Vaccines, Texas, U.S. Open: Your Thursday Evening Briefing

Vaccines, Texas, U.S. Open: Your Thursday Evening
Briefing 1

Here’s what you need to know at the end of the day.

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Good evening. Here’s the latest at the end of Thursday.

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1. President Biden used the full force of his presidency to require tens of millions more American workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Biden instructed the Department of Labor to draft a rule mandating that all businesses with 100 or more workers require their employees to either get vaccinated or face weekly testing. A vast majority of federal employees and federal contractors, as well as 17 million health care workers in hospitals and other institutions that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding, must also be vaccinated or face possible disciplinary measures if they refuse.

The sweeping actions, which will affect two-thirds of all American workers, are the most expansive he has taken to control the pandemic since he assumed the presidency in January, and will affect almost every aspect of American society. Roughly 80 million Americans who are eligible for shots have not been vaccinated.

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“We can and we will turn the tide on Covid-19,” Biden said at the White House.

Los Angeles is poised to become the first major school district in the U.S. to mandate coronavirus vaccines for students 12 and older who are attending class in person. The move comes as more children are being hospitalized with Covid than ever before, led by states with the fewest vaccinations. Some hospitals are stretched.

Montinique Monroe for The New York Times

2. The Justice Department sued Texas over its new restrictive abortion law, calling the state’s near-total ban of the procedure an “open defiance of the Constitution.”

“It is settled constitutional law that ‘a state may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability,’” the lawsuit said. “But Texas has done just that.” The law bans most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, when few women even know they are pregnant.

It was the first significant step by the Biden administration to confront the law, which the Supreme Court refused to block last week. We took an up-close look at the text of the law.

The court will soon take up a separate case that will determine whether Roe v. Wade should be overruled. And a new biography reveals the complex life of the woman behind the landmark ruling.

Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

3. The first passenger flight to leave Afghanistan since the frenzied U.S. military evacuation ended has arrived in Qatar.

More than 100 foreigners, including Americans, Canadians and British citizens, landed in the capital, Doha. The Taliban’s spokesman thanked Qatar for its assistance in getting the airport running, and flying in 50 tons of aid. He said it was an “opportunity to call on all Muslim and international countries to lend a helping hand to the Afghan people and start delivering humanitarian aid.”

There was no indication that the Taliban would allow the tens of thousands of Afghans who qualify for special U.S. visas to leave. They said that Afghans with dual citizenship would be allowed to leave.

Christopher Smith for The New York Times

4. A Missouri gun law began as a backlash. Now, it has set off another, and put the state at the vanguard of challenges to federal authority on firearms.

At the heart of the law is an audacious declaration — that all state firearm laws “exceed” the federal government’s power to track, register and regulate guns and gun owners. Even some gun-rights supporters are balking at the bill, which could punish the local authorities for working with federal agencies on gun cases deemed to be in violation of Second Amendment rights.

Separately, President Biden will withdraw the nomination of a gun control advocate as A.T.F. chief. Senators Joe Manchin and Angus King had refused to back him.

Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

5. President Biden has hailed the $1 trillion infrastructure bill as a way to create millions of jobs. But companies are worried that there won’t be enough skilled workers to fill them.

The bill could generate new jobs in industries critical to keeping the nation’s public works systems running, such as construction, transportation and energy. But a recent survey found that 88 percent of commercial construction contractors reported moderate-to-high levels of difficulty finding skilled workers, and more than a third had to turn down work because of labor deficiencies.

“I’d be surprised if there’s any firm out there saying they’re ready for this,” one construction manager said.

Victor Moriyama for The New York Times

6. President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil is temporarily banning social media companies from removing certain content.

The new social media rules appear to be the first time a national government has stopped internet companies from taking down content that violates their rules. Among the content that can stay up: Bolsonaro’s claim that the only way he’ll lose next year’s election is if the vote is rigged.

In other tech-related news, our reporter tried out Facebook and Ray-Ban’s new glasses, which can take photos, record video, answer calls and play music. He had many thoughts.

Landon Nordeman for The New York Times

7. What is ‘American Fashion,’ and who gets to define it?

It’s a question our chief fashion critic says it’s time to confront. The answer? “Kind of a hot mess. But that’s honestly kind of cool,” Vanessa Friedman writes. The question will be front and center at a new costume exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which kicks off on Monday with the party of the year — the Met Gala. The theme is “American Independence.”

But first, New York Fashion Week is back for the first time since February 2020. Here’s a look at the shows from Proenza Schouler, Prabal Gurung, Collina Strada and the most anticipated show: Peter Do, fashion’s latest rule breaker.

Elise Amendola/Associated Press

8. It smells like teen spirit at the U.S. Open.

Emma Raducanu, 18, and Leylah Fernandez, 19, are one match away from an improbable all-teenage women’s singles final. Another young duo is just as close to taking the trophy in tandem: Coco Gauff, 17, and Caty McNally, 19, beat the top-seeded doubles pairing on yesterday. Fernandez plays the No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka at 7 p.m. Eastern and Raducanu plays Maria Sakkari at 8:15 p.m.

Novak Djokovic, undefeated in best-of-five matches this year as he pursues the Grand Slam, is heading to the semifinals, where he’ll play Alexander Zverev tomorrow.

And tonight is the first N.F.L. kickoff of the season. The Dallas Cowboys play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the reigning Super Bowl champions. Here’s a look at Week 1.

Heather McCargo

9. Our garden columnist makes the case to plant more wildflowers.

Once the native perennial species of meadows — milkweeds, asters, Joe Pye weed and other wildflowers — finish flowering in the coming weeks, they will go to seed. That’s when gardeners can nurture the next generation by collecting and sowing them. And in a shifting climate, with environmental diversity at risk, it’s never been more important to propagate these plants. Here’s how to do it right.

Butterflies in your backyard may seem gentle as they flutter from plant to plant. But some may be more murderous than you imagine. Naturalists recently witnessed several species of milkweed butterfly subduing and feeding on milkweed caterpillars. Scientists invented a new word to describe it: kleptopharmacophagy.


10. And finally, get out the quarters.

The Museum of Pinball in Banning, Calif., one of the largest museums devoted to the game, is closing because of financial difficulties brought on by the pandemic. Its collection of 1,000 electronic arcade games and 700 pinball machines could be worth as much as $7 million. And you could own a piece.

Starting tomorrow, the museum is auctioning its holdings, which include some machines that are more than 60 years old. The auction will be conducted both online and at the museum.

The holy grail of the sale could be a “Pirates of the Caribbean” collector’s edition pinball machine from 2018, which the auction house said could fetch up to $35,000.

Have a winning night.

Bryan Denton compiled photos for this briefing.

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

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