The New York Times

Biden’s Address, Ahmaud Arbery, Whiskey: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. President Biden will make his first formal address to Congress tonight to press for urgent action in America’s recovery effort.

Marking his 100th day in office this week, the president is eager to claim credit for aggressively confronting the health and economic crises that have at times overwhelmed the U.S. He will call for vastly greater spending to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure by imposing new taxes on businesses and corporations, and urge lawmakers to embrace a sweeping new vision for public benefits.

The speech begins at 9 p.m. Eastern and we’ll have live coverage at nytimes.com.

Biden will present details of a major plan to expand child care and education, one that is intended to bring the country significantly closer to having a universal educational system for infants and toddlers. The $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, which includes free community college, would be financed partly through higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

2. Many people in India are blaming a coronavirus variant for the severity of the country’s second wave. Scientists aren’t so sure.

3. How is Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine made?

It starts with scientists removing vials of DNA containing coronavirus genes from the very cold master cell bank and ends with millions of doses being frozen and shipped. Our visual explainer takes you behind the scenes of the 60-day process at Pfizer facilities in three states.

In other virus news:


4. Three men were indicted on federal hate crime and attempted kidnapping charges in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man shot to death while jogging.

The three men were accused of chasing after Arbery, 25, in their trucks in an attempt to restrain and detain him in a South Georgia neighborhood, above, last February. The deadly encounter helped fuel nationwide demonstrations demanding racial justice last year.

Separately, a judge in North Carolina denied a request to immediately release video footage from body cameras worn by sheriff’s deputies in the shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. The judge said that Brown’s family could view the footage.

We’re also following developments out of California, where a man died after police officers pinned him to the ground for five minutes. Body camera footage was released on Tuesday.


5. Federal investigators searched the apartment and office of Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, stepping up a criminal investigation into his dealings in Ukraine.

The investigators seized Giuliani’s electronic devices, people with knowledge of the investigation said. Executing a search warrant is an extraordinary move for prosecutors to take against a lawyer, let alone a lawyer for a former president.

The federal authorities have been largely focused on whether Giuliani illegally lobbied the Trump administration in 2019 on behalf of Ukrainian officials and oligarchs, who at the same time were helping Giuliani search for dirt on Trump’s political rivals, including Joe Biden.


6. The Senate voted to reinstate Obama-era controls on methane, a climate-warming pollutant. The Trump administration had wiped away the limits.

The rule, released in 2016, had imposed the first federal limits on methane leaks from oil and gas wells, requiring companies to monitor, plug and capture leaks of methane from new drilling sites. By reinstating it, Democrats have taken the first legislative step toward President Biden’s goal of cutting greenhouse emissions by 50 percent by 2030.

In other climate news, a study found that people of color are exposed to more pollution from nearly every source, including trucks, industry and restaurants. The findings came as a surprise to the study’s researchers, who had not anticipated that the inequalities spanned so many types of pollution. They used data on more than 5,000 emission sources.

7. The Fed left interest rates at rock bottom to support the economy’s recovery.

Officials said the economy had “strengthened” but signaled that they would keep interest rates low and bond purchases going at the current pace until the rebound was further along. Above, indoor dining is back in San Diego.

Unemployment is declining, consumers are spending and the outlook is increasingly optimistic as vaccinations become widespread. Data that will be released on Thursday is expected to show a gradual improvement in the first three months of the year, which economists think will give way to rapid gains in the second quarter.


8. Michael Collins, who piloted the Apollo 11 spacecraft while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon, died at 90.

During the epic moment of exploration, Collins was the loneliest man in history. When the lunar module Eagle touched down on the moon on July 20, 1969, Collins lost contact with his crewmates and with NASA, his line of communication blocked as he passed over the moon’s far side. After 48 minutes of silence, Armstrong radioed in: “Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

“I had this beautiful little domain,” Collins told The Times in 2019. “I was the emperor, the captain of it, and it was quite commodious. I had warm coffee, even.”


9. This may be the oldest bottle of American-made whiskey in existence.

Radiocarbon dating indicates that it was distilled between 1763 and 1803, and another test determined that the whiskey was made mostly with corn as opposed to the rye-based whiskeys more common in the Mid-Atlantic States. The bottle, now under the care of a fine spirits consultant, is expected to fetch $40,000 at auction in late June.

For what to drink right now, our wine critic Eric Asimov suggests these 10 bottles from New York, the third-largest wine-producing state in the country after California and Washington. He says the state’s wine producers don’t get nearly the respect they deserve.


10. And finally, a moo-ving performance.

This weekend, a group of cellists played two concerts for some music-loving cows and humans in a village south of Copenhagen.

Part of an effort to bring cultural events to rural areas, the idea was born when the founder of Denmark’s Scandinavian Cello School, who had toured Japan as a musician, told a local farmer about how that country’s famously pampered Wagyu cows were raised to produce tender beef.

All attendees, human and bovine, appeared to enjoy the events, though the cows seemed to have stronger opinions about classical music. “Did you see how they all left at one point,” one cellist said. “They’re not really Dvorak fans.”

Have a cultured evening.


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