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Good evening. Here’s the latest at the end of Wednesday.
2. In Washington, Democrats were working toward quick action on key bills to show they could govern.
Congressional Democrats pushed forward on House votes this week on nearly $3 trillion worth of social policy, infrastructure and climate change programs. They had a new worry: Would a legislative victory help or hurt their political standing? But virtually all Democrats came away from Tuesday’s defeats agreeing that the imperative now was to pass both bills as quickly as possible.
House Democrats plan to put back in their social policy bill four weeks of federally paid family and medical leave, seeking to pressure Senator Joe Manchin to drop his opposition.
3. Federal Reserve officials laid out a plan to slow their bond buying program, their first major step toward pulling back pandemic support.
The central bank has been buying $120 billion in mortgage-backed securities and Treasury bonds each month to keep cash flowing through the financial system, but it will reduce that by $15 billion per month starting this month. That pace would bring the stimulus program to a close by the middle of 2022 if it is sustained.
The Fed’s main policy interest rate — which affects borrowing costs across the economy — remains near zero. If inflation does not fade next year as policymakers expect, they might decide to lift interest rates to slow down demand and keep inflation in check.
4. A New York law imposing strict limits on carrying guns in public seemed unlikely to survive after skeptical questioning from the Supreme Court.
Several members of the court seemed to be searching for a way to rule narrowly in the case. Chief Justice John Roberts said it was surprising that a constitutional right was subject to the discretion of local officials, but he also asked whether guns could be barred at settings as varied as subways, protests or Times Square.
Paul Clement, a lawyer for two men who were denied licenses to carry handguns at all times, said that the main point was that “carrying a firearm outside the home is a fundamental constitutional right,” one allowed with few restrictions in 43 states.
The court has not issued a major Second Amendment ruling in more than a decade.
5. The Islamic State poses a growing threat in Afghanistan.
In the two months since the Taliban took control of the country, the Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan — known as ISIS-K — has stepped up attacks. After spending 20 years fighting as an insurgency, the Taliban now find themselves struggling to deliver on their promises of law and order.
The attacks have killed at least 90 people in key cities like Kunduz and Kandahar in recent weeks. They have been mostly directed at Taliban units and Shiite minorities. Western officials worry that the Islamic State could gain the capability to strike international targets in six to 12 months.
6. The climate summit turned its focus to a thorny question: Who pays?
Governments and private investors announced a series of initiatives aimed at helping poorer countries avert the dangers of rising temperatures. That included a commitment from a coalition of the world’s biggest investors to use $130 trillion in assets to hit zero-emission targets in their investments. It was essentially a pledge to make climate change a central focus of major financial decisions for decades to come.
But the pledge was met with skepticism from environmentalists, who said that details were vague and that many banks still invested hundreds of billions of dollars each year in fossil fuels.
Under the Paris Agreement, nations must measure and report progress toward their pledged reductions in emissions. But the process has been slow and inaccurate. Satellites might be able to help.
7. The Atlanta Braves found a way to match the great Atlanta teams of the 1990s and won their first World Series title in 26 years.
The team made a dominant all-around effort and secured a Game 6 win, beating the Houston Astros at a stage where more celebrated Braves teams of the past had usually struggled. With three mammoth blasts, Jorge Soler won the World Series M.V.P.
“This city has been hungry for a championship for so long,” said Freddie Freeman, the longest-serving member of the team, who homered and caught the final out. Our baseball columnist described him as “the friendliest man in baseball.”
8. Damon Galgut won the Booker Prize for his satirical portrait of a white family in post-apartheid South Africa.
The judges for the prestigious literary award praised “The Promise,” Galgut’s ninth book, for its “unusual narrative style” that “pushes boundaries, and is a testament to the flourishing of the novel in the 21st century.” The Times Book Review called Galgut, who is from South Africa, “a gleeful satirist, mordantly skewering his characters’ fecklessness and hypocrisy.”
In other book news, Knopf plans to publish a memoir by the movie star Paul Newman next year based on hours of recordings he left behind, as well as interviews with family, friends and associates.
9. Don’t touch your dial: Over the coming months, more than a few new movies will be in black and white.
“Passing,” “The Tragedy of Macbeth” and “Belfast” are a few of the films that forgo color for a more classical approach. To understand the shift, we talked to the cinematographers behind three of the season’s most striking black-and-white features. One scene in “Passing” “is so bright that it’s difficult to tell” the characters’ races — a deliberate choice, the cinematographer Eduard Grau said.
Our film critic also reviewed “The Harder They Fall,” a high-style pop Western that aims to reclaim the mythology of the West. The story sometimes feels glib, he says, but the all-Black cast is formidable.
10. And finally, show us your teeth. All 500 of them.
If there is one place you don’t want to stick your finger, it’s in the mouth of a Pacific lingcod. The fearsome and delicious fish are armed with 500 needlelike teeth that enable them to feast on slippery squid and hard-shelled crabs alike. They keep those teeth sharp and shiny by replacing about 3 percent of them every day, a new study found.
For a lingcod, that’s a whopping 20 teeth replaced daily (and would be equivalent to humans’ losing and gaining a new tooth every day). The researchers hope that their study will help scientists demystify fish dentition.
Hope you find something to smile about tonight.
Eve Edelheit compiled photos for this briefing.
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