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Jobs, Nobel Peace Prize, M.L.B. Playoffs: Your Friday Evening Briefing

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

1. The latest coronavirus wave led to a second straight month of disappointing job growth.

Employers added just 194,000 jobs in September, down from 366,000 in August and far below the increase of more than one million in July. The data from the Labor Department was collected in mid-September, when the Delta wave was near its peak. Since then, cases and hospitalizations have fallen in much of the country, and more timely data from private-sector sources suggests that economic activity has begun to rebound.

It’s not as bad as it looks, our senior economics correspondent writes. The jobs numbers actually reflect a steady expansion that is more rapid than other recent recoveries.

2. The good news: The national outlook on the coronavirus has improved considerably in recent weeks. The bad news: Winter is coming.

A surge driven by the Delta variant is receding in the U.S., but officials and experts say that increased transmission during the coming colder months remains a threat and that steady rates of vaccination are key to keeping the coronavirus at bay. About 56 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated.

As cold weather pushes many people indoors, the next few months will be critical, one infectious disease expert said, but the combination of increased vaccinations and natural immunity from infections could prevent another catastrophic wave like the one that struck the U.S. last year.


3. The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to two journalists for their efforts in the fight for freedom of expression.

Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitri Muratov of Russia “are representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions,” the Nobel committee said.

4. Two parents were convicted in the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal, which ensnared over 50 teachers, coaches and officials.

John Wilson, a private equity financier, and Gamal Abdelaziz, a former casino executive, were the first people to stand trial in the federal investigation, which uncovered a scheme by wealthy parents to have their children fraudulently admitted as athletic recruits to some of the most prestigious universities in the country. Many other parents, including some celebrities, have pleaded guilty rather than take their chances in court.

Abdelaziz was accused of paying $300,000 to have his daughter admitted to U.S.C. as a top-ranked basketball recruit. Wilson was accused of paying $220,000 to have his son admitted as a water polo recruit at U.S.C. and of agreeing to pay $1.5 million to have his twin daughters, who were good students, admitted to Harvard and Stanford as recruited athletes.


5. An Islamic State suicide bomber killed dozens of worshipers who had gathered for Friday Prayer at a Shiite mosque in Afghanistan.

The massacre was the group’s second attack against a mosque in just a few days. It confirmed that a campaign of violence targeting Afghanistan’s Hazara Shiite minority would go unchecked under the Taliban, which have also preyed on the Hazara in the past. A local Shiite community leader said that more than 70 people were killed in the attack.

The Islamic State Khorasan, the same group that carried out the suicide bombing at the international airport in Kabul on Aug. 26, took responsibility for the attack that took place in Kunduz.


6. Arson is surging in Northern California, an area where a match stick can be an especially powerful weapon.

Last year, the number of wildland arson fires in California rose by 6 percent, from 301 to 320. Over the past two months, three people suspected of arson in Northern California have been considered responsible for fires that burned thousands of acres and destroyed more than 200 homes and businesses. Among them are a criminology professor and a yoga instructor.

We’re tracking the wildfires and air quality in Western states.


7. October baseball is in full swing.

In the American League, the Tampa Bay Rays are a game ahead of the Boston Red Sox as they head into their second division series game tonight; the Houston Astros and the Chicago White Sox are playing Game 2. Tony La Russa, the White Sox manager, and Dusty Baker, the Astros manager, have crossed paths for decades — as teammates, as manager and player, and as rivals. Now they’re facing off yet again.

In the National League, the Atlanta Braves play the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 1 tonight (read about how the former M.L.B. Commissioner Bud Selig is a Milwaukee superfan). Then it’s on to the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. The two California teams have been battling each other for 133 seasons. A division series between them should provide bragging rights for years to come.

8. This image of the roiling sea is from thousands of photographs.

Since 2003, Sohei Nishino has made more than 20 diorama maps, as he calls them, of cities around the world. Each one required the same kind of weekslong roving residency, followed by weeks spent of arduously assembling images into panoramas. In lockdown, Nishino took on a radically new subject: the waves near his home in Mishima, Japan. See how it came together.

If you’re in New York City, our art critic recommends bringing a fine eye to a rehang of celebrated Chinese landscapes at the Met.


9. Before the hamburger, there was the hamburger steak.

Our Food columnist Eric Kim talked to the owner of Pie ’n Burger, where the prime ground beef patty has been on the menu for decades. The hamburger steak plate comes with a salad, hash browns and a toasted bun. Eric then came up with his own version that delivers a kind of nostalgic comfort.

10. And finally, when you go to the loo, a bat might go boo.

In Tanzania, the spaces under certain pit latrines have become cozy havens for roosting bats. A new study found that pit toilets have everything a bat could want: moist air, warm and temperature-controlled conditions, and protection from predators that cannot crawl through the drop hole.

Leejiah Dorward, a postdoctoral researcher at Bangor University in Wales, began to survey the pit toilets in 2017, using a precarious photography method. He later taped a small mirror and flashlight to angled aluminum rods, allowing him to count all the bats, which clung to the wooden bars that held up the concrete slab covering the hole. His suspicions were confirmed — the older the latrine, the more bats to be found.

Have a cozy weekend.


David Poller compiled photos for this briefing.


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