An early winter storm will blast the West this weekend, which is great news for fire-ravaged areas. It's not so great for everyone else, who will have to deal with a lot of rain and snow.
Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
(You can also get '5 Things You Need to Know Today' delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
1. Election 2020
The landscape of the US presidential election is shifting rapidly in the remaining undecided states. Former Vice President Joe Biden has pulled ahead in Georgia, a shocking development in a traditional Republican stronghold. He's also gaining on President Trump in Pennsylvania, where tens of thousands of votes remain to be counted. Races in Arizona, Nevada, North Carolina and Alaska are also too close to call. A little math: Biden's still at 253 Electoral College votes (some outlets have called Arizona for the Democrat, but his lead there has shrunk, and CNN, among others, has not made a projection). Trump is at 213 electoral votes. Remember, the magic number is 270, so a win in Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes, would put Biden over the top. The Keystone State may finish its reporting today. Georgia carries 16 votes, Arizona 11, Nevada 6, North Carolina 15 and Alaska 3.
2. Election reactions
President Trump has cast unfounded doubt on the election process as his path to a second term narrows. In a speech yesterday, Trump alleged voter fraud and said unnamed opponents are 'trying to steal an election' and 'trying to rig an election.' He also called mail-in voting 'corrupt' and made several false claims about how elections are run at the state level. The Trump campaign has filed several election-related lawsuits in various states, but the legal challenges often haven't held up. Some Trump supporters have outright urged violence. Former adviser Steve Bannon was permanently banned from Twitter after calling for attacks on Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray. In Philadelphia, police are investigating a potential attack plot at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where votes were being tallied last night. Protests and unrest roiled several cities as election anxiety mounts.
3. Other notable races
The balance of power in the Senate is still even, with 47 races called for each party. That's not good news for Democrats, who will likely lose out on a majority. However, both Senate races in Georgia between GOP incumbents and Democratic challengers could go to high-stakes runoffs. Republicans are overperforming in House races, in large part because of female candidates. At least 13 non-incumbent Republican women have won their contests so far, CNN projects. Here are some other interesting results:
• Former astronaut Mark Kelly holds a comfortable lead for an Arizona Senate seat over GOP Sen. Martha McSally. Kelly is married to former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was shot in the head in a 2011 mass shooting in Tucson.
• Californians voted to pass Prop 22, a ballot measure that exempts Uber and Lyft from classifying their drivers as employees. That's good news for the companies' stock, but some labor advocates say this could lead to further exploitation of gig economy workers.
• Rhode Island voters approved removing 'Plantations' from the state's official name over concerns about the word's history.
• Alabama voters approved an amendment to remove from their state's constitution racist language that reflected defunct laws on segregation and interracial marriage.
The US reported more than 121,000 new coronavirus cases yesterday, which is an all-time high. (The previous all-time high was, well, the day before.) The country is rapidly approaching 10 million cumulative cases and 235,000 total deaths. A new forecast from the Centers for Disease Control predicts 31,000 additional American lives could be lost in the next two and a half weeks alone. New case records are still soaring in Europe as well, and even more countries are entering renewed lockdowns. In India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh, more than 1,400 teachers and students have tested positive for the virus.
Is Ethiopia headed for civil war? The East African country's government has announced a six-month state of emergency over growing tensions in the northern Tigray region. Ethiopia's military now says it's at 'war' with the Tigray region's ruling party after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered troops to head there in response to an alleged attack by the Tigray People's Liberation Front on a federal military base. This development could test Ethiopia's fragile federal system. The world now looks to Abiy, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his work as a regional peacemaker, to pull his country back from the brink.
How to cope with stress-eating
We're getting to the point where we need coping mechanisms for our coping mechanisms.
Here's what this year's Starbucks holiday cups look like
Plan your unnecessarily political Facebook rants accordingly.
Tesla rolled out (heh) its own tequila, and it's already sold out
Clearly the car company's figured out people will buy anything it makes.
TikTok is swooning over a new kind of celebrity: election analysts
Beach ball-sized jellyfish capable of damaging boats spotted in South Carolina
A jellyfish ... that can damage boats? Oh, absolutely not. Send that back.
'Trying these officers together will give the jury a complete picture of what happened on the day that George was murdered.'
A statement from the family of George Floyd, praising the recent decision by a Minneapolis judge to try all four former city police officers charged in Floyd's death at the same time
That's how many Australians have signed a petition calling for a probe into the extent of dominance held by Rupert Murdoch's media empire. The petition requests a Royal Commission -- Australia's highest form of public inquiry -- to 'investigate threats to media diversity.'
Eta is still on the move
Tropical Depression Eta left more than 50 dead, displaced thousands and caused widespread devastation in Central America. Now, the storm has reentered the Caribbean Sea and is forecast to pass over Cuba on Saturday night into Sunday morning. After that, it will likely head toward Florida.
Waiting for election results like ...
Ansd thus ends our election week animal videos series. Here is your emotional support sloth. (Click here to view.)