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Have a good evening. Here is the latest at the end of Tuesday.
1. Early returns suggest that California’s huge Democratic base is rallying to Gov. Gavin Newsom in today’s recall election.
Democrats are feeling increasingly confident, predicting that Newsom will avoid what would be a disaster for the party in the country’s most populous state, and his current lead is large enough to withstand major poll errors. But the fact that the Democratic governor is being forced to fight for his post highlights the vulnerabilities of leaders who seemed well positioned before the coronavirus pandemic.
If Newsom is recalled, his likely replacement would be Larry Elder, a Tory talk radio host who has made a career out of denigrating liberal causes. There are over 40 candidates on the ballot.
For weeks, Californians have been voting early in the election. If Newsom’s big lead continues, the election could be called a few hours after the polls close at 8 p.m. PT. Follow live updates here.
2. The number of people living in poverty in the United States declined during the pandemic, at least by one measure.
About 9.1% of Americans were poor last year, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday, up from 11.8% in 2019. That figure – the lowest since record keeping began in 1967 – is based on a measure that takes into account the impact of government assistance. programs that lifted millions of people out of poverty last year.
The new data will most likely fuel the debate over President Biden and Congressional leaders’ efforts to embrace a more sustainable expansion of the safety net.
Separately, consumer prices rose less than expected in August, a sign of slowing price gains the White House and Fed were hoping for.
3. Following a peak in virus cases, one in four US hospitals report that more than 95 percent of its intensive care beds are occupied. In June, when Covid-19 cases were at their lowest, less than one in 10 hospitals had dangerously high occupancy rates.
4. Haiti’s chief prosecutor said there was evidence linking the acting prime minister to the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
Last week, the prosecutor issued a police summons for Prime Minister Ariel Henry, asking him to answer questions about his contact with one of the main suspects in the assassination just hours after Moses was killed in his residence near Port-au-Prince.
The prosecutor’s decision comes as the power struggle intensifies in Haiti. Henry has struggled to assert his authority over the country since taking the oath in July.
5. A senior general has twice assured China that Donald Trump will not go on strike to stay in power, says a new book.
“Everything is fine,” General Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told General Li Zuocheng of China on January 8, two days after the riot on Capitol Hill. “But democracy can sometimes be botched.” As a sign of his concerns, Milley also called the commanders together to remind them of the safeguards of nuclear launch procedures.
In other foreign policy news, intelligence officials have said al-Qaeda could rebuild itself in Afghanistan within one to two years. The new timetable is not a drastic change from previous projections, but reflects the reality that the Taliban have limited ability to control borders.
6. In the face of criticism of a growing crisis at Rikers Island in New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a back-up plan for the sprawling prison complex. He was immediately criticized from all sides.
Staff shortages resulted in a series of violent episodes and an unsanitary and chaotic living environment inside the prison. Some units that were once secured by up to four correctional officers no longer have them. Ten people have died this year. More than a dozen elected officials visited the prison on Monday, and several of them called the conditions a humanitarian crisis.
Critics said the mayor’s plan, which includes moving correctional officers from the courts to Rikers and threatening to suspend officers who do not show up for work, fell short of meeting. De Blasio, who has not visited the prison for four years, said he would go there “at some point” in the future.
7. Norm Macdonald, the acerbic comedian and star of “Saturday Night Live”, has passed away. He was 61 years old.
The cause was cancer, which he had been dealing with for some time, but which was largely private. Macdonald had a tongue-in-cheek style refined on the stand-up circuit, first in his native Canada – “a cuckoo, born on the barren, rocky ground of the Ottawa Valley,” he said. he writes in a 2006 book – then in the United States
In 1990 he was doing his routine on “Late Night With David Letterman” and shortly thereafter he had his big break on “Saturday Night Live”, where he co-hosted “Weekend Update” and emulated Burt Reynolds and Bob Dole in skits.
“In my mind, I’m just a stand-up,” Macdonald said in this Times Magazine 2018 profile.
8. The Booker Prize has announced its six finalists for one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world.
This year’s shortlist includes “Nobody Talks About It,” Patricia Lockwood’s first novel written in part in Internet language; “Great Circle”, an epic by Maggie Shipstead about a woman who devotes her life to flying and the Hollywood actress ready to play it on screen; and “Perplexity,” Richard Powers’ novel about a widowed astrobiologist struggling to care for his son. A winner will be named in November.
Powers’ Pulitzer-winning novel “The Overstory” had left him so exhausted he wasn’t sure if he would write again. “Puzzlement” came to him when he imagined a child talking to him in a forest.
9. The United States is a relatively young country, and this year’s America-themed Met Gala has met the moment, writes our fashion critic, Vanessa Friedman.
The Costume Institute’s biggest party of the year drew a younger, sportier and more local guest list than usual. Some stars chose to sit down while others, like Nicki Minaj, were unable to attend because they had not been vaccinated (a requirement for all guests).
The dress code was “American independence” and the gala provided a variety of interpretations, “some obvious, some more pointed, all analyzing the mythology of the country – historical, pop culture and just plain fantasy,” Friedman writes. . Find out what the stars wore on the red carpet and at after-parties.
10. And finally, this one is for wine lovers.
When our wine critic Eric Asimov started his Wine School column seven years ago, his first impulse was to go the traditional route and focus on tasting. Then he realized that the best approach was to drink rather than taste (preferably with family or friends) as a way for ordinary customers to develop comfort and ease with wine.
Among the 10 most important lessons to date: Don’t be afraid to explore; find the best quality / price ratio; combine wine and food; and go back to the classics. This month, Asimov and readers drink Chablis from the 2019 vintage and learn how and why winemakers blend.
Can’t wait for an excellent evening.
Bryan denton photos compiled for this briefing.
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