2021-01-28 20:53:50 | Your Friday Briefing – The New York Times



Story by: Melina Delkic The New York Times World News

In a regular year, hundreds of millions of people travel by plane, train and car to be with their families for the Lunar New Year, which begins Feb. 12.

This year, the authorities imposed onerous quarantine and testing rules to dissuade roughly 300 million migrant workers from traveling home. People returning to rural areas during the holiday must spend two weeks in quarantine and pay for their own coronavirus tests. Many migrants, who work at low-paying jobs, say the restrictions make it impossible to travel.

The tightened rules have drawn criticism, with many calling the approach unfair to the workers, who have already been among the most affected by the pandemic. The holiday is normally the only time that many of them can return to their hometowns.

Incentives: With gift baskets and discounts, access to better schools and health care, the government is trying to entice migrant workers to stay in the cities and prevent the kind of spread that would require new lockdowns.

Gross domestic product rose 1 percent in the final three months of 2020, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. That was a sharp slowdown from the previous quarter, with a record 7.5 percent growth rate.

The late-year slump was driven by a slowdown in consumer spending, but other parts of the economy, like the housing market, helped pick up the slack.

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Bright side: The rebound has been significantly stronger than most forecasters expected. In May, economists estimated that the G.D.P. would not reach its pre-pandemic level until well into 2022. Now, most forecasters expect it to hit that benchmark this year.

Airlines: American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways reported steep annual losses in the billions on Thursday and none of the airlines expect a rebound to materialize soon.


Context: Mr. Pearl, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, was abducted and killed in Karachi in January 2002 while working on an investigation into militant groups’ links to Al Qaeda. He was beheaded the next month.

As the loss of smell emerged as a common symptom of Covid-19, researchers decided to survey people with the illness about their symptoms, focusing on smell. Tens of thousands of people around the world responded — writing pages and pages of detail and emotion about losing their sense of smell, describing depression, confusion and isolation.

The Times Magazine looked at how the virus’s strangest symptom has opened new doors to understanding our most neglected sense. “People are unaware smell is important until they lose it,” the author of one study said. “And then they’re terrified.”

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Thailand: Parliament voted to make abortion legal in the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy, while keeping penalties in place for women who undergo it later.

Aleksei Navalny: A Russian court ordered the opposition leader to stay in jail, days after tens of thousands of people demanding his release filled streets in cities across Russia. Appearing in court via a video link, Mr. Navalny ridiculed the proceedings as a politically driven campaign.

Do: A workout journal can bring you closer to your goals. Here’s why you should consider writing down your workouts, and how to get started.

The weekend is almost here. At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home.

The internet and stock market are aflame over GameStop, a once-struggling video game retailer whose stock is suddenly the darling of day traders who are putting the squeeze on Wall Street’s big players. The stakes are enormous: The surge in trading has driven GameStop’s value up by more $10 billion in one day. Here’s what to know.

A short squeeze is happening — it involves investors betting on which way a stock will go. The investors who bet against the stock, or “shorts,” thought that GameStop’s stock would fall. Shorting a stock is risky, and you can lose big if someone tries to push up the price by buying lots of shares, which is what has happened with GameStop.

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This is the squeeze.

The investors have to cover their shorts, and buy the stock at the higher price. This demand kicks the stock higher, and a short who acts too late could be ruined.

The standoffs usually involve sophisticated investors on Wall Street. In this case, tons of day traders using mobile apps are buying shares of GameStop or placing their own options bets, on the opposite side of the shorts. Many congregated on Reddit’s Wall Street betting chat to share tips and analysis, and began to discuss the GameStop short sellers in recent months.

Some of the amateur traders’ motivations vary; while many think it’s just a good value, or are riding the wave, some say they want to squeeze a hedge fund that was shorting GameStop.


That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Melina


Thank you
Carole Landry helped write this briefing. Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected]

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the fate of the filibuster.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Texter’s button (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Our video team announced new hires: Muyi Xiao is joining Visual Investigations, and Nailah Morgan becomes weekend live news producer.



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Source References: The New York Times World News

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