Budget, Facebook, Sudan: your Monday evening briefing

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Have a good evening. Here is the last Monday at the end of the day.

1. Details and compromises are always out of reach as Democrats push for a deal on President Biden’s social spending and climate bill this week.

A number of sticking points remained over health care benefits, paid vacation time and how to pay for the package, which could cost as much as $ 2 trillion. The White House and the main Democrats hope to reach a deal before the president leaves Thursday for a United Nations climate conference.

Senator Joe Manchin, a centrist dissenter, said a framework of compromise should be reached this week, although he acknowledged that he had a number of unresolved concerns about the details of the policy. Manchin seeks to reduce or weaken a second major climate disposition.

A so-called billionaire tax is being considered to finance the package. It would essentially apply a stricter version of capital gains taxes to those with more than $ 1 billion in assets or three consecutive years of income greater than $ 100 million, targeting their unrealized capital gains.

Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the military leader, said he was in the process of dissolving the country’s civil-military government and imposing a state of emergency. Despite this, he vowed to continue with the elections scheduled for July 2023.

There are reports that soldiers shot dead protesters gathered outside the army headquarters in Khartoum. A group of medics said at least three were killed and more than 80 injured.

The United States has frozen $ 700 million in direct aid to the Sudanese government and demanded that the military immediately release civilian leaders and re-establish the transitional government.


3. Facebook Faces PR Crisis Following Disclosure From Former Employee about how it handles the effects of some of its most basic features, including Groups, Sharing, and the Like button.

Researchers have said in internal documents that Facebook’s “commodity mechanisms” allow disinformation and hate speech to flourish on the site. “The mechanics of our platform are not neutral,” they concluded.

At the same time, the financial situation of the company remains strong. It reported today that revenue rose 35% to $ 29 billion in the last quarter, while profits rose 17% to $ 9.2 billion.

Frances Haugen, the former Facebook product manager turned whistleblower, appeared before UK lawmakers ahead of meetings this week with officials from France, Germany and Europe. She painted a portrait of a company fully aware of its negative effects on society but unwilling to act as it could jeopardize its profits and growth.


4. Since 2014, the world has made progress on climate change.

Current policies place the planet on a rate of around 3 degrees Celsius of warming by 2100. This is an improvement over the 4 degrees expected in 2014, but below the target of 1.5 degrees set by the Paris climate agreement, and still devastating.

The change came from several factors: the 2015 Paris Agreement stimulated voluntary action by nations; clean energy has grown much faster than expected; and the power of coal began to decline.

“There has been a real change over the past decade,” said Niklas Höhne, founding partner of the NewClimate Institute, which performed the calculations. “You can say that progress has been too slow, that it is still not enough, and I agree with all of that. But we are seeing a real movement.


6. The United States is one of six countries that does not have paid family or medical leave.

Congress is now considering four weeks of paid vacation, compared to the 12 weeks initially proposed in the Democrats’ spending plan.

Of 185 countries that offer paid leave to new mothers, only one, Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), offers less than four weeks. The average length of maternity leave is 29 weeks; 107 countries have parental leave for fathers.

“The rest of the world, including low-income countries, has found a way to do it,” said Jody Heymann, founding director of the World Policy Analysis Center at the University of California, Los Angeles.


7. Tesla’s market capitalization has exceeded $ 1 trillion.

The electric carmaker’s share price rose nearly 13% after Hertz said it placed an order for 100,000 Tesla, a sign of growing momentum in the switch to electric vehicles.

By the end of next year, electric vehicles will account for more than 20% of Hertz’s global vehicle fleet, the company said. The car rental company emerged from bankruptcy in June after largely deleveraging, allowing it to invest in modernizing its fleet.

The order would generate sales of $ 4.2 billion for Tesla. It is only the fifth US company with a market capitalization of $ 1,000 billion, behind Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet, the parent company of Google. (Facebook topped $ 1,000 billion earlier this year before falling.)


8. A record breaking price for Thanksgiving.

Almost every ingredient for the traditional holiday feast – the turkey, the aluminum roasting pan, the after-dinner coffee – are expected to cost more than ever this year.

There is no single culprit. The country’s food supply has been challenged by a knotted supply chain, high transport costs, labor shortages, trade policies and bad weather. Inflation is also at stake. Consumer food prices rose 4.6 percent in September compared to a year ago.

A farmer’s sweet potato sales manager pays truckers almost twice as much as usual to haul the crop. “I’ve never seen anything like it and I’ve been practicing sweet potatoes for 38 or 39 years,” he said.


9. This hundred-year-old priest has a new mission.

Reverend Luis Urriza arrived in Beaumont, Texas almost 70 years ago and founded the thriving parish of Cristo Rey. Now he has to leave it behind. His religious order recalled him to Spain to work with immigrants near Madrid.

His parishioners held a march in hopes of convincing the church to keep him in Texas. But the decision was upheld.

“God does things that you don’t understand,” said Father Luis. “Maybe they need me there.”


10. And finally, the dynamics of worm blobs.

When times are good, a worm is simply a wiggling worm on its own. When times are tough, a worm has to become a drop, entangled with hundreds or thousands of other worms in a slimy, twisting ball.

In a recent study, a group of researchers showed how a worm drop could move as a single unit like an animated ball of yarn, moving away from predators or stress. Their computer simulation, said one scientist, “paves the way for new kinds of models for similarly entangled systems.”

“I was shocked at first,” said Serena Ding, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior, of the first photo of worm spots. “And then I was disgusted, then I was fascinated.”

Have a cohesive evening.


Eve edelheit photos compiled for this briefing.

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