The U.S. hit a record high for new coronavirus cases on Thursday, with more than 89,000 positives, and that might tell you all you need to know about the presidential race. The surging third wave is coming at the worst possible time for President Donald Trump, and despite some tightening in Florida and elsewhere, OZY’s exclusive forecast now gives Trump a mere 11 percent chance of an electoral college victory. There are signs of a resurgent American economy — at least before this virus wave — with new data released Thursday showing record third-quarter growth nearly recouping this spring’s sharp losses. But Trump, despite his energetic campaigning, hasn’t made that his focus: At a rally Thursday in Tampa he called the economic stats “boring” before veering away from the teleprompter once again.
For years, Democrats have hyped up their ability to make Texas a swing state thanks to a growing minority population. That day has officially arrived with Kamala Harris’ visit today to Fort Worth, McAllen and Houston. Our forecast still gives Trump a 60 percent chance of victory in the state, but Texas Democrats are screaming from the rooftops that if the Biden campaign would commit more money and energy, it could flip a state whose 38 electoral college votes would reshape presidential politics. Texas “is Democrats’ to lose, including Biden,” former Rep. Beto O’Rourke said recently on The Carlos Watson Show. What we do know is a ton of Texans — 8.5 million so far — are voting: Early vote numbers are already at 95 percent of the state’s total turnout in 2016.
How about you? Have you gone to great lengths to cast your ballot this year? Send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org and we may feature you on OZY.
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Just weeks after a Muslim extremist beheaded a French teacher for teaching a lesson about free speech — and President Emmanuel Macron vowed to fight “Islamic separatism” in response — a 21-year-old Tunisian man killed three people yesterday at a church in Nice. It’s a sign of rising religious tensions in a country already strained by a huge uptick in COVID-19 cases and a monthlong lockdown that begins today. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has led calls for the Arab world to boycott French products, while former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad tweeted that Muslims have a right to “kill millions of French people” to retaliate for past abuses.
2. Funding for US Vaccine Distribution Under Scrutiny
State officials say they’ve been ordered to be ready to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine, which is still not ready, by Nov. 15. But there’s little funding to do so, and strapped state governments are frustrated by the lack of federal interest in distribution infrastructure as the U.S. passes the milestone of 9 million cases. Meanwhile, U.S. company Moderna has banked $1.1 billion in deposits from various world governments for its still-in-development vaccine — and now it says it’s preparing for a global launch and for the initial analysis of phase three trials next month.
Yesterday’s Big Tech earnings reports saw record revenue at Facebook and Amazon and a huge quarterly gain for Google as the world’s biggest companies continue to profit during the pandemic. Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft together saw quarterly year-on-year revenue jump an average of 18 percent. Still, some companies saw setbacks: The pandemic-necessitated delay of Apple’s 5G iPhone launch saw the biggest plunge in sales for the company in two years, wiping out $100 billion from its stock market value in after-hours trading.
The Trump administration has stripped endangered gray wolves of protections, dismaying conservation groups but pleasing hunters. New Zealand voters have legalized euthanasia. And Britain’s Labour Party has suspended its former leader, Jeremy Corbyn, after he dismissed a report on anti-Semitism in the party as “overstated.”
Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the OZY News Quiz!
And Today on The Carlos Watson Show: Have you made a plan to vote? Black Panther star Danai Gurira and playwright and performer Heidi Schreck join Carlos to discuss Act Out: Vote 2020, a virtual event of dance, music and performance to mobilize the theater community and get out the vote. How do we encourage ownership and confidence in our electoral system? See what they say on today's episode.
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Citing a fear of civil unrest — something many have worried will result in the wake of Election Day — the retail giant has moved both guns and ammunition off display shelves in all 2,350 U.S. Walmarts that currently sell firearms. Consumers will still be able to buy guns, but will have to ask for them. U.S. gun sales have skyrocketed to record highs in 2020, and the National Shooting Sport Foundation found that 5 million people, the majority of them Black men and women, bought a gun for the first time this year.
2. New York Man Falls Through Sidewalk Into Nightmare
He was in the rat place at the rat time. Leonard Shoulders, 33, was walking on Third Avenue in the Bronx when the sidewalk gave way, opening a sinkhole and plunging him 10 feet down into a nest of rats. His arm and leg broken, Shoulders was unable to move or even scream, as he feared rats might climb into his mouth if he did so. Firefighters were able to rescue him within about 30 minutes, and he’s reportedly recovering at a local hospital. Meanwhile, a 45-foot-deep sinkhole in Gainesville, Florida, is threatening half a dozen homes and has already sucked a family’s swimming pool into the Earth.
3. Markle Tabloid Trial Delayed on ‘Confidential’ Grounds
It's a scandal in the Meg-ing. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle filed suit in London more than a year ago against tabloid empire Associated Newspapers over publication of a letter Markle wrote to her estranged father. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who have moved to the U.S. with their son Archie in part to escape ferocious press coverage, have been granted a nine-month delay in the trial, until autumn of 2021 — with Judge Mark Warby saying the justification would remain private. Markle’s father, 76, plans to testify and opposes the postponement, saying “I could die tomorrow.”
4. NHL Team Ditches Draft Pick Over History of Racist Bullying
He couldn’t skate by any longer. Mitchell Miller’s abuse of a Black, disabled classmate four years ago was known by all NHL teams during the draft — he wrote a letter apologizing for it — but the Arizona Coyotes used their first pick on him anyway. When backlash ensued, particularly over the fact that Miller never apologized to the boy he brutalized while using racial slurs, the team first said they hoped to guide Miller, 18, to use his platform to combat bullying. But now they’ve reversed position and cut him loose entirely, apologizing to Miller’s bullying victim for selecting him.