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Stimulus Deal, Snowstorm, Moderna: Your Thursday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

Fiscal assistance, the experts agreed, is crucial. Congress continues to haggle over an emerging $900 billion stimulus deal, and Democrats made a last-ditch effort to include more emergency aid to states.

2. The East Coast is digging out from its first major snowstorm of the season.

Three people were killed on roads in Pennsylvania. In Virginia, a 19-year-old man died in a collision. There were record and near-record snowfalls in New York State, and more than 600 crashes occurred, leaving two people dead. Above, snow removal near Grand Central Station in New York City.

Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said the storm had delayed delivery of vaccine doses to some hospitals in the state, and coronavirus testing was delayed in some areas.

“It will be pretty chilly for quite some time,” said Da’Vel Johnson, a Weather Service meteorologist. “Like, welcome people to winter.”

Follow our live coverage here.


3. Moderna’s vaccine nears F.D.A. emergency authorization.

The independent panel that last week recommended approval for the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech endorsed Moderna’s, making the authorization possible as early as Friday.

Above, health care workers in Orange County, Calif., waited for vaccinations this week. The country has roughly 21 million such workers, too many to vaccinate in the first wave. So entire categories of them are now wondering about their place in line, including primary care doctors, dentists, hospice workers, firefighters who respond to 911 calls and pathologists who handle coronavirus samples in labs.

Two workers at one hospital in Alaska developed concerning reactions just minutes after receiving Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine this week.

4. President Emmanuel Macron of France tested positive for the coronavirus, and potentially exposed many of Europe’s leaders.

He met with several foreign and domestic officials in the past week, including at the European Council in Brussels on Thursday and Friday and with Prime Ministers Pedro Sánchez of Spain and António Costa of Portugal this week. Above, Mr. Macron, who is in self-isolation, attending a video conference today.

A team of Times reporters analyzed roughly 1,200 British government contracts. Of the nearly $22 billion involved, about $11 billion went to companies either run by friends and associates of politicians in the Conservative Party, or that had a history of controversy, or no prior experience.

On a single day, the poorer child was exposed to about four times as much pollution as the richer one, who has the benefit of solid walls and air purifiers at home. If borne out over time, the disparity could cost the poorer one around five years of life.

India is also one of the countries hardest hit by the rising temperatures brought by climate change. A review of our climate coverage for 2020 found grim milestones for others, too: Australia marked its hottest, driest year on record, and in South America, a quarter of the world’s largest wetland was consumed by flames.


6. A call-center fraud lured in more than 4,500 Americans.

The police in New Delhi said they had arrested over 50 people, above, in an operation that persuaded victims their assets were being frozen because their bank account details had been found at crime scenes involving drug cartels. The scammers then offered them an “alternative dispute resolution” option that would allow them to avoid facing the law.

That option involved buying Bitcoins or Google gift cards that were then transferred a supposedly “safe government wallet” that pulled in what officials estimate was more than $14 million over two years.

7. A mass abduction in northwest Nigeria appears to be getting a happy ending.

More than 300 schoolboys were released in a neighboring state six days after they were abducted by armed men, according to the governor of the state where the students’ school is located.

They are to be taken for medical checks before being reunited with their parents, pictured above meeting after the abduction. But it was not immediately clear whether any students had been killed, or under what terms their release had been secured.

The numbers, and the claim of responsibility by the leader of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, stirred painful memories of the 2014 abduction of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, in Nigeria’s northeast.


8. Russia’s four-year ban from global sports was cut to two years.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland, the final arbiter on global sports disputes, halved the ban in a decision that could signal the end of Russia’s long battle with antidoping regulators.

Above, President Vladimir Putin at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, at which the country’s performances were fueled by a massive doping program.

Russia will not be allowed to enter teams in the rescheduled Tokyo Games next summer nor the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, or have its anthem or its flag represented at other high-profile competitions. But Russian athletes who can prove they never took part in doping might still participate as so-called neutral competitors.


9. Did you turn to an alternate reality for comfort, or maybe just a distraction, in this difficult year?

We did. Twenty Times employees shared their favorite games, old and new.

“Hollow Knight, the grim, insect-themed 2017 platform game, was the perfect match for my 2020 mood,” writes M.J. Franklin, a staff editor at the Book Review. “You play as a lone knight armed with a ‘nail’ who falls into Hallownest, a once-vibrant kingdom that now lies in ruin. The game is gloomy — at one point, you explore an area called ‘The Abyss,’ and doesn’t that sound like a metaphor for this year?”


10. And finally, Chadwick Boseman’s last bow.

Viewers will soon be able to watch his final film role in a version of August Wilson’s acclaimed 1982 play “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” that comes to Netflix on Dec. 18. The story focuses on Black pride, white power and the blues in 1927 Chicago, and is as incendiary today as the day it was written.

Our reporter spoke to members of the film’s creative team about adapting the play and the legacy of Boseman, who died of cancer in August.

Viola Davis, who plays Ma Rainey, said of his character, a cornet player: “This is a man who’s raging at God, who’s lost even his faith. So [Boseman has] got to sort of go to the edge of hope and death and life in order to make that character work. Of course, you look back on it and see that that’s where he was.”

Have a memorable night.


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

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