Presidential Debate, N.Y.C., Fall Cookbooks: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

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Credit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

1. President Trump and Joe Biden are set to square off in the first of three presidential debates. The election is in 35 days.

The debate in Cleveland begins at 9 p.m. Eastern and will run for 90 minutes. The Times will stream the event, with live analysis and a small army of fact checkers.

The two candidates head into tonight’s debate with sharply different political goals and imperatives. The debate is a chance for Mr. Trump to shake up the race, whereas Mr. Biden could benefit from low expectations. Here’s what to watch for.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The release comes in the wake of a Times report on President Trump’s years of tax avoidance. The latest installment explains how the show “The Apprentice” provided Mr. Trump with a financial lifeline when he was struggling, more than a decade ago. His genius, it turned out, wasn’t running a company. It was making himself famous — Trump-scale famous — and monetizing that fame.

For the first time since we started our poll tracker several weeks ago, Mr. Biden leads by enough to withstand a repeat of the polling error in 2016. The big shift came in overnight polls from Pennsylvania.


Credit…John Minchillo/Associated Press

3. New York City reported a daily rate of 3.25 percent in positive coronavirus tests, a significant uptick. Mayor Bill de Blasio called it “cause for real concern.”

The spike comes at a crucial moment, when the city is sending hundreds of thousands of students back to the classrooms for in-person learning and indoor dining resumes on Wednesday. The mayor has said that he will automatically shut down schools — which are all scheduled to be open by Thursday — if the test positivity rate exceeds 3 percent for seven days.

Credit…Andrew Kelly/Reuters

4. Experts say about 85 to 90 percent of Americans are still vulnerable to Covid-19, despite claims by Trump allies that the pandemic has almost run its course.

At the request of The Times, three teams of epidemiologists last week calculated the percentage of the country that is infected. The number is important because it means that “herd immunity” — the point at which a disease stops spreading because nearly everyone in a population has contracted it — is still very far-off.

On another front, documents and interviews with current and former government officials show that top White House officials spent weeks pressuring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the summer to downplay the risk of sending children back to school.


Credit…Marina Burnel for The New York Times

5. “I didn’t have to do any of it.”

That’s Wendy Dowe, above, who underwent gynecological surgery at an immigrant detention center in Georgia. The Times interviewed 16 women at the ICE-contracted center who found that their doctor often recommended invasive procedures when it wasn’t necessary.

The center drew national attention this month after a nurse filed a whistle-blower complaint claiming that detainees had told her that they had had their uteruses removed without their full understanding or consent.

We also looked at how the coronavirus pandemic highlighted deep-rooted problems in the Indian Health Service, the government program that provides health care to the 2.2 million members of the nation’s tribal communities. The agency’s weaknesses contributed to the disproportionally high infection and death rates among Native Americans.


Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

6. A member of the Breonna Taylor grand jury complained that the proceedings had been misrepresented.

The unnamed juror said Attorney General Daniel Cameron failed to offer the panel the option of indicting the two officers who fatally shot the young woman, according to the juror’s lawyer, Kevin Glogower.

Officials are planning to release the deliberation tapes. Much of the grand jury proceedings may not have been recorded, so allowing jurors to speak publicly could prove to be crucial in achieving transparency in this case, Mr. Glogower said.


Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

7. Hong Kong activists’ worst fear is becoming a reality.

Twelve protesters who were caught by the Chinese Coast Guard as they fled Hong Kong in a speedboat last month have not been allowed to call their families. They are being held without charge in a Chinese detention center and have been barred from meeting lawyers appointed by their relatives.

Soon, they will face criminal charges and they are expected to do so in the mainland’s murky justice system. Hong Kong activists last year successfully fought off a proposed law that would have allowed residents to be extradited to the mainland. Since then, a new security law imposed by Beijing has tightened China’s grip on the territory.


Credit…Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports, via Reuters
Credit…Brenda Ho

9. These lizards are not fighting. They’re in love.

In a world full of bizarre reproductive behaviors, southern alligator lizards are up there. The lizards, common around Los Angeles, engage in what’s known as “mate-holding,” a part of the process in which a male grips a female’s head in his mouth for hours or even days at a time.

It’s not clear why the lizards do this. But two research projects, with the help of citizen scientists, looked into the animals’ ecology and anatomy to better understand. One observation: About 7 percent of observed couplings are actually threesomes, with two males biting one female — or, in some cases, a male biting another male who is biting a female.


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10. And finally, get cooking.

Our Food editors and reporters selected 14 of their favorite new cookbooks coming out this fall. They offer a range of recipes, from vegan kitchens in Asia to stovetops in East Africa as well as iconic European desserts. There’s also “The Flavor Equation,” for science-minded cooks who want to know the why behind the food.

If you’re looking for something sweet, “Snacking Cakes: Simple Treats for Anytime Cravings” is a “great gateway for any budding baker,” an editor writes. “In an age when there’s not much else to do other than bake and eat, I find myself reaching for it time and again.”

Have a tasty night.


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