1/ Biden pardoned anyone convicted of marijuana possession under federal law and urged governors to do the same. Biden also said his administration would review whether marijuana should continue to be listed as a Schedule 1 drug like heroin and LSD, saying that “makes no sense.” The pardons will clear about 6,500 people who were convicted on federal charges of simple possession from 1992 to 2021, as well as thousands more who were convicted under a Washington, D.C. code. (CNBC / New York Times / CNN / NBC News / Washington Post)
2/ A federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of large parts of New York’s gun law. In a 53-page order, Judge Glenn Suddaby ruled that multiple provisions in the state’s new law are unconstitutional, including the restrictions on the ability to carry a gun in “sensitive places,” such as Times Square, the subway, libraries, public playgrounds, and zoos. State Attorney General Letitia James said her office would appeal the decision, adding that “common-sense gun control regulations help save lives.” (Associated Press / New York Times / CNN / NBC News / Politico)
3/ Biden said the U.S. is eyeing “alternatives” to oil from OPEC Plus countries as gasoline prices begin the climb again. After a roughly 100-day decline, gas prices in the U.S. rose nearly 3 cents a gallon to $3.83 a gallon – the biggest one-day hike in nearly four months. OPEC Plus announced yesterday that it would reduce its production by two million barrels a day to raise oil prices. The Biden administration, meanwhile, has reportedly discussed easing sanctions on Venezuela to allow Chevron to resume pumping oil there. The National Security Council, however, said there are no plans to change its sanctions policy toward Venezuela unless President Nicolas Maduro’s government “restores democracy” in the country. Venezuela has been under economic and oil sanctions since 2019, when the U.S. and dozens of its allies declared that opposition leader Juan Guaidó was Venezuela’s legitimate president. (New York Times / CNN / Wall Street Journal)
4/ The Federal Reserve said inflation has remained “stubbornly persistent” and that its benchmark interest rate will probably be at 4.5% to 4.75% by next spring or “until we are confident that inflation is firmly on the path toward our 2% goal.” The Fed raised its benchmark rate by three-quarters of a percentage point in September for a third time in a row, bringing it to 3% to 3.25%. The International Monetary Fund, meanwhile, warned that the “risks of recession are rising” globally and that “things are more likely to get worse before it gets better.” Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF, said “multiple shocks, among them a senseless war, changed the economic picture completely,” calling the current economic environment a “period of historic fragility.” (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / New York Times / Associated Press)
5/ Initial unemployment claims increased by 29,000 to 219,000 last week – inline with the 2019 prepandemic average of 218,000. The Labor Department will release its latest employment report Friday, and economists estimate that payrolls increased by about 275,000 in September. The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 3.7%. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNN / CNBC)
6/ Covid-19 boosters could prevent about 90,000 U.S. deaths this winter if more people would get their booster by the end of the year. A new analysis suggests that if booster vaccinations continue at their current pace, the nation could see a peak of more than 1,000 Covid-19 deaths per day this winter. The researchers found, however, that if 80% of eligible people receive their booster, it would prevent about 90,000 deaths and more than 936,000 hospitalizations. There are currently more than 400 daily Covid-19 deaths, on average, in the U.S. Meanwhile, nearly 24 million adults in the U.S. currently have long Covid, and more than 80% have reported having significant limitations in their day-to-day activities. As many as 4 million people are estimated to be out of work because of long Covid symptoms. (CNN / Axios)
poll/ 44% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president – up for the third straight month. 49% of Americans, meanwhile, disapprove of Biden’s job performance, down from 54% last month. (Marist)
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