An estimated 33 people across the western U.S. have died in this season's blazes, after a weekend in which 3,000 firefighters battled almost 100 wildfires. Residents of Portland, Seattle and some California cities have been advised to stay indoors, with air quality considered very unhealthy — and potentially life-threatening for those with respiratory problems. Gusty winds have helped clear the smoke, but are also creating new problems for exhausted fire crews as they can blow the blazes, which have worsened in recent years as climate change leaves the landscape hotter and drier, in unexpected directions.
Authorities reported nearly 308,000 COVID-19 cases in 24 hours yesterday, beating the previous record set Sept. 6. And deaths, which have remained more stable than cases, are expected to rise sharply in October and November, according to the WHO. Israel has imposed a new three-week lockdown, and government advisers in the U.K. say multiplying infections may force one there as well. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump defied state regulations to hold a mostly mask-free indoor campaign rally in Nevada, which the state’s governor called “reckless and selfish” as each day brings approximately 1,000 virus-induced American deaths.
Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s 71-year-old chief cabinet secretary and the son of a strawberry farmer, won a landslide victory today among legislators and Liberal Democratic Party representatives to lead the party and consequently replace outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday. A loyal aide to Abe, Suga says he plans to continue his predecessor’s signature economic policies even as he juggles the struggling country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a sputtering economy. He’ll serve out the rest of Abe’s term, which ends next fall, before facing another election.
4. In Last Minute Surprise, TikTok Rejects Microsoft
Only an Oracle could have predicted this. Since President Trump ordered TikTok to either shut down U.S. operations or sell them to an American company by Sept. 15, Microsoft had been negotiating a deal with the app’s parent company, ByteDance. But Oracle, owned by Trump backer Larry Ellison, has now won the bidding war to be the U.S. face of TikTok. The short video app, which has 100 million monthly users but is still not profitable, is considered a trove of data on its mostly young fans. The deal must be finalized by Sept. 20 to meet White House-imposed deadlines.
AstraZeneca has partially restarted its COVID-19 vaccine trial after a pause triggered by a participant's illness. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has pledged to spend $100 million in Florida in hopes of beating President Trump. And a sheriff’s deputy in Georgia has been fired after he pulled over a car for an alleged broken taillight, then physically attacked a Black passenger, who is now in jail.
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She's the woman who took on a Supreme Court nominee, but there's much more to Anita Hill than that hearing. Today she joins Carlos to discuss the career that could have been, the Hollywood #MeToo commission she led and the faith she still has in the Supreme Court. Be sure to subscribe to the OZY 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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1. Former President’s Grandchild Demands Exhumation
He wants the remains to be seen. James Blaesing is the grandchild of President Warren G. Harding via his extramarital affair with author Nan Britton, and he says he wants Harding’s body disinterred to provide “scientific certainty” of their link. Harding’s heirs say they’ve already accepted DNA evidence that Blaesing shares their grandfather, and they don’t want his remains disturbed. Blaesing has asked an Ohio court to approve it anyway as he pushes for his story (and his mother’s) to be included in planned commemorations later this year of Harding’s 1920 election.
They don’t want to drive off the cliff. Almost two dozen U.K. and EU automotive manufacturing groups have joined together to demand a zero-tariff free trade agreement post Brexit (similar to what the U.K. has enjoyed as a member of the EU) to prevent a $130 billion trade loss on top of the $118 billion the industry already lost to COVID-19. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to knowingly break international law with his latest Brexit bill has inspired unrest in his own party, with the bill scheduled for a vote today.
It’s an orca-strated attack. Vessels off the coasts of Spain and Portugal say orcas have been aggressively attacking sailboats for the past two months, sometimes ganging up to ram vessels. This is highly unusual behavior, say whale experts, who believe the cause may be stress as the carnivorous cetaceans’ food supply is overfished by humans and they’re crowded by boat traffic. Orcas in the area are highly endangered, with mere dozens thought to be alive. Still, authorities are warning boats to keep away from any whales they see.
4. The Spanish YouTube Show Pushing Trump to Cubans
Cuban immigrant Alex Otaola arrived in America in 2003 and voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. But Democrats’ embrace of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, her democratic socialism and “populist hysteria” — reminding him of the communist Cuba he fled — and normalization of U.S. relations with his home country saw him make a hard-right turn. Now, OZY reports, his YouTube show is making the case for Trump to hundreds of thousands of Spanish-speakers in Florida, a crucial swing state in which Trump and Biden are currently tied and Biden’s support from Latinx voters is waning.
He was the last man standing. The pandemic (and in one case, a nasty temper) saw the triumvirate ruling men’s tennis sit out the U.S. Open — clearing a path for Dominic Thiem, 27, to his first Grand Slam title. He had to work for it, though: The Austrian lost the first two sets to German Alexander Zverev, then worked his way back to win, a U.S. Open final comeback like no other in 71 years. Naomi Osaka, who took the women’s title on Saturday, also lost her first set before beating Victoria Azarenka.