Mirroring 2016, Nov. 3’s projected Electoral College result is 306-232. But this year, President Donald Trump lost, while combatively refusing to concede. Inevitability dawned yesterday, when major media outlets called the final two states: Trump won in North Carolina, while Democratic President-elect Joe Biden narrowly flipped longtime red state Georgia, where a hand recount is expected to conclude Wednesday but not change the outcome. After making unsubstantiated attacks on electoral integrity since the result became clear last Saturday, Trump wavered Friday while addressing lockdowns: “Who knows which administration it will be. I guess time will tell.”
Despite publicly revealing gray hair, President Trump touted positive pandemic developments as new daily infections rocketed to 181,000 yesterday. He claimed credit for a successful vaccine whose development was bankrolled by Germany and which experts warn won’t be available in time to blunt America’s highest-ever infection rate, overburdened hospitals and mounting death toll. Politics continued to play a role, with the president saying, “We won’t be delivering it to New York until we have authorization” — referencing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s statement that state experts would review vaccines’ federal clearance, echoing widespread concerns that regulators were pressured to rush approvals.
What do you think? Are new widespread lockdowns warranted to stem the pandemic’s spread? Or is the treatment worse than the disease? Share your thoughts by replying to this email — and don’t forget to tell us your name and where in the world you are!
3. Russia Isn’t Conceding Either
The corks aren’t popping in Moscow these days, as they were in 2016 when Donald Trump, an admirer of President Vladimir Putin, was elected. While Putin is one of the few world leaders who hasn’t congratulated Joe Biden on his election victory, it’s clear that Russian officials know who won 2020’s poll, writes New Yorker Moscow correspondent Joshua Yaffa. While that’s awkward, after election meddling and other slights, things under Trump didn’t go as expected either, with sanctions over the annexation of Crimea remaining in place, perhaps because Trump couldn’t risk showing favoritism toward a rival power that backed his candidacy.
They're no place like home. Airbnb has for years been the bane of cities battling skyrocketing housing costs and now Europe has a new champion: the Netherlands. “Some neighborhoods are completely taken over by tourists,” complains Amsterdam’s top housing official, who’s part of an effort to force the San Francisco–based accommodation giant to cough up more and better data. With specific information on rentals, Dutch authorities plan to enforce new restrictions on occupancy, such as limiting rentals to four people per unit and 30 days per year in popular neighborhoods.
Twelve years ago, Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci started BioNTech, the German firm that developed the world’s first effective COVID-19 vaccine. Much earlier, in the 1960s, Germany welcomed the doctors’ families from Turkey to join a war-ravaged workforce. Tureci’s expertise in molecular biology brought her to the same laboratory as Sahin, an immunotherapy expert, and the union of their hearts and minds gave birth to a revolutionary way to combat viruses by genetically stimulating a body’s immune responses — something that might never have materialized but for a generous immigration policy.
2. A North Korean Tells of Her Trafficking Ordeal in China
In a rare account, shared with journalist Annie Hylton, “Christina” (the pseudonym is used to protect her and her family) tells of losing faith in her revered North Korean leaders in a forced labor camp after running away to China, only to be enslaved by sex traffickers before Chinese authorities repatriated her. Sadly, Christina’s story is common, according to a human rights group that says about 60 percent of North Korean women living in China are sexually trafficked — often after abuse by North Korean authorities — or forced into marriage. Some South Koreans, though, are paying sums as high as $10,000 for the women’s freedom.
3. Another Contagion: Ransomware Attacks on Schools
Hackers have been targeting U.S. schools with a vengeance amid the pandemic. A Wall Street Journal investigation has found nearly three dozen ransomware attacks on school districts, many of which, facing the exposure of student records, pay ransoms as high as $1.1 million, in addition to paying experts to secure their systems from further hacks. The reason schools are a tempting target, experts say, is that they’re often frugal about tech staffing — the costs of which became clear when schools in Nevada and Ohio saw staff and student Social Security numbers and disciplinary records posted online.
As Americans topple statues of racist Confederates, some are creating monuments for very different historical figures. Among those figures are Cheryl Dawson, 73, a pioneering female member of the Black Panther Party, who shares with OZY the genesis of a mural in Oakland, California, that will feature her and other members of the late-’60s anti-racist struggle. When Dawson learned of the project, she was looking at her dogs and thinking how if they got loose, her neighbors would return them. But, she laments, “my dogs are more safe than my grandson.” She and others hope that the mural will help inspire an end to that tragic dichotomy.
Now we know what side the 12th man plays for. Pro football is experiencing an offensive explosion this year, with teams on pace to score a record-shattering 13,000 points, Why? One reason is a bumper crop of amazing quarterbacks, boosting passing touchdowns to a best-ever 1.77 average per game and other unprecedented stats, including a shot at the century’s lowest interception rate. It’s not yet clear, but some suspect that the reduction of stadium noise under pandemic restrictions, especially during away games, makes life easier for offenses. But if this keeps up, punters may need to find sideline hobbies.
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