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Facebook, School Masks, YoungBoy: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing

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

She detailed how the company was deliberate in its efforts to keep people — including children — hooked. “They need to admit they did something wrong, and they need help to solve these problems,” Haugen said. Here are the key takeaways from her testimony.

Some senators called it a “Big Tobacco” moment. “This research is the definition of a bombshell,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, who led the hearing. As our tech columnist wrote in our live blog, “If Congress fails to regulate Facebook effectively now, it won’t be because of a lack of evidence.”

The hearing came a day after the world got a taste of life without Facebook, which was brought down for hours by a cascade of errors. In India, Latin America and Africa, its services have become almost a public utility, usually cheaper than a phone call.

2. President Biden and Democratic leaders slashed their ambitions for an expansion of America’s social safety net from $3.5 trillion over 10 years to $2 trillion or less.

The move will force hard choices about key portions of the president’s agenda. It’s a bid to win over the centrist holdouts Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, two Democratic senators who have said repeatedly they would not support the larger bill. Here are some ways they could shrink it.

Progressive Democrats have hinged their support of a bipartisan infrastructure initiative on the passage of the social safety net bill. Leadership has set Oct. 31 as a deadline to pass both.


3. England’s schools dropped mask mandates in a bid for normalcy. But with a surge of Covid-related absences, some are questioning the trade-off.

In its first report card on the plan, the Education Department said 186,000 students were absent from school on Sept. 30 with confirmed or suspected cases, the highest number since the pandemic began.

Britain’s daily overall case numbers are running several thousand lower than they were when schools opened in early September. Scientists say Britain can take such risks because nearly all adults over 65 have been fully vaccinated. In addition, rapid antigen tests are free and easy to get.

In other virus news:


4. Top U.S. counterintelligence officials warned every C.I.A. station and base that troubling numbers of informants have been lost.

The unusual top secret cable said that the C.I.A.’s counterintelligence mission center had looked at dozens of cases in the last several years involving foreign informants who had been killed, arrested or compromised. The cable also laid out the specific number of agents executed by rival agencies — a closely held detail not usually shared in such cables that signals the severity of the current problems — and highlighted the struggle the agency is having at recruiting spies.

Separately, the Taliban seized troves of American weapons and vehicles from surrendering Afghan soldiers. Now, gun dealers are doing a brisk business.

5. Clergy members in the Roman Catholic Church in France sexually abused about 216,000 minors over the past seven decades, an independent commission found.

The long-awaited, 2,500-page report concluded that the problem was far more pervasive and systemic than previously known, and detailed how the church hierarchy silenced the victims and failed to report or discipline the clergy members involved. The church showed a “deep, total and even cruel indifference toward victims,” the commission’s president said.

The number of abused minors, mostly boys ages 10 to 13, reached 330,000 after including perpetrators who were laypeople and worked for the church or were affiliated with it.

6. The world lost about 14 percent of its coral reefs in the decade after 2009, mainly because of climate change, according to a sweeping international report.

Especially alarming, the report found, is the trajectory. The first global bleaching event occurred in 1998, but many reefs bounced back. That no longer appears to be the case, but corals could recover if global warming is limited.

In other environmental news:


7. A Russian actress, a director and a professional Russian astronaut arrived at the International Space Station. Their mission: to shoot the first feature-length film in space before Tom Cruise does.

Yulia Peresild, the actress, and Klim Shipenko, the director, will spend nearly two weeks on the space station filming “The Challenge,” about a surgeon who embarks on an emergency mission to the space station to save an ailing cosmonaut’s life.


9. YoungBoy Never Broke Again has little mainstream profile. He is currently incarcerated in Louisiana. His new album just hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart.

“Sincerely, Kentrell,” his fourth chart topper in less than two years, has solidified him as a poster child for a new kind of streaming-era stardom: His violently brooding music has been streamed more than six billion times in the past year and on YouTube he frequently outpaces artists like Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift.

Our music critic also reviewed Brandi Carlile’s seventh album, “In These Silent Days.” The music “braves the extremes of Carlile’s songwriting,” he writes.


10. And finally, how old is the Maltese, really?

“The tiny Maltese,” the American Kennel Club tells us, “has been sitting in the lap of luxury since the Bible was a work in progress.” Aristotle did praise the proportions of a kind of lap dog described as a Melitaean dog. And yes, the Romans absolutely loved these dogs. But is the modern Maltese breed ancient?

Our science reporter brought this question to scientists to whom he turns to when he has dog DNA questions. Their response: No, but, it’s complicated. The concept of breeding toward an aesthetic — what we think of today as a breed — only started around the mid-19th century. There have, however, been lineages of dogs bred to the chase, or the lap, for a long time. And one such Maltese-adjacent line was certainly around in ancient Rome.

Have a loyal night.


Angela Jimenez 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.

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