Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

By |2023-02-01T19:28:29-05:00February 1st, 2023|Breonna Taylor|

Here’s what you need to know at the end of the day.(Want to get this newsletter in your inbox? Here’s the sign-up.)Good evening. Here’s the latest at the end of Wednesday.Recent signs of slowing inflation were “early stage,” Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, said. Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times1. The Fed slowed its rate increase but said that ongoing jumps were warranted.Policymakers raised rates by a quarter of a point today, the smallest increase since March 2022 when the central bank began its aggressive campaign to tame rising prices. But officials said it was far too early to declare victory in their campaign against inflation.“We’re talking about a couple more rate hikes,” Jerome Powell, the Fed chair, said. He added, “I just don’t see us cutting rates this year.”On Wall Street, analysts are optimistic that the Fed’s rate increases will end sooner rather than later. For the rest of us, the continued increases have two immediate effects: Savers earn higher yields and borrowers pay more.Gov. Ron DeSantis said earlier this week that he would eliminate what he called “ideological conformity” in Florida’s higher education system.Mike Lang/USA TODAY NETWORK2. Under pressure, the College Board stripped down its A.P. African American Studies course.After criticism from Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, the College Board removed from the course much of the subject matter that had angered the governor and conservatives.The College Board purged the names of several Black writers and scholars associated with critical race theory, the queer experience and Black feminism. It also made the study of contemporary topics, like Black Lives Matter, optional. And it added something new: “Black conservatism” is now available as an idea for a research project.The changes came after DeSantis, a Republican who is expected to run for president, announced he would ban the curriculum in his state, citing the draft version that leaked online. The College Board said that the changes were all made for pedagogical reasons, not to bow to political pressure.Remnants of a family clinic, after it was hit by rockets in Eastern Ukraine.Lynsey Addario for The New York Times3. Russia may be mounting a new onslaught on Ukraine.Russia has stepped up artillery attacks to a rate not seen since September and dispatched tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine described these as the opening moves of a new Russian offensive to capture territory in the country’s east. “I think it has started,” Zelensky said.Ukrainian intelligence estimates that Russia now has more than 320,000 soldiers in the country — roughly twice the size of Moscow’s initial invasion force. Russia’s plans are a matter of speculation, but a Ukrainian official said he expected the fighting to intensify in February and March.In other news of the war, Ukrainian authorities carried out more searches related to corruption allegations.The casket of Tyre Nichols being lifted into a hearse in Memphis on Wednesday.Desiree Rios/The New York Times4. Tyre Nichols is laid to rest.The circumstances of Nichols’s death — three days after he was pummeled and pepper-sprayed by Memphis police officers — spurred sorrow and anger across the country, which escalated after video footage of the violence was released. His service today at the Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis brought an outpouring of grief and calls for justice.Vice President Kamala Harris spoke and called on Congress to pass legislation to curb police violence. The eulogy was delivered by the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has spoken at the funerals of other Black victims of police violence, and it acknowledged relatives of George Floyd, Eric Garner and Breonna Taylor who were in the audience. “They know what it is like to sit at a funeral like this,” he said.The F.B.I. appeared to be blinded by a lack of imagination.Alex Edelman/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images5. An F.B.I. team tried to game out the worst possible outcomes of a disputed 2020 election. They never envisioned what transpired on Jan. 6, 2021.The bureau was blinded by a narrow focus on “lone wolf” offenders and harbored a misguided belief that the threat from the far left was as great as that from the far right. It was unprepared to prevent the violent mob that mobilized in support of Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the election, new congressional documents show.Agents also ignored warning signs flashing on social media and relied on confidential sources who failed to sound the alarm. The documents are just the latest example of how the F.B.I. was unable to predict the chaos that erupted on Jan. 6.Separately, the F.B.I. searched Biden’s family vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., and found no classified documents, according to the president’s personal lawyer.The Serum Institute of India’s lab in Pune, India, where coronavirus vaccines are manufactured.Atul Loke for The New York Times6. Vaccine makers kept $1.4 billion in prepayments for canceled Covid shots meant for the world’s poor.As global demand for Covid vaccines dries up, the program responsible for vaccinating the world’s poor has been urgently negotiating to try to get out of its deals with pharmaceutical companies for shots it no longer needs.But drug companies have so far declined to refund $1.4 billion in advance payments for the now-canceled doses, according to confidential documents obtained by The Times. Under the contracts, manufacturers are not required to refund the prepayments, though some have still reached settlements to return partial amounts. The money the vaccine manufacturers have kept, one expert said, could fund other large global health programs.Tom Brady won his first six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots.Doug Mills/The New York Times7. Tom Brady said he was retiring — for real this time.Brady, the 45-year-old quarterback widely regarded as the greatest player in N.F.L. history, won seven Super Bowls over 23 seasons and broke virtually every career passing record.In a video he posted to social media this morning, Brady told his fans, “I’m retiring. For good.” It was an apparent nod to a retirement announcement he made last year, which he reversed less than six weeks later. Brady, who is set to join Fox Sports as an analyst, was the oldest active player in the N.F.L. this season, but still led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to an NFC South title.Our sports columnist thinks that Brady’s departure will be a good thing for football.Martín Gonzalez Gómez/The New York Times8. Dissecting Elon Musk’s tweets.In order to assess how Twitter may evolve under Musk’s watch, The Times reviewed nearly 20,000 of his public tweets and the relatively small number of users that he follows.Of the 178 accounts that Musk follows, most are related to his businesses. The list is also heavily male: Only two dozen accounts that are not institutional or organizational belong to women. He has liberally posted memes, rants and combative responses, and about topics that are popular among political fringes. And for someone who has said he is fighting for free speech, Musk’s feed is often an echo chamber.ABC, via Everett Collection9. After 50 years, “Schoolhouse Rock” still has Gen Xers singing about conjunctions.The cartoon’s catchy lyrics and colorful animations helped a generation of children in the 1970s learn about topics like multiplication, grammar and history. Tonight, ABC will tap into that nostalgic spirit with a prime time “50th-Anniversary Singalong,” featuring the Black Eyed Peas, the Muppets, Shaquille O’Neal and others.Our television critic said that rewatching “Schoolhouse Rock” brought with it a note of wistfulness. “It’s a reminder of a time when network TV gave us a common culture, language and lyrics, before we were sliced into subcultures and demographics,” he wrote.Dallas Zoo10. And finally, missing monkeys.Two emperor tamarin monkeys were taken from the Dallas Zoo this week and found yesterday inside a closet at a home about 15 miles south of the zoo. The police said that they located the monkeys after receiving a tip, but that “the home was empty” when they arrived and so they made no arrests in the case.The monkeys — small animals with mustachelike whiskers native to parts of the Amazon — were only the latest bizarre incident involving breached enclosures at the zoo. Others involved a missing clouded leopard that was recovered after a suspicious tear was discovered in the animal’s enclosure, and an endangered vulture that died under unusual circumstances.The police said that an investigation into the monkeys was ongoing.Have a mysterious night.James Gregg compiled photos for this briefing. Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.Want to catch up on past briefings? You can browse them here.What did you like? What do you want to see here? Let us know at [email protected] are today’s Mini Crossword, Spelling Bee and Wordle. If you’re in the mood to play more, find all our games here.