Your Tuesday Briefing

We’re covering Tunisia’s governmental crisis and deadly monsoon rains in India.

Tunisia’s president moves to take control

President Kais Saied late on Sunday said he was firing the prime minister, suspending Parliament and taking control of the country after large anti-government protests over deepening health and economic crises.

The power grab by Saied was seen as a major threat to the only democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring protests a decade ago. A leading political party, Ennahda, called it “a coup against the Tunisian democracy and its constitution.”

The country has for years suffered from high unemployment and economic paralysis, and the pandemic has overwhelmed the health system. Tunisians are dying of Covid-19 at the highest rate in the Middle East and Africa.

Context: Elected in 2019 and still enjoying strong popularity, Saied has for months expanded his authority by refusing to swear in ministers and blocking the formation of a constitutional court, raising alarm. Last week, he stripped control of the vaccine rollout from the health ministry and handed it to the military.

Russia’s gymnastic win and a Philippine first at the Olympics

Russia edged out Japan for the men’s gymnastics team gold on Monday, unseating the 2016 Olympic champions, Japan, by just 0.103 points. China was third. The U.S. team finished fifth. Here are the latest updates from the Games.

The weight lifter Hidilyn Diaz made history, securing the first gold for the Philippines in her fourth Olympics. “It’s unbelievable,” she said, caressing the gold medal hanging on her neck. “I expected to win, but when you hold this already, it’s like, Wow, I never thought this would happen today.”

Teenagers swept the women’s street skateboarding medals, with 13-year-old Momiji Nishiya of Japan becoming the second-youngest gold medalist ever; the Brazilian skater Rayssa Leal, also 13 and a few months younger than Nishiya, won the silver.

The Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus upset the world-record holder and defending gold medalist, Katie Ledecky, in the 400-meter freestyle. Titmus’s coach went viral for his celebratory reaction. Here’s the medal count.

Weather challenges ahead: The Summer Olympics have already been hampered by sweltering heat. Starting on Tuesday, athletes will also have to deal with strong winds and heavy rain, with a typhoon expected to make landfall north of Tokyo.

France passes contentious Covid law

France passed a law late on Sunday that makes health passes mandatory for a number of indoor venues as the country faces a fourth wave of coronavirus infections. The pass requires proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or a recent recovery from Covid-19.

The new law also obligates health employees and other essential workers, such as firefighters, to be vaccinated by the fall. A vote came after days of heated parliamentary debates that lasted long into the night and protests against the measure in dozens of French cities. Officials cited the Delta variant and unvaccinated Covid patients filling up hospitals as reasons for the pass.

Context: The pass was already mandatory for large events in stadiums and concert halls, and to enter museums and theaters. Now it extends to bars, restaurants, gyms and some malls. Employees could face pay suspensions — but not firings — if they fail to be vaccinated as well.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will require health care workers to be vaccinated against the Covid-19.

Malaysia reported a record 17,045 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, taking the country past one million cases as it battles the highest infection rate in Southeast Asia.

New York City will require city workers to be vaccinated or tested weekly by mid-September.

THE LATEST NEWS

Climate

At least 164 people have died, with 100 reported missing, after heavy monsoon rains deluged entire towns and villages on India’s western coast.

About 1,000 people on the Italian island of Sardinia have been evacuated over massive wildfires, which have burned at least 50,000 acres and killed hundreds of animals that were trapped in barns.

Heavy flooding wreaked havoc across London for the second time in two weeks, inundating train stations, stranding motorists and forcing at least two hospitals to redirect patients from their emergency rooms.

Toyota led on clean cars. After the company’s bet on hydrogen power over electric, critics say it now works to oppose an all-out transition to electric cars.

The Latest News

Civilian casualties and rights violations are soaring in Afghanistan, rights groups say, with the Taliban carrying out the bulk of the offenses amid the void left by departing American forces. A U.S. general suggested airstrikes may continue.

A three-month constitutional crisis on Samoa ended on Monday as its long-serving leader finally conceded an election defeat, making way for the first female prime minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, in the island nation’s 56-year history.

Chinese regulators on Monday banned tutoring companies from making profits in an attempt to ease the financial burden that families face, a move that sent their shares plummeting.

Talks between U.S. and Chinese diplomats in Tianjin, China, ended with little sign that disagreements had improved, after harsh public pushback from China against U.S. confrontations on points of dispute.

A Morning Read

China didn’t take climate change into account during its economic boom. Now it has to, as last week’s floods revealed that pell-mell urbanization created cities ill-equipped for climate change.

ARTS AND IDEAS

Screen time for kids

Our OnTech newsletter talked to an expert about the changing debate on children’s use of tech.

The belief that screen time is rotting kids’ brains is getting a do-over.

Parents, physicians and researchers have been gravitating instead to a more nuanced message: Screen time or technology can be good for children, but also bad. Dr. Colleen Russo Johnson, a child development expert and mom, said that it’s long overdue to move away from absolute and unrealistic limits on children’s screen time (and judgments on caregivers).

“We have to stop looking at this as a black-and-white issue,” Dr. Russo Johnson said. “You don’t want your kids always glued to screens. That is common sense,” she continued. “But these things are not evil. There is a lot of variety and everything is not created equal.”

Dr. Russo Johnson said that it sometimes helps to think about technology that encourages younger children to be creative and do activities away from the screen, such as going on a scavenger hunt. She is a fan of apps from Toca Boca and Sago Mini that encourage young children to explore open-ended games without much instruction.

PLAY, WATCH, EAT

What to Cook

Salt and pepper shrimp rolls are inspired by the classic Chinese dish jiao yan xia.

Wellness

Learn to notice the signs of A-fib, a common heart-rhythm abnormality that’s easy to miss.

Anatomy of a Scene

The director Cate Shortland breaks down an action scene in “Black Widow.”

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Computer devices so-named for their cords, which suggest tails (four 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 Times won eight New York Press Club awards for work across Culture, Sports, Science, Books, Obits and Opinion.

The latest episode of “The Daily” explains rare breakthrough infections among the vaccinated.

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

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