More than 87 million Americans have already cast their ballots in the presidential election, which signals two things: 1. The pandemic-juiced shift to early voting and vote-by-mail has obliterated the notion of a single Election Day; 2. Turnout is going to be way up. Beyond that, it’s hard to read the tea leaves on whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump will triumph. The eye-popping Texas turnout is probably a good sign for Biden, but in swing states Florida and North Carolina, both parties can spin the turnout as favorable given party registration data.
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OZY’s exclusive forecast — a predictive model in partnership with data firm 0ptimus — now gives Biden an 89 percent chance of electoral college victory, as he’s holding a far stronger position than Hillary Clinton did four years ago. The fact that the candidates are spending their critical final hours in formerly red states like Iowa and Georgia tells you that Trump’s in a hole. But a chorus of GOP-leaning pollsters believes mainstream polls are once again missing so-called “shy” Trump voters, and in any case it’s unlikely this election will be called on Tuesday night given the surge of hand-counted mail ballots, with several key states not allowed to tally votes until Election Day. As Trump stirs the pot by saying a winner must be declared on election night, Republicans are prepping challenges to individual votes across the country on a variety of grounds. It all guarantees the courts will be busy in the days and weeks ahead, and the votes that matter most could reside on the U.S. Supreme Court, featuring new conservative member Amy Coney Barrett.
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A severe earthquake just off Turkey’s western coast destroyed buildings and killed at least 27 people Friday while injuring 800 others. The U.S. Geological Survey registered the magnitude at 7.0, but Turkish monitors pegged it at 6.6 — still severe enough to set off a mini-tsunami that caused flooding in the nearest major city, Izmir, where 20 buildings reportedly collapsed, and the nearby Greek island of Samos, where two teenagers were killed by a falling wall. Striking some 13 miles underground, the temblor was strong enough to be felt as far away as Athens and Istanbul.
2. Suspected Killer in French Church Arrived via Italy
Was lax immigration policy to blame? Far-right politicians in Italy think so, and they’re blaming their country’s government for allowing Brahim Aouissaoui into Europe. The 21-year-old Tunisian, hospitalized in critical condition after being shot by police, is accused of murdering three people Thursday in a church in Nice with a knife while carrying a copy of the Quran and shouting, “God is greatest!” French President Emmanuel Macron’s response to the attack and to last week’s beheading of a teacher who had displayed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, that Islam needed “reform,” sparked protests Friday throughout the Muslim world.
After markets lost more ground on Friday, U.S. investors closed an October they’d like to forget, with the Dow dropping more than it has since March’s pandemic-induced cascade. “Markets are concerned that we are replaying February and March,” one analyst told the Wall Street Journal. That’s because some of the same factors, such as another ferocious wave of pandemic infections, are overwhelming both the U.S. and Europe, where some countries are imposing economy-hobbling lockdowns in an attempt to slow the virus.
After hitting a pandemic record for daily coronavirus infections Thursday, the U.S. set a new record Friday with more than 99,000 cases reported. An Illinois judge has approved the extradition of Kyle Rittenhouse to Wisconsin, where the Illinois teenager will face prosecution in the killing of two protesters during Black Lives Matter protests in Kenosha. And voters in the former Soviet republic of Georgia are casting ballots in parliamentary elections today that could bring an ex-president out of exile.
She's changing the male gaze in Hollywood. Legendary filmmaker Ava DuVernay is no stranger to making statements with her work, but in 2020 she's been especially busy. She tells Carlos about how she's flipping the script with new projects like ARRAY, her production company that amplifies the stories of women and people of color, and LEAP, her new initiative to hold law enforcement accountable through art. Tune in to find out why she's "anxious but hopeful" and hear the surprising controversy behind her biggest regret.
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In California, you can only turn so far left. At least that’s what Gov. Gavin Newsom seems to be finding out as two of the Democrat’s key allies, tech and labor, vie for his blessing. They’re at each other’s throats over Proposition 22, which would exempt ride-hailing apps (i.e., Uber and Lyft) from a new state law forcing gig companies to treat contractors like employees entitled to benefits. In the state’s most expensive initiative campaign at $220 million, even presidential nominee Joe Biden and his Californian running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, are backing labor, while Newsom seems content to leave the decision to voters on Tuesday.
The experts scoffed. Developing a coronavirus vaccine within a year wasn’t possible, they said. And yet in Mainz, Germany, biotechnology company BioNTech appears tantalizingly close to launching BNT162b2. Other efforts elsewhere are defying the normal decadelong development timeline. Even with stellar results, though, we won’t know how long the vaccine will last, and even then it’s likely to simply regulate symptoms, rather than block the virus’ spread. But working with pharma giant Pfizer, BioNTech has gene sequencers and other equipment working overtime to make millions of vaccine doses, which, if BNT162b2 proves ineffective, will end up as very expensive biowaste.
“Like what you see?” This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown teased fans on Twitter with a photo of his toned torso, promising “more where this came from,” but linking to vote.org. Brown is among the many entertainers who are exploiting their sex appeal to stimulate voting in Tuesday’s election. Supermodel Naomi Campbell stripped down to join other naked celebs such as comedian Sarah Silverman and actor Mark Ruffalo on YouTube encouraging voting. They also discussed polling pitfalls, like Pennsylvania’s dreaded “naked” mail-in ballot, which is missing its inner privacy envelope. Others confessed to being virgin voters — including 49-year-old Snoop Dog — and encouraged fans to follow their lead.
He helped bring titles to England’s Arsenal and his home country, Germany. Now Mesut Özil is a nobody, having just been dropped from the Premier League club’s roster. Some say it’s because he’s no longer in his prime. But the Turkish-origin German midfielder insists it started a year ago, when he tweeted against the treatment of Muslim Uighurs by China, which has enormous financial sway over the league. Now Özil not only can’t play for his team but other clubs appear uninterested in signing him, which is starting to make him look like European soccer’s version of Colin Kaepernick.