| |3. Electoral college explained: how Biden faces an uphill battle in the US election16:42[−]
Trump won the presidency in 2016 despite Clinton receiving almost 3m more votes, all because of the electoral college. How does the system work? Who elects the US president?When Americans cast their ballots for the US president, they are actually voting for a representative of that candidate’s party known as an elector. There are 538 electors who then vote for the president on behalf of the people in their state.Each state is assigned a certain number of these electoral votes, based on the number of congressional districts they have, plus two additional votes representing the state’s Senate seats. Washington DC is also assigned three electoral votes, despite having no voting representation in Congress. A majority of 270 of these votes is needed to win the presidency.The process of nominating electors varies by state and by party, but is generally done one of two ways. Ahead of the election, political parties either choose electors at their national conventions, or they are voted for by the party’s central committee.The electoral college nearly always operates with a winner-takes-all system, in which the candidate with the highest number of votes in a state claims all of that state’s electoral votes. For example, in 2016, Trump beat Clinton in Florida by a margin of just 2.2%, but that meant he claimed all 29 of Florida’s crucial electoral votes.Such small margins in a handful of key swing states meant that, regardless of Clinton’s national vote lead, Trump was able to clinch victory in several swing states and therefore win more electoral college votes. Biden could face the same hurdle in November, meaning he will need to focus his attention on a handful of battleground states to win the presidency.A chart showing electoral college votes by state The unequal distribution of electoral votesWhile the number of electoral votes a state is assigned somewhat reflects its population, the minimum of three votes per state means that the relative value of electoral votes varies across America.The least populous states like North and South Dakota and the smaller states of New England are overrepresented because of the required minimum of three electoral votes. Meanwhile, the states with the most people – California, Texas and Florida – are underrepresented in the electoral college.Wyoming has one electoral college vote for every 193,000 people, compared with California’s rate of one electoral vote per 718,000 people. This means that each electoral vote in California represents over three times as many people as one in Wyoming. These disparities are repeated across the country. A visual of population per electoral vote by state Who does it favour?Experts have warned that, after returning two presidents that got fewer votes than their opponents since 2000, the electoral college is flawed.In 2000, Al Gore won over half a million more votes than Bush, yet Bush became president after winning Florida by just 537 votes.A chart showing recent election outcomes by popular vote and electoral college marginsProfessor George Edwards III, at Texas A&M University, said: “The electoral college violates the core tenet of democracy, that all votes count equally and allows the candidate finishing second to win the election. Why hold an election if we do not care who received the most votes?“At the moment, the electoral college favours Republicans because of the way Republican votes are distributed across the country. They are more likely to occur in states that are closely divided between the parties.”Under the winner-takes-all system, the margin of victory in a state becomes irrelevant. In 2016, Clinton’s substantial margins in states such as California and New York failed to earn her enough electoral votes, while close races in the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Michigan took Trump over the 270 majority.A visual showing margins and electoral votes by state gained by Trump and Clinton in 2016As candidates easily win the electoral votes of their solid states, the election plays out in a handful of key battlegrounds. In 2016, Trump won six such states - Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – adding 99 electoral votes to his total.The demographics of these states differ from the national average. They are older, have more white voters without college degrees, and often have smaller non-white populations. These characteristics generally favour Republicans, and made up the base of Trump’s votes in 2016.For example, 67% of non-college-educated white people voted for Trump in 2016. In all six swing states, this demographic is overrepresented by at least six percentage points more than the national average.default The alternativesSeveral alternative systems for electing the president have been proposed and grown in favour, as many seek to change or abolish the electoral college.Two states – Maine and Nebraska – already use a different method of assigning their electoral college votes. The two “Senate” votes go to the state-wide popular vote winner, but the remaining district votes are awarded to the winner of that district. However, implementing this congressional district method across the country could result in greater bias than the current system. The popular vote winner could still lose the election, and the distribution of voters would still strongly favour Republicans.The National Popular Vote Compact (NPVC) is another option, in which each state would award all of its electoral college votes in line with the national popular vote. If enough states signed up to this agreement to reach the 270 majority, the candidate who gained the most votes nationwide would always win the presidency.However, the NPVC has more practical issues. Professor Norman Williams, from Willamette University, questioned how a nationwide recount would be carried out under the NPVC, and said that partisanship highlighted its major flaws. Only Democratic states are currently signed up, but support could simply switch in the future if a Republican candidate faces winning the popular vote but not the presidency.The NPVC is a solution that would elect the president with the most votes without the difficulty of abolishing the electoral college that is enshrined in the constitution.In 1787, the Founding Fathers could not decide on the best system to elect the president. Some delegates opposed a straight nomination by Congress, while others wanted to limit the influence of a potentially uninformed public and the power a populist candidate could have with a direct popular vote. The resulting electoral college, with electors acting as intermediaries for their states, is their compromise.This system also invoked a clause known as the three-fifths compromise between northern and southern delegates, as they debated how slavery would affect a state’s representation. Their agreement was that three-fifths of enslaved individuals (who could not vote) would count towards a state’s population, awarding a disproportionate amount of power in the electoral college to the southern states. While the 13th amendment which abolished slavery in effect removed the three-fifths clause, the impacts of an unbalanced electoral college with unequal representation remain.The current system is still vulnerable to distorted outcomes through actions such as gerrymandering. This practice involves precisely redrawing the borders of districts to concentrate support in favour of a party. The result being abnormally shaped districts that disenfranchise certain groups of voters.Today, an amendment that would replace the college with a direct national popular vote is seen by many as the fairest electoral system.According to Professor Edwards III, “There is only one appropriate way to elect the president: add up all the votes and declare the candidate receiving the most votes the winner.”default
|↑|4. Trump Calls on AG Barr to ‘Act Fast’ to Address Biden’s ‘Tremendous Corruption’15:46[−]
President Trump urged Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate alleged corruption by Joe Biden.Trump has long contended that the former vice president and his son Hunter were involved in corrupt activities in Ukraine. With just two weeks before the November elections, Trump has been stepping up his attacks on Biden as most polls give the Democratic rival a consistent lead."We've got to get the Attorney General to act," Trump told Fox and Friends on Tuesday morning. "And he's got to act fast. And he's got to appoint somebody."Trump has alleged that during his tenure as Vice President, Biden pressured Ukraine to remove its top prosecutor after the prosecutor’s office had opened an investigation into natural gas company Burisma Holdings. Hunter Biden held a position on the board of Burisma from 2014 to 2019.In a 2015 email revealed by the New York Post last week, a top Burisma adviser thanked Hunter Biden for the “opportunity” to meet his father. While Hunter Biden’s attorney has denied that a formal meeting took place, neither Hunter nor the Joe Biden campaign have disputed the veracity of the email or other documents reported by the Post.Currently, Attorney General Barr is overseeing a probe into the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane investigation, in which FBI agents investigated the 2016 Trump campaign for alleged contacts with Russian intelligence operatives. Barr has appointed U.S. attorney John Durham to lead the probe, however Barr has indicated that the results of the probe will not be available before election day.
|↑|7. Submarine murderer Peter Madsen surrounded by armed officers after escaping Danish prison13:55[−]
Danish submarine killer Peter Madsen has been seized by police on a street in central Copenhagen, after an audacious jail-break on Tuesday morning. The 49-year-old escaped before 10am, and was on the loose for more than two hours, although he only made it about 500m from prison before he was surrounded by police. "The arrest operation on Nyvej is over, and an arrested person has been driven away from the scene," police in Copenhagen said on Twitter shortly after 1pm. They said they would give further details at a press conference this afternoon. According to the BT tabloid, the killer took a hostage in the prison who he threatened with a pistol-like object, who was reported to have been a psychologist. He was then seized less than a kilometre from the prison by a squad of specialist armed police officers, after a long stand-off during which he reportedly claimed to be carrying a bomb. He has now been driven back to the prison by police.
|↑|8. France closes Paris mosque in clampdown over teacher's beheading12:25[−]
French authorities said Tuesday they would close a Paris mosque as part of a clampdown on radical Islam that has yielded over a dozen arrests following the beheading of a teacher who had shown his pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed. The mosque in a densely-populated suburb northeast of Paris had disseminated a video on its Facebook page days before Friday's gruesome murder, railing against teacher Samuel Paty's choice of material for a class discussion on freedom of expression, said a source close to the investigation. The interior ministry said the mosque in Pantin, which has some 1,500 worshippers, would be shut on Wednesday night for six months. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who vowed Monday there would be "not a minute's respite for enemies of the Republic", had asked regional authorities to carry out the mosque closure. And on Monday, police launched a series of raids targeting Islamist networks. Paty, 47, was attacked on his way home from the junior high school where he taught in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine,25 miles northwest of Paris. A photo of the teacher and a message confessing to his murder was found on the mobile phone of his killer, 18-year-old Chechen Abdullakh Anzorov, who also posted images of the decapitated body on Twitter.
|↑|9. Maskless White People Are Fueling a Massive New Coronavirus Surge in Mississippi11:40[−]
Wayne Moak isn’t sure who first brought the coronavirus into the congregation at Clear Branch Baptist Church in rural Wesson, Mississippi, but when it got there in late September, “it spread fast,” he told The Daily Beast.Within weeks, more than two dozen members of the congregation were sick, including Moak, his wife, son, and all three other staff members, he recalled.Of course, this was exactly the scenario he’d been hoping to avoid when the church decided, in the early days of the pandemic, to set up his pulpit on the bed of a 20-foot trailer and conduct parking lot services. But that arrangement was short-lived. By June, with businesses around the state reopening and midday temperatures cracking 90 degrees, the decision to go toward air conditioning was met with little controversy.Videos of these services, posted weekly to Facebook, show parishioners in the first few rows singing shoulder to shoulder. Masks were not required, and few people, including Moak, appeared to take it upon themselves to wear them.“Look, I’m one of those who wears mine the least I can… The way things were, it wasn’t something we thought was necessary,” he told The Daily Beast.The coronavirus raged through Mississippi’s cities and its poorer, predominantly Black counties this summer, eventually pushing the state to the highest rate of per-capita infections and deaths in the country. But Moak said that in Wesson, which is in predominantly white Lincoln County, “we weren’t seeing it so much.”That equilibrium has shifted dramatically in the last month. The same week that Clear Branch had its outbreak, at least 24 students and teachers at the local public school, Wesson Attendance Center, tested positive. By mid-October, more than 150 students and teachers would end up in quarantine. A few minutes down the road in Brookhaven, a similar scenario played out, as outbreaks in the elementary and high schools there sent more than 100 students and teachers into quarantine.“It’s just in our community right now. I wish I could see where it’s coming from, but I don’t have that magic wand,” Moak said.But health experts think they do know: white people who refuse to wear masks.After two months of steady declines, a second coronavirus wave is rising in Mississippi. On Friday, the state recorded 1,322 new infections, its highest single-day number since August. But the face of the pandemic in the state has shifted dramatically in that time. Mississippi, once a case study for how the coronavirus disproportionately sickens Black people in this country, is seeing its second wave driven by white Mississippians in rural parts of the state. The reason, according to Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the top health officer in Mississippi, is simple: Rural white communities aren’t taking the necessary precautions to avoid spreading the virus.“We have had really pretty good uptake by a lot of folks in the Black community with masking and social distancing,” Dobbs said on a call with reporters last week. “… And I just want to say that I think big parts of the white community, especially in areas that maybe weren’t as hard-affected [this summer], have not been as compliant or engaged actively with social distancing and masking. And I think that does make a difference.”On Oct. 9, deaths among white Mississippians surpassed those of Black Mississippians for the first time since the Mississippi State Department of Health publicly made racial data available in June. And the trend is likely to get worse. Between Sept. 16 and Oct. 14, new coronavirus infections among white Mississippians rose 26.8 percent, more than double the 12.6 percent rate of increase among Black Mississippians. As of Monday, the number of white and Black Mississippians diagnosed with the coronavirus was almost equal. In early July, the number of Black Mississippians with the virus had been double that of whites.Despite rising case numbers, on Sept. 30, Tate Reeves became the first U.S. governor to let his statewide mask mandate expire. Reeves’ office declined a request for comment from The Daily Beast, but on Monday the governor announced he would be signing an executive order partially reinstating the mask mandate in nine counties where he said “spread was most rapid.”“Here in Mississippi we’ve seen this movie before. We know what can happen if we allow this to get out of control. So we want to be proactive to prevent that from happening,” Reeves said.Still, the limited scope of the mandate means it’s likely to have some blind spots, especially because one of the mandate’s triggers is a high number of cases, and many of the smaller counties where cases are rising rapidly can’t meet that threshold. Lincoln County, which includes Wesson and Brookhaven and which has seen cases rise 13 percent in two weeks—the fifth highest increase in the state—was not on the new mask-mandate list. Nor was Benton County, another rural area where cases have risen 15 percent in the last two weeks.Epidemiologists point out that increased cases among white Mississippians are still likely to spell disaster for Black residents, who tend to be at higher risk of complications from the virus.“The only job the virus has is to keep spreading because that’s the way it remains alive. And as long as people who have it aren’t complying [with risk reduction], it will keep spreading,” said William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious disease at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. “And that will ultimately hurt people of color because they have had the worst outcomes.”“You know, this virus knows no political affiliation. It has no religious affiliation. If it’s in one group, the way it survives is by spreading to the next group.”The virus may not have a political affiliation, but the people who are deciding whether to follow public health guidelines do. And in Mississippi, white residents are more than five times as likely to be Republican as Black residents. Of the five counties where rates of new coronavirus infections are highest right now—Itawamba, Neshoba, Claiborne, Chickasaw, and Benton—all but Claiborne are predominantly white and rural and voted for President Trump in 2016.“Identifying as a Republican is less about party identification than ideological identification,” said James M. Thomas, a professor of sociology at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. “And even after all this, people are still looking at Trump and saying, ‘That’s my guy.’ So when he does something, like making fun of Biden for wearing the biggest mask ever, or taking off his mask on that balcony right after he’s back from the hospital and still contagious, that’s a big statement to his supporters about masks.’”On Sunday morning, Thomas said he drove his family to pick pumpkins at Cedar Hill Farm, just outside Hernando, a predominantly white and conservative suburb of Memphis, Tennessee. Thomas and his family, which is mixed race, wore masks. But the crowd was predominantly white and so few of them were wearing masks, Thomas said, that “we felt like we were making a political statement, going out in public with a mask on.”“And I’m sure people looking at us, an interracial couple, saw us taking a politicized position,” Thomas said. Photos from Cedar Hill this weekend, obtained by The Daily Beast, back up his observation.Cedar Hill doesn’t have a mask mandate, though DeSoto County—which includes it—will as of Wednesday, thanks to the governor’s order. But perhaps no Mississippian has been as publicly hostile toward mask-wearing as the farm’s owner Robert Foster, a conservative firebrand who unsuccessfully challenged Reeves for the Republican gubernatorial nomination last year. On Facebook and Twitter, Foster has labeled Reeves “Tyrant Tate” for imposing a mask mandate and has tried, also unsuccessfully, to get the hashtag MaskOffMS to trend, writing that Reeves and Dobbs are “bullying every school child in the state with their senseless mandates,” a reference to Reeves’ decision to keep a mask mandate in place in Mississippi schools.Despite the mask mandate’s limited scope, Reeves sounded almost apologetic announcing it Monday.“As I’ve said many times throughout 2020, we have to avoid using the heavy hand of government, unless it is absolutely necessary. We should always be as limited as possible while never ignoring the risk of inaction,” Reeves said. “... But we saw this strategy work during the summer wave.”The rise in cases in white communities that may have thought themselves safe from the virus is likely not confined to Mississippi’s borders. On Saturday, the under-10 Baseball Players Association team for Lincoln, Copiah, and Lawrence counties traveled an hour and a half to a seven-team tournament in Vidalia, Louisiana. Video provided to The Daily Beast shows nearly a hundred players and spectators, many clustered together talking. All appear white and none appear to be wearing a mask.“We do a lot of tournaments and it’s the same thing, little to zero taking precautions,” said one parent at the tournament who asked The Daily Beast to withhold her name because her opinion was so unpopular in her community.“[It’s] reckless,” she said. The Baseball Players Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.Topher Brown, a resident of Brookhaven who owns the sanitation company that disinfected Clear Branch after its outbreak, said demand has surged recently, estimating that calls were up as much as 25 percent since August. Unfortunately, Brown said, the vast majority of these calls come only after a business has had an outbreak.“It seems like people don’t really understand the severity of it until it hits home,” Brown said, noting that even when he shows up after an outbreak, “you don’t always see a lot of masks.”His company, Sanitation Plus, also sprayed down Wesson Attendance Center, the public school that had its outbreak at the same time Clear Branch did. Although masks are required inside Mississippi schools, they aren’t outside of buildings. Video from Friday night’s football game against Amite County High shows almost exclusively white families on the bleachers and no masks.“There’s no real reason why we can’t continue to do virtual learning during outbreaks, but schools around here carry on like it’s not a real thing—or a big deal,” the mother said.Wesson Attendance Center did not respond to a request for comment for this story.As for Clear Branch, services are moving back to the parking lot for the rest of October. But the weather’s getting colder, and while no decisions have been made, Moak admits that odds are good they’ll have to return indoors soon.In terms of necessity, what he’s less sure about is whether they’ll ask parishioners to put on masks.“The decision is based on where your people are, and if they’re not comfortable, then they’re not comfortable. You can’t really make them,” Moak told The Daily Beast.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. 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|↑|15. An idle Venezuelan tanker with millions of gallons of oil is creating panic in Trinidad02:23[−]
More than 20 months after a Venezuelan oil tanker carrying nearly 55 million gallons of crude oil was abandoned off the country’s northern coast following tightened U.S. sanctions, inspectors from neighboring Trinidad and Tobago will finally get a chance to see for themselves if the idle vessel’s cargo could lead to a major ecological disaster off the Caribbean coast of South America.
|↑|19. Sen. Schumer, McConnell spar over COVID relief bill00:12[−]
Schumer is not impressed with McConnell’s latest proposal. The Senate minority leader, Charles Schumer, believes Republicans and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell are the reason an agreement on a COVID-19 relief hasn’t been made. On a call with reporters on Sunday, The Hill reports that Schumer says Senate Republicans are the “No. 1 reason there’s no agreement,” and they “won’t even go along with what Trump is willing” to get done.
|↑|20. Journalists Share Deceptively Edited Clip of GOP Michigan Senate Candidate John James’ Answer on Health CareПн, 19 окт[−]
A number of prominent journalists shared a deceptively edited video that purported to show Republican Michigan Senate candidate John James fumbling his response to a question about protecting patients with pre-existing health conditions."I don't see a full health care plan on your website. What do you want to replace it with?" anchor Devin Scillian of Detroit's Local 4 News asked James during an interview on Sunday."So here's the thing. I'm not a politician," James begins his response, at which point the video ends.During the rest of his answer that was not included in the clip, James goes on to outline his vision for health care and the proposals he believes could replace the Affordable Care Act."Health care is unaffordable for too many Americans, and I believe that by increasing competition, increasing choice, increasing quality of care, lowering costs, I think we can do that with some of the ways I proposed," James said.The Michigan Republican said he proposes "broadening the risk pools across state lines," as well as reforming the tort and regulatory hurdles that raise costs and allowing business association health plans "so people can make their own choice.""Those are the types of things through a legislative requirement that must protect preexisting conditions," James said.The video was put out by Michigan Democrats and subsequently shared by several prominent journalists and others with large Twitter followings.CNN White House correspondent John Harwood shared the video, as did Emily Singer and Oliver Willis of the American Independent and veteran broadcast journalist Soledad O'Brien. Several former government officials and entertainment personalities also shared the video along with Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer's communications director and incumbent Gary Peters, James's opponent in the Senate race.The Michigan Senate race is now considered a toss up between James and Peters, according to RealClearPolitics.James has been advocating for replacing Obamacare since his first unsuccessful run for Senate in Michigan three years ago.In November 2017, James called the Affordable Care Act a "monstrosity" and declared Washington needs "someone who will go and work their tail off" to repeal and replace it.“Our failure to repeal and replace Obamacare is the surest sign that we need new conservative leadership in Washington,” James said at the time.
|↑|22. Ghislaine Maxwell loses bid to keep her Jeffrey Epstein testimony secretПн, 19 окт[−]
A U.S. appeals court on Monday dealt Ghislaine Maxwell a blow by refusing to block the release of a deposition she gave concerning her relationship with the late financier and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said there was a presumption the public had a right to see Maxwell's 418-page deposition, which was taken in April 2016 for a now-settled civil defamation lawsuit against her. In an unsigned order, the court also said U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in Manhattan did not abuse her discretion in rejecting Maxwell's "meritless arguments" that her interests superseded that presumption.
|↑|25. Flooding, landslides plague Vietnam as Tropical Storm Saudel makes landfall in the PhilippinesПн, 19 окт[−]
Parts of Vietnam are still reeling from an onslaught of tropical systems in recent weeks that have worsened ongoing flooding in the country. Now, AccuWeather meteorologists say another storm may target the country after bringing flooding rainfall and gusty winds to the Philippines.
At least 102 people have been killed in total by the recent flooding and landslides, while more than 90,000 have been forced to evacuate their homes, The Guardian reports.
On Sunday, rescue operations were underway as multiple landslides buried a military barracks in Vietnam's central province of Quang Tri, according to the BBC. At least 11 bodies have been recovered so far.
Search and rescue efforts were even paused for a time on Sunday as heavy rain returned to the area and increased the risk for additional landslides.
Flooded villages are seen in Quang Tri province, Vietnam, October 13, 2020. Ho Cau/VNA via REUTERS.
Thousands of hectares of ponds and land used for agriculture have been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of cattle and poultry have been swept away in the floodwaters.
Hue, a city located in the province to the south of Quang Tri, has reported 2,265 mm (89.17 inches) of rainfall since the beginning of October. The city typically reports 757 mm (29.80 inches) of rain for the month.
Footage from AFP showed just how high floodwaters had reached in Hue with water entering houses and disrupting other normal everyday activities.
The central Vietnam city is closing in on a monthly rainfall total near what is normally reported in an entire year: 2,798 mm (110.20 inches) of rain.
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Rounds of downpours are forecast to continue across northern and central Vietnam into the middle of the week. Then, a drier air mass is expected to approach on a southward journey from China.
This break in the onslaught of rain may be short-lived for the flood-ravaged region. AccuWeather forecasters are monitoring a newly-formed tropical storm that could follow a path toward Vietnam this week.
A satellite view of Tropical Storm Saudel as it nears landfall over Luzon in the northern Philippines on Tuesday night, local time. (CIRA/RAMMB)
A tropical depression formed to the east of the central Philippines on Monday, local time, and strengthened to a tropical storm as it drew closer to the country on Tuesday. The tropical storm is designated as Saudel by the Japan Meteorological Agency, and is known as Pepito in the Philippines.
At 9 p.m., local time, on Tuesday, the tropical storm made landfall near over San Ildefonso Peninsula in Casiguran, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.
"The storm will continue to cross Luzon through Tuesday night, local time," stated AccuWeather Lead International Meteorologist Jason Nicholls.
He added that the heaviest rainfall is expected across northern Luzon and the higher terrain, where 200-400 mm (8-16 inches) of rain is expected. This is also where the AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 24 inches (600 mm) is most likely to occur.
Widespread rainfall totals of 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) are in the forecast for the rest of the northern Philippines.
The storm will also deliver gusty winds as it passes over the island of Luzon.
"The strongest winds will occur across the northeastern and northern coasts of Luzon, as well as the higher terrain across the Interior of Luzon," stated Nicholls. "Winds will gust between 60 and 100 km/h (40 and 60 mph) with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 150 km/h (90 mph)."
This can lead to damage to weaker structures, downed power lines and tree damage.
This strengthening process will slow down into Wednesday as the storm moves over the northern Philippines. However, once the system emerges over the South China Sea, it will return to an environment conducive for additional strengthening.
As warm water and low wind shear allow the storm to gain strength through the end of the week, it may follow a track toward Indochina, one that was also forged by Linfa and other disorganized tropical features in recent weeks.
This would bring yet another round of torrential rainfall to parts of Vietnam by the weekend.
However, if the track shifts to the north, more widespread impacts may be in the forecast for Hainan, located in southern China. This island took a direct hit from Tropical Storm Nangka on October 13.
Residents across southern China should monitor Tropical Storm Saudel through the week as a northerly could bring the heaviest rain and strongest wind to the region.
Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
|↑|27. 6 Russians charged over most 'destructive series of computer attacks ever attributed to a single group'Пн, 19 окт[−]
The Department of Justice has announced charges against six Russian intelligence officers in connection with a series of majorly "disruptive and destructive" cyberattacks.The DOJ on Monday said that a federal grand jury had indicted six Russian computer hackers, officers of the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), for their role in a series of "computer intrusions and attacks" conducted from 2015 through 2019 "for the strategic benefit of Russia." This allegedly included malware attacks against Ukraine's electric power grid, as well as efforts to disrupt France's 2017 elections and the 2018 Winter Olympics.Officials also said the defendants were responsible for "destructive malware attacks that infected computers worldwide" and led to nearly $1 billion in losses.The alleged hackers, The Washington Post notes, are a part of the same intelligence agency previously charged over interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, although the indictment unsealed on Monday didn't include charges related to U.S. election interference. NBC News' Kevin Collier wrote that "naming six officers (allegedly) responsible for election meddling and destruction two weeks before the election seems a pretty clear sign." The Post reports that "officials said the announcement was not timed to the current political schedule," however. Johns Hopkins University professor Thomas Rid also described the indictment as an "incredible document," which suggests intelligence communities "must have stunning visibility into Russian military intelligence operations if today's disclosures are considered dispensable."Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers in a statement on Monday said "no country has weaponized its cyber capabilities as maliciously or irresponsibly as Russia, wantonly causing unprecedented damage to pursue small tactical advantages and to satisfy fits of spite," saying the defendants were charged over the "most disruptive and destructive series of computer attacks ever attributed to a single group" and adding, "No nation will recapture greatness while behaving in this way."More stories from theweek.com Will Kansas go blue? What happened to third party candidates? If Roe falls
|↑|32. Bloomberg Gun Control Group Pours $4.4 Million into Battleground States in Final WeeksПн, 19 окт[−]
Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun-control advocacy group founded by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, is spending $4.4 million on ads in six battleground states in the final weeks of the presidential election campaign, Politico reported on Monday.The group is spending a total of $60 million on ads in 2020 election races. In Texas, Everytown is running $2 million worth of ads attacking Republican candidates in the state's 22nd and 24th congressional districts over their support for gun rights. Another $1.4 million has been devoted to flipping state legislatures in Texas, Arizona, North Carolina, Iowa, and Minnesota, while $1 million is focused on voter mobilization efforts in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Arizona, North Carolina, and Texas.Some of the ads attempt to connect the coronavirus pandemic with casualties of gun violence."Deaths from Covid-19 and gun violence are on the rise, but Republicans in the North Carolina state legislature have failed to take the action required to keep us safe," one digital ad reads."At the onset of the pandemic, "everyone asked, ‘was the political zeitgeist scrambled?’ And we asked ourselves the same question," Everytown president John Feinblatt told Politico. "Our polling showed us, when you couple the dual carnage of Covid and gun violence to legislative failure to address both emergencies, it's particularly potent."Gun sales have surged across the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic. The FBI has conducted record numbers of background checks, with 2.7 million in March at the start of the pandemic and 3.9 million in June, after widespread demonstrations and riots broke out in various cities.
|↑|34. Rudy’s ‘Russian Agent’ Pal Booted from Facebook for U.S. Election InterferenceПн, 19 окт[−]
Facebook has suspended the account of Ukrainian politician—and alleged Russian agent—Andrii Derkach for election interference activity.The member of Ukraine’s parliament has been working with President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to gather allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson told The Daily Beast, “We removed this account and this Page for violating our policy against the use of our platform by people engaged in election-focused influence operations.”Derkach was sanctioned by the Treasury Department in September for allegedly acting as an agent of Russian intelligence and being “directly or indirectly engaged in, sponsored, concealed, or otherwise been complicit in foreign interference in an attempt to undermine the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election.”Rudy: Only ‘50/50’ Chance I Worked With a ‘Russian Spy’ to Dig Dirt on Bidens and UkraineThrough his “Nabu Leaks” website, Derkach began spreading leaked recordings of conversations between Vice President Biden and former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko discussing a $1 billion loan to Ukraine and the need to fire an allegedly corrupt former prosecutor. Derkach and a number of Republican politicians have spread unsubstantiated allegations that Biden’s internationally backed pressure on Ukraine to fire its prosecutor general was part of a corruption scheme involving Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company where Biden's son, Hunter, sat on the board.Giuliani has come under increasing scrutiny for his relationship with Derkach, as revelations swirl about the U.S. intelligence community’s concerns that Russian spies may have tried to use the former mayor of New York as a conduit to launder disinformation from Moscow.Giuliani’s relationship with Derkach blossomed as he traveled around Ukraine in search of dirt on Biden’s son. Giuliani interviewed Derkach for a video series about his Hunter Biden conspiracy theories and recently told The Daily Beast, “The chance that Derkach is a Russian spy is no better than 50/50.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
|↑|35. Neil deGrasse Tyson says asteroid could hit day before electionПн, 19 окт[−]
Famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson posted a picture of an asteroid approaching Earth saying that it could strike the planet before the election on Nov. 3. “Asteroid 2018VP1, a refrigerator-sized space-rock, is hurtling towards us at more than 40,000 km/hr,” he wrote in a tweet Saturday. “It may buzz-cut Earth on Nov 2, the day before the Presidential Election.”
|↑|36. Trump reportedly invited a waiter into a top secret intelligence briefing room to order a milkshakeПн, 19 окт[−]
Look, sometimes a man just needs a malted milkshake. Admittedly, there are less opportune moments to indulge in such a craving — say, when you're in a highly classified briefing about Afghanistan with your country's senior defense and intelligence officials.Nevertheless, President Trump reportedly brought such a huddle to a halt a few months after he took office in 2017, Politico reports. "Does anyone want a malt?" the commander-in-chief supposedly asked the top-ranking officials who'd assembled for the briefing at his New Jersey golf club, including the head of the CIA's Special Activities Center, "a little known unit" that is "responsible for operations that include clandestine or covert operations with which the U.S. government does not want to be overtly associated," Spec Ops Magazine explains.Trump urged, "We have the best malts, you have to try them," before inviting a waiter into the code-word-secure briefing room to satisfy his sweet tooth. "The malt episode ... became legendary inside the CIA, said three former officials," Politico writes, explaining that "it was seen as an early harbinger of Trump's disinterest in intelligence, which would later be borne out by the new president's notorious resistance to reading his classified daily briefing." (That is to say, pictures were added to the briefings to help keep him engaged).Still, this is a man who has flexed the power of the nation's highest office to … install a button on his desk in the Oval Office that summons a butler to bring him a Diet Coke. The briefings can wait! To paraphrase a queen of France who was similarly burdened with the trivialities of running a country when there were sweets to consume, let them drink milkshakes.More stories from theweek.com Will Kansas go blue? What happened to third party candidates? If Roe falls
|↑|37. Andrew Cuomo: Americans ‘Should Be’ Skeptical of Coronavirus VaccineПн, 19 окт[−]
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday said he is “not that confident” in the approval process for a coronavirus vaccine and that Americans “should be” skeptical of any vaccine for the virus put forth by the FDA.Cuomo appeared on Good Morning America to discuss New York’s efforts in fighting the coronavirus. The state has largely remained at a 1 percent positivity rate for months, but is tightening restrictions in areas of the state where cases have spiked as colder weather pushes people back indoors.When asked by George Stephanopolous if he was “confident” in the FDA’s approval process for a vaccine, Cuomo expressed skepticism. > Gov. @andrewcuomo: Americans “should be” skeptical of any Covid vaccine the CDC/FDA clear for use pic.twitter.com/yBkVsXIOWn> > -- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) October 19, 2020“I’m not that confident but my opinion doesn't matter," he said. "But I don't believe the American people are that confident. You are going to say to the American people now, 'Here's a vaccine, it was new, it was done quickly, but trust this federal administration, their health administration that it's safe, and we're not 100 percent sure of the consequences,' I think it's going to be a very skeptical American public about taking the vaccine, and they should be."Stephanopolous asked Cuomo what it would take for him to be convinced that it's safe, effective and should be distributed."What I said I'm going to do in New York is we're going to put together our own group of doctors and medical experts to review the vaccine and the efficacy and the protocol, and if they say it's safe, I'll go to the people of New York and I will say it's safe with that credibility," Cuomo said in response. "But I believe, all across the country, you are going to need someone other than this FDA and this CDC saying it's safe."The Democrat said he believed the FDA and the CDC have “lost their credibility.”"You have Dr. Fauci saying that they tried to muzzle him, and he has the highest credibility in the nation on this issue," he said.Dr. Fauci, for his part, has said he would trust an eventual vaccine approved by the FDA.Cuomo also accused the administration of “learning nothing from the past,” in giving Americans false hope that a vaccine will bring about an immediate end to the pandemic. "They are saying the day we get the vaccine that's when this ends," Cuomo said. "That's not true. The day we get the vaccine, we then have to prove to the American people that it's safe, we then have to administer millions of doses and that is a massive undertaking that this administration hasn't even talked about and is going to take months."
|↑|40. Russian court sentences Arctic city mayor to community service over fuel spillПн, 19 окт[−]
A Russian court on Monday sentenced the former mayor of the Arctic city of Norilsk to six months of community service after finding him guilty of negligence over a major fuel spill in the region. Rinat Akhmetchin, who resigned as mayor in July, was charged with negligence after a fuel tank at a power station in the remote, industrial region lost pressure and collapsed in late May, leaking more than 20,000 tonnes of fuel into rivers and subsoil. Greenpeace has compared the incident to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska.
|↑|41. China is reaping the economic benefits of its COVID-19 policiesПн, 19 окт[−]
China reported Monday that its gross domestic product expanded by 4.9 percent in the third quarter compared with a year earlier, putting the country on track for economic growth of between 1.9 percent and 2.5 percent in 2020. The U.S., meanwhile, will see its economy shrink by 4.3 percent this year, while European nations will contract by 8.3 percent, according to International Monetary Fund projections.China, like most of the world, saw its economy contract sharply in the second quarter, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that started in Wuhan. "But since then, China has staged a dramatic economic recovery due to extensive, mandatory testing and quarantine policies," NPR reports. "Daily new cases of the coronavirus have dropped to single digits. Subsequent outbreaks were contained by strict, city-by-city lockdowns that have allowed the national economy to continue operating even as some regions were temporarily sealed off."Beijing paved the way for a return to economic growth "in roughly three stages," The Wall Street Journal reports: Shutting down its economy from January through March, firing up its factories starting in April, and — "having almost entirely stamped out the coronavirus within its borders — encouraging consumers to begin venturing outside of their homes and opening up their wallets." This resumption of manufacturing has increased China's share of global exports and economic influence, and has widened its trade surplus with the U.S.Because consumption is still soft in China and other countries, the country is now making more goods than people are able or willing to buy. Economists will be watching China's inventories for signs that its economic expansion is sustainable.More stories from theweek.com Will Kansas go blue? What happened to third party candidates? If Roe falls
|↑|44. Lopez Obrador criticizes DEA role in Mexico after ex-army chief's arrestПн, 19 окт[−]
Mexico's president has criticized the historic role played by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in his country, days after a former Mexican army chief was arrested in Los Angeles on drug charges at the behest of the DEA. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador described Thursday's arrest of ex-Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos as evidence of rampant corruption in past governments. Speaking in the southern state of Oaxaca on Saturday, Lopez Obrador said the DEA had dealt for years with Cienfuegos and Genaro Garcia Luna, Mexico's security minister from 2006 to 2012, who has also been charged in the United States with drug-trafficking offenses.
|↑|50. Many homes likely lost in north-central Colorado firesВс, 18 окт[−]
Nearly 3,000 people were forced to flee from a fast-moving fire in north-central Colorado and authorities believe a large number of homes were destroyed. The CalWood Fire started around noon Saturday near the Cal-Wood Education Center, which is about 17 miles (27 kilometers) from downtown Boulder. The National Center for Atmospheric Research's Mesa lab recorded gusts of 59 mph (95 kph) on Saturday.