Tunisia’s democracy in turmoil
Tunisia’s president, Kais Saied, attempted to seize power from the rest of the government in what his political opponents called a coup. He announced on Sunday that he was dismissing the prime minister, suspending Parliament, and seizing control in the face of widespread anti-government protests over the country’s worsening health and economic crises.
With civil wars destroying Syria, Yemen, and Libya, Egypt’s democratic attempt crushed by a counterrevolution, and protests in the Gulf States quickly extinguished, Tunisia was the only country to emerge from the Arab Spring revolutions with a democracy, albeit a fragile one.
As of yesterday evening, Saied did not appear to have completely taken control, as chaos engulfed the North African country. Many Tunisians, however, expressed support and even jubilation, frustrated with an economy that never seemed to improve and soaring coronavirus death rates.
“Tunisia must not squander its democratic gains,” the US State Department said in a statement. In a phone call with Saied on Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken encouraged him to “adhere to the principles of democracy and human rights,” according to a spokesman.
White House to maintain virus travel bans
The Biden administration will continue to restrict entry of Europeans and others into the United States, citing fears that travellers infected with the coronavirus will spread the Delta variant further across the country.
“The more transmissible Delta variant is spreading both here and around the world,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said yesterday afternoon, adding that cases were on the rise in the United States, particularly among the unvaccinated. She did not specify when the restrictions might be lifted.
The decision is a setback for the travel industry, which had hoped that lifting the bans would boost tourism during the remaining summer months, thereby benefiting hotels, airlines, and other struggling businesses.
The latest from the Olympics
Teenagers dominated the women’s skateboarding street competition on the fourth day of the Tokyo Olympics, with four of the eight women in the final being 16 or younger. Both the gold and silver medalists are 13 years old.
Katie Ledecky, the five-time Olympic gold medalist, competed in her first final in Tokyo, the 400-meter freestyle, but was defeated by Australia’s Ariarne Titmus. In the 100-meter breaststroke, Lydia Jacoby of the United States upset teammate Lilly King. The men’s 200-meter freestyle was dominated by British swimmers.
Anna Kiesenhofer of Austria won the women’s road race, surprising 38-year-old Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands, who threw her hands up in victory as she crossed the finish line on Sunday, only to realise moments later that she was not the winner.
Despite being officially barred from the Olympics, Russia is very much present. The country edged out Japan, the 2016 champions, for the gold medal in men’s gymnastics team yesterday by 0.103 points.
Here is the current medal count as well as the most recent updates.
Hidilyn Diaz, a weight lifter from the Philippines, won the country’s first Olympic gold medal.
Weather problems are on the way: The Summer Olympics have already been hampered by oppressive heat. A typhoon is expected to make landfall north of Tokyo on Tuesday, bringing strong winds and heavy rain to the athletes. The weather has also caused a change in surfing schedule.
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Screen time for kids
Our OnTech newsletter spoke with an expert about the evolving debate over children’s technology use.
The myth that screen time rots children’s brains is being debunked, as parents, doctors, and researchers shift to a more nuanced message: screen time or technology can be both good and bad for children.
Dr. Colleen Russo Johnson, a child development expert and mother, believes it is long past time to abandon absolute and unrealistic limits on children’s screen time.
“We need to stop viewing this as a black-and-white issue,” Dr. Russo Johnson said. “You don’t want your children to be glued to screens all the time. That is common sense,” she continued. “However, these things are not evil. There is a great deal of variety, and not everything is created equal.”
According to Dr. Russo Johnson, parents and caregivers should look for technology that encourages younger children to be creative and do activities away from the screen, such as going on a scavenger hunt based on onscreen prompts.