Is a Vaccine Trump’s October Surprise? | Russia Questioned Over Poisoning
1. CDC Asks States to Prep for Preelection Vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has told all 50 states to prepare for distributing a COVID-19 vaccine as early as late October, sparking concerns that the government will rush out an insufficiently tested vaccine in time for the presidential election. Specifications in the documents seemed to match two vaccines in late-stage development from U.S. companies Pfizer and Moderna, neither of which is approved for use. Meanwhile, mailing giant DHL warned that any inoculation requiring frozen storage won’t easily reach two-thirds of the world’s population due to a lack of local facilities in many countries.
2. Navalny Poisoned With Banned Soviet Nerve Agent
A longtime critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Alexei Navalny is currently in a coma in a Berlin hospital — and Germany said yesterday that toxicology tests provided “unequivocal proof” he was poisoned by the banned Novichok nerve agent. It’s the same lethal substance, developed by the Soviet Union, that almost killed former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the U.K. in 2018, and Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson are demanding answers from Russia. The Kremlin says it’ll need to see Germany’s proof, with a spokeswoman complaining, “Where are the facts?”
3. Biden Calls for Charges Against Police Shooters
The Democratic presidential candidate publicly urged that the officers who killed Breonna Taylor and shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back be charged over these incidents, a day before he traveled to flashpoint (and swing state) Kenosha, Wisconsin. Meanwhile, video of Rochester, N.Y., police restraining and hooding 41-year-old Black man Daniel Prude — who later died — in late March went viral. And President Donald Trump signed a memo threatening to cut federal funding to so-called “anarchist jurisdictions” like New York City and Portland, to which New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo scoffed, “He’s not a king.”
Next year’s U.S. national debt will exceed the size of the economy for the first time since World War II, the Congressional Budget Office projects. That’s partly due to huge coronavirus stimulus packages this year, which are credited with mitigating the pandemic-related economic decline, and earlier tax cuts. Still, the U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to jump more after 2021 than that of other advanced economies. Neither political party has taken aim at the deficit, though Republicans have pushed against spending further trillions to aid Americans reeling from the pandemic.
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1. California Legislator Brings Newborn to Vote
It wasn’t to be borne. Just one month after giving birth, Golden State Assemblymember Buffy Wicks requested to vote by proxy given the risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. But when that was denied, she brought her newborn daughter with her to work, soothing her fussy baby while arguing for a housing bill and casting a deciding vote to protect the jobs of employees taking family leave. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who denied Wicks’ request to stay home with her baby, apologized formally after social media users (and fellow legislators) expressed outrage over the treatment of parents.
2. To Distract From Abuses, Arab Regimes Hire Influencers
It’s a shill game. Nations with dismal human rights records like Saudi Arabia and the UAE are turning to social media influencers and minor celebrities like Armie Hammer to up the country’s cool factor, OZY reports, sponsoring ‘grammers to make the country attractive to tourists while jailing or killing dissidents. Even Syria, which isn’t a tourist hotspot at the moment, has welcomed a stream of online influencers to Damascus, where they plug the city’s street food without mentioning the regime blasting rebel enclaves and displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians.
It’s a hole new ballgame. While scientists have long divided black holes into two types —stellar, or just 5 to several tens of times the size of the star that created them, and supermassive, which can be billions of times bigger than the sun — it turns out there’s a third option: The intermediate-mass black hole. Astronomers on Earth detected a gravitational wave from such a hole forming, as two smaller holes smashed together. IMBHs are thought to be vanishingly rare, and researchers say the discovery could help unravel the mystery of how supermassive black holes are formed.
When Chadwick Boseman died last week, he’d been battling colon cancer for years — but reportedly remained convinced he’d recover to film the planned Black Panther sequel scheduled to start production in March. Now Marvel execs, who didn’t know Boseman was ill, are grieving the beloved star’s passing while contemplating the billion-dollar franchise’s future. While another actor could take on the title role of T’Challa, it could dismay fans, so one road under discussion is shifting focus to his sister, Shuri, played by Letitia Wright. The movie is scheduled for 2022 release, though the COVID-19 pandemic may change that.
5. Brazil Announces Equal Pay for Men and Women’s Soccer
It’s the real deal. Yesterday soccer-mad Brazil pledged to pay its women’s national football team members the same as their male counterparts, joining a tiny club of countries including Australia, New Zealand and Norway. Their men’s team has won the World Cup five times, a record, while women’s team forward Marta Vieira da Silva is the leading goal scorer of any gender in World Cup history. Meanwhile, the U.S. women’s team — the most successful in the world — had its legal case for equal pay dismissed in May but is appealing the ruling.