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Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Friday, October 29, 2021:


Facebook shall now be known as Meta. Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the rumored corporate rebrand during a presentation focusing on the company’s bet on the “metaverse,” a blending of the digital and physical worlds that he sees as the future. Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook (the platform) will keep their names and brands, but under the Meta umbrella. Executives, including Zuckerberg, have denied that the rebranding is an attempt to distance the company from its various reputational problems. CHEDDAR


President Biden landed in Rome overnight for a series of global summits with his economic agenda hanging in the balance back in Washington. Before he left, the president unveiled a new $1.8 trillion framework for his social spending bill in the hopes that it would satisfy the party’s centrist holdouts. The biggest chunk of that bill is $550 billion for climate change programs, which Dems had hoped would be signed into law by the time Biden arrives in Glasgow for COP26. POLITICO


A big test for strict vaccine mandates starts today in NYC. After a state judge refused to block a police union’s request to pause the city’s mandate, the entire municipal workforce -- the biggest in the country -- must have had at least one shot or they’ll be placed on unpaid leave starting Monday. The latest statistics from the city show a quarter of NYPD and EMS employees and a full third of FDNY and sanitation workers have not shown proof of vaccination, leading to worries that there could be a significant shortage of essential workers. NY TIMES


Former NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been charged with a misdemeanor sex crime for allegedly groping a female aide at the executive mansion in Albany last year. The criminal complaint stemmed from one of the women whose accusations of sexual harassment led to Cuomo’s resignation this summer. The former governor’s lawyer denied the charge and accused the local sheriff of carrying out a political hit job. The charge has a penalty of up to one year in jail, and Cuomo will have to appear in court for an arraignment on Nov. 17. NBC NY


The U.S. economy grew at a sluggish 2% over the summer, for the weakest rate of growth since the recovery started. Third-quarter GDP was expected to be disappointing given the resurgence of Covid combined with the supply-chain bottlenecks that zapped consumer spending. Many economists expect economic growth to pick up this quarter, but the supply-chain remains the biggest question mark ahead of the holidays. CNN


Starbucks and Costco are the latest chains to institute a new minimum wage in a bid to hire and retain workers in a historically tight labor market. Costco has raised its minimum wage to $17/hour, and Starbucks has put in a floor of $15/hour for its employees. Costco’s pay raise comes just eight months after it hiked starting wages to $16, while Starbucks’ hike will kick in next summer, when baristas will earn up to $23/hour. NPR


The head coach of the Florida Panthers has resigned in the fallout of a sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the NHL. Joel Quenneville was the coach of the Chicago Blackhawks during the team’s 2010 Stanley Cup run, when Hawks prospect Kyle Beach claims he was sexually assaulted by the team’s video coach, Brad Aldrich. Beach came forward this week, revealing himself as the “John Doe” in that case. A league investigation found that Quenneville was aware of the incident at the time even though he claimed as recently as Wednesday that he didn’t learn about it until recently. CHICAGO TRIB


Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik have reportedly split up amid an alleged dispute between Malik and Hadid’s mother, Yolanda. TMZ, citing unnamed sources, is reporting that Yolanda Hadid claimed that Malik “struck” her and that she was “seriously considering” going to the police. Malik issued a short statement vehemently denying that accusation. According to People, the singer and supermodel have decided to go their separate ways and will continue to co-parent their baby, Khai. PEOPLE


...Matt Damon, hawking cryptocurrency in a commercial for that debuted during Thursday Night Football: WATCH

 ...a Roman villa with the world’s only Caravaggio ceiling mural, up for auction at a starting price of $547 million. $360 million just gets you the painting: SEE IT

…Sen. Mitt Romney, dressed as Ted Lasso, warming up for Halloween in a bit with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema: SEE PICS


Did the pandemic actually drive a strain of the flu to extinction? That’s a distinct possibility, according to new findings from Australian researchers. Scientists studying influenza say they have been unable to detect any signs of the B/Yamagata lineage of the virus anywhere in the world since April 2020. Their published study suggests that the various measures put into place around that time -- lockdowns, border closures, social distancing, masking, etc. -- may have effectively wiped that strain of flu off the map for good. COSMOS

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