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Good morning! While we await the final outcome of this tumultuous election, one thing’s clear: Early voting has been a decisive winner. It’s only going to grow, and America’s not alone. Dive into that global trend in this Friday brew, meet the emerging Japanese jazz star who talks to her piano, pull out some marbles for a fun weekend and listen to OZY co-founder Carlos Watson’s fall favorites — from Nina Simone to Cardi B — in this special playlist.
Three days out from Election Day, the race for the presidency is still too close to call. Joe Biden has more remaining paths to 270 electoral votes than President Donald Trump, but the contests in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona sit on a knife’s edge, with Biden pulling ahead in Georgia this morning. While Biden asked for patience with the count, Trump blasted the election as rigged in an extraordinary speech at the White House. His lawyers filed lawsuits across key states seeking better access to ballot counting and making claims of fraud that have not held up in court.
Or just bomb them. Hong Kong has launched a hotline for residents to inform on neighbors they suspect of violating a controversial new security law, echoing practices used by authoritarian regimes such as the former East Germany. Ethiopia’s army, meanwhile, sent additional troops to the northern Tigray region, as fighting with the local government there intensified. (Sources: Guardian, Der Spiegel, WaPo)
2. Revenge Against Revenge Porn
Mexico’s Senate has unanimously approved a law that will punish perpetrators of digital violence such as revenge porn — where private sexual videos or images are shared without consent — with up to six years in jail. Revenge porn exploded during this year’s lockdowns. (Source: Reuters)
3. Scent of Success
Columbia University scientists have developed a nasal spray that could block the coronavirus in the nose and lungs, even as cases rise in America, set records in Germany and force new restrictions across Italy, France, Greece and Denmark. (Sources: NYT, DW, CNBC)
It's All in the Name
Controversial Indian mining giant Adani Group — accused by Australian environmentalists of violating green norms for a Queensland coal mine — has dug a hole for itself. The Australian arm of the company has been renamed Bravus — the firm thought the word meant “brave” in Latin. In fact, experts have pointed out, it means “crooked,” “assassin,” “villainous” or “barbaric.” It is very brave to choose a name like that.
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Months before COVID-19 changed our way of life forever, America's northern neighbor voted in national elections. And while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's reelection margin was slim, early voting won a clear mandate — 25 percent up compared to the last federal election in 2015. Two million Canadians chose to vote before election day. Unlike the U.S., Canada has national rules on early voting — so no party can claim bias or unfairness.
2. South Africa
The country calls the practice "special voting." And those who can’t travel to a polling station can even have election workers visit them at homes to collect special votes before election day. It's working. While only 4.5 percent of the total votes, South Africa's special votes doubled between the 2015 and 2019 presidential elections, underscoring the surging popularity of early voting.
3. New Zealand
Early voting accounted for more than half of the total votes cast in this October's election — yet that boom is in tune with how the southern nation's voting patterns are shifting. The 2 million early votes were nearly double the 1.2 million cast in 2017. And that was a sharp rise from the 718,000 early votes cast in 2014.
Next Jazz Legends
Want to relax yet keep your mind stimulated? No music strikes that balance for me like jazz. Meet the emerging stars redefining this classic genre.
When you've started piano lessons at the age of 6, you're practically a veteran by the age of 41 — especially if you're a Grammy winner. But the Japanese jazz pianist with a wide smile is constantly experimenting: She'll surprise you with an infusion of pop or classical notes just when you think you've figured out her sound. She's played with legends like Chick Corea but is most at ease when it’s just her and the piano. She says she talks to the instrument. Listen to her perform, and you know that the piano always responds.
She's usually the shortest musician on stage — and the most powerful. It's tough enough being a top jazz singer. The South African is also a rare female trombone player of quality in a male-dominated profession. But Makuzeni, who sings in both English and isiXhosa, sees her vocals and instrument as extensions of her personality — each needs the other. She's more than a jazz musician, she insists. So what is she? "My own voice."
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Feel like you’re losing your marbles? Never mind — you can win them back with these traditional games to play at home this weekend.
All you need is a shoebox and some marbles for this fun Chilean game. Cut four windows of different sizes on one side of the box and write numbers above each window. From a 6-foot distance, take turns at aiming five marbles through the windows. If you succeed, you get fresh marbles to keep at it — you receive the number of marbles that’s indicated above the window. The player who has the most marbles at the end of the game wins.