5 things to know for October 21: Coronavirus, elections, economy, Nigeria, Google


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2. Election 2020

Election officials in Florida and Alaska contacted law enforcement after dozens of registered voters reported receiving threatening emails telling them to “Vote Trump or whatever!” At least 183 people at the University of Florida got them, and at least one voter in a third state, Arizona, said they got one. Meanwhile, early votes are coming in by the millions. In Ohio, mail-in ballots have returned at nearly double the rate they were in 2016. As for the candidates, President Trump and Joe Biden are preparing their final activities on the election track. Trump raised his eyebrows yesterday when he abruptly ended a solo interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes” and did not return for an appearance he was supposed to tap with Vice President Mike Pence.

3. Economy

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will resume stimulus talks today, even though the self-imposed deadline last night has passed. Pelosi said the parties are close to resolving a key issue over money for coronavirus testing and contact tracing. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not so optimistic, however, and has warned the White House that rallying to a proposal with Democrats ahead of the election could severely divide Republicans in the Senate. Meanwhile, the pandemic is accelerating the automatic automation of tasks normally performed by real people like administrative assistants, accountants and payroll clerks. A new report from the World Economic Forum reveals that this change could displace around 85 million jobs by 2025.

4. Nigeria

The protests against violence against the police in Nigeria have been going on for almost two weeks and things are getting ugly. Eyewitnesses claim that several protesters were gunned down by soldiers yesterday in the main port city of Lagos and that barriers at the scene prevented ambulances from reaching people. The state governor instituted a 24-hour curfew amid the unrest, and on Monday the government in Lagos said it was closing all schools in the area and urged students to learn by using remote technology. The daily protests across the country are in response to widespread allegations of kidnapping, harassment and extortion by a police unit known as the Special Anti-Theft Squad, or SARS. The group was disbanded on October 11, but discontent and fear still abound.

5. Google

The Trump administration, along with 11 states, have just sued Google, alleging the tech giant has stifled competition to stay at the top of the online search market. The lawsuit claims that Google pays tech companies like Apple and Samsung billions of dollars to operate as their default browsers, often banning all transactions with competitors. Google says its deals with other companies are “no different” from, say, a brand of cereal that pays for a premium place in a grocery store. It is the largest antitrust case against a tech company in more than two decades, and it follows a year-long investigation by DOJ investigators into Google’s position in the tech world. It also comes at a critical time, just two weeks before an election in which tech platforms were scrutinized for their impact on democracy.


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That’s the number of children who were separated from their families by U.S. border officials in 2017 and 2018 still haven’t made contact with their parents, according to lawyers. A new court file details the efforts of the Department of Justice and the United States Civil Liberties Union to reunite separated families under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.


“A piece of primordial rock that has witnessed the history of our solar system may now be ready to return home for generations of scientific discovery, and we can’t wait to see what follows. “

Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator of the Scientific Missions Directorate of NASA. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has just successfully landed and collected a sample from the surface of the near-Earth asteroid Bennu, completing the next stage of a mission that began in 2016. The sample will be back on Earth in 2023 and could help scientists understand how the planets were formed and how life began.


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