12.7.2021

NYC Vaccine Mandate, Haitian Hostages, and Pearl Harbor Anniversary Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Tuesday, Dec. 7, and we're covering a sweeping vaccine mandate in the country's largest city, an update from Haiti, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

NEED TO KNOW

 

NYC Vaccine Mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced yesterday the city would implement a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for all private-sector employees in the city. The move, framed as a preemptive defense against the new omicron variant, is the most sweeping vaccine mandate by any city or state in the country during the pandemic. Workers will be required to show proof of at least one vaccination dose by Dec. 27; negative tests won't be accepted in lieu of shots. 

 

Almost 78% of residents have received at least one dose (see data), including roughly 90% of those over 18. The rolling average of new deaths in the city of 8.4 million is under 10 per day, though cases have begun to rise again. The city's private-sector workforce is around 3.7 million. See nationwide COVID-19 data here.

 

Scientists are still working to understand the variant. Early data suggest the strain spreads quicker than the delta variant but may cause milder symptoms. Its full effects are still under investigation.

More Haitian Hostages Released

Three additional people from a group of missionaries kidnapped in Haiti in mid-October have been released, according to Christian Aid Ministries yesterday. Two other captives were released last month, while 12 people remain hostage.  

 

The missionary group—17 people including five children—was kidnapped outside of Port-au-Prince Oct. 16 by the 400 Mawozo gang, who demanded a $17M ransom for their release. Details of the negotiations, if any, have not been disclosed, and it is unclear whether the group paid the implied $1M per person ransom. 

 

The kidnapping came amid a steep decline in the country's security environment in recent years, exacerbated by the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in August. Gangs have also led a blockade of fuel terminals in recent weeks, leading to a dramatic shortage of gas.

 

The status of the remaining hostages is unclear.

Aung San Suu Kyi Sentenced

Myanmar's deposed leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was sentenced to two years in detention—reduced from four years in prison—Monday after a special court found her guilty of inciting dissent and violating COVID-19 restrictions. The incitement case involved posts to her party's Facebook page after she had been detained by the military. The COVID-19 charge involved a campaign appearance before elections last November. Suu Kyi, 76, was ousted in a Feb. 1 military coup following the elections in which Suu Kyi's party claimed more than 80% of the seats in Parliament (see our previous write-up).

 

The news comes as protests against military rule remain strong, and the verdict may intensify tensions. A military truck deliberately drove into a march in Yangon, killing at least three protestors Sunday.

 

The sentencing was the first in a series of criminal charges; another verdict is expected next week when she will face charges of possessing illegal walkie-talkies. She faces more than 100 years in jail.

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IN THE KNOW

 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> The US announces diplomatic boycott of 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics over China's human rights record; no US government officials will attend, but American athletes will still compete (More)

 

> Drake withdraws 2022 Grammy nominations for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance; no reason given yet for the withdrawal (More)

 

> Negro League legend Buck O'Neil leads group of six elected to Baseball Hall of Fame under new rules including Negro League accomplishments  (More) | 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit dies after workout (More) | Florida State tops BYU in penalty kicks to win their third NCAA women's soccer national championship (More)

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Science & Technology

> NASA announces the first new astronaut class in four years, selecting 10 candidates from a pool of more than 12,000; missions may include a lunar landing (More)

 

> Rapid on-site test developed for bovine respiratory disease, responsible for roughly half of North American disease-related cattle deaths and costing the industry more than $900M annually (More)

 

> Gene-edited mice modified to produce all-male or all-female litters (More) | Want to learn more about CRISPR? Check out 1440's curated resource page (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets up (S&P 500 +1.2%, Dow +1.9%, Nasdaq +0.9%) as investors evaluate omicron variant threat (More)

 

> Tesla is under SEC investigation as whistleblower alleges company did not properly disclose solar panel defect (More) | Electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors received subpoena from SEC regarding the company’s $4B special purpose acquisition company earlier this year (More)

 

> Shares of Chinese real estate conglomerate Evergrande drop 20% as the company nears a potential reorganization (More) | Digital media company BuzzFeed sees shares pop 35% in early trading, but end down 11% in first-day trading following SPAC merger (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> Former Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) announces bid for governor, will run against incumbent Brian Kemp (R) in primaries; Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams has also announced bid (More)

 

> Justice Department sues Texas over redistricting plan, arguing it dilutes the voting power of minority groups and violates the Voting Rights Act (More) | See state-by-state redistricting plans (More)

 

> Rep. Devin Nunes (R, CA-22) to resign from Congress at end of month, will become CEO of former President Donald Trump's media company (More) | Regulators investigating the company's bid to go public via SPAC (More)

IN-DEPTH

 

Loving Lies

Air Mail | Bill Adair. Stephen Glass, one of the most infamous fraudsters in US journalism, spent 15 years committed to strict honesty. Then he was forced to lie in service to his dying wife. (Read)

A Warrior Then, a Warrior Now

Harvard Gazette | Juan Siliezar. In 2017, Harvard football player Ben Abercrombie suffered a paralyzing spinal-cord injury in his first game on the field. On the long road to recovery, Abercrombie has now returned to the university to finish what he started. (Read)

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ETCETERA

 

On the 80th anniversary of its attack, see historic photos of Pearl Harbor.

 

The 100 best songs of 2021.

 

Generate your own AI-powered art.

 

Americans' views of capitalism and socialism are virtually unchanged.

 

Switzerland approves an assisted suicide capsule.

 

Scientists capture footage of rare giant phantom jellyfish.

 

This invasive tree species smells like rotting fish.

 

Chinese rover spots a "mystery hut" on the moon.

 

Clickbait: Australia hit with a murmuration of budgies

 

Historybook: HBD Oscar, Emmy, and Tony Award winner Ellen Burstyn (1932); Pearl Harbor naval base bombed by Japan, killing 2,403 (1941); HBD basketball legend Larry Bird (1956); Apollo 17, the final Apollo moon mission, is launched (1972); RIP sound barrier-breaking pilot Chuck Yeager (2020).

 

"If you can walk away from a landing, it's a good landing. If you use the airplane the next day, it's an outstanding landing."

- Chuck Yeager

Why 1440? The printing press was invented in the year 1440, spreading knowledge to the masses and changing the course of history. Guess what else? There are 1,440 minutes in a day and every one is precious. That’s why we scour hundreds of sources every day to provide a concise, comprehensive, and objective view of what's happening in the world. Reader feedback is a gift—shoot us a note at [email protected].

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