16. Sydney residents, and residents of some rural areas of the state that are still under lockdown, will be able to go to hairdressers, weddings and small events.

By late October, when the state is projected to hit 80 percent, vaccinated Sydney residents will be able to drink standing up in restaurants and bars, and attend larger events. Melbourne, Australia’s second biggest city, is set to start emerging from lockdown on Oct. 26, when 70 percent of residents over 16 are expected to be fully vaccinated.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

  • Tens of thousands of health care workers in New York appeared to be risking their jobs by defying a state mandate to receive a vaccine dose by Monday.

  • U.S. President Joe Biden received a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

  • Costco, a major American bulk retail store, will limit sales of toilet paper and water because of “Delta-related demand.”

  • Nepal has reopened to visitors in a bid to revive its tourism industry.

Workers at a small factory that produces shoe parts in Dongguan, China, on Monday.Credit…Gilles Sabrié for The New York Times

China’s electrical outages could increase prices

Power outages slowed or closed factories across China in recent days, adding problems to the country’s slowing economy and to snarled global supply chains.

The outages have rippled across most of eastern China, where the bulk of the population lives and works. Municipalities have shut down pumping stations. Building managers have turned off elevators.

Compared with last year, electricity demand is growing this year in China at nearly twice its usual annual pace. The rise has been driven by swelling orders for the smartphones, appliances, exercise equipment and other manufactured goods that China’s factories churn out.

Context: Demand has greatly increased for China’s export factories, which use tons of electricity, particularly in the production of aluminum, steel and cement. The price of coal to generate that electricity has gone up. But regulators have kept utility rates low, and the utilities haven’t been able to cover their costs, causing them to reduce hours or shut down.


News From Asia

A family at an amusement park in Beijing.Credit…Gilles Sabrié for The New York Times
  • China said it was cracking down on “medically unnecessary” abortion, prompting fears about privacy in a country with a history of intrusive reproductive health measures.

  • Thousands of Indian farmers blocked major roads in New Delhi on Monday, marking one year of protests over agricultural reforms, Reuters reports.

  • Four women are among the candidates for Japan’s next prime minister, but their fate is in the hands of a mostly male, conservative governing party, The A.P. reports.

Around the World

Carles Puigdemont, former head of the Catalan government in Spain, in Alghero, Italy, on Saturday.Credit…Yara Nardi/Reuters
  • Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan separatist wanted in Spain for leading a failed breakaway movement, left Italy on Monday, days after Italian authorities briefly detained him.

  • Facebook paused plans for an Instagram app for kids under 13 after a backlash.

  • R. Kelly was found guilty of being the ringleader of a decades-long scheme to recruit women and underage girls for sex. The verdict came after decades of sexual abuse allegations.

  • Voters in Switzerland overwhelmingly approved an amendment to legalize same-sex marriage.

  • The ban in Texas on most abortions has some women traveling to neighboring states. At one Oklahoma clinic, at least two-thirds of patients now come from Texas.

  • Hurricane Ida caused dozens of oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico.

  • “Moulin Rouge!” and “The Inheritance” took the top honors at the Tony Awards on Sunday night.

A Morning Read

High security walls at the Chinese consulate in Sydney.Credit…Matthew Abbott for The New York Times

Australia has won praise from allies for redefining its ties with China — including its submarine deal with the U.S. But to increasingly vocal critics, Australia’s turn in policy and tone also offers warnings. Farmers wonder about a Chinese blockade on their products, and a climate change collaboration was brought to a halt.


Credit…Jessica Pons for The New York Times

Those familiar containers

Our food writer Priya Krishna wrote about the containers we use over and over, like Cool Whip tubs and Taster’s Choice jars, and how they can evoke stronger feelings than the food that came in them.

It was a tweet heard round the internet. Two images, side by side: two regal blue Royal Dansk tins, filled with sugar-studded butter cookies slotted in white wrappers, next to an identical tin with a much less enticing assortment of buttons and thread. Written beneath the first image: “My fall plans.” Under the second: “The Delta variant.”

The tweet hit on a seemingly universal experience: the repurposing of a Royal Dansk tin as a sewing kit, and the dismay of all of the children who’ve opened one.

“This thing that I thought was a very niche and specific to being Latin and being Mexican turned out to be a global phenomenon,” said the film critic Carlos Aguilar, who wrote the tweet. He grew up in Mexico City and lives in Los Angeles.

Food can inspire strong emotions. And sometimes the container it came in can evoke an even stronger response. Royal Dansk tins, Cool Whip tubs, Dannon yogurt containers and Bonne Maman jam jars all belong to an unofficial hall of fame of receptacles that have been redeployed for myriad uses, giving them countless afterlives and often imbuing them with special meaning.


What to Cook

Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times

Meefun, a stir-fried rice noodle dish common in Taiwan, is easy to make and packed with umami.

What to Read

The poetry collection “Stones,” by Kevin Young, the poetry editor of The New Yorker, is about family, about death and about how families absorb and repurpose loss.

Fashion Week

Are these goggles the next cool sunglasses?

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Long period of history (five 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. The New York Times launched a talent pipeline and mentoring program for early-college students.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is on the Haitian migrant crisis at the U.S. border.

You can reach Melina and the team at [email protected].

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