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1. UK TURNAROUND
The new UK finance minister's plan to scrap nearly all of last month's unfunded tax cuts was rewarded by investors with increases in the British pound's value and a strong day in the financial markets, which also rose on account of robust earnings reports from U.S. Bank of America, BNY Mellon and Charles Schwab. BoA CEO Brian Moynihan said customers are doing well: Despite inflation, they're still spending and still have more money in their accounts than before the onset of the pandemic. Still, economists are worried, with the Federal Reserve's New York branch noting that credit card debt is growing faster than it has in more than two decades and Bloomberg economists predicting a 100% probability of entering a recession in the next 12 months.
2. CIVIL RIGHTS
CITIZENSHIP DENIED: The Supreme Court refused to hear a case challenging its past decisions, still in effect, which hold it is OK to deny rights to those who live in annexed U.S. territories — people the rulings described as "uncivilized" and "alien races." The decision means it will still be legal to deny residents of U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico, the right to vote for president and the right to have a voting representative in Congress. It also means that American Samoans will continue to be denied U.S. citizenship at birth.
TRANSGENDER RIGHTS: The first challenge of a state ban on gender-affirming care for trans children opened in U.S. District Court in Arkansas. That state's ban, which was the first in the country to pass and was blocked by the judge presiding in this case, would bar doctors from treating children under 18 with medication or surgery that affirms the child's gender identity.
3. CONSUMER PROTECTION
Federal prosecutors are suing the health insurance giant Cigna for allegedly defrauding the Medicare Advantage program. Prosecutors said Cigna made tens of millions of dollars from 2012 to 2019 by making up extra diagnoses to bill Medicare. Meanwhile, federal regulators and state attorneys general are scrutinizing how companies could be using so-called training agreements to prevent workers from leaving for better jobs. The agreements, which nearly one in 10 workers are bound by, allow employers to charge employees for on-the-job training even if the training provides no new skills.
4. GETTING AROUND
SKY-HIGH TRAFFIC: The prospect of a winter surge in Covid-19 has not slowed the return of U.S. air travel. Nearly 2.5 million people went through airport security screenings Sunday, according to the Transportation Security Administration, marking the highest number of people flowing through U.S. airports since February 2020.
LYFTING PRICES: Lyft's insurance costs are going up, so it's passing the tab onto riders. The company said raising its service fee will add less than 50 cents to the average ride, but data firm YipitData said the average increase outside New York was around 60 cents — an 18% increase — and made the average Lyft ride 3% more expensive.
5. HBD, CWA!
Happy Birthday to the Clean Water Act, which became law 50 years ago today when Congress overrode President Richard Nixon's veto. The bill has allowed the EPA to limit industry from dumping pollutants directly into lakes, rivers and some wetlands, and has helped turn around famously blighted bodies like the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland. But the CWA doesn't have the authority to regulate today's main source of water pollution: indirect runoff of chemicals, such as farm fertilizers, which are washed by rain into nearby rivers and lakes. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has taken a case that could prevent the act from regulating some wetlands.
6. MUSK RELENTS
Elon Musk's SpaceX has withdrawn its request for the Pentagon to fund the company's Starlink satellite internet service to Ukraine's military, which has relied on it to communicate when fighting has destroyed the internet and phone networks. SpaceX had asked the Defense Department in September to start paying for the service, a request that became entangled with Ukrainian backlash to Musk's proposal for a peace deal, which President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and others criticized for appearing to favor Russia.
7. A HALLOWEEN MIRACLE
A feared supply-chain horror — a shortage of Halloween candy — may not come to pass, reports Cheddar News’ Alex Vuocolo. To make sure it could meet demand after a stronger-than-expected 2021 season, Mars Wrigley — the maker of Snickers, M&M'S and Skittles — turned over more production to pump out enough seasonally themed candy, according to Tim LeBel, the company's Chief Halloween Officer.
8. DELIVERY BUDS
There's a new Uber Eats category for Toronto residents unlike anything you'll see in the U.S., Cheddar News’ Chloe Aiello reports. The app has partnered with Leafly, a cannabis shopping site, to bring weed right to their door. The companies say it's the first time a third-party app has delivered cannabis, and indications are it's a route Uber — which already owns alcohol delivery app Drizly — would like to pursue further. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi hinted in 2021 that he would like the company to someday deliver cannabis in the U.S. — something that will have to wait until the country's drug policy is overhauled.
9. IN ENTERTAINMENT
BASKETBALL: The 2022-23 NBA season tips off tonight with a doubleheader including last season's champion Warriors hosting the Lakers, and the Celtics at home against the 76ers. Star players Kawhi Leonard, Zion Williamson and Jamal Murray are all returning to the court from long-term injuries, while LeBron James hopes to return the Lakers to the playoffs — while probably breaking the league's all-time scoring record — and put last year's disappointing finish behind him.
TRENDING: Here are a few of the entertainment stories we've been watching: BTS is going from serving K-pop hits to serving their country, Ye buys a social media platform that will let him make anti-Semitic comments, and the first look at Creed III shows what the Rocky Cinematic Universe looks like without Sylvester Stallone.
10. FAT PARROTS
With the conclusion of Fat Bear Week 2022, we must endure an entire year before 2023's winner is crowned. Fortunately, we may be consoled with news of another delightfully round creature: the kākāpō. The kākāpō, which lives in New Zealand and does not fly, is known affectionately as the fat parrot. So beloved is the kākāpō that it has been barred from the country's Bird of the Year contest, as it has already won twice.
The Scientific Reason You Always Have Room for Dessert
No, you don't have a second stomach, but there's a legitimate reason behind your sweet cravings. Learn what that is in the newest video in Cheddar News' Tiny Topics series.