Your Friday Briefing

We’re covering Europe’s booming vaccine drive and emotional moments at the Olympics.

The E.U. overtakes the U.S. in vaccinations

The 27 member states have now administered more coronavirus vaccine doses per 100 people than the U.S. has: 102.66 to 102.44, as of earlier this week.

This month, the bloc also overtook the U.S. in first injections. Earlier this year, the E.U. faced vaccine shortages and a stumbling rollout while the U.S. was going full steam ahead.

Some member countries, like France and Italy, have implemented mandates to try to speed the inoculations. Across the board, young people are still hard to reach. Over all, around 79 percent of E.U. residents intend to get vaccinated this year, a May survey found.

Turnaround: Just a few months ago, Europe’s campaign was a mess, but its problems proved to be temporary. In July, it has given shots at four times the American pace — something that would have been hard to imagine in the spring.

Tough measures: In France, proof of vaccination or a negative test is now required to enter most venues; appointments soared after the rule was announced. Italy and Germany have similar measures.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

The French government said the U.K.’s quarantine rules for incoming travelers were discriminatory. Britain lifted the quarantine requirement for most vaccinated travelers, but not those arriving from France.

President Biden called on U.S. states and localities to use federal money to pay unvaccinated people $100 to get a shot.

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines said people should be confined to their homes if they refuse a Covid vaccine.

Israel will offer a third Pfizer shot to people over 60 in an effort to slow the spread of the Delta variant.

An emotional victory for Sunisa Lee

The 18-year-old Minnesota gymnast came into the Olympics wanting to win a gold medal for her father, her biggest fan, and for all the Hmong Americans she feels are unseen in the U.S.

After years of chasing Simone Biles in the all-around event, which she hadn’t lost since 2013, Lee soared in Tokyo to take the top prize. “It doesn’t even feel like I’m in real life,” she said. (These are the moves that got her to gold.) Here are the latest updates from the Games.

Swimming: Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa set a world record in the 200-meter breaststroke, coming ahead of the U.S. swimmers Lilly King and Annie Lazor. In the 100-meter butterfly semifinals, Caeleb Dressel of the U.S. and Kristof Milak of Hungary set themselves up for a showdown in Saturday’s final.

Women’s football: The U.S. will face off against the Netherlands on Friday, and Britain will face Australia.

Fires and record temperatures in southern Europe

Heat waves are scorching southeast Europe with temperatures surpassing 40 degrees Celsius in parts of Greece, the highest in decades.

In Turkey, at least three people died and dozens were hospitalized as forest fires spread. Wildfires burned in Greece for a third day. The dangerous conditions were expected to last for another week, The Associated Press reported.

Officials in some Balkan countries advised people to stay indoors for parts of the day, adjusted work hours for outdoor professions or recommended that pregnant women and older adults stay home.

Heat across the U.S.: Nearly a quarter of the country’s population was under heat warnings on Thursday, as sweltering temperatures stretched across 20 states. Western states faced relentless wildfires, and officials pleaded for federal help.

Storms in Britain: A powerful storm was expected to lash southwestern Britain, after a month that has brought a series of extreme weather events to the country.


News From Europe

Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy, pictured above with Justice Minister Marta Cartabia, is staking his government on a push for judicial reform.

The European economy’s pandemic recovery is gaining steam. From car manufacturing to the oil industry, companies are posting strong earnings, and stocks have reached new highs, Reuters reports.

Turkey is tightening restrictions on Google as the antitrust backlash against Big Tech spreads to unexpected parts of the world.

Russia on Thursday said that it wanted France and Britain to be part of nuclear talks with the U.S.

Around the World

The American actress Scarlett Johansson sued Disney over the release of the Marvel movie “Black Widow,” saying that streaming the film took away from box office earnings.

At least 80 people were killed in flash floods in Afghanistan. The toll in Nuristan Province was expected to rise as the search for victims continued.

A new study attempts to quantify the cost of climate change in human life, and finds it to be soberingly high.

A Morning Read

The $2.7 million Marble Arch Mound, above, was pitched as an Arcadian dreamscape in the middle of London. Instead, visitors got a widely mocked pile of blocky scaffolding and patchy vegetation. Local officials are offering ticket refunds.


Undoing the damage of ‘Jaws’

A skilled diver and spearfishing champion, Valerie Taylor was one half of the Australian couple whose shark footage featured in the climax of “Jaws.” A longtime shark conservationist, Taylor, 85, is the subject of a new documentary, “Playing With Sharks,” on Disney+.

“Some are shy, some are bullies, some are brave,” she said of the animals. “When you get to know a school of sharks, you get to know them as individuals.”

Taylor began studying sharks after she killed one while shooting a film in the 1960s. She regrets how “Jaws” influenced audiences to fear sharks as bloodthirsty, human-stalking monsters. (Only a few species are known to bite humans, whom they often mistake for natural prey.)

Climate change and overfishing have ruined many of the underwater habitats Taylor witnessed, and her arthritis makes swimming in colder waters difficult. Still, she dives.

“I hate being old, but at least it means I was in the ocean when it was pristine,” she said. Today, “it’s like going to where there was a rainforest and seeing a field of corn.”


What to Cook

Make this skirt steak bulgogi, or try a meatless option with eggplant. While you’re at it, read the Times cooking writer Eric Kim on the ancient origins of bulgogi, which means “fire meat” in Korean.

How to Deal

Here are tips for getting things done when you don’t have motivation.

What to Listen To

Prince made “Welcome 2 America” in 2010. The previously unreleased album balances hard insights with visceral joys.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Olympian’s prize (four letters).

And here is today’s Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Melina

P.S. The Times received 18 News and Documentary Emmy nominations, including for “The Weekly” and “Father Soldier Son.”

The latest episode of “The Daily” is on China’s nuclear arsenal.

You can reach the team at

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