Your Friday Briefing
The midnight sun shining over sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.Credit…David Goldman/Associated PressClimate change threatens national security The …
The midnight sun shining over sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.Credit…David Goldman/Associated Press
Climate change threatens national security
The Biden administration released several reports about the risk of climate change to national security, laying out in stark terms the ways in which the warming world is beginning to significantly challenge stability worldwide, through developments such as worsening international conflict and increased dislocation and migration as people flee climate-fueled instability.
The release of the documents is the first time that the nation’s security agencies have collectively communicated the climate risks they face. President Biden will soon attend a major U.N. climate conference in Glasgow known as COP26.
The national security warnings came on the same day that top financial regulators for the first time flagged climate change as “an emerging threat” to the American economy. More frequent and destructive natural disasters are resulting in property damage, lost income and business disruptions that threaten to change the way real estate and other assets are valued.
Examples: Climate change could work on numerous levels to sap the strength of a nation. Countries like Iraq and Algeria could be hit by lost revenue from fossil fuels, even as their region faces worsening heat and drought. Food shortages could in turn lead to unrest, along with fights between countries over water.
Background: The notion that climate change is a national security threat isn’t new — the Obama administration said as much and began pushing the Pentagon to consider climate risks. But taken together, the reports signal a new stage in U.S. policy, one that places climate change at the center of the country’s security planning.
Donald Trump’s new social media venture
Donald Trump announced yesterday that he had lined up the investment money to create his own publicly traded media company, an attempt to reinsert himself into the public online conversation from which he has largely been absent since Twitter and Facebook banned him after the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
If completed, the deal could give the new Trump company, called Trump Media and Technology, access to nearly $300 million in spending money. Trump’s yet-to-be-launched social network app is called Truth Social. Within hours of its announcement, hackers claimed to have created fake accounts on an unreleased test version in the names of Trump and others.
The former president has been able to raise the money thanks to one of Wall Street’s hottest fads — special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs. The reverse of initial public offerings, SPACs go public first and raise money from investors with the goal of finding a private company to merge with.
Details: Trump’s new company — incorporated in Delaware in February with little fanfare, and with no revenue or tested business plan — reached a deal to merge with a SPAC called Digital World Acquisition on Wednesday. Some of its investors had not known they would be financially backing his latest company.
England’s gamble on virus restrictions
Four months ago, England started a grand epidemiological experiment, lifting virtually all coronavirus restrictions at once, even in the face of a high daily rate of infections. Its leaders justified the approach on the grounds that the country’s rapid rollout of vaccines had weakened the link between infection and serious illness.
Now, with cases, hospital admissions and deaths all rising again, the effect of vaccines beginning to wear off and winter looming, the strategy of learning to live with the virus is coming under its stiffest test yet.
New cases exceeded 50,000 on Thursday, an 18 percent increase over the average number in the past week and the second time cases had broken that psychological barrier since July. The number of people admitted to hospitals rose 15.4 percent over the same period, reaching 959, while 115 people died of Covid-19, an increase of almost 11 percent.
Quotable: “Everything is hitting us at once,” said Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London. “My view is that we’re in a no man’s land.”
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
India’s vaccine campaign reached a billion doses administered, a turnaround after early stumbles.
The Israeli government announced a plan to allow vaccinated tourists to enter the country starting Nov. 1.
The health authorities in the U.S. endorsed booster shots of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines for tens of millions of people.
THE LATEST NEWS
News From the U.S.
The House voted 229 to 202 to find Steve Bannon in criminal contempt for stonewalling the investigation into the Capitol riot. The Justice Department will decide whether to prosecute.
Angered by lessons on race, conservatives in some places in the U.S. have won control of school boards — and hope to carry that energy into next year’s midterm elections.
The Federal Reserve announced sweeping new limits on trading by senior Fed officials after repeated criticism of its ethics rules. Separately,the S&P 500 closed at a record high, rising for a seventh straight day.
Texas’ attorney general urged the Supreme Court to leave the state’s restrictive abortion law in place, saying that the federal government was not entitled to challenge it.
Around the World
As negotiators worked to secure the release of 17 people who had been kidnapped in Haiti, the captors released a video threatening the hostages’ lives. Though gangs have long held sway in Haiti, their dominance has expanded in recent years. Above, a police checkpoint in Haiti’s capital.
Queen Elizabeth II was discharged from a hospital yesterday after undergoing tests the day before and spending the night.
As women in China try to crack traditionally male-dominated occupations such as civil aviation, they are quickly finding out that schools stand in their way.
For more than a century, Indigenous children in Canada were forced to attend residential schools, where many endured abuse. The Times followed a team of archaeologists as they searched for the graves of these lost children.
New research on a set of gigantic fossilized footprints, 200 million to 250 million years old, has found that their likely owner was a small, meek herbivore no taller than a person.
Modern horses were domesticated around 4,200 years ago in the steppes of southern Russia, according to an analysis of 273 ancient horse genomes.
A kidney grown in a genetically altered pig was found to work normally after surgeons in New York attached it to a human patient.
A Morning Read
A dog on TikTok serves as a kind of horoscope.
Every day, millions of people across the internet check in on Noodle, a 13-year-old pug, to see what kind of day they will have. A “bones day,” when Noodle rises, is a day to celebrate. And a “no bones day,” when he would rather stay in bed, is a day to take on the world just a little more carefully.
ARTS AND IDEAS
125 years of covering literary greats
The Times has been publishing its Book Review as a stand-alone supplement since 1896. Our editors celebrated with a look back at the classics we reviewed.
From the archives: James Baldwin reviewed Alex Haley’s “Roots” in 1976, calling it an exploration of “how each generation helps to doom, or helps to liberate, the coming one.” James Joyce’s “Ulysses” was dubbed the “most important contribution that has been made to fictional literature in the 20th century.” And Reynolds Price saw in Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon” evidence for “the possibility of transcendence within human life.”
An early interview with Gore Vidal explored his self perception and his view on goodness (it “may be beside the point”), and in a 1985 conversation, the Chilean novelist Isabel Allende reflected on the release of her first novel while she was living in exile.
Take a journey through the history of the coverage and its predecessors and peek at our first best-seller lists.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
The best place to try Swedish kardemummabulle, a sweet bun perfumed with cardamom, would be the Stockholm bakery Fabrique. Here’s how to make it at home.
To plan for spring, take an autumn walk through the garden, before it’s too late.
What to Watch
“Dune,” the sci-fi epic based on a 1965 novel by Frank Herbert, is “a serious, stately opus,” our reviewer writes.
Now Time to Play
Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Flavor of yellow Skittles (five letters).
And here is the Spelling Bee.
You can find all our puzzles here.
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next week. — Natasha
P.S. “Call and Response: The Story of Black Lives Matter” is a visual book by Times journalists for young readers. Here’s how it came together.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is about police union practices.
Melina Delkic wrote today’s Arts and Ideas. You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].