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Vaccines, Child Care, Canadian Thanksgiving: Your Weekend Briefing

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Here are the best stories of the week and a glimpse into the future.

1. Moderna’s vaccine appears to be the world’s best defense against Covid. Poor countries struggle to get it.

Moderna sells almost all of its Covid vaccine – the only product it sells – to rich countries, generating billions in profits. About a million doses went to countries the World Bank classifies as low-income, compared to 8.4 million Pfizer doses and about 25 million Johnson & Johnson single-injection doses.

Most middle-income countries that have deals with Moderna have not received any doses. Thailand and Colombia pay a premium. The Biden administration has pressured the company to make its vaccine, which was developed with support from the US government, more widely available.

The development of Covid vaccines means that more effective influenza vaccines could emerge, using the same technology. In the meantime, public experts say it is very important to get the flu shot this year to avoid “twindemia”.

2. As Congress debates President Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion social policy bill, we took a close look at one key element: child care.

The bill would cap families’ spending on child care at 7% of their income, offer large subsidies to day care centers and force centers to increase salaries in the hope of improving the quality of teachers. The grants “would be the biggest investment in the history of child care,” said one expert.

Democrats describe the problem as a fundamental market failure – it simply costs more to provide care than many families can afford. Republicans say the plan is unaffordable and smacks of socialism. As Democrats consider slashing the bill to $ 2 trillion, a proposal to limit programs to the poor has reignited debate about the government itself.


3. Most abortions in Texas are banned again after a federal appeals panel reinstated the restrictive law.

The decision came two days after a lower court blocked the law in a case brought by the Biden administration. Many vendors expected the Conservative Fifth Circuit to side with Texas. The panel called on the administration to respond by Tuesday. While at least six Texas clinics had started performing the procedure beyond the limits of the new law over the past week, most of the state’s roughly two dozen providers had chosen not to. .

4. Taiwan is at the heart of the American-Chinese tensions, with the potential to ignite military conflict and reshape the regional order.

China’s growing military might made it possible to conquer Taiwan. The island’s readiness has wilted; China sent 56 fighter jets to test its besieged air defenses on Monday. The United States has seen its military dominance in Asia erode.

Few people believe that a war is inevitable. The economic and diplomatic aftershocks would be astounding for China. But China is now acting with growing confidence, in part because many officials, including Xi, believe US power has faltered.

American failures with the Covid-19 pandemic and its political upheavals have reinforced these views. In war games since at least 2018, American “blue” teams have repeatedly lost to a “red” team representing a hypothetical Chinese force.

5. Is Big Tech the Next Big Tobacco?

The testimony of a Facebook whistleblower last week generated an unusual bipartisan agreement that it was time for regulations to put the brakes on the tech industry. But if what’s facing Big Tech is anything like what happened to Big Tobacco in the 1990s, what lies ahead will likely be a multi-year struggle.

Lawmakers are weighing proposals, such as creating a new federal agency dedicated to overseeing the industry or overhauling laws so companies can be held accountable for amplifying damaging rhetoric. But the industry has built the largest army of lobbyists in Washington.

Our tech reporter also watched on how two recent high-profile implosions – those of Ozy Media and Theranos – are a reminder of how risky the bet of start-ups is and how often companies distort the truth.

6. Erika Girardi has become famous for her lavish lifestyle. Then her husband’s law firm was accused of embezzling millions of dollars. What has happened since is drama made for television.

Girardi, an actor in “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”, is married to Tom Girardi, who helped win the lawsuit that made Erin Brockovich famous. He is accused of robbing vulnerable customers – including victims and relatives of those killed in the Lion Air plane crash in 2018 in Indonesia – to support their extravagant tastes. She, too, has been cited in half a dozen civil lawsuits and seems to be enjoying the attention.


7. How can you make up for 52 years of lost time in 11 days?

After years of battling cancer, Sam Anthony was running out of time. Before he died this summer, he found the courage to post a letter he had long been afraid to send, to a man he had never met: his biological father. A colleague from the National Archives helped find him.

Sam’s father, Craig Allen, had lost all hope of finding his son. After receiving the letter, father and son spent Sam’s last days together. “It was a combination of the saddest moments of my life, but also the proudest,” Craig said.


8. Phoebe Robinson is a comic, but a better description could be the boss.

Over the past few years, Robinson has grown from a pushy stand-up to a mini-mogul with a staff, a production company, a publishing imprint, TV deals, and even an intro to leadership she wrote. after noting the lack of views of black women. in business books. She writes, “Where’s ‘Lean In’ for us? “

In other news from the entertainment empire, what happens when Balenciaga collaborates with “The Simpsons” to present its latest collection? Springfield meets Paris in a delicious 10-minute episode.


9. If you are frustrated with trying to grow figs in a cold climate, you are not alone.

Our gardening expert, Margaret Roach, spoke to another expert about how to make your tree fruitful. The simple way to grow figs is in a pot, and that requires proper size and proper protection. A sunny location during the outdoor growing season and good drainage is also necessary.

Ahead of Canadian Thanksgiving tomorrow, our correspondent wrote a tribute to a different fruit tree: the McIntosh apple. The crunchy, tangy apple was discovered by John McIntosh in 1811, just south of Ottawa. If you feast on tomorrow, here are 11 delicious last minute recipes.


Have a fruitful week.


David Poller photos compiled for this briefing.

Your weekend briefing is posted Sunday at 6:30 a.m. EST.

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Rodney N.

The author Rodney N.