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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review

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After removing 130,000 bot-generated votes, Nickelodeon announced that Joe Biden had won its Kids Pick the President mock election.

One third of the United States was classified as a coronavirus hot spot.1 North Dakota sought to repurpose $16 million in federal coronavirus aid to subsidize fracking, New York State rejected more than half of its rent-relief applications, and the Department of Health and Human Services abandoned an earlier agreement to give the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas early access to a vaccine.2 3 4 “If you and your colleagues are not essential workers, I don’t know what is,” a Trump appointee told the order’s chairman. The United Kingdom, Germany, and France imposed new monthlong lockdowns affecting bars and restaurants but kept schools open; Slovakia tested half of its population for COVID-19 in a single day; Australia reported zero cases of local transmission for the first time since June; and infected doctors in Belgium, where contact tracers are nine days behind schedule, are continuing to work in hospitals.5 6 7 8 Typhoon Goni—the strongest tropical cyclone ever to make landfall—struck the Philippines, forcing one million residents to evacuate; a spokesman for Rodrigo Duterte explained that the president was not present for a cabinet meeting about the storm because “we were expecting the landfall yesterday, and honestly, it was a Sunday.”9 10 Scientists announced that they had discovered 2,000-year-old brain tissue that had been turned into glass by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii.11

Philadelphia imposed a curfew after police officers shot and killed Walter Wallace Jr., a 27-year-old black man, after which Walmart removed guns and ammunition from displays nationwide, citing concern about looting, but then walked back the decision and returned the munitions to displays.12 13 14 A whistleblower revealed that the Justice Department had frozen the civil-rights probe into the 2014 killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice; the statute of limitations in the case is set to expire this year.15 Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly, one of the three officers who killed Breonna Taylor in a no-knock raid earlier this year, sued Taylor’s boyfriend for returning fire and causing Mattingly “severe trauma, mental anguish and emotional distress.”16 “He’s entitled to, and should, use the legal process to seek a remedy,” Mattingly’s attorney said, adding that Mattingly was “nearly killed.” A New Jersey police officer sexted a teenage girl hours after arresting her; he was charged with fourth-degree cyber harassment and third-degree hindering apprehension.17 According to a new study, since mid-September Michiganders have received an estimated 35,186,262 text messages attributed to Republicans and 17,600,926 attributed to Democrats.18 19 A record 100.3 million Americans and counting voted early.20 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that election officials in Pennsylvania and North Carolina could accept ballots received up to several days after Election Day, and Republicans in Texas petitioned a federal judge to throw out more than 120,000 votes cast curbside in Houston.21 22 After removing 130,000 bot-generated votes, Nickelodeon announced that Joe Biden had won its Kids Pick the President mock election.23 “Though kids are not of an age to vote, Kids Pick the President is a platform where their voices do count, and they deserve to be heard,” said the network. Donald Trump held rallies in five different states in one day, and during his event in Hickory, North Carolina, a scissor lift holding an American flag collapsed.24 25 A sculpture of a whale’s tail caught an elevated metro train after it had derailed in Spijkenisse, a city in the Netherlands.26

A former write-in gubernatorial candidate who describes herself as “Trump in a dress” held a press conference in front of the Ohio Statehouse and denied that she had attempted to raise a “posse” to kidnap and try Governor Mike DeWine over COVID-19 restrictions; she also reiterated that she is the true governor of Ohio.27 28 29 Entomologists found and captured two queen murder hornets that had escaped a raid of the first known nest in the United States; the scientists also recovered a radio tracker that the hornets had apparently gnawed off.30 An undersea robot named SuBastian livestreamed footage of a newly discovered coral reef that is taller than the Empire State Building.31 Costco stopped carrying a brand of coconut milk after allegations surfaced that the supplier used forced monkey labor to retrieve coconuts.32 “We have made it clear to the supplier that we do not support the use of monkeys for harvesting and that all harvesting must be done by human labor,” an executive said. In Littleton, New Hampshire, a woman was charged with impersonating a prosecutor and dropping drug-possession and stalking charges she herself was facing.33 A man in Chongqing, China, was arrested after throwing money from his window in a drug-induced trance.34 Scientists reported finding a rogue planet flying through the Milky Way, untethered to any solar system.35Cameron French

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