Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Instances
Britain initiates plans for human challenge trials
Scientists at Imperial College London plan to deliberately infect volunteers with the coronavirus early next year. This marks the beginning of the world’s first attempts to study how vaccinated people react to intentional exposure to the virus, opening up a new, unsafe way of identifying an effective vaccine.
The hotly contested strategy known as the Human Challenge Challenge could potentially cut the crucial time in the race to attract a number of vaccine candidates.
While the method has been used to test vaccines for typhoid, cholera and other diseases, Covid-19 has few widespread treatments and no known cure, putting the scientists responsible for the UK study into largely unknown ethical territory offset.
Details: Scientists will first give tiny doses of the virus to small groups of volunteers who have not been vaccinated, followed by tests where volunteers are given a vaccine and then intentionally exposed to a carefully calibrated dose of the virus.
The most aggressive challenge for a tech giant in decades
The US Department of Justice filed a long-awaited antitrust lawsuit against Google, accusing the company of maintaining an illegal search monopoly. The suit is the most aggressive move against a tech giant in a generation. Google, owned by Alphabet, said the lawsuit was “profoundly flawed” and urged its employees to stay focused and calm.
The government, which is joining 11 states, accuses Google of illegally protecting its dominant position in the search and search advertising market with the deals it has made with companies like Apple. Google pays Apple billions of dollars a year to use its search engine as the default option on iPhones and other devices. Here is a brief overview of the lawsuit.
Attorney General William Barr has played an unusually active role in the investigation. He urged lawyers from the Justice Department to bring the case by the end of September. But it will most likely take years to complete.
Suspicious attacks against US diplomats and spies
Strange noises followed by mysterious diseases have struck US diplomats in Cuba, China and Russia, sparking speculation about foreign attacks.
Officials say US agencies are hiding the true extent of the episodes. US lawmakers are urging the State Department to publish a study it received in August investigating possible causes. The symptoms diplomats at the American embassy in Cuba had in 2016 and 2017 became known as Havana Syndrome.
Some senior foreign ministry officials and former intelligence officials said they believed Russia played a role. The country’s intelligence agents have sparked violence around the world, poisoning enemies in Britain and fueling attacks on US soldiers in Afghanistan.
If you have 5 minutes, it’s worth it
A “lobster war” in Canada
A battle for the lucrative lobster industry in Nova Scotia has turned violent. Commercial fishermen have burned buildings and attacked indigenous fishermen, accusing them of jeopardizing their livelihoods by catching lobsters out of season. Above is a lobster pound that burned down over the weekend.
The members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation negotiated the rights to hunt and fish in a centuries-old treaty, and a court has ruled in their favor. The battle over lobster is the latest in a series of ill-treatment of indigenous peoples in Canada.
The following also happens
“Golden Passes”: Cyprus and Malta face European Union penalties for not foregoing lucrative programs that sell passports to foreigners. The two nations have built opaque banking systems in the past, which have been used for illegal purposes by Russian and Asian billionaires in particular.
Kim Wall’s killer: The Danish inventor, convicted of the murder of the journalist aboard his self-built submarine in Copenhagen in 2017, briefly escaped from prison on Tuesday. He took an employee hostage but was arrested a short time later.
Israel-UAE: During the UAE’s first official visit to Israel since the countries normalized relations, the diplomats of the Emirates agreed to make travel easier and to improve checkpoints in the West Bank. The Palestinians have tacitly declared the alliance to be the Israeli occupation.
US election: President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will face each other for the last time before November 3rd on Thursday. This time around, their microphones will be muted for parts of the debate to avoid interruptions like Mr Trump’s that spoiled their first meeting. According to our poll, Mr Biden leads Mr Trump by nine percentage points and voters see him as cheaper on almost every major issue.
Snapshot: Nigerian security forces opened fire on Tuesday evening at a demonstration against police brutality in Lagos that hit several people and used tear gas in Abuja to greatly escalate the unrest that has ravaged the country for two weeks.
Lived life: Spencer Davis, the leader of the 1960s rock group of the same name, who were behind hits such as “Gimme Some Lovin ‘”, “I’m a Man” and “Keep On Running”, died Monday at the age of 81.
What we read: This Financial Times article on the future of the United States and its Constitution. Matthew Anderson, our European arts editor, calls it a “really good” look at “why the US is a bit like the late Ottoman Empire right now”.
Now a break from the news
Cook: This apple pie from our food editor Sam Sifton prompts you to pre-cook the filling before baking. Well worth the extra effort.
See: The thriller “Utopia” focuses on a wild conspiracy theory about viral epidemics – or not as wild as it turns out because the theory turns out to be true.
Move: Try an intense interval training. Lots of inactive adults who preferred intense exertion to gentler exercise.
Even under lockdown, there is no reason to be bored. At Home offers a comprehensive collection of ideas on what to read, cook, see, and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the background story about …
Why swing states are important
The road to the US presidency leads through a dozen or so states known as battlefields or swing states.
Under the electoral college, the system that governs the US presidential election, the party that wins a state usually receives all of its electoral votes. Most states have clear majorities, either for Democrats or Republicans. But in swing states like Ohio or Iowa, the race is so close that both candidates have a chance of winning.
For this reason, an excessive amount of time is spent on campaigning in swing states in relation to their population. And because the coronavirus pandemic presents election officials with new challenges, the willingness of a single state can determine the outcome.
Our reporters examined seven swing states – Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, and Pennsylvania – and ranked them in order of readiness.
Each of these states was won by Mr. Trump in 2016. Joe Biden is now up front or effectively linked to Mr. Trump in most polls across all seven states.
A shift in suburban politics has Georgia, which typically joins Republicans, less far away for Democrats. The state’s voting machines have failed in three consecutive elections this year alone.
In Pennsylvania, election officials are staring at what may be the largest voting backlog in the country without being able to touch the ballots until the November 3rd election.
That’s it for this briefing. Until tomorrow.
Thank you very much
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected]
• We listen to “The Daily”. Our latest episode is about a crucial US Senate race in North Carolina.
• Here is our mini crossword puzzle and a hint: “1% of 1% milk” (three letters) You can find all of our puzzles here.
• According to the Twitter bot @NYT_first_said, the word “ultimaybe” first appeared in the Times on Tuesday.
• Matthew Futterman, one of our sports journalists, appeared on NHK World-Japan to discuss sports in the Covid-19 era.