Here’s what you need to know at the end of the day.
By Victoria Shannon and Merrill D. Oliver
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Good evening. Here’s the latest.
1. Amy Coney Barrett is set to be confirmed to the Supreme Court by the Senate this evening, capping a breakneck process.
Justice Clarence Thomas will give the constitutional oath to Judge Barrett at the White House tonight after the vote, and she can start hearing cases as soon as she is sworn in. At least three cases are pending over state deadlines for mailed ballots.
Two of them are emergency applications, which are decided without arguments. In a series of terse, unsigned orders this year, the Supreme Court has been deciding many other voting disputes on its “shadow docket” without any explanation in response to the ballooning number of emergency applications filed by the Trump administration.
2. Joe Biden appears newly emboldened.
The Democratic presidential candidate expressed confidence about winning a majority of votes in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, three battleground states. Above, Mr. Biden at a voter activation site in Chester, Pa., today.
President Trump, meanwhile, led three rallies in Pennsylvania.
In other election developments:
A third to a half of all eligible voters typically don’t vote in presidential elections. “I try to avoid it because it gets angry and nasty,” said Susan Miller, who lives in Pennsylvania, where 3.5 million of those eligible stayed home in 2016, and where Mr. Trump won by 44,292 votes.
Among a wave of states with marijuana measures on the ballot, Oregon would go further with a proposal to legalize drugs such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine for personal use. Tax revenue from drug sales would be channeled toward drug treatment.
There’s new evidence that the heightened partisanship of the last four years — paradoxically — has led politically mixed couples to understand each other better than before.
3. A rise in U.S. and European coronavirus cases and new restrictions hit stock and oil prices. The S&P 500 fell nearly 2 percent.
El Paso and Newark imposed new measures as hospitals overflowed and positive tests spiked. Medical facilities in Utah, Missouri, Idaho and Tennessee are also hurting. Above, testing at the University of Texas at El Paso on Friday.
Europe’s latest wave is worsening. Britain recorded 151,391 new cases in the past seven days, according to a Times database. France added nearly a quarter of a million cases — 241,473 — in the past seven days. On Sunday alone, the country reported 52,010 new cases.
4. President Trump’s manufacturing promises have fallen far short.
The Foxconn plant in Wisconsin that the president hailed as the “eighth wonder of the world” when it broke ground in 2018 has hired less than a quarter of the 2,080 workers anticipated and invested just $300 million, rather than the expected $3.3 billion. Above, at the groundbreaking event in Mount Pleasant, Wis.
Pledges went unfulfilled in other cases, too. A G.M. plant in Ohio was sold in 2019 to a buyer who promised to employ 3,700 workers; only about 50 engineers work there now. More than 700 jobs were saved in 2016 at a Carrier plant in Indiana, under pressure from Mr. Trump. But over the next two years, the company cut 500 jobs there and moved those roles to Mexico.
Employment in the manufacturing sector, which lapsed into a recession last year, has declined by more than 200,000 jobs from when Mr. Trump took office.
5. Ant Group is set to raise $34 billion in the world’s biggest I.P.O.
The Alibaba online finance spinoff, which offers people in China a one-stop shop for loans, investments and more, will list shares in Hong Kong and Shanghai in the coming weeks.
The company, the parent of the Alipay mobile payment service, priced its shares at a level that would give it a market value comparable to that of JPMorgan Chase.
More than 730 million people use the Alipay app every month. Yet its size and importance have also made it a target for China’s regulators. Above, scanning an Alipay code at a market in Hangzhou, China.
6. That’s a lot of doughnuts.
A deal to sell Dunkin’ Brands, the parent of Dunkin’ and Baskin Robbins, to a private equity-supported company for nearly $9 billion could be announced as soon as today.
The prospective buyer is Inspire Brands, a conglomerate backed by the investment firm Roark Capital, which has been on a buying spree in recent years, acquiring chains like Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and Jimmy Johns.
Bankers have long considered Dunkin’ a takeover target. The brand has also done well during the pandemic, benefiting from early investments in its digital business, helping it offer contact-free takeout after the coronavirus outbreak.
7. Hurricane Zeta, which formed in the Caribbean over the weekend, is on track to strike the U.S. this week.
Zeta, the 27th named storm this year, is forecast to make landfall Wednesday in Louisiana. But first, it is headed for the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico. Above, storm clouds near Cancún, Mexico, today. The National Weather Center warned of possible storm surges in Louisiana and Florida.
In California, a new fire forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate in Irvine. The state’s biggest utility cut off power for hundreds of thousands to try to prevent more fires in this year’s devastating season. About 4,000 firefighters were fighting 22 wildfires across the state.
8. A new way to save the world’s most endangered species.
Lemurs are found only in Madagascar. But the large national parks set aside there to conserve the species are being affected by climate change.
Now, scientists are exploring whether small, privately owned pockets of habitat may be the key to saving not just lemurs but also threatened animals everywhere.
“These animals are really sensitive,” a primatologist said. “If you can protect them where they’re at, there are a lot of advantages to doing so.”
9. Remembering the Great Sneaker Spill.
During a violent ocean storm in 1990, more than 61,000 Nike sneakers on a ship destined for America went overboard in the Pacific. Months later, carried by wind and currents, the sneakers started showing up on beaches in Vancouver, Washington and Oregon.
Now, Andy Yoder, a Washington, D.C., artist, has commemorated the Great Sneaker Spill with a display of 250 replicas of the shoes to highlight the continuing degradation of the marine environment. The exhibit, above, is on view in Vermont and online.
Sneakers “cross over into so many demographics of color, race, class, age,” the artist said. “That made them the perfect vehicle for a project like this. They’re instantly relatable.”
10. And finally, how is Kazakhstan taking the latest “Borat” movie?
When the comedian Sacha Baron Cohen made fun of the entire country in his first movie in 2006, the authoritarian Kazakh government banned it and threatened to sue him.
With the sequel “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” out now on Amazon, the government changed tack and decided that any publicity is good. It embraced the Borat character’s catchphrase and turned it into a tourism slogan: “Kazakhstan. Very nice!”
“In Covid times, when tourism spending is on hold, it was good to see the country mentioned in the media,” said a Kazakh tourism board official. “Not in the nicest way, but it’s good to be out there.”
Have a very nice evening.
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