International

Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times

Written by Marisol

We’re covering Pfizer’s vaccine profits amid growing access gaps, and a deadly crash in Mexico City.

Pfizer said its Covid-19 vaccine generated $3.5 billion in revenue in the first three months of this year, nearly a quarter of its revenue.

The company did not disclose details, but it predicted profit margins would be in the high-20-percent range. That would translate into roughly $900 million in pretax vaccine profits in the first quarter.

Pfizer has been widely credited with developing a technology that has saved an untold number of lives. But its vaccine is disproportionately reaching the world’s rich — an outcome, so far at least, at odds with its chief executive’s pledge to ensure that poorer countries “have the same access as the rest of the world.”

Context: As of mid-April, wealthy countries had secured more than 87 percent of the more than 700 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines dispensed worldwide, while poor countries had received only 0.2 percent, according to the World Health Organization.

China is building factories for electric cars almost as fast as the rest of the world combined, with plans for eight million cars a year.

There are risks, but if China succeeds in positioning itself, it will have a leg up in a world that is increasingly focused on combating climate change. Manufacturers are using billions of dollars they have raised from local and international investors to beat established carmakers to the market.

The country already has the electric-car infrastructure, and global automakers including Volkswagen are building more factories in China. The e-commerce giant Alibaba and two state-backed firms has set up an electric car joint venture, IM Motors, which plans to roll out its cars next year.

The numbers: China will be making over eight million electric cars a year by 2028, according to some estimates. Europe is on track to make 5.7 million fully electric cars by then while North American automakers lag behind with only 1.4 million electric cars a year by 2028.

Challenges: Many new Chinese companies are betting consumers will spend $40,000 or more on cars from new companies they have not heard of, even as more popular brands like Buicks, Volkswagens and Mercedes-Benzes fill the roads already.


A subway overpass in Mexico City collapsed on Monday, sending a train plunging to the ground and killing at least 23 people, including children.

Emergency workers scrambled to a scene where tilted train cars lay amid tangled wires and twisted metal, pulling dozens of people from the wreckage and transporting more than 70 people to hospitals with injuries.

“It is sad news,” said President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who vowed that a thorough investigation would be carried out. The subway system has been the source of growing concern after several accidents and an earthquake in 2017.

Other Big Stories

Mozambique has had its share of heartache, but last year it celebrated an environmental triumph when it designated a stunningly beautiful new national park: Chimanimani. It’s not every day that a country with a past rife with war fulfills an ambitious conservation goal.

The psychologist Adam Grant recently wrote about languishing, a sense of stagnation that lies somewhere between burnout and depression. The opposite of that, psychologists say, is flourishing: emotional, physical and mental fitness. Here are some steps to help you get there.

Savor and celebrate small things. Celebrations help to create and cement relationships. It’s not just the big occasions that should be marked. Acknowledging small moments is also important for well-being. Psychologists call it savoring, or appreciating an event or activity in the moment.

Do five good deeds. Acts of kindness not only help others; they also can help you flourish. Research shows that performing five acts of kindness in a single day, once a week, can have a powerful effect. Volunteer work can also improve well-being.

Try something new. Join a book club or running group, take a pottery class, or visit a museum or outdoor art exhibit. Dr. Grant said learning a skill and then teaching it to someone, or taking on passion projects as hobbies, can also lead to fulfillment. This phase of the pandemic offers a new opportunity to reflect and ask a new question: “How do I want to spend my time?”

Add pan-fried tofu to these vegan dan dan noodles.

What to Read

Michael Lewis’s “The Premonition” is about medical renegades who warned for years of a pandemic.

What to Listen To

Daddy’s Home,” St. Vincent’s sixth album, expounds on the lengthy documentaries, Janet Jackson bust and Joni Mitchell album that feed her creativity.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: “The Lion King” lion (five letters).

And here is today’s Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.


That’s it for today’s briefing. And a correction: Yesterday’s briefing misidentified our reporter Isabel Kershner’s role. She is a correspondent in Jerusalem, not the bureau chief.

See you next time. — Melina

P.S. Karan Deep Singh, our reporter in New Delhi, spoke to CNN about the search for oxygen during India’s Covid crisis.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about the population slowdown in the U.S.

You can reach Melina and the team at briefing@nytimes.com.



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