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Supreme Court, Alec Baldwin, M.L.B.: Your Friday Evening Briefing

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

1. The Supreme Court again refused to block Texas’ abortion law, but agreed to fast-track suits challenging it. Arguments are set for Nov. 1.

The court will consider two appeals: one from the Justice Department and one from abortion providers in Texas. The arguments will be limited to the procedural question of whether the Texas law is subject to review in federal court given its novel structure, which was designed to evade judicial challenges.

The Texas law, which makes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from incest or rape, deputizes private individuals to sue anyone who performs an abortion or “aids and abets” one.

The court turned down a request from officials in Texas to decide whether to entirely overturn the right to abortion established in 1973, in Roe v. Wade. That question is already before the court in a case challenging a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks. Arguments in that case are set for Dec. 1.

2. After losing the centerpiece of his climate agenda just a week before a major global-warming summit, President Biden is preparing plan B.

Biden’s new push relies on tax credits, regulation and state action. An analysis found that the strategy could potentially fulfill his ambitious pledge to cut the country’s emissions 50 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. But chances for success may be slim; the plan faces legal, logistical and political challenges.

The White House’s original clean electricity program was blocked by Senator Joe Manchin, a pivotal vote in an evenly divided Senate. His colleague, Senator Kyrsten Sinema, is refusing to accept increases in the corporate, individual or capital gains tax rate — so Democrats are considering proposals once championed by the party’s most liberal flank.


3. Health experts say developing nations need to make their own advanced Covid-19 vaccines. This is how they could do it.

Just 4 percent of people in low-income countries are fully vaccinated, and donated doses from wealthy countries have been limited and slow in coming. Pfizer and Moderna, which make the gold-standard mRNA vaccines, have dismissed suggestions that they could be manufactured in the developing world.

The Times, however, interviewed dozens of executives and scientists at vaccine, drug and biotechnology companies and found 10 strong candidates to produce mRNA Covid vaccines in six countries in Africa, Asia and South America.

Separately, Pfizer said its vaccine was 90 percent effective in preventing symptomatic Covid in children ages 5 to 11, citing clinical trial data.


4. Officials in New Mexico are investigating a deadly shooting on the set of a western, where the actor Alec Baldwin fired a gun being used as a prop and killed the movie’s director of photography.

The authorities in Santa Fe County shared few details of how the incident on the set of “Rust” unfolded on Thursday. Halyna Hutchins was killed, and the director Joel Souza was injured. In a statement on Twitter, Baldwin said that he was cooperating with the investigation and that his “heart is broken” for Hutchins’s “husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”

There have been reports of labor unrest on the set of the film. Several members of the crew walked off the set earlier this week over working conditions, according to a person familiar with the shoot. The film is a western about a teenage boy who goes on the run after an accidental killing.

5. Russia is trying to bring the country’s once freewheeling internet to heel, with a digital censorship push perhaps exceeded only by China.

The Kremlin’s censorship infrastructure — made up of black boxes installed at telecommunications companies — gives it sweeping powers to block, filter and slow down sites, affecting the vast majority of the country’s more than 120 million wireless and home internet users. Civil society advocates fear a new age of digital isolation — and similar efforts from other authoritarian governments.

Separately, U.S. intelligence officials said that American companies need to secure critical technologies as Beijing seeks to develop the world’s largest bio-database. Chinese firms are collecting genetic data from around the world.

7. By the end of the weekend, we’ll have a World Series matchup.

The Dodgers’ Chris Taylor homered three times to power the Dodgers’ 11-2 victory last night, keeping Los Angeles alive and sending the series back to Atlanta for Game 6 on Saturday (and Game 7 on Sunday if necessary). Taylor became the 11th batter in baseball history with three homers in a postseason game.

Now it’s the Astros’ turn to try to clinch a World Series berth. They play the Red Sox tonight in Houston, leading the series 3-2. Despite two ugly losses in a row, Boston can take hope knowing they have overcome worse deficits in the past. Game 6 is tonight at 8:08 p.m. Eastern.


8. The composer Hans Zimmer knew his score for “Dune” wouldn’t be anything like that of “Star Wars.” The resulting soundtrack might be one of his most unorthodox and most provocative.

The score combines the gigantic, chest-thumping sound of Zimmer’s best known work of the last decade with a spirit of experimentation. Synthesizers, scraping metal, Indian bamboo flutes, Irish whistles and a juddering drum phrase that Zimmer calls an “anti-groove” create a sound entirely befitting the sci-fi saga. The film, which is out this weekend, is a critic’s pick.

Wes Anderson’s 10th movie, “The French Dispatch,” about writers at a midcentury magazine based on The New Yorker, also hits theaters this weekend. What is it about the director that draws stars like Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton again and again? There are many reasons, but the nightly feasts don’t hurt. Here’s our review.

9. Welcome, Instant Pot season.

When Melissa Clark first wrote about Instant Pots in 2017, she saw the electric pressure cooker with “the ardor of new love.” After hundreds of meals, she has a few tips to share: play to its strengths with dishes that traditionally need long, slow cooking, lock the lid, salt your beans and clean that smelly seal.

Yewande Komolafe is dedicated to a different kitchen tool: mortar and pestle. Grinding and pounding aromatics by hand can yield textures and flavors that are full of nuance. She uses her asanka, a traditional Ghanaian earthenware mortar lined with tin grooves and a two-sided wooden pestle, to make this roast fish recipe.


10. And finally, the art of buying nothing.

It turns out people are willing to give away (and take) just about anything. Leftover pickle juice. Medical supplies. Half-eaten birthday cakes. Household goods. Used makeup. This is the world of Buy Nothing, a network of social media groups where people give and receive things with no money exchanged.

Created in 2013 by two women in Bainbridge Island, Wash., there are now 6,700 independent Buy Nothing Facebook groups in 44 countries. An app is forthcoming. Terms like “curb alert” or “first come first serve” are discouraged. The group requests you let the item simmer and then eventually choose one recipient among many. The result, group members say, is a sense of community that is mostly fun, sometimes quirky, and occasionally irritating.

Have a liberating weekend.


David Poller compiled photos for this briefing.

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

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