Omicron, Kremlin, TikTok: your Tuesday night briefing
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Good evening. Here’s the latest at the end of Tuesday.
1. President Biden outlined his plan to combat the Omicron variant.
In a speech at the White House, Biden said his administration would distribute 500 million free rapid tests to the public starting in January, asked his Secretary of Defense to deploy 1,000 military medical professionals, and announced new ones. vaccination and testing sites.
“I know you’re really tired, and I know you’re frustrated,” Biden said, adding, “We all want this to end, but we’re still there.”
2. Representative Scott Perry stated that he was refusing to meet with the January 6 committee.
The Pennsylvania Republican, who has been closely involved in former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overthrow the 2020 election, called the House committee investigating the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill “illegitimate.” .
The committee sent a letter Monday requesting testimony and documents from Perry, the first public step the panel took to try to elicit information from one of the Republican members of Congress who were deeply involved in Trump’s efforts to stay in power.
Phil Waldron, a former army colonel with training in information warfare, was also subpoenaed by the committee. His story is a case study of how marginal pro-Trump players managed to make conspiracy theories heard at the highest level during the presidential transition.
3. At 25, Gabriel Boric was an activist with shaggy hair. At 35, he is the elected president of Chile.
He never graduated from law school – protests hampered him. Now his government will oversee the final stages of drafting a new constitution to replace the dictatorship-era document that continues to define Chile.
This means Boric is poised to oversee what could be the most profound transformation of Chilean society in decades. He wants to bury the legacy of General Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship by overhauling the conservative economic model that the country inherited at the end of General Pinochet’s mandate in 1990.
“If Chile was the cradle of neoliberalism, this will also be its grave,” shouted Boric in front of a crowd after his victory in the primary earlier this year.
4. The trial of a Nobel prize-winner offers a glimpse of American repression.
The U.S. government’s China Initiative, which began under the Trump administration in 2018, aimed to root out scientists who shared sensitive information with China. The most prominent researcher pursued is Charles Lieber, a Harvard chemist.
A jury found Lieber guilty just before our deadline, ruling that he had not disclosed Chinese funding that could be viewed as a conflict of interest by the US government. The verdict may be an indicator of the Department of Justice continuing to prosecute other researchers.
5. The Kremlin is militarizing Russian society.
For the past eight years, the government has promoted the idea that the homeland is surrounded by enemies, through national institutions like schools, the military, the media and the Orthodox Church.
Now, as Russia massages troops on the Ukrainian border, sparking Western fears of an impending invasion, the continued militarization of Russian society under President Vladimir Putin is suddenly looming. Four-year, $ 185 million program aims to dramatically increase Russians’ ‘patriotic education’, including plan to attract at least 600,000 children as young as 8 to join an army of young people in uniform.
“The authorities are actively selling the idea of war,” said Dmitry Muratov, the editor of the newspaper that shared the Nobel Peace Prize this year, in his acceptance speech in Oslo this month.
6. Kellogg workers ratified a new contract, ending a strike that began in early October.
The contract dispute, which affected four of the company’s grain factories in the United States, revolved in part around the company’s two-tier compensation system, in which workers hired after 2015 typically received lower wages. and less generous social benefits.
The agreement will grant veteran status and benefits to all workers with at least four years of experience with Kellogg. New workers will see their wages jump immediately to just over $ 24 an hour.
On Tuesday, employees of the renowned New York-based SHoP Architects took an almost unprecedented step in their field: more than half of the cards signed pledging to support a union.
7. TikTok has one billion users. An increasing number of them are brands.
In reports shared with advertisers and obtained by The Times, TikTok said Gen Z users average more than 233 TikToks per day. TikTok told an agency that 48% of Millennial Moms are on the platform.
Retailers, who see the platform as sunnier than Facebook and more authentic than Instagram, are present like never before – certainly more so than the last holiday season, when President Donald Trump threatened to ban TikTok because of its parent company Chinese.
For many users, TikTok is a platform for music discovery. Four of the app’s pop voices have joined our Popcast podcast to talk about their favorite releases of the year and a taste of the algorithm era.
8. New York’s $ 1 pizza slices are the latest victim of inflation.
Dollar-slice businesses are a fiercely competitive staple of the city’s food scene, with very slim profit margins that depend entirely on volume and profitability.
Then foot traffic decreased and supply chain issues increased. Some business owners in dollar increments have said their incomes are half of what they were before the pandemic. Now many stores are raising the prices.
But all was not Covid: A severe drought in parts of the United States and Canada decimated wheat crops, pushing up flour prices, and a winter frost in Texas earlier this year slashed production of resin, a raw material for straws and plastic packaging. materials like shrink wrap.
9. Relive the 18 best sports highlights of 2021.
With growing uncertainty from Covid, we might not know what the sport will look like in 2022. But 2021 had it all – including world records, blind shots, extraordinary goals, basic tricks and victories from behind. If your favorite sport is on the sidelines, you can watch those moments instead.
Meanwhile, it was another dark year for the Arizona Coyotes, the NHL’s least valuable team. Over the past 26 seasons, the franchise has at times been bankrupt and ownerless. Now the town of Glendale is kicking the Coyotes – who have the worst record in hockey – from their arena at the end of the season.
10. And finally, a mystery box full of $ 180,000 in cash.
When he returned to teach in person this semester, Vinod Menon, professor of physics at City College of New York in Harlem, looked in a pile of office mail and found a cardboard box the size of a grid- bread.
Inside was a huge stack of $ 50 and $ 100 bills. A letter explained that the money was a donation to help needy physics and mathematics students at City College, as the donor had “long ago” taken advantage of his “excellent educational opportunity” to earn two degrees in physics, which has contributed to “a long, productive and extremely rewarding scientific career.
The note was unsigned and the name on the return address, Kyle Paisley, appears to be wrong. Based on information about the bands pooling the money, federal agents determined that it had been pulled from several Maryland banks in recent years and was not linked to criminal activity.
Have a surprising evening.
Angela Jimenez photos compiled for this briefing.
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