Written by 9:53 pm New York News

2020 Election, Coronavirus Vaccine, Prince: Your Thursday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. President Trump stood by his extraordinary suggestion that he might not accept the results of the election if he loses.

“We want to make sure the election is honest and I’m not sure that it can be,” he told reporters, branding mail-in ballots as “a whole big scam.” His comments came a day after he refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the Nov. 3 election.

Republican leaders insisted there would be a peaceful transition, but they stopped short of directly criticizing the president.

Democrats sounded the alarm. Representative Adam Schiff of California, who led the drive in the House to impeach Mr. Trump, said flatly, “This is how democracy dies.”

Mr. Trump was jeered by protesters while paying his respects to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Washington.

2. New York will conduct its own review of coronavirus vaccines over concern that the approval process has become too politicized.

A panel will advise the state on a vaccine’s safety and effectiveness, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, adding that “frankly, I’m not going to trust the federal government’s opinion, and I wouldn’t recommend to New Yorkers, based on the federal government’s opinion.”

New York officials could in theory delay distribution if they believed a vaccine was not safe. Mr. Cuomo’s announcement has the potential to add further confusion for Americans wondering whom to believe about the vaccine vetting process.

Separately, a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that infected young people begin waves of the virus that sicken older people.


3. Facing a spike in coronavirus cases, European officials fear a repeat of harrowing scenes from last spring, when the virus swamped intensive care units in Italy and Spain.

But just how imminent is the peril? European leaders are dealing with a fast-changing situation, with conflicting evidence on how quickly new virus cases are translating into hospital admissions. Madrid’s hospitals are close to capacity, for example, yet France’s hospital admissions and deaths are going up slowly. Above, medical students protested their working conditions in Barcelona.

And Israel is tightening its second national lockdown after infection rates soared this week to about 5,000 new cases a day. The new measures, which go into effect on Friday, will remain in place at least until mid-October. An exception has been made for Yom Kippur, which begins at sundown on Sunday.


4. The lack of a murder or manslaughter indictment in the Breonna Taylor case was an outrage to many — but not a surprise.

Few police officers are ever charged with murder or manslaughter when they cause a death in the line of duty, and only about a third of those officers are convicted. Even as tens of thousands of Americans protest police brutality and racial injustice, as many did last night, there is a stark disconnect between the public perception of police violence and how it is treated in court.

The Louisville police charged a suspect in the shooting of two officers during last night’s protests, pictured above. Here’s the latest and photographs of demonstrations from around the country.

6. Detention sites are expanding in Xinjiang, despite China’s claims that “re-education” camps are winding down for Uighurs and other minorities.

An investigation by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute showed that many detainees were most likely being sent to prisons and perhaps other facilities. China has denied that the Uighurs have suffered human rights abuses.

By using nighttime satellite imagery, the researchers found and examined some 380 suspected detention sites in Xinjiang. At least 61 of them had expanded in area between July 2019 and July of this year, and of those, 14 were still growing.


7. We looked at data from NASA satellites that confirm this is the worst fire season on record. Above, Shaver Lake, Calif., earlier this month.

The heat-detecting satellites showed that fires in Washington, Oregon and California in 2020 have already eclipsed even the worst previous year. Combined, over five million acres have burned in the three states. And more devastating fires in the West show no sign of slowing down.

In addition to the fires, climate change is also contributing to heat waves in the ocean. A new study found that human-caused global warming made marine heat waves, the oceanic equivalent of a deadly summer atmospheric one, at least 20 times more likely. Scientists say ocean heat waves are disrupting the food webs of sea lions and other creatures.


8. “Saturday Night Live” had to adjust production to the Covid era. But as its creator and longtime executive producer said, a little danger” can be good for comedy.

We talked to Lorne Michaels ahead of the sketch comedy show’s return with live episodes on Oct. 3. Chris Rock will host, with Megan Thee Stallion as the musical guest.

Mr. Michaels talked about new safety protocols (cast members will wear masks until the moment the red light goes on), the addition of Jim Carrey playing Joe Biden (“we’re in a period where comedy is only part of it”), and his hope that the first cold-open sketch will give viewers a sense of community and “that sanity is somehow in the air.”

10. And finally, musical treasure from Prince’s vault.

When Prince released “Sign O’ the Times” in 1987, music was pouring out of him, so much so that his label pressured him to cut back on tracks. Now, “Sign O’ the Times” has been reissued and vastly expanded with three new CDs of unreleased material from Prince’s huge archive, a DVD with live shows and more.

“The newly released songs reveal how many paths Prince was testing before he finalized ‘Sign O’ the Times,’” our music critic Jon Pareles writes, “and how many solid songs still didn’t meet his high standards before his death in 2016.” His original choices for the album still hold up, Jon writes, “but it’s a joy to hear so much more.”

Have a rockin’ night.


Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.

Want to catch up on past briefings? You can browse them here.

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