It was President Donald Trump’s “little surprise.” His brief SUV trip to wave at supporters outside the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Sunday was cleared by his doctors, the White House said, but not all concurred. “The irresponsibility is astounding,” tweeted Dr. James Phillips, a Walter Reed attending physician, considering the risk of transmission to Secret Service agents in a “hermetically sealed” vehicle is “as high as it gets outside of medical procedures.” Trump, who’s been dismissive of pandemic precautions, said in a video that he “learned a lot about COVID” on his “very interesting journey” with the illness.
2. Post-Debate Polling Gives Biden a Commanding Lead
Bluster can only get you so far. After Tuesday’s chaotic first (and perhaps last) presidential debate, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Democratic challenger Joe Biden leading President Trump 53 percent to 39 percent, increasing from an eight-point lead before the debate. Meanwhile, a Reuters/Ipsos survey, which gave Biden a 10-point lead, found that 65 percent of Americans think Trump could have avoided COVID-19 had he taken it more seriously. And despite efforts to show he’s recovering quickly, experts say Trump’s low blood oxygen episodes and steroid prescription suggest a more serious condition.
Amid fighting over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, the government of Azerbaijan says Armenia fired rockets into the Azeri city of Ganja, killing at least one civilian Sunday. That’s seen as a major escalation, since the target is outside the disputed territory, which is considered part of Azerbaijan but has long been controlled by ethnic Armenians, whose commander admitted targeting an airbase in Ganja. Russian, American and European Union representatives have urged a cease-fire, but neither side seems interested as shelling intensifies and private security firms have reportedly deployed 1,000 Syrian fighters to help Azeri forces.
4. Investors Seem Cheered by Presidential Prognosis
They’re buying it. After some precipitous declines on Friday, including a 2.2 percent Nasdaq drop, today’s markets in Asia and Europe were buoyed by White House declarations that President Trump is improving and he might be well enough to leave the hospital today. Dow futures rose 150 points Sunday on the news, and Australian, Hong Kong and Tokyo indexes jumped between 1.2 and 2.6 percent today. But things could go south again if the president’s condition worsens — or if traders get nervous about Joe Biden’s tax plan.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’: Actor, director, dancer, writer, producer, teacher — the list is endless when describing the legendary Debbie Allen. This trailblazing inspiration for Carlos in his youth joins him to discuss why the fight for justice today is more essential than ever before. What surprising comments does Allen have about late basketball star Kobe Bryant? Be sure to subscribe to the show's YouTube channel to be notified when it's live, and remember — new subscribers will be entered for a chance to win an invitation to a Zoom taping with a celebrity guest!
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First, do no harm. Dr. Sean Conley seems to have applied that medical credo to public relations too. The osteopath presidential physician is getting almost as much press as his COVID-19-afflicted boss amidst uncertainty over President Trump’s prognosis and infection timeline, OZY reports. Luckily, the former Navy commander’s been to war, leading a team of trauma surgeons in Afghanistan who were decorated for saving a wounded Romanian soldier’s life. But his new struggle isn’t just about defeating a pernicious disease in a high-risk patient. It’s about guarding that patient’s privacy while Americans clamor to know more.
Propaganda, meet Birdwatch. That’s the not-ready-for-prime-time tool that Twitter just acknowledged it’s developing. It’s intended to enlist users to help control misinformation, allowing them to not only vote on whether they think something is misleading, but also on the level of harm they think it will cause. Code sleuth Jane Manchun Wong found clues to its existence, and the company confirmed her suspicions, saying it was “excited to share more” soon. There’s already skepticism over how effective it might be — especially considering it’s not expected to launch until after the U.S. election.
3. New Zealand Officials Vow ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban
This isn’t the kind of change they want. New Zealand’s ruling Labour Party said today it will ban so-called conversion therapy, which aims to alter LGBTQ people’s sexual orientation or gender identity. That’s if Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s party is returned to power by voters on Oct. 17. Their chances are good, considering the country’s COVID-19 cases have dropped so much that lockdown restrictions in Auckland will be lifted Wednesday — and the Passport Index, which tracks visa-free travel rights, has judged the New Zealand passport to be the world’s most powerful.
Her Majesty’s secret service is no help at all. On Friday MGM Studios said it was again delaying its James Bond release, No Time to Die, from November until April. Yesterday Cineworld said it was temporarily closing its Regal theaters in the U.S. and U.K., which emerged from their COVID-19 hiatus in August. That means America’s second-largest chain, with some 500 locations, will go dark, leaving thousands unemployed. With other major titles delayed, Cineworld is “like a grocery shop that doesn’t have vegetables, fruit, meat,” said its CEO, whose move may be mirrored by competitors.
5. Jimmy Butler Brings Heat’s First NBA Finals Win
LeBron James couldn’t wait to leave. Ten seconds before the final buzzer, the Lakers superstar strode off the court in the Orlando pandemic bubble, partly, he said, from frustration. Even without injured stars Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic, the 9-point underdog Miami Heat won Game 3 of the NBA Finals last night 115-104. “They can be beat,” said Heat guard Jimmy Butler, who delivered most of that beating with a 40-point triple-double with 11 rebounds and 13 assists. So L.A. won’t get the sweep, but they lead the series 2-1 going into Tuesday’s Game 4.