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Good evening. Here’s the latest.
1. The bulk of the Affordable Care Act seems likely to survive, at least for now.
At a Supreme Court hearing, at least five justices signaled support for the A.C.A. and suggested that striking down the so-called individual mandate, the requirement to obtain insurance, would not doom the balance of the law.
“It does seem fairly clear that the proper remedy would be to sever the mandate provision and leave the rest of the law in place,” Justice Kavanaugh said.
It was still not clear whether the court would strike down the individual mandate, which was rendered toothless in 2017 after Congress eliminated the penalty for failing to get insurance. Tens of millions of Americans gained insurance coverage under the 2010 law, popularly known as Obamacare.
2. A Trump appointee is standing between President-elect Joe Biden’s team and a smooth transition.
Emily Murphy, the administrator of the General Services Administration, must formally recognize Mr. Biden as the president-elect for the transfer of power to begin. Transition officials for Mr. Biden said her inaction was preventing their teams from moving into government offices, including secure facilities where they can discuss classified information.
Mr. Biden has yet to receive a presidential daily briefing on national security issues, and his teams cannot access top-secret records to begin background checks of cabinet nominees.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo predicted that “there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.” The claim was made in a deadpan voice, followed by a chuckle and a grin, but it was not clear if he was joking.
3. The polls’ systematic understatement of President Trump’s support this election was very similar to the misfire of four years ago, and might have exceeded it. What went wrong?
Pollsters thought they had learned from the errors of 2016. It’s possible that they did, our polling expert Nate Cohn writes, but that this election had a new set of polling problems.
And Mr. Trump’s defeat has been hard on believers of QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy theory. Since Mr. Trump’s loss, Q, the pseudonymous message board user, has gone dark, — a sudden disappearance that has been jarring for followers.
4. The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalized in the U.S. is nearing record highs, with nearly 60,000 hospitalizations on Monday. The situation is particularly dire in El Paso, Texas, above.
A shortage of medical personnel, especially in Western states, is limiting hospitals’ ability to add more beds to care for the sick, and driving some facilities to take extraordinary measures. North Dakota, which has the worst per capita infection and death rates in the country, is allowing asymptomatic health care workers who have tested positive to continue to work.
In other coronavirus news:
5. A Vatican report found that Pope John Paul II was explicitly warned about sexual abuse accusations against Theodore McCarrick, now a disgraced former American cardinal. He promoted Mr. McCarrick anyway to be archbishop of Washington. Above, the two in 2001.
6. It has officially been a record season for storms: Subtropical Storm Theta became the 29th named storm of the 2020 hurricane season, surpassing the total count from 2005, when it was 28.
Theta formed after Tropical Storm Eta spent Monday battering Florida, causing heavy rains and flooding in the state’s south and the Keys. Scientists can’t say for sure whether global warming is causing more hurricanes, but they are confident that it’s changing the way storms behave, including stronger winds, more rain and slower storms.
And could listening to the deep sea help save it? A researcher wants to create an international, open-access database of underwater recordings that could establish a baseline understanding of healthy, deep-sea ecosystems.
7. Regulators in the E.U. brought antitrust charges against Amazon, saying the online retail giant broke competition laws to harm smaller merchants.
The European Commission, the executive branch of the 27-nation bloc, accused Amazon of harvesting nonpublic data from sellers who use its marketplace in order to spot popular products, then copy and sell them, often at a lower price.
The case, which has been expected for months, is the latest front in a trans-Atlantic regulatory push against Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. President-elect Joe Biden is expected to keep the scrutiny of tech front and center.
8. The popularity of “The Queen’s Gambit” has inspired a new a debate about sexism in chess.
The Netflix hit captures the struggles of women in the game, where female grandmasters are rare. But the reality, one top player says, is worse. Among the more than 1,700 regular grandmasters worldwide, only 37 are women.
“There were opponents who refused to shake hands,” said Judith Polgar, the only woman to ever be ranked in the Top 10. “There was one who hit his head on the board after he lost.”
Chess and fashion have not historically intersected, but the show’s title character, Beth Harmon, became a sudden style idol. That could bring more glamour to the sport.
9. Every November, people ask our Food contributor Samin Nosrat if her beloved buttermilk-brined roast chicken recipe works with turkey. She decided to find out.
The first thing she changed was timing: The turkey needs to brine for 48 hours to ensure the meat is tender and well seasoned. She also adjusted the salt content and decided to spatchcock the turkey, which allowed her to cut the cooking time by more than half and created more surface area for browning.
Here’s the recipe and how-to video.
Perhaps you’re a home cook who is feeling burned out on quarantine cooking ahead of Thanksgiving. You’re not alone, writes our critic Tejal Rao.
10. And finally, a record-setting ascent.
El Capitan is a 3,000-foot-high granite edifice that draws thousands of climbers to Yosemite National Park each year. Climbers typically take around four to six days to reach the top, using a variety of routes. In her fourth attempt, Emily Harrington did it in 21 hours 13 minutes and 51 seconds.
Ms. Harrington became the first woman — and fourth person — to scale El Capitan via the Golden Gate route in under 24 hours by free-climbing it (with her bare hands, using ropes and other gear only as a safety net). Along the way there was plenty of sweat and blood, but as Ms. Harrington climbed, she said she repeated a mantra: “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.”
Have an accomplished night.
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