2019年11月4日 星期一

Your Monday Evening Briefing

Joe Biden, Paris Accord, Apple Housing

Your Monday Evening Briefing

Good evening. Here's the latest.

Jason Andrew for The New York Times

1. A year from the presidential election, the race is tight in the battleground states.

President Trump trails Joe Biden, above campaigning in Virginia on Sunday, by almost nine points in a national polling average. But the story in the battleground states of 2016 is quite different.

Surveys from The New York Times Upshot and Siena College show Mr. Trump remains highly competitive in the six states likeliest to decide his re-election: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona and North Carolina.

There, he trails Mr. Biden by an average of two points among registered voters, a difference that could be attributed to statistical error. He leads Elizabeth Warren and is deadlocked with Bernie Sanders among registered voters in the surveys.


Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

2. But Mr. Trump faces many obstacles before then — not least the impeachment inquiry.

Today, House investigators began releasing closed-door witness testimony for the first time, including from Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, pictured above after testifying last month.


The release came as a new batch of witnesses refused to appear before investigators. Our reporters are excerpting and analyzing the transcripts.

As if that weren't enough, the writer E. Jean Carroll, who accused the president of attacking her in a dressing room in the 1990s, sued him for defamation for saying she had lied about the incident.

And a federal appeals panel said Mr. Trump's accounting firm had to comply with a subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney for eight years of his tax returns. A Trump lawyer said he would appeal to the Supreme Court.

Separately, the Justice Department is trying to unearth the identity of the Trump administration official who denounced the president in a New York Times Op-Ed last year under the byline Anonymous, demanding information from the publisher of the official's upcoming book.

Marian Carrasquero for The New York Times

3. U.S. businesses and households are out of sync. It won't last.

Consumers, responsible for 70 percent of the country's economic activity, are engaged in a spendathon. Businesses, chastened by doubt and uncertainty, are not. That leaves consumer spending as pretty much the only thing driving the nation's growth.

But business and consumer outlooks can diverge for only so long, economists say.

Companies that are wary often pull back on spending, hiring and pay increases. Those moves can push up the unemployment rate, hold down wages and worry consumers, who in turn become more cautious about spending.

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

4. Can the Paris Agreement on climate change survive without the U.S.?

The Trump administration today began a yearlong countdown to the American exit from the U.N. accord, under which nearly 200 nations pledged to cut greenhouse emissions and help poor countries cope with the effects of a warming planet.

The agreement's negotiators say they are hoping to safeguard the deal's longevity without the U.S. "We are preparing for Plan B," France's climate change ambassador said.

The accord will need other major polluters like China and India to step up. China, now the largest emitter of planet-warming pollutants, has made significant promises, but Beijing's ability to deliver is still in question.

Federico Rios Escobar for The New York Times

5. She was supposed to get Alzheimer's in her 40s. She didn't.

Researchers say a Colombian woman genetically predisposed to get the disease was found to have a rare mutation that protected her from dementia. She experienced no cognitive decline at all until her 70s.

The finding, which emerged from decades of studies by the groundbreaking Colombian researcher Dr. Francisco Lopera, above, could change the scientific understanding of Alzheimer's and possibly inspire treatments.

Jason Henry for The New York Times

6. Apple will give $2.5 billion to help ease California's housing crisis.

The iPhone maker is the latest tech giant — after Facebook, Google and Microsoft — to address a problem that its growth helped to create.

Since 2005, California has added only 308 housing units for every 1,000 new residents. As a result, housing prices have soared beyond the reach of many people. Above, a housing development in Palo Alto.

Apple's funds will go toward low-cost loans and grants, as well as to help first-time home buyers and the homeless.

Pete Marovich for The New York Times

7. A.O.C. backed down on blocking Twitter critics.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, above, a New York Democrat who uses her social media savvy to champion her progressive policies, apologized to a former Brooklyn official who sued her for blocking him on Twitter.

The former official, Dov Hikind, filed the suit after a federal appeals panel ruled that President Trump had violated the Constitution when he blocked his critics from following him on Twitter.

The apology by Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was part of a settlement in the case, announced a day before she was scheduled to testify.


8. A 42-year-old spacecraft is still sending us data about the sun.

Launched when Jimmy Carter was president, Voyager 2 was designed to last four years. Scientists reported today details of the probe's observations in interstellar space, and how that data differs from its twin, Voyager 1, which is also still functioning. Above, an archival photo of the test model of Voyager 2.

Once the Voyagers go offline, one scientist said, "that's kind of it" for information from beyond our solar system.

In other space news, Boeing's Starliner commercial spacecraft successfully touched down after a test of its safety system.

Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

9. Yet another hacking threat to our homes.

Researchers used focused light to manipulate the device's microphones, enabling them to hijack any digital smart system attached to the voice-controlled assistants. The intrusion could, for example, let them switch lights on and off, make online purchases, open a smart-locked front door and even remotely start a car.

"This opens up an entirely new class of vulnerabilities," said one of the scientists.

Adam McCauley

10. And finally, your secret consumer score.

Little-known companies are hoarding your online transaction data and selling the details to clients.

Our reporter requested her own: "More than 400 pages long, it contained all the messages I'd ever sent to hosts on Airbnb; years of Yelp delivery orders; a log of every time I'd opened the Coinbase app on my iPhone."

Here's how to get a copy of what they have on you. But beware: Just because the companies promise they'll send your data doesn't mean they actually will.

Have a private night.

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