Used masks and gloves are ending up in the oceans, so remember to dispose of your pandemic PPE properly!
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The pandemic is getting so bad again in Europe, France and Germany have both announced new four-week partial lockdowns to curb the spread. Under the French lockdown, people will need a certificate to move around, and non-essential businesses, restaurants and bars will be closed. German restaurants, bars and clubs will also be closed in order to, as Chancellor Angela Merkel said, "avoid a national health emergency" as new daily cases hit a record high. The Czech Republic is also in dire straits and has the highest new infection rate and Covid-19 death rate in the EU. Meanwhile, Mexico's reported Covid-19 death toll has surpassed 90,000, and India's case total has surged past 8 million. Only the US has had more cases, with 8.8 million.
2. Election 2020
The Supreme Court has decided that North Carolina can count votes for up to nine days after the election, as long as ballots were postmarked by Election Day. The court preserved a similar state ruling in Pennsylvania, allowing the counting of ballots received up to three days after next Tuesday, even if there is no legible postmark. Those are wins for Democrats, but they also are reminders of an uncomfortable truth: We may not have a clear presidential victor on election night. In Nebraska, another kind of uncertainty reigned this week: After President Trump's rally there, hundreds of supporters were stranded in the dark for hours because buses had trouble getting through a clogged road to the remote rally site. Meantime, Joe Biden held a virtual public health briefing yesterday and said mask wearing is "not political. It's patriotic. ... Wear one, period."
3. Breonna Taylor
The Kentucky Attorney General's Office and a lawyer for the ex-police officer charged in connection with the raid that left killed Breonna Taylor dead are arguing against releasing investigative materials from the case to the public. The Louisville Courier-Journal has asked for discovery materials to be filed as part of the court's public record. They say the public deserves to know how the case is being handled. A grand jury indicted former Officer Brett Hankison for first-degree wanton endangerment for allegedly shooting through Taylor's home in March. He has pleaded not guilty. In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam has signed police overhaul legislation that includes a ban on no-knock warrants. Taylor's case brought new scrutiny of the controversial tactic, and three states so far have banned it.
4. Big Tech
The CEOs of Google, Facebook and Twitter appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee yesterday in the latest clash between lawmakers and big tech giants. Sundar Pichai, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey were grilled about their content moderation policies as part of a discussion about the Communications Decency Act, a law that limits platforms' liability for content posted by users and allows them to freely moderate content. Republicans want to limit the scope of this law and spent the hearing accusing the platforms of liberal bias -- a claim no major research has been able to support. Meanwhile, Democrats called out the CEOs for what they see as their failure to moderate hate speech and disinformation.
5. Hurricane Zeta
Zeta hit Louisiana as a Category 2 storm yesterday, leaving millions of people on the Gulf Coast without power and causing at least two deaths. It's since weakened to a tropical storm, but because of its speed, it will likely stay strong as it travels over the Southeast today. About 38 million people are under a tropical storm warning early this morning as Zeta makes its way near metro Atlanta (where we can feel it, sitting in the basement without power) and other inland cities. Zeta is the 27th storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, one shy of tying the record for the most storms in a season.
THIS JUST IN ...
Knife attack in France
At least two people have been killed in a knife attack at a church in the southern French city of Nice. A suspect has been taken into custody, according to Nice's mayor, who said "everything points" to the incident being terrorism-related. Follow live updates here.
LA Dodgers' Justin Turner pulled mid-game during World Series after testing positive for Covid-19, but then returned to the field to celebrate
It wouldn't be a true 2020 event without some chaotic, pandemic-related controversy.
Even vampire bats know to socially distance when they get sick, study says
Panera is adding pizza to its menu
Juno mission observes 'sprites' dancing in Jupiter's atmosphere
Fun fact of the day: "Sprites" and "elves" are types of quick, bright flashes of light. They happen on Earth, too.
Kim Kardashian West humbly threw a party on a private island, and the internet is having a field day
"The proof is in the poop."
Rosa Inchausti, a city official in Tempe, Arizona, which is testing its sewage for evidence of coronavirus. The virus can be found in human waste even before infected people show symptoms, so this kind of testing, being done by cities and universities across the country, can be a leading indicator of future infection rates in an area.
The history of Halloween's most polarizing candy
Love it or hate it, candy corn is a pretty fascinating little confection. (Click here to view.)