5 things to know for September 15: Covid-19, election, immigration, police, Yemen

Sally is now a Category 1 hurricane as it bears down on the Gulf Coast and could strengthen before it makes landfall.

Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Coronavirus

More than 29 million people around the world have now been diagnosed with Covid-19, and the global death toll is about 925,000 — only a few ominous steps away from a million. The full weight of the pandemic has also set the world back by decades in areas like global vaccine coverage, according to a new report from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It has also pushed the extreme poverty rate up 7% in a matter of months, with 37 million people falling into dire financial straits and another 68 million dipping below the poverty line in lower-middle-income countries. Some countries are considering stricter prevention measures as the virus refuses to abate, like in Israel, where a new round of intense lockdowns will take effect Friday.

2. Election 2020

Joe Biden’s campaign has assembled a large legal team to take on election issues as the road to November continues to reveal new voting obstacles. Already, there are worries about mismatched signatures on absentee ballots. In North Carolina, about 2% of the 10,000 ballots mailed in in the earliest days of voting were rejected because of some issue, including signature problems. Voters in other states, like Wisconsin, are wary because some ballots there were tossed for similar reasons during primaries. In Ohio, a GOP-run state board has rejected a proposal to pre-pay postage for ballots, meaning citizens must produce their own stamps to vote. Meanwhile, leaders in both major parties are warning citizens about a postcard sent to all households by the US Postal Service that contains inaccurate information about mail-in voting.

3. Immigration 

A federal appeals court panel has decided the Trump administration can end humanitarian protections for 300,000 immigrants from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador. The form of humanitarian relief, known as Temporary Protected Status, applies to people in the United States who would face extreme hardship if forced to return to their homelands. The Trump administration is critical of TPS and has long wanted to limit its scope. The court ruled that the Department of Homeland Security secretary “possesses full and unreviewable discretion” when it comes to providing — or denying — TPS status. However, in Maryland, a federal judge has determined that acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf is likely unlawfully serving in his role. That ruling also temporarily blocks some asylum restrictions.

4. Police violence

Another police shooting, another swell of anger and protests. Eight people were arrested during demonstrations in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, after an officer there shot and killed a 27-year-old man on Sunday while responding to a domestic disturbance call. A 911 caller claimed her brother was getting aggressive with his mother and trying to break into her house. Bodycam footage of the incident shows a man running from the house toward officers while wielding a knife. The district attorney’s office is investigating. Meanwhile, the police chief in Rochester, New York, has been fired in the aftermath of the March death of Daniel Prude, a Black man. Prude died while in police custody, and an investigation is ongoing.

5. Yemen 

Aid cuts made by the US and key regional allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are contributing to deaths and misery in war-torn, aid-starved Yemen. All three countries have contributed less than half their normal aid funding this year, and the cuts have resulted in reduced health care services for Yemenis, with some hospitals and clinics forced to close. They have also forced aid agencies to stretch food assistance thin. However, even with the significant decline in aid, the US is still the biggest donor to the UN’s Yemen appeal, with $411 million donated this year (the US donated almost $1 billion 2019). In addition, aid that does make it to Yemen is sometimes diverted by militant groups or cut off from the country’s most vulnerable areas.


The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will go on — but without crowds

We’re giving those balloons a wide berth this year.

Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle gave us a legendary Verzuz ‘battle’

Turns out two queens ARE better than one.

7-foot-tall robots are stacking store shelves in Tokyo

“They’re friendly … they’re friendly …” you quietly whisper to yourself as you tiptoe around their wide, metal backs.

Taco Bell is selling its own wine 

This definitely feels like an “order wine at Taco Bell” kind of year.


2 Gulf nations will recognize Israel at the White House

President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will join the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain today at the White House to mark normalization agreements between Israel and the two Arab countries. Here’s a breakdown of what the historic meeting means for all sides. 



That’s how many workers FedEx is planning to hire to meet holiday demand this year. A majority of those positions will be seasonal hires.


“Roger Goodell uses video of Colin courageously kneeling to legitimize (the NFL’s) disingenuous PR while simultaneously perpetuating systemic oppression … by continuing to rob Colin of his career. It’s diabolical.”

NFL player Eric Reid, who knelt with Colin Kaepernick in the early days of the Anthem demonstrations, sounding off about the NFL’s inclusion of Kaepernick’s image in social justice video content


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The man behind computer ‘Solitaire’

Remember playing Solitaire on your first computer? Meet the man who brought the game to life, as well as the person behind the Ctrl-Alt-Delete function and other famous computer codes. (Click here to view.)