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Good evening. Here’s the latest at the end of Tuesday.
1. The economic rebound is still waiting for workers.
Despite school reopenings and the end of some federal aid, many people are in no rush to land a job. Over 10 million U.S. jobs are vacant, and there are five million fewer people working than before the coronavirus pandemic began.
Economists point to overlapping factors: Health concerns, child-care issues and built-up savings are making many choosier. Workers up and down the income ladder have leverage. “It’s like the whole country is in some kind of union renegotiation,” an economist said.
Psychology may also play a role: Surveys suggest that the pandemic led many people to rethink their priorities.
Separately, Democrats agreed to scale back a plan for the I.R.S. to try to crack down on tax cheats, bowing to blowback from the banking industry.
2. Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian president, should face mass homicide charges over his mishandling of the pandemic, a report from Brazil’s Senate is set to say.
The report, excerpts from which were viewed by The Times ahead of its scheduled release this week, asserts that Bolsonaro let the coronavirus rip through the country and kill hundreds of thousands in a failed bid to achieve herd immunity and revive the economy. It also recommends criminal charges against 69 others, including three of Bolsonaro’s sons.
In other virus news:
3. The House’s Jan. 6 committee is expected tonight to recommend holding Stephen Bannon in contempt for defying a subpoena.
Bannon, an outside adviser to Donald Trump, has informed the panel that he would defy the subpoena. Both men have claimed executive privilege to keep secrets in the Capitol riot inquiry.
Bannon reportedly communicated with Trump on Dec. 30 and urged him to focus his efforts on Jan. 6, the committee said. At a meeting the day before the violence, Bannon was quoted as saying, “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”
If it passes the committee, the criminal contempt citation would go to the full House, where Democrats have the votes to approve it. The matter would then be sent to the Justice Department, which would face a tricky case with scant precedent.
Separately, in the spring of 2020, Trump’s defense secretary quashed a proposal to send up to 250,000 U.S. troops to seal the border with Mexico.
4. The gang that kidnapped 17 people in Haiti associated with a U.S.-based Christian group demanded $1 million for each person, a Haitian official said.
The country’s justice minister said “often these gangs know these demands cannot be met and they will consider a counter offer from the families,” adding that the gang has not issued a deadline and negotiations could take weeks. The people kidnapped — 16 Americans and one Canadian, including five children — were captured in a suburb of Port-au-Prince, the capital, over the weekend.
Separately, the treatment of Haitians apprehended in Del Rio, Texas, last month has galvanized civil rights groups to press for changes to what advocates say is poor treatment of Black migrants that has spanned administrations.
5. Fleeing for India, thousands of refugees have left Myanmar as the military junta there cracks down on dissent. Aid groups say an even bigger surge is on the way.
The Tatmadaw, as the Myanmar military is known, has targeted areas that are home to thousands of armed civilians who call themselves the People’s Defense Force. Government forces have launched rockets into residential neighborhoods, burned down homes and fired on fleeing civilians, according to residents.
In Chin State, which borders India, an entire town of roughly 12,000 people has nearly emptied out in the past month. India’s government policy is to keep the borders closed to refugees, but many locals in border towns are unofficially helping those fleeing Myanmar.
7. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, long dismissed the threat of global warming. But fires, disasters and foreign pressure in the country have prompted him to change course.
Last week, Putin said Russia would stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by 2060, driven by the E.U.’s plans for tariffs on heavily polluting countries, which threaten exports from Russia. His plans are playing out on the 600-mile-long island of Sakhalin, where the regional government pledged to become Russia’s first “carbon neutral” region by 2025, using forestry and unproven math.
In other climate news, Africa’s last mountain glaciers could disappear within two decades, a troubling sign of climate change’s outsize effects on the continent. And four years after Hurricane Maria left Puerto Rico’s electrical grid in shambles, unreliable electricity remains common.
9. Carnage asada. Bloody cocktails. Grilled Cheese of Darkness.
Several gore-obsessed restaurants have opened across the country since last Halloween, with creative names and even more creative menus. One expert said horror restaurants could be a safe way to have fun with frightening things in distressing times. “People can relate to a screaming face,” said the co-owner of Terror Tacos, a horror-themed vegan restaurant in St. Louis.
Scary movies and television shows have helped some people cope better with their anxieties, according to a 2020 study. Here are five horror films to stream right now.
10. And finally, a grand master magician’s cabinet of curiosities.
When Ricky Jay died in 2018, he left a body of work rooted in sleight of hand and wonder. He also amassed more than 10,000 rare books, art and ephemera, about conjurers, card tricks, charlatans and amazing animals — a vast collection that transformed his Beverly Hills home into a research library dedicated to the human desire to be fooled.
Now, close to 2,000 of those items are to be offered at a Sotheby’s auction beginning on Oct. 27. Among the items: a 1903 “Houdini in Russia” poster, commemorating when the illusionist, stripped naked and locked in a Moscow cell, escaped in 28 minutes, and the 1898 window card vividly illustrating the latest achievement of Kellar, another legendary magician: “Self Decapitation.”