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5 things to know for September 18: coronavirus, election 2020, USPS, Taiwan

Attorney General William Barr compared a coronavirus lockdown to slavery during remarks to a conservative college. CNN's Jessica Schneider reports.

Posted: Sep 18, 2020 4:11 PM
Updated: Sep 18, 2020 4:11 PM

The West Coast wildfires are still so severe, Yosemite National Park has had to close due to hazardous air quality. Firefighters are hoping better weather for some areas will help them gain ground this weekend.

Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Coronavirus 

Global coronavirus cases have now topped 30 million, and the US, Brazil and India have had more than half of the world's infections put together. However, the World Health Organization is also concerned about Europe. The WHO has warned of an alarming surge of cases there, in some instances exceeding infection numbers from the pandemic's first peak in March. Officials say it's a sign of what's to come as colder weather arrives and people tire of safety measures. European governments are imposing strict local measures and weighing up further lockdowns in a bid to halt this growing second wave. In the US, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has delayed in-person public school openings for most students as schools across the country try to balance reopening procedures and coronavirus safety.

2. Election 2020

FBI Director Christopher Wray told the House Homeland Security Committee that Russia is trying to actively influence the US elections, chiefly through attempts to "denigrate" Democratic candidate Joe Biden. According to Wray, Russia is using social media, proxies, state media and online journals to sow "divisiveness and discord" and attack Biden's campaign. Biden held a town hall last night, where he cast the United States as unsafe under President Trump and claimed he could unite the country as "America's president" rather than a partisan one. Meanwhile, President Trump criticized what he called "the liberal indoctrination of America's youth" during a Constitution Day speech, and said he wants to create a "national commission to promote patriotic education."

3. USPS

A federal judge has blocked the US Postal Service and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy from changing a wide swath of USPS policies or protocols ahead of November's presidential election. Judge Stanley Bastian specifically said the changes would amount to "voter disenfranchisement." The decision mandates that all election mail, regardless of postage, must be treated as first-class mail -- a courtesy it has regularly extended for mail-in ballots and similar items. Additionally, the USPS must undo all of the changes it's made in the last few months, including restrictions on late and extra mail trips.

4. Spending bill 

Congress is still negotiating a spending bill to keep the government open after the end of the month, but talks are at least going in the right direction. House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer says Democrats will likely introduce a stop-gap bill today, with a probable vote Tuesday. One of the key disagreements between the two sides is how long the spending bill should last. Democrats want a continuing resolution to go to February, when there is a chance Democrats will have won the White House or the Senate. Republicans are looking for a shorter-term continuing resolution into mid-December. Meanwhile, our nation's top legislators are also still debating over how to get a much-anticipated new stimulus deal done.

5. Taiwan

The US is strengthening ties with Taiwan, much to the chagrin of mainland China which sees the island nation as part of its territory. The Trump administration is expected to approve another major weapons sale to Taiwan valued at $600 million. The sale will reportedly include shipments of MQ-9B Reaper drones and anti-ship missiles. Washington has long provided arms to the island, but those sales have increased under the Trump administration. A high-profile United States official is also in Taiwan for the weekend. The presence of Keith Krach, the Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, marks the second major US visit in two months.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

A new reality show promises to blast the winner into space for 10 days 

A dire punishment or a sweet release from one's earthly cares? You decide.

A historian watches Disney's new 'Mulan.' Here are her thoughts

Spoiler alert: She didn't like it.

An Alaska dentist who extracted a patient's tooth on a hoverboard sentenced to 12 years in jail

This is it, today's Mad Lib headline.

Spider-like venom found in Australian stinging trees -- and the pain can last for weeks

Really?! Even the trees in Australia are scary.

Hundreds pose nude wearing only masks for London art installation

If you click on this story, please know the first thing to greet you will be a bunch of bare bums. Which is perfectly fine! But just FYI.

HAPPENING LATER

Rosh Hashanah starts tonight 

And, needless to say, a pandemic is a strange time to be celebrating the Jewish New Year.

TODAY'S NUMBER

$845 billion

That's how much America's billionaires are worth right now. Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of the country's wealthiest have seen their fortunes skyrocket during the pandemic even as millions of normal Americans feel the financial crunch.

TODAY'S QUOTE

medicane (n): a rare hurricane-like storm that forms in the Mediterranean Sea

One such storm is expected to hit Western Greece today. Medicanes can form over cooler waters and usually move from west to east, whereas hurricanes move from east to west.

TODAY'S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

It's FriYAY!

You've made it to the weekend. Celebrate with this peacock spider dancing to YMCA. (Click here to view)

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 752108

Reported Deaths: 13816
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1033831790
Lake558431013
Allen41736693
St. Joseph37007565
Hamilton36617417
Elkhart29425461
Tippecanoe22938228
Vanderburgh22565400
Porter19369327
Johnson18486389
Hendricks17696317
Clark13233195
Madison13176344
Vigo12631253
LaPorte12429221
Monroe12226176
Delaware10970198
Howard10349224
Kosciusko9643121
Hancock8578147
Bartholomew8174157
Warrick7864156
Floyd7815180
Grant7248179
Wayne7164201
Boone6979103
Morgan6768141
Dubois6224118
Marshall6214116
Cass6024110
Henry5903110
Dearborn589878
Noble581688
Jackson509476
Shelby502396
Lawrence4753122
Gibson445595
Clinton443555
Harrison441775
DeKalb440385
Montgomery439890
Whitley406744
Huntington403381
Steuben400859
Miami395769
Jasper389155
Knox377691
Putnam373461
Wabash362383
Ripley347370
Adams345555
Jefferson336186
White332753
Daviess3035100
Wells295481
Decatur289892
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey274335
LaGrange273272
Scott270356
Clay267148
Washington246336
Randolph245183
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228159
Fountain222048
Sullivan214843
Owen212358
Fulton204043
Jay201032
Carroll193820
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion175344
Franklin170435
Tipton166646
Parke149616
Pike138334
Blackford136232
Pulaski120847
Newton114936
Brown104443
Benton102614
Crawford102516
Martin91815
Warren84115
Switzerland8158
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0424

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1109697

Reported Deaths: 20213
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1289521469
Cuyahoga1158802216
Hamilton814201251
Montgomery525861049
Summit484551006
Lucas43384824
Butler39098606
Stark33355930
Lorain25689506
Warren24612305
Mahoning22388602
Lake21219389
Clermont20138253
Delaware18892136
Licking16671225
Fairfield16589204
Trumbull16560483
Medina15618273
Greene15292248
Clark14244306
Wood13296200
Portage13254216
Allen11919239
Richland11611211
Miami10857225
Wayne9153225
Columbiana9039230
Muskingum8909135
Pickaway8664122
Tuscarawas8654251
Marion8649139
Erie8058165
Ashtabula7171179
Hancock6999133
Ross6948163
Geauga6850151
Scioto6540106
Belmont6159174
Union585049
Lawrence5741102
Jefferson5683159
Huron5554122
Sandusky5444126
Darke5420129
Seneca5350128
Washington5321109
Athens524460
Auglaize502487
Mercer487785
Shelby477095
Knox4573112
Madison444566
Ashland435997
Putnam4336104
Defiance432399
Fulton432274
Crawford4046110
Brown402761
Logan387678
Preble3859105
Clinton379266
Ottawa373581
Highland360266
Williams348578
Champaign344959
Guernsey325254
Jackson318454
Perry297350
Morrow291940
Fayette285750
Hardin275765
Henry273867
Holmes2703101
Coshocton269360
Van Wert247264
Adams243156
Pike242835
Gallia240850
Wyandot234756
Hocking220663
Carroll197548
Paulding176642
Meigs148540
Monroe136345
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan110124
Vinton85717
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 75°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
72° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 72°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 75°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 75°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
78° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 80°
Daily rounds of showers and thunderstorms will increase the flood threat across northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio.
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