Jobs, Midterms, Asylum: Your Friday Evening Briefing

By Jean Rutter and Hiroko Masuike

  • Nov. 2, 2018

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

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CreditJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

1. The U.S. added 250,000 jobs in October.

The monthly jobs report was full of good news, even as the stock market has swerved down recently.

Unemployment stayed at 3.7 percent. That’s the lowest level since 1969. And we got another sign of accelerating wage growth: Average earnings increased, and are up 3.1 percent over the past year. Above, construction in San Francisco.

This is the best time for the American labor market in decades. So how long can it last? That depends on three unanswered questions, our economics correspondent writes.

And what does it mean for the elections?

Even as the economy has been humming, President Trump has focused on a divisive message about migrants threatening the country. In the final weekend of campaigning, some Republicans are weighing whether to align themselves with his narrative or focus on the economy.

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CreditAndrea Morales for The New York Times

2. Here are highlights from our Politics team, four days before the midterm elections:

Democrats are positioned for gains in Pennsylvania, which flipped for Mr. Trump in 2016. The question is: How big will the gains be? Above, campaigning in Little Rock, Ark.

Young voters could make a difference — but will they? They have failed to meet expectations in the past, even when they have appeared unusually enthusiastic.

No one wants to campaign with Bill Clinton anymore — he hasn’t been asked to appear publicly with any Democrat running in the midterm elections.

We assessed the president’s claims at the White House and a campaign rally in Missouri.

And The Tip Sheet checks in on the Texas Senate race between Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke.

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CreditTodd Heisler/The New York Times

3. Who can claim asylum?

Under the international order — the rules and laws established at the end of World War II — anyone who makes it to the border of a foreign country has a right to request asylum.

If the country finds you meet the definition of a refugee, it is obligated to shelter you.

President Trump has threatened this long-accepted practice, promising to stop a caravan of migrants from reaching the U.S. But he’s far from alone — many other countries flout global refugee rules, our columnists write. Above, migrants crossing Mexico.

Separately, the Nigerian Army used President Trump’s words to justify the fatal shootings of rock-throwing protesters this week. It posted a clip of Mr. Trump’s speech Thursday where he said that rocks would be considered firearms if thrown at U.S. troops at the border.

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CreditHilary Swift for The New York Times

4. Jewish leaders across the U.S. invited people of all faiths to attend the first Sabbath services following the synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh last weekend.

The Jewish Sabbath begins at sundown on Fridays. The tradition is to say a prayer while lighting two candles, attend synagogue and have dinner with family. On Saturday morning, Jews return to synagogue for services.

“We want to send a powerful message to anti-Semites that Americans are outraged, whether these Americans are Jewish or non-Jewish,” said one Jewish leader. Above, a memorial.

Clergy members said they were expecting larger crowds than usual. They’re also bolstering security.

Our reporters are attending services around the country. In Pittsburgh, the congregation of the Tree of Life, where the shooting took place, planned to meet in a small chapel in a nearby synagogue. Above, a memorial.

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CreditKarsten Moran for The New York Times

5. It’s tough to argue with affordable groceries.

Ballot measures in two states would permanently ban taxes on groceries. But there’s a twist: Neither state taxes them now.

The measures are heavily backed by Coke and Pepsi, which are trying to choke off a growing movement to tax sugary drinks. But most voters in Washington and Oregon don’t know that — they’re just seeing ads with plain-spoken farmers and penny-pinching moms.

Health advocates say soda taxes, now in effect in eight U.S. cities, can help at a time when more than one in three adults is overweight and childhood obesity is soaring.

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CreditNick Schnelle for The New York Times

6. How did Lindsey Graham become “a rock star”?

Not long ago, the South Carolina Republican was a fierce critic of President Trump. But with an eye toward re-election to the Senate in 2020, he has jumped on the Trump Train.

Our congressional reporter has a few theories about what happened.

The turning point: his scalding defense of Justice Brett Kavanaugh during Senate confirmation hearings.

“I stepped up,” he said, “and I’m getting rewarded for it.”

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CreditCaitlin O’Hara for The New York Times

7. Older runners, take heart: Decline is not inevitable.

The elite field in the New York City Marathon this Sunday includes three runners hovering near or over age 40, when athletes in other sports have settled into retirement.

Older runners of all abilities can learn a lot from their success.

The fast-twitch fibers in muscles that produce speed deteriorate before the slow-twitch fibers that distance runners count on, explained a sports medicine doctor.

Continued improvement is possible, the experts say, with training that mixes distance, speed and, most important, strength exercises.

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CreditYuyi Morales

8. We have recommendations for the lowest shelf in your bookcase.

Check out the Best Illustrated Children’s Books Awards, a collaboration between The Times and the New York Public Library. Our list includes samples of the winning artwork.

A mother and child leave Mexico in search of a new life. A little girl discovers lush greenery in her new urban landscape. A boy brings color to a lonely woman’s black-and-white world. Above, “Dreamers,” by Yuyi Morales.

The books are selected solely for artistic merit by a panel of three expert judges.

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CreditRobert J. Levin

9. Great art isn’t just for kids.

A major new Andy Warhol survey is set to open at the Whitney Museum of American Art. One theme that feels particularly relevant: Warhol’s work as a businessman — and his theory that corporate work could be art, too.

There’s a lot that even most fans don’t know about Warhol. His early work included a satirical cookbook about high-end eating called “Wild Raspberries.” (Can you guess his favorite soup?)

A writer who is working on a new biography shares five surprising truths about the Pop artist.

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CreditAndrew Testa for The New York Times

10. Finally, this is your periodic reminder that it’s not all bad news out there.

There’s a garden on the roof of a Paris department store. The singers of the Kingdom Choir, above, who performed “Stand By Me” at the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have an album, and they’re going on tour. And Little Free Libraries are popping up across the globe.

This is the Week in Good News.

Have a joyful weekend.

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