He’s on top for the first time. A poll conducted by CBS and the New York Times gave neurosurgeon Ben Carson 26 percent of the support of Republican primary voters — while Donald Trump, who’s been the front-runner since this summer, has only 22 percent. That’s within the margin of error but it’s a reversal from polling results of just a month ago. Marco Rubio, who’s been getting buzz recently as a beloved establishment candidate, came in a distant third — but this could all be reshaken after the third Republican debate Wednesday night.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Investors are toasting to their health. Walgreens Boot Alliance has agreed to purchase their drug store rival for approximately $9 a share, equaling $9.4 billion in cash and $7.8 billion in debt. Rite Aid stocks had already skyrocketed 43 percent earlier in the day amid rumors of a sale. The merger brings more than $100 billion in annual sales, and nearly 18,000 stores, under one roof. They’ll still face stiff competition from CVS, which had $145.6 billion in sales last year. However, the merged companies had a larger combined profit of $5.9 billion to CVS’s $4.8 billion, respectively.
Are they playing chicken? American defense officials say a Navy guided-missile destroyer moved into the South China Sea near the hotly contested Spratly Islands. The maneuver, which saw the USS Lassen sail within 12 nautical miles of the disputed chain without first notifying Beijing, challenged China’s claim to the artificial islands it has constructed in international waters. It comes on the heels of Xi Jinping’s visit to Washington — signaling how tensions remain fraught — and prompted Chinese leaders to respond angrily, warning America not to “make trouble out of nothing.”
Hundreds are dead, and thousands await help. Emergency crews are trying to reach remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, a day after a 7.5-magnitude temblor killed at least 343 and injured 2,000. Some 260 people died in Pakistan, while 83 were killed in Afghanistan. Many survivors braved freezing temperatures overnight — staying outside for fear of being trapped by collapsing buildings. Aftershocks continue to keep the region on edge while rescue teams work to bring food, tents and blankets to the needy.
They might avoid default. American lawmakers have struck a tentative deal with Obama to avoid a government shutdown while allowing for small budget increases through 2017. Reached just before midnight, the agreement would extend the debt ceiling and push budget limits by $80 billion over two years. It could be a feather in outgoing Speaker John Boehner’s cap ahead of Paul Ryan’s expected election, as well as a coup for a White House hellbent on relief from strict spending limits. But first it must be approved by the Senate and House.
Beware of destruction in cyberspace. That’s the message from NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett, who warns that everyone online is “vulnerable to determined nation-state attackers.” Just weeks after China and the U.S. argued over cyber-attacks, Ledgett says countries should defend their sensitive information infrastructures by thwarting potential threats with clear boundaries and consequences. He says such responses should include online retaliation — the U.S. military’s cyber-command, for example, is prepared to disrupt foreign networks — as well as diplomatic or economic sanctions.
ISIS blows up three captives in ancient city of Palmyra. (BBC)
FBI investigating South Carolina classroom arrest caught on video. (CNN)
Syrian conflicts at home translate to difficulties abroad for refugees. (NPR)
Creditors are withholding next installment of Greek debt relief. (DW)
Congo votes to extend presidential term limit. (Reuters)
Accuser sues former DA who declined to charge Bill Cosby. (NYT)
Last night’s whopping 14-inning contest — the longest Game 1 in World Series history — saw K.C. finally put away New York 5-4 after five hours and nine minutes. The teams matched runs and expert pitching throughout, but after Alex Gordon tied it with a homer in the ninth, neither side could break the deadlock, dragging out the drama for five more rounds before Eric Hosmer’s sacrifice fly clinched it. The Mets hope to even the score when they take the field in Kansas City again tonight.
Get ready to sweat. A new study says climate trends in the Persian Gulf and surrounding region — home to some of Earth’s hottest summers — could become unsurvivable for humans by 2070. Soaring temperatures and high humidity impede the evaporation of perspiration, making it hard to cool off. This summer, heat killed 2,500 people in India when the mercury hit 118 degrees Fahrenheit. But by 2100, five cities could suffer wet-bulb temperatures of 95 degrees (a heat index of 177 degrees) unless greenhouse gas emissions ease, and quick.
Customers won’t be camping out for deals. The outdoor equipment giant is giving its 12,000-strong workforce the day after Thanksgiving off. Staffers will be paid instead to give Mother Nature a hug, and execs hope the cooperative’s 5.5 million members will follow their lead. While briefly shuttering its 143 stores may hurt business — it won’t offer Black Friday deals online either — it’s proving to be great PR for CEO Jerry Stritzke, who’s asking people to report back on their adventures via social media under the hashtag #OptOutside.
One person can make all the difference. That’s especially true in newer stock exchanges like the one in Mongolia, where $70 can be 1 percent of a day’s trading, and in markets like Cambodia and Laos that are so small they’re not even “emerging.” These tiny exchanges are offering training and tools to would-be investors in the hopes of fostering an economic boom — like one Mongolian mining project that could ring in $150 million worth in investments each month — by daring to dream big.
Can she save the day? A new CBS show about Superman’s cousin debuted last night, tackling women’s issues with heroic style, the first such comic book character on prime time since Wonder Woman. “People want a female superhero,” says showrunner Greg Berlanti, who’s shepherded the Supergirl concept from page to screen, casting Glee’s Melissa Benoist in the lead. Berlanti’s team feels pressure to succeed, because a flop could be kryptonite for future woman-led superhero franchises. But so far reviewers seem to think this girl has what it takes to come to the rescue.
King James is ready to hold court. Despite missing the last two weeks of training camp with a nagging back injury, the 30-year-old Akron native — who has appeared in every opening game of his 13-year career — says he’s feeling good. Which is great news for the Cavs, who will need the four-time NBA MVP as they launch their first week with three games in four nights without injured All-Star Kyrie Irving. Cleveland faces the Bulls tonight in Chicago.