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Ahmaud Arbery, Germany, Thanksgiving: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest at the end of Wednesday.

1. A jury found three white men guilty of murder in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man.

The case, together with the killing of George Floyd, helped inspire racial justice protests last year. The three defendants — Travis McMichael, 35; his father, Gregory McMichael, 65; and their neighbor William Bryan, 52 — face sentences of up to life in prison. They will stand trial on federal hate crime charges next year.

Arbery was chased through a Georgia neighborhood by the three men in February 2020 and shot at close range. The defense lawyers argued that the men were trying to make a citizen’s arrest. Bryan filmed the attack.

Over 10 days of testimony, prosecutors challenged the defense’s claim that Arbery, who was unarmed and never spoke to his pursuers, could have been considered a threat to the armed men. Discussions of race were notably absent.

2. For the first time in 16 years, Germany will have a center-left government and a new chancellor.

Olaf Scholz, a Social Democrat, will replace Angela Merkel, the center-right chancellor who made Germany indispensable in Europe and in the world. Scholz and his coalition partners from the progressive Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats announced a governing deal that they had been negotiating under strict secrecy since the Sept. 26 election.

Scholz, who campaigned largely by persuading voters that he would be like Merkel, is expected to be sworn in early next month. He will immediately face a pressing roster of crises, including a pandemic that is spiraling quickly upward and border conflicts in Belarus and Ukraine.

3. After a steady decline since mid-September, coronavirus cases are rising again in most of the U.S.

New cases have increased by 25 percent nationally in the past two weeks. In 14 states, cases have climbed by 40 percent or more, and hospitalizations are on the rise, too. Some of the biggest spikes have been in the Midwest, a region where cases hit a record high around this time last year. See where the cases are surging.

If you missed it, here is The Morning’s guide to at-home Covid tests for Thanksgiving.

4. Initial jobless claims tumbled last week to their lowest point since 1969.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, new filings for state benefits fell to 199,000, a decline of 71,000 from the previous week. The drop signifies a milestone in the economy’s recovery from the pandemic. Weekly claims peaked at more than six million in April 2020.

But inflation remains a sticking point for President Biden’s agenda. As inflation grows, the Biden administration believes that the problem is not that there is too much money sloshing around, as Republicans and some economists say, but that consumers are throwing an unexpectedly large amount of that money at a narrow set of things to buy.

5. Where will the thousands of Afghans evacuated from Kabul be resettled?

The refugees — some 65,000 — are arriving in the U.S. at a moment of severe labor shortages, and communities across the country are desperate for workers. But some of those communities lack cultural support or housing opportunities, forcing the administration and the nation’s nonprofit resettlement organization to wrestle with priorities.

Separately, at least 31 people drowned off the coast of France after a boat capsized while carrying migrants bound for Britain, officials said. A few days ago, France and Britain reached an agreement to do more to stem the number of migrants taking to the sea.

6. An Army whistle-blower died waiting for a bed at the V.A. His lonely death underscores the costs of war far beyond the battlefield.

Ian Fishback exposed the abuse of detainees by his fellow servicemen during the Iraq war, and his allegations led to the passage of anti-torture legislation championed by Senator John McCain, who died in 2018. But Fishback struggled after leaving the service, one of many high-profile veterans of the global war on terrorism whose lives have ended in tragedy.

He died last week in circumstances that are still unclear. He was alone and broke in a group home, convinced that he was being persecuted by the very forces he had once embraced. He was 42. “He was looking for a way to do better in the world,” said Justin Ford, a boyhood friend.

7. The Rams’ owner is expected to pay St. Louis $790 million to settle a lawsuit over the 2016 decision to move the football team to Los Angeles.

In a civil suit, a group that included the city said that league officials broke their relocation guidelines. The payout comes on top of the $550 million relocation fee that Stanley Kroenke paid to the N.F.L. for the right to move to Los Angeles, and the $5 billion to build the team’s new stadium in Inglewood, Calif.

The settlement is bittersweet for St. Louis. While the money from the settlement will help make up some financial losses, it will not atone for the psychic damage of losing a second N.F.L. franchise. St. Louis lost the Cardinals to Arizona in 1988.

8. Travel to Mexico City for an accordion shop, and get to know the city’s basketball team.

For 50 years, Francisco Luis Ramírez has been one of the city’s most experienced accordion repairmen in a nation that reveres the instrument. People from Colombia, Guatemala and the U.S. still send him instruments to be tweaked, and he is visited daily by mariachis, norteños, buskers and maestros. He didn’t mince words when our accordion-playing reporter brought in his instrument: “Your accordion is a piece of garbage.”

And the Mexico City Capitanes are the N.B.A.’s first developmental G League team in Mexico. They’re playing in Texas this season because of the pandemic, but the Capitanes are an important part of the N.B.A.’s international expansion.

9. In 1937, The Times described the town of Frankenmuth, Mich., as “a mecca for gourmets.” Not much has changed.

Bavarian charm, Christmas knickknacks and all-you-can-eat restaurants draw hordes every holiday season to its twinkly streets. Nearly 30,000 visitors are expected during the four-day holiday weekend, but, no matter the season, every dinner here draws from the menu of Thanksgiving: mashed potatoes, buttered noodles, thoroughly cooked broccoli and puddles of cranberry sauce.

For those staying closer to home, here are the best Thanksgiving movies to stream, and a crash course on this weekend’s college football matchups. If you’re looking for a last-minute recipe, we’ve got you covered.

10. And finally, your reading list is about to get a lot longer.

Throughout the year, our Book Review editors keep a running list of their favorite books, and at the end of the year the best-loved works are narrowed down to 100 notable titles. Whether your reading habits favor sci-fi, poetry or nonfiction, The Times Book Review’s annual roundup has options for everyone.

Next week, they’ll announce the 10 best books of 2021. But in the meantime, we need your help. In October, editors at the Book Review asked readers to nominate the best book of the past 125 years. Now it’s time for you to vote.

Have a page-turning evening and a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

Angela Jimenez and Jeremiah M. Bogert, Jr. compiled photos for this briefing.

We’re off for Thanksgiving tomorrow and will return on Friday.

Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.

Want to catch up on past briefings? You can browse them here.

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