Your Weekend Briefing – .

Your Weekend Briefing – .

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Here are the best stories of the week and a glimpse of the future.

1. Gas prices and Covid make Thanksgiving travel difficult.

Millions of American drivers have been keenly resenting the recent surge in gasoline prices, which last month hit their highest level since 2014. The national average for a gallon of gasoline is $ 3.41, or $ 1. $ 29 more than a year ago.

Only 32% of Americans plan to drive for Thanksgiving, up from 35% last year at the height of the pandemic, and 65% in 2019, according to a survey by fuel economy platform GasBuddy.

Vacation trips bring people together, and respiratory viruses circulate easily. Experts advise mask warrants remain in place even if their end is in sight. “Maybe in February we can say goodbye to masks,” a researcher told The Times. The United States has taken several steps over the past week to change the course of the pandemic.

2. In Europe, still the epicenter of the pandemic, new restrictions sparked protests.

In Austria, which averages 10,000 cases a day, a lockdown begins tomorrow and a nationwide vaccination mandate is expected to come into effect in February. The Austrians took to the streets yesterday in response. In Vienna, skirmishes with law enforcement officers broke out as thousands protested.

In Germany, where the number of cases has skyrocketed in recent weeks, mostly in unvaccinated children, adolescents and adults, some states with the highest infection levels will also see closures. Even Portugal, which has one of the highest vaccination rates in Europe, is preparing to add restrictions.

3. The Rittenhouse trial is over. The divisions remain.

Kyle Rittenhouse’s friend Dominick Black faces two counts of intentionally giving a dangerous weapon to someone under the age of 18 causing death, and could face up to six years in prison if he is found guilty. But Rittenhouse’s acquittal helps his case, experts say – and highlights the failure of efforts to implement even modest new restrictions on guns.

Attention now turns to the three men on trial for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia; oral argument is scheduled for tomorrow. Although they pursued him, they claim self-defense because, they say, Arbery tried to take control of a shotgun one of them was carrying. As in the Rittenhouse case, the lawsuit raises questions about how self-defense laws will resist the proliferation of guns.

His work is not finished, however. The Senate now has an opportunity to reshape the measure, and Joe Manchin, the West Virginia senator, still demands major changes, such as the dropping of a new four-week paid family and medical leave program that Pelosi made. of its top priority.

But Manchin has privately expressed his openness to adopting a more costly plan than the one he initially insisted on, and the speaker now says she is convinced he will come out of the Senate almost intact.

How much does it cost? It is complicated.

5. Elizabeth Holmes returns to the stand in the Theranos trial.

The 37-year-old founder of the failed blood test start-up only spent an hour on the stand before the court closed on Friday. Her lawyers argued that she was just a naïve and ambitious young founder who relied too much on others who gave her bad advice.

Holmes has been charged with 11 counts of defrauding investors about Theranos’ business and what its technology might do.

6. Where is Peng Shuai?

In a social media post earlier this month, the Chinese tennis star accused a former deputy prime minister of sexually assaulting her. After the allegation, the Chinese government removed almost all references to Peng from the country’s social media, and Peng disappeared from public life.

Yesterday, the editor of a public newspaper shared on Twitter two questionable videos of a person at a restaurant who appeared to be Peng. But the seemingly unnatural conversation in one video and the unclear location and dates of the two raised questions about Peng’s safety and whether she was appearing in the videos of her own accord.

The case prompted the women’s tennis tour to rethink its strong focus on China, where it has threatened to withdraw events if it cannot verify that it is safe and that its allegations are the subject of an investigation. investigation.

7. Power struggle for cobalt shakes up the green energy revolution.

Cobalt is vital for electric vehicles and the fight against climate change. Two-thirds are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the quest for metal has demonstrated how the clean energy revolution is caught in an exploitation cycle, according to a Times investigation.

In particular, China and the United States are rivals to the Congo in a new “Great Game” of sorts – and China is winning. Hunter Biden, the president’s son, was a founding member of the board of directors of a company that helped China secure one of the world’s largest cobalt deposits.

8. Indiana drivers go around in circles. It’s safer and better for the climate.

Carmel, Indiana, has the most roundabouts in the country. The main reason is security; compared to regular intersections, roundabouts significantly reduce injuries and fatalities.

And because the city doesn’t have red lights where cars sit and idle, burning gasoline, Carmel’s cars emit far fewer tonnes of carbon emissions that heat the planet up per year.

The reason Carmel has so many roundabouts is Jim Brainard, the city’s Republican mayor for seven terms. When he studied at the University of Oxford in the 1980s, he developed a passion for European traffic. Brainard built the first Carmel roundabout in 1997. Today it has 140, with a dozen yet to come.

9. These 20 recipes to make in advance will save you on Thanksgiving.

A spicy West African-inspired peanut and pumpkin soup; buns topped with all-bagel seasoning; mushroom bread pudding; and, of course, gratins. Assembling them before the holidays will save time and counter space. And you can complement any of them with this shallot and breadcrumb crunch.

Hanukkah follows Thanksgiving closely this year, and lemon curd, chocolate cake, and Greek honey cookies are a sweet way to celebrate. Also for Hanukkah (and for the cold season in general), here is a comforting chicken soup with matzo balls.

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