Retail Sales, Pfizer, Indonesian Spaceport: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest news at the end of Tuesday.

1. Retail sales continue to rise in a sign that inflation is not stopping Americans from spending. The government said today that sales jumped in October for the third consecutive month.

The price hike was partly responsible for the 1.7 percent increase in spending, which was larger than economists had expected. But even when adjusted for inflation, consumer spending is higher than it was before the pandemic began, government data shows.

Walmart and Home Depot — which chartered their boats to beat shipping congestion — reported strong results for their recent quarters, suggesting that major retailers can beat the cost of supply chain issues while keeping prices low.

Federal regulators may approve booster doses of Pfizer-BioNTech for all adults as early as Thursday, as the United States braces for a possible winter surge. Regulators and federal scientists said evidence is increasingly clear that the reduced efficacy of the vaccine against milder cases of Covid, and in protective antibodies, has put Americans at risk of a harmful breakthrough infection.

Yesterday, New York City became one of the first major cities to require all adults to have a booster shot if they wanted one. Here’s how to get one.

In other virus news, The New Year’s Eve ball in Times Square will be back “in full force” for fully vaccinated people.

3. Polish border guards Use of water cannons and tear gas to keep migrants away Along its common border with Belarus, Adding to the already brutal conditions for migrants stranded in frigid camps.

For weeks, thousands of migrants have traveled to Belarus in the hope of finding a way to the European Union Officials have described the crisis as a “hybrid war” orchestrated by Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, to punish Poland for harboring some of his most outspoken opponents and pressure the bloc to lift sanctions on his country. At least 11 people have been killed at the border in recent weeks.

What started at noon as just another attempt to breach the border fence turned into a serious fight. One of the migrants said that Belarusian security officers incited the conflict by telling those stranded in the camp that the Warsaw government would only let them in if forced to.

4. Will Pfizer Allowing cheap manufacture and sale of Covid-19 pills in poor countries, But the deal excludes a number of countries that have been hard hit by the pandemic.

The agreement follows a similar arrangement negotiated by Merck, and the deals together will likely greatly expand global production of two simple antiviral granules that could alter the course of the pandemic by preventing severe illness from the coronavirus.

But there are concerns about whether the move will do enough to ensure an adequate supply of the drug to countries that lack vaccines. The Pfizer agreement excludes Brazil, which has one of the worst epidemic deaths in the world, as well as Cuba, Iraq, Libya and Jamaica. These countries will likely have to buy birth control pills at higher costs and risk being cut off from supplies.

5. President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping pledged to improve cooperation In a virtual summit held yesterday. But neither of them offered concrete measures.

Biden has raised concerns about human rights abuses and China’s “unfair trade and economic policies.” Xi said US support for Taiwan was “playing with fire” and warned that splitting Asia into alliances – a pillar of the new administration’s strategy to challenge China through cooperation with its neighbors – would “bring disaster to the world”.

Our analysis of the meeting said it produced nothing more than polite words – but in a relationship of mutual distrust, this counts as progress.

6. Ghislaine Maxwell heads to court. Jury selection begins today in the federal sex trafficking trial that is widely seen as a proxy for the trial of Jeffrey Epstein himself.

In recent weeks, a series of suggestions have begun to define the playing field. Her lawyers asked to interview FBI agents about previous investigations with Epstein, her longtime companion. Objection to the planned testimony of an expert witness regarding sexual assault; She asked the judge to prevent the prosecution from referring to her accusers as “victims”, a request that was rejected.

Jurors will hear Maxwell’s accusers testify that she recruited them as minors to have sex with Epstein and others.

It is part of Joko’s endeavors to modernize Indonesia, often with little regard for the environmental consequences. But it is also part of the country’s checkered history of using questionable methods to obtain land from indigenous people, leaving some groups destitute while Indonesians and influential international companies benefit.

The site in question is home to the Abrauw clan, an Aboriginal clan whose members, much like their ancestors, have lived outside the Earth for 15 generations. Now, the clan feared losing its standing in the world.

8. A complex investigation into a simple question: What is the value of a football player?

The Italian financial and football authorities ask this question about the dozens of transfers that the top clubs have participated in (including 42 deals from Juventus, the biggest team in Italy). One deal in the summer of 2020 raised eyebrows when a high valuation – $23 million – was placed on four unknown players that has since faded.

A year later, no one seems to have been able to explain how the numbers are summed at all. Accounting practices defy easy interpretation – and may have violated financial rules, if not criminal law.

9. Meet Moon Lafferty.

Lafferty, the Chilean songwriter, will perform at Thursday’s Latin Grammys, where she was nominated in four categories, including Song of the Year and Best Singer-Songwriter Album.

Laferte has been very productive despite the pandemic: She released two very different albums this year and is now on tour in North America. She began her career covering pop songs in 2003, but later transitioned to hard rock and has since spanned rockabilly, salsa, bolero, ranchera and psychedelic, just for starters.

She said through an interpreter, “I like to do these different sounds because they represent all of my personalities: when I’m fragile, when I’m stronger, when I’m cheerful, when I’m upset.”

10. Finally, get ready for another pandemic ski season.

Are you ready to hit the slopes this winter? So does everyone else. Interest in winter outdoor activities has skyrocketed during the pandemic, and growing demand is facing a shortage of supplies.

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