French President Emmanuel Macron has ordered a nationwide lockdown for the second time since the pandemic began, after France registered more than 30,000 coronavirus cases Wednesday for the third day in a row.
President Emmanuel Macron: “Like in the spring, you will be able to leave your house only to work, for a medical appointment, to provide assistance to a relative, to shop for essential goods or to get some air near your house. This means the return of the permission slip.”
Germany said it will close restaurants, bars, gyms and theaters for a month — but will keep schools and daycares open — after a massive second wave of infections pushed daily case counts and hospitalizations to record highs.
Iran reported a record death toll for a second straight day Wednesday, with fresh warnings that the nation’s healthcare system — already strained by U.S. sanctions — could collapse.
In Latin America, Mexico has passed 900,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and over 90,000 deaths, while Argentina continues to set records for infections with one out of every 44 people confirmed to have acquired the virus.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the states of Pennsylvania and North Carolina can accept absentee ballots received after November 3 — at least for now. In the Pennsylvania case, the justices refused to take up a plea from Republicans to overturn a ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to count ballots received up until three days after the election if they are postmarked by November 3. But the justices could still consider the Republican challenge again after the election if the state turns out to be pivotal to the election.
In the North Carolina case, the justices let stand a lower court ruling allowing the state’s Board of Elections to extend the deadline for counting ballots to nine days after Election Day. Newly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not take part in either case.
In Nebraska, hundreds of Trump supporters were left stranded in the freezing cold for hours at an airfield in Omaha Tuesday night following a rally by President Trump. At least seven people were taken to the hospital. One 68-year-man was found shivering with possible hypothermia and altered mental status, according to an account on the Omaha police scanner. The rally was held three miles from the closest parking lot, and the Trump campaign didn’t have enough buses to transport everyone in a timely manner.
Former Department of Homeland Security official Miles Taylor has revealed he was the Trump administration insider who first critiqued the president in 2018 in The New York Times under the pen name Anonymous. The Times described Anonymous as a “senior official in the Trump administration,” prompting speculation that the article may have been written by a member of Trump’s Cabinet. At the time, Taylor was an adviser to then-Homeland Security Director Kirstjen Nielsen. In August, Taylor endorsed Joe Biden for president.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has signed several police reform bills limiting the militarization of police departments and banning the use of no-knock warrants — joining Florida and Oregon as the third state to bar unannounced raids by police. Virginia House Bill 5099 was nicknamed “Breonna’s Law” after Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black woman shot to death in her own home last March by Louisville, Kentucky, police officers serving a no-knock warrant.
In Philadelphia, federal agents arrested prominent civil rights activist Anthony Smith at his home Wednesday over unspecified charges related to protests against police brutality that erupted in May. Smith’s lawyers are questioning the timing of the arrest, which came as protests continued against the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr., a 27-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by two Philadelphia officers during a mental health crisis. Philadelphia’s mayor ordered a curfew overnight, following incidents of arson and looting on the sidelines of mostly peaceful protests on Monday and Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Police Department says it has launched an investigation into officers who were filmed smashing the windows of an SUV during protests early Tuesday morning — then beating the driver and removing a small child from the back seat.
On the Gulf Coast, at least two people were killed Wednesday after Hurricane Zeta made landfall south of New Orleans as a Category 2 storm. Zeta moved rapidly inland, leaving more than 1.7 million customers without power between Louisiana and the Carolinas. It was the fifth named storm to make landfall in Louisiana this year, the strongest hurricane since 1899 to hit the U.S. this late in the year, and the 27th named storm of 2020’s unprecedented Atlantic hurricane season.
The Trump administration has stripped protections against logging and road building in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska — one of the world’s largest temperate rainforests. The 9.3-million-acre forest is home to pristine old-growth trees and vulnerable species, including Pacific salmon, wolves and bears. This month, the Natural Resources Defense Council noted the Tongass “stores more carbon per acre than almost any other forest on the planet, which makes preserving it a matter of real urgency in the fight against climate change.”
The International Red Cross warns fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh region risks spiraling out of control as civilian casualties mount. On Wednesday, Armenia accused Azerbaijan of bombing a maternity hospital in Stepanakert. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan claims 21 people died after Armenian forces shelled the town of Barda.
In Colombia, riot police used tear gas and truncheons Wednesday to force more than 600 Indigenous families from their homes on privately owned land in the southern Amazonas region. The area is one of Colombia’s poorest, and residents say poverty drove them to occupy the property two months ago in a desperate bid for survival.
Indigenous woman: “If the police are going to evict me, then kill me first! But, I tell you, I am not going. I am not going!”
In the United States, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has agreed to pay $100,000 in damages to settle a lawsuit for targeting members of the Vermont-based group Migrant Justice. Under the agreement, ICE will also stop deportation proceedings against three members of Migrant Justice, including Victor Diaz, who spoke in Burlington at a rally on Wednesday.
Victor Diaz: ”ICE tried to terrorize us by going after our leaders. They tried to divide us by going after our organization. They tried to silence us. But with this settlement, we are saying that we will not be silenced!”
In news from the art world, the Baltimore Museum of Art has called off plans to sell three paintings, including an Andy Warhol, to raise money to buy more art by women and artists of color. The museum was hoping to raise $65 million from the auction and sale, but the move set off a fierce debate within Baltimore and the art community.