After millions of Americans traveled for Thanksgiving, handing U.S. airports their busiest period since March, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that the country — already the hardest hit, with more than 266,000 deaths — will see a further uptick in coronavirus cases. He urged those who traveled to quarantine. Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that elementary schools will reopen, indicating a shift in focus away from businesses. And President-elect Joe Biden named Navajo Nation Health Director Jill Jim to his COVID-19 advisory board, citing her leadership as the pandemic raged through her community in the spring.
2. Iran Buries Slain Scientist as Implications Echo Across the Globe
Tehran staged a socially distanced outdoor funeral for Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the top mind behind Iran’s nuclear program, who was gunned down Friday by what Iran’s news agency identified as a remote-controlled machine gun. Iranian authorities have accused Israel of the killing and vowed “definitive punishment,” making Fakhrizadeh the fifth Iranian nuclear scientist whose death has been blamed on Israel. The assassination could complicate President-elect Biden’s expected focus on reestablishing diplomatic ties with Iran, and some have speculated that it’s an attempt to sour relations with Washington just as notably tough-on-Iran President Donald Trump leaves office.
3. Scores of Nigerian Farmers Killed in Gruesome Attack
Yesterday armed men on motorcycles in Nigeria’s Borno state killed at least 110 men and women who were hard at work harvesting their fields. The terrorists, who tied people up before slitting their throats, also kidnapped an estimated 15 women. Both Boko Haram and a splinter militant group have staged attacks in the region, but neither has claimed responsibility. The attack has placed new scrutiny on President Muhammadu Buhari’s security forces, which adopted a strategy earlier this year to reduce military fatalities by essentially ceding much rural territory to Boko Haram’s control.
Faced with plummeting demand in April, the coalition of oil-exporting nations agreed to cut back production by an unprecedented 9.7 million barrels per day. In August, the cutback was reduced to 7.7 million, and it was scheduled to see another reduction in January. But leaders meeting for a summit today are expected to extend the cutbacks, despite the objections of nations like Kazakhstan. One potential hurdle: U.S. shale producers may boost output in response to rising oil prices, which could potentially trigger OPEC+ to do the same to avoid losing out on business.
Cancers can be deadly. And when they spread to the brain, they become even harder to tackle for doctors, because of a special membrane that restricts access for drugs. Now researchers are developing potentially pathbreaking therapies that both penetrate that membrane and effectively kill tumors in the brain.
This is starting on the wrong foot. President-elect Biden, 78, slipped and twisted his ankle over the weekend while playing with his dog, sustaining hairline fractures in his foot that will require him to wear an orthopedic boot for a few weeks. President Trump tweeted “Get well soon!” at Biden, who’ll be the oldest president ever sworn in when he takes office Jan. 20. Meanwhile, the Bidens have confirmed they won’t just be bringing their two dogs to the Executive Mansion, but also the first White House cat since President George W. Bush’s India in 2009.
2. Black Friday Disappoints for Brick and Mortar Stores
Nobody’s buying it. Foot traffic at U.S. stores on Black Friday fell by 52 percent year on year, and shopping on Thanksgiving Day dropped by 95 percent. Stores held fewer so-called doorbuster sales this year due to the pandemic, and many remained closed on Thanksgiving itself, but retailers are still relying on the holiday shopping season to make it through the current virus surge. Meanwhile, online shopping rose almost 22 percent, hitting a record $9 billion — and today’s Cyber Monday is expected to be the biggest online shopping day in history.
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3. Using Augmented Reality to Teach New Histories
After growing up learning about Christopher Columbus’ “discovery” of America — but not his brutal treatment of native people — Glenn Cantave turned to augmented reality technology to try to make sure the next generation gets better information, OZY reports. His creations include an app that teaches students about women and people of color forgotten by history, a pop-up AR auction to hit home the realities of enslavement, and an augmented version of New York City populated with statues of diverse historical figures. “Our vision is a Pokémon Go for a contextualized history,” Cantave says.
It’s a battle royale. Britain’s culture secretary wants the Netflix series based on the current royal family to carry a warning to viewers that it’s a work of fiction. The show’s creator, Peter Morgan, has been open about the fact that some elements are fictionalized, and certain episodes already carry content warnings, such as scenes about Princess Diana’s bulimia. The widow of Major Hugh Lindsay, whose death in an avalanche was a plot point in the recent fourth season, has also spoken out against Morgan’s choices. The Crown has not yet commented on the government’s expected labeling request.
5. Police Investigate Maradona’s Doctor for Manslaughter
After Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona passed away last week of a heart attack a month after an operation to remove a blood clot from his brain, Buenos Aires police searched the clinic and home of his personal doctor and confiscated the soccer legend’s medical records. Neurologist Leopoldo Luque told reporters, “I am absolutely sure that I did the best for Diego, the best I could.” But he admitted that Maradona refused to undergo inpatient rehabilitation, and noted that the 1986 World Cup hero had issues with drug and alcohol dependency that may have complicated his recovery.