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The shutdown standoff is down to the wire. Congress is racing to reach an agreement on a temporary funding bill that would keep the U.S. government ticking along, but an impasse is looking increasingly likely. Even if they reach a deal before the deadline, it's going to be a stopgap measure—which means you can expect a rerun of this beltway drama very soon. How did we get here?Katie Robertson

What actually shuts down? Once just an unlikely specter, a shutdown is now a real possibility, with temporary government funding set to run out at midnight. If no deal is reached to extend funding, a carefully prescribed, but still disruptive halt to Washington’s work will be triggered. The government’s effort to battle an especially virulent flu season could be forced to pause, but many national parks and monuments would stay open.  

Gun theft is sweeping America. Robberies and burglaries targeting firearms sellers are skyrocketing, and law enforcement doesn’t know why. Southern states are the most impacted, with Texas gun licensees losing the largest amount of firearms in burglaries last year, followed by Alabama.

Amazon hikes monthly Prime fees by 18 percent. The tech giant is looking to squeeze more money out of monthly subscribers to its free two-day shipping service, which could persuade many of them to sign up for annual subscriptions. They will now have to pay $12.99 a month, an increase that makes the $99 annual membership seem like a bargain.

Your emotional support duck is not welcome in Seat 15C. Delta said Friday it will more thoroughly vet passengers’ efforts to fly with all manner of unusual animals, including comfort turkeys and support snakes, which often board U.S. airlines under the guise of psychological or medical support. Delta flies about 700 service animals per day—a 150 percent increase since 2015.

Drivers may have to pay to enter Manhattan traffic. Commuters driving into New York City’s most congested areas would be slapped with an $11.52 daily fee under a proposal from a panel created by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Revenue would go to transit improvement, including continued repairs of the decaying subway system.

Jared Kushner’s Time Square property stung by tenant troubles. There’s trouble for the son-in-law of President Donald Trump. The Guy Fieri restaurant has closed, construction hasn’t begun on celebrity chef Todd English’s food hall, and the operator of a miniature Manhattan tourist attraction missed rental payments. These tenants accounted for close to half of a rent estimate that underpinned a market-defying appraisal boost and helped justify $370 million in loans to Kushner Cos. Problems with these spaces could make the economics challenging. Meanwhile, prosecutors seem interested in how it all went down.

Would you pay $50 for coffee that was shot nearly into space? At Round K café on New York’s Lower East Side, a cup of pour-over Astronaut coffee takes a few minutes to steep and arrives in front of you in a lovely, though not exceptional, china cup. What makes it so pricey is what owner Ockhyeon Byeon does with the beans. He launches them into space. Really.

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To contact the author of this story: Katie Robertson in New York at

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