Chicago, Capitol Riot, ‘Scream’: Your Wednesday Night Briefing

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Good evening. Here is the latest Wednesday at the end of the day.

1. The Omicron Disruption hits Chicago hard.

After two days of returning to classrooms, the city’s teachers’ union voted to stop reporting for work over concerns the school system was messing up its response to the highly contagious variant of the coronavirus. The city responded by canceling the school altogether.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot insisted the city’s classrooms were safe, accused teachers of engaging in an illegal work stoppage, and refused to allow classes to switch to teaching in distance, which the union had suggested. The struggle has left parents scrambling to find child care.

2. President Emmanuel Macron has drawn strong criticism after bluntly saying that the government should make life miserable for the unvaccinated.

“I really want to piss them off,” Macron said, referring to the unvaccinated in an interview with a panel of readers of Le Parisien, a newspaper. “And so we’re going to keep doing it, until the end.”

Macron appeared to be trying to capitalize on frustration in France with the unvaccinated as skyrocketing infection rates put him under pressure ahead of a presidential election in three months, our correspondent wrote.

In other virus news:

4. A fire in a row house in Philadelphia killed at least 13 people, including seven children.

The fire in the city’s Fairmount neighborhood was one of the deadliest residential fires in recent Canadian history. The building was managed by the Philadelphia Housing Authority, funded by the federal government. “This is without a doubt one of the most tragic days in our city’s history, the loss of so many people in such a tragic way,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. At least four of the building’s smoke detectors did not go off, a fire official said. There were 26 people in the duplex at the time of the fire, including eight people on the first floor.

5. Toddlers discover guns under sofa cushions. Teens get untraceable ghost guns made from kits. College students carry handguns for protection.

Number of children 14 and under shot dead increased by around 50% during coronavirus pandemic, CDC says

Researchers attribute the increase in part to a wave of arms purchases during a pandemic. The peak has sounded the alarm to law enforcement and families, but police departments and cities across the country are struggling to respond.

6. Thousands of people across Kazakhstan are taking to the streets because of soaring fuel prices.

The protests, which began on Sunday, are the biggest wave of protests to sweep the oil-rich country in decades. Protesters stormed government buildings in Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, and torched the offices of the ruling Nur Otan party.

As the protests continued, the president vowed “to act with maximum tenacity.” Local media reported that police opened fire on protesters in the oil town of Atyrau, killing at least one person. Authorities have shut down the Internet and blocked social networks and chat applications.

Kazakhstan is at the heart of what Russian President Vladimir Putin sees as the Kremlin’s sphere of influence. The pro-Kremlin media described the events as a conspiracy against Russia. Here’s what’s behind Kazakhstan’s biggest crisis in decades.

7. Two types of dangerous air pollution more often overlap as wildfires and extreme heat hit the western United States, researchers said.

From 2000 to 2020, millions of people were exposed to more days of combined ozone smoke each year, and researchers suggest the increase is linked to climate change. High levels of either pollutant can be damaging, “but when they both happen at the same time then you get the worst of both worlds,” said a climatologist.

Separately, we visited a nature reserve in Oregon that is basically a big forest fire laboratory. Researchers say that forest management methods such as controlled burns can be an important factor in reducing the intensity of forest fires.

8. They screamed, we screamed and now they’re in “Scream” again.

After more than a decade, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette are returning to try another shot in the meta-horror franchise. But they didn’t jump in right away: they couldn’t imagine it without the original director, Wes Craven, who passed away in 2015. Eventually they all agreed, and now they’re back (along with another Ghostface) for the restart -meet-continued.

We also spoke to Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina and Jamie Foxx – three actors very good to be bad – about reprising their villainous roles in “Spider-Man: No Way Home”.

9. Los Angeles is the glorious sushi capital of the United States, writes our California food critic.

Few places outside of Japan can match the variety, skill, and creativity served at the city’s countless sushi counters. The sushi chefs there “continually divert our attention from the intensity of one pleasure, to another and another, until the meal is suddenly and sadly over – a super cup of delicacies, a blur,” writes Tejal Rao.

And for a taste of the disappearance of New York, Dorie Greenspan makes this poppy seed cake, a reminder of her childhood and her mostly missing businesses.

10. And finally, will you marry me?

No force of nature, not even a pandemic, could stop many couples from saying “yes”. Marriage stories from all over the world filled the Times wedding pages last year, but before those weddings came the proposals. Our journalist Weddings has collected his favorites.

In South Africa, a man asked a lion cub to give his ring to his fiancee. In a Chicago proposal, the ring was the last element of an obstacle course. Another happened during a flight over the Atlantic. John Shults Jr. proposed steadily for over a year to Joy Morrow-Nulton, both 95, until she finally said yes. “I wasn’t going to give up until she said yes because she was worth it,” Shults said.

Have a romantic evening.

Sean Culligan has compiled photos for this briefing.

Your evening briefing is posted at 6 p.m. EST.

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