September 27, 2020

Stimulus, Biden, Polar Bears: Your Monday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

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Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

1. Republicans worked to resolve their differences with President Trump over stimulus funding.

Congressional leaders met with the president after the administration over the weekend moved to block billions of dollars for testing and contact tracing efforts that Republicans had included in their draft proposal.

Senate Republicans and Trump administration officials also remained at odds over funding for schools that do not hold in-person classes and a payroll tax. Above, President Trump today in the Oval Office with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (left) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The G.O.P. bill is likely to total $1 trillion in aid, which is far less than the Democrats’ latest proposal for $3 trillion.

In other virus developments:

2. In recent presidential elections, wide leads in the polls almost always proved short-lived.

But as Joe Biden’s commanding advantage in the race for the White House shows no sign of abating, it becomes harder to assume it’s just another fleeting shift.

Still, with over three months to go, there’s enough time for sentiment to change in President Trump’s favor.

Credit…Georgia Democratic Party, via Associated Press

3. Georgia Democrats chose their state party chairwoman to replace Representative John Lewis on the November ballot.

Nikema Williams, above, is likely to win the general election in November, given the Democrats’ tight hold on the district, which covers parts of Atlanta and the city’s adjoining suburbs. Ms. Williams represents the Atlanta portion of the district in the State Senate.

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Updated 2020-07-20T21:17:03.073Z

The seat is likely to remain vacant until the winner is installed in January. Mr. Lewis, a 17-term congressman, died Friday.

Credit…Jessica Taylor/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

4. Britain suspended an extradition treaty with Hong Kong.

The move was meant to protest a new security law that gives China sweeping powers and is seen by critics as a significant threat to basic freedoms in Hong Kong. Above, Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, announcing the suspension in the House of Commons.

It also underscored a hardening stance among British politicians over China’s treatment of Hong Kong, a former British colony that returned to Chinese control in 1997.


Credit…Fabrice Coffrini/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

5. This app may not be so private, after all.

Germany, Switzerland and other countries used the free “privacy preserving” software code from Google and Apple to develop apps to help alert people of their possible exposure to the coronavirus.

But for the apps to work on a phone with Google’s Android operating system, users must first turn on their device’s location setting, which may allow Google to determine users’ locations. The national virus alert apps have been downloaded more than 20 million times. Above, a Swiss tracing app.

Denmark’s Health Ministry intends to look into how Google in general uses location data, while Switzerland said it had pushed Google for weeks to alter the location setting requirement.


Credit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

6. Chevron agreed to buy Noble Energy for roughly $5 billion in the first big deal since oil prices crashed four months ago.

Noble, a Houston-based oil and gas explorer, has seen its share price drop about 60 percent since the start of the year, letting Chevron buy it at a low cost. Above, a Chevron station in the state of Washington.

The deal would give Chevron a leading position in potentially lucrative natural gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean.


Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

7. Wall Street closed ahead of where it started the year.

A rally in technology shares and discussions in Washington on another coronavirus aid package helped raise the S&P 500 by 1 percent for the day. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite rose 2.5 percent. Above, the New York Stock Exchange.

This isn’t the first time that Wall Street has clawed its way back into positive territory for the year. It did so in June, before coronavirus cases began to surge again in parts of the U.S. and in other countries.


Credit…Mason Trinca for The New York Times

8. “I wasn’t even paying attention to the protests at all until the feds came in.”

That was Christopher David, a Navy veteran, after he went to downtown Portland, Ore., to ask the federal agents there whether they felt their actions violated the Constitution. Above, agents in Portland on Saturday.

Video footage shows the agents tear-gassing him and smashing his hand with baton blows.

After walking away from the confrontation, he was taken to a nearby hospital, where a specialist said his right hand was broken and would require surgery to install pins, screws and plates.

Credit…Peter Barritt/Superstock, via Alamy

9. Global warming is driving polar bears toward extinction.

If climate change continues unabated, shrinking sea ice in the Arctic could nearly wipe out the 25,000 polar bears there by century’s end, scientists said in a new study.

Even if emissions were reduced to moderate levels, “we still are unfortunately going to lose some, especially some of the southernmost populations,” the study’s lead author said. Above, a polar bear in Norway.


Credit…Ernest Cooper/Alamy

10. And finally, wasps get a bad rap that they might not deserve.

They’re not all “murder hornets.” Some even help us by hunting caterpillars and other crop-munching bugs.

Here’s how to appreciate — and not tick off — these creatures that share our backyards and picnic tables, like the one above nabbing a piece of salmon.

Hope your evening is buzzing.


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