TO KNOW

Nobel Peace Prize

Capping a week of selections, the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded this morning to a pair of journalists, Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia, with the committee citing their efforts in fighting for freedom of expression. Ressa founded the website Rappler in 2012, reporting government-led violence in the Philippines; Muratov founded Novaya Gazeta, viewed as Russia’s most independent newspaper.

Yesterday, Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Known for work illuminating the effects of colonialism in Africa and the challenges facing refugees, the prize is Gurnah’s first major award, though he had been short-listed for a number of other awards in recent years.

Earlier in the week, the Academy recognized work deciphering how cells sense touch and temperature (Nobel Prize in Medicine), efforts that helped accurately model climate change (Physics), and a chemical process to efficiently build molecules for drug development (Chemistry).

The Nobel Prize in Economics will be announced Monday.

Child COVID-19 Vaccine

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer formally requested emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11. In clinical trials, the young patients showed a robust immune system response at one-third of the dose administered to adults.

The trials involved a relatively small 2,268 participants who received doses, and measured antibody levels as opposed to the efficacy of preventing infection. Not all states report statistics for the specific age group, though roughly 5.9 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in those 18 and under. Sources estimate about 125 deaths have come from the 5 to 11 age bracket.

The Food and Drug Administration has tentatively scheduled a meeting Oct. 26 to review the request. Approval may come sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, the US continues its slow recovery from the Delta variant. The seven-day rolling average of newly reported cases is just above 100,000 per day, a drop of roughly 40% since an early September peak (see data); deaths in the country are around 1,700 per day.

Debt Default Dodged

The Senate cleared a key procedural hurdle yesterday to advance a short-term increase in the debt ceiling. The legislation allows the US to borrow up to $480B more to cover its spending through Dec. 3. Treasury officials had previously said its ability to cover obligations would expire around Oct. 18.

The deal came after Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered a deal that would allow the US to avoid default, while reaffirming his stance that Democrats must ultimately pass a longer-term increase without Republican support. The motion was approved by vote of 61–38; see who voted which way here. A final vote to raise the bill followed, which passed along party lines.

The current national debt stands near $29T; see a breakdown here.

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IN THE KNOW

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

Brought to you by The Ascent

> Eighteen former NBA players arrested yesterday in $4M healthcare fraud scheme involving alleged falsified medical expense claims (More)

> “WandaVision,” a breakout streaming series in 2021, to get spinoff show for Disney+ (More) | Celebrity chef Bobby Flay to depart the Food Network after 27 years with the network (More)

> Major League Baseball’s American League Division Series kicked off last night; see latest MLB playoff scores, schedule, and bracket (More) | US Men’s National Team tops Jamaica 2–0 in World Cup qualifying match (More)

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Science & Technology

> Google, YouTube to prohibit ads and monetization by channels creating climate denial content; platforms said advertisers seek to avoid being placed next to such channels (More)

> New antiviral drug shown to be highly effective against all variants of the dengue virus, which affects at least 96 million people per year (More) | Scientists find compound that kills the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease without harming animals (More)

> Chinese moon mission returns samples showing volcanic activity 2 billion years ago, at least 1 billion years earlier than previously believed (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets up (S&P 500 +0.8%, Dow +1.0%, Nasdaq +1.0%) on news US lawmakers reached a short-term debt limit extension (More)

> Weekly US jobless claims fall to 326,000, dropping for the first time in four weeks; figure still above pre-pandemic average of approximately 220,000 (More)

> Elon Musk announces Tesla is moving company headquarters from Palo Alto, California, to Austin, Texas (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> Tokyo hit by 5.9 magnitude earthquake, the strongest since 2011 quake that triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster; no deaths reported (More)

> Investigators board Rotterdam Express container ship, probing whether the ship’s anchor ruptured an underwater oil pipeline that released up to 132,000 gallons off the Southern California coast (More)

> Criminal trial of a 100-year-old former Nazi SS guard begins; identified as Josef Schuetz, the defendant faces more than 3,500 counts of accessory to murder (More)

IN-DEPTH

What are the Pandora Papers?

BBC | Staff. Wondering why everyone is talking about the Pandora Papers? Start with this simple overview. (Read)

Ode to an Orca

Smithsonian | Pete McBride. A photographer plunges into icy Norwegian waters for an extraordinary encounter. (Read)

No Way Out

Politico | Andrew Lawler. How a decision to remove a few inches of rock from an underground Jerusalem tunnel precipitated an international crisis. (Read)

Bad Women: The Ripper Retold

Pushkin | Hallie Rubenhold. (Podcast) New evidence suggests a recasting of the narrative myth around London’s infamous murderer. (Listen)

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ETCETERA

Americans’ trust in media plummets.

Ranking the world’s coolest neighborhoods.

Yak your way to the world’s most remote bars.

Horn toot: 1440 was named a top startup for the 2021 MassChallenge accelerator. Thanks to our readers for helping us get there! (Tune in Oct. 28 for the finals)

Illinois’ first all-female honor flight takes off.

Why so many of us are casual spider killers.

New York Public Library drops late fees.

Study says dogs empathize with their owners.

When you really need to win an internet argument.

Ughh millennials: Your generation’s mobsters are too soft.

Historybook: RIP American politician John Hancock (1793); HBD actress Sigourney Weaver (1949); “Cats” debuts on Broadway (1982); HBD Bruno Mars (1985); Office of Homeland Security is created in wake of 9/11 attacks (2001).

“People like to put you into a box. I’m afraid I don’t sit in a box.”

  • Andrew Lloyd Webber, musical composer of “Cats

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