With opponent Joe Biden leading polls by 14 points, President Donald Trump tweeted his determination to attend a scheduled Oct. 15 debate, despite the fact that he could still be contagious with COVID-19. Trump, who was hospitalized for three days, also sent stocks tumbling by 2 percent yesterday when he abruptly ended talks on any new pandemic stimulus until “after I win” the election — though he later promised to immediately approve another round of $1,200 checks for Americans. Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris will debate tonight after Pence agreed to precautionary plexiglass barriers.
Trump immigration guru Stephen Miller — whose wife, Vice President Pence’s press secretary, tested positive in May — is the latest administration official to announce they have COVID-19. Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted as many as 400,000 American coronavirus deaths if proper precautions aren’t taken this winter. And after the Trump administration took issue with proposed FDA regulations for coronavirus vaccine approval, with the president tweeting that it was a “political hit job” to delay a vaccine until after the election, the agency unilaterally published the guidance online and the White House has since accepted it.
The Category 3 storm is expected to make landfall in Cancún today, battering the Yucatán Peninsula with 120-mph winds. It’s the strongest storm to hit the area in 15 years, and guests from most of Cancún’s hotels were bused to scores of shelters opened by the Mexican government. Tourism has been hit hard by the pandemic, so only about 40,000 out-of-towners — a fraction of the usual crowd — were in the area. Delta is expected to get stronger as it moves north to strike Louisiana later this week.
4. Congressional Probe Recommends Breaking Up Big Tech
After a 16-month inquiry, the House Antitrust Subcommittee report found that Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon are abusing their market power and recommended Congress force them to separate their businesses in accordance with antitrust laws. No legislation is pending, but this report could make future crackdowns more likely — and Facebook and Google are both expected to face antitrust lawsuits from government agencies this fall. Meanwhile, Facebook announced that it’s banned all accounts related to baseless conspiracy theory QAnon ahead of the U.S. election.
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They’re not waiting for the dust to settle. New Delhi is one of the planet’s most polluted cities, and winter is particularly bad, with burning crops, firework dust and industrial emissions combining to block out the sun with toxic haze. But knowing the bad air could exacerbate symptoms of COVID-19 — which has killed more than 5,510 people in New Delhi alone — the city is launching an anti-pollution campaign. It includes a mobile app for reporting offenders, anti-smog street cleaning, subsidies for electric vehicles and a new requirement to plant 10 trees for every one cut down.
You can hack it. Smart sex toy company Qiui’s Cellmate, essentially a male chastity belt, allows the user or their partner to lock and unlock the device via an app. But the technology was so undefended, according to one security firm, that anyone could hack it and lock the user’s penis in the device — and there’s no emergency override, unless you count bolt cutters. Qiui promised a fix in August, but none came, with the CEO explaining that their “basement team” keeps creating more problems while trying to fix it. User reviews say the device sometimes randomly locks them in for days.
With COVID-19 transmission more likely indoors, many U.S. restaurants have moved diners outside to “parklets,” claiming parts of the street to set up tables and potted plants. But OZY reports that in many places, those mini-parks could become permanent fixtures: Cities from New York to Long Beach are exploring ways to make the streets less about cars and more about leisure. This could not only allow restaurants to make it through the winter (as long as they invest in heat lamps) but could potentially change the look of many American cities.
“I just want my guitar playing to make people feel something,” the Van Halen rocker told Rolling Stone in 1980. The Dutch-born guitarist who lent his name to the iconic band died of cancer yesterday at the age of 65, according to his son Wolfgang, who himself joined the band in 2007 — the same year the group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Van Halen wasn’t the only music legend we lost yesterday: Reggae-pop star Johnny Nash, who wrote his own hit “I Can See Clearly Now,” died at the age of 80.
They’re keeping it civil. Though the case against Cristiano Ronaldo centers on an alleged 2009 rape, it’s not a criminal trial. Instead, the Juventus star is accused of paying $375,000 in hush money to a woman who wasn’t mentally fit to enter such an agreement. Kathryn Mayorga, who had learning disabilities as a child, wants $200,000 more from Ronaldo after reports about the incident were leaked, despite their confidentiality agreement. The soccer superstar maintains the information was hacked. A federal judge in Nevada said she’ll review the case, though no court date has been set and it’s unclear if either party will have to appear in person.