5 things to know for November 18: Covid-19, election, stimulus, US troops, Ethiopia

Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller announced that the US will withdraw thousands more US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq by Jan 15, 2021.

Posted: Nov 17, 2020 1:15 PM
Updated: Nov 18, 2020 4:45 AM


For Thanksgiving Day, Zoom is lifting the time limit for free meetings -- so your virtual family get-togethers won't be cut short.

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

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1. Coronavirus

The FDA has issued an emergency authorization for the first rapid coronavirus test that can be used at home and deliver results within minutes. The new test uses nasal swab samples and is authorized for ages 14 and older. It'll help people skip long lines as coronavirus cases skyrocket nationwide and comes days after more positive news on vaccine trials: Moderna announced a 94.5% effective rate, while Pfizer/BioNTech said final analysis shows its coronavirus vaccine is 95% effective with no safety concerns and Pfizer's CEO says the company plans to file for emergency use authorization for it soon. The US continues to set grim records, with about 76,830 people hospitalized nationwide, the highest number since the start of the pandemic. This is likely the 'last big surge' before a vaccine offers help, said Dr. Mark McClellan, a former FDA commissioner. 'The months ahead are going to look better than the weeks ahead,' he added.

2. Election 2020

President Trump has fired the head of a federal cybersecurity agency who debunked his election conspiracy theories. Christopher Krebs was director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the Homeland Security Department. His agency recently launched an online rumor control blog rebutting claims of election fraud spread by Trump and his supporters. Krebs also posted on social media -- often with blaring red siren emojis -- fact checks of the baseless claims. In a tweet announcing the ouster, the President called Krebs' characterization of the election 'highly inaccurate.' Krebs fired back with a tweet of his own: 'Honored to serve. We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomorrow (sic).' Meanwhile, President-elect Joe Biden announced nine key members of his White House senior staff.

3. Stimulus

The fate of a federal stimulus package is looking bleak. Lawmakers are getting less confident a deal can be reached in the lame duck session -- with the focus instead turning to a government spending negotiation that must be finished by December 11. Aides on both sides say serious conversations about the stimulus have tapered off, even as US coronavirus cases have soared past 11 million. 'The men and women throughout our country -- they're suffering because of Covid and we're not doing a damn thing to help them,' said Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat. The divide between Republicans and Democrats continues to simmer over how much money each side is willing to spend. Democrats -- including Biden -- have urged Senate Republicans to pass House Democrats' Heroes Act, which totals more than $2 trillion. Republicans, meanwhile, have made it clear they are not willing to spend much north of $1 trillion.

4. US troops

With two months left in office, President Trump is rushing to bring more US troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq. The withdrawal of thousands of troops would be completed by January 15 (just ahead of Biden's inauguration), leaving Afghanistan and Iraq with 2,500 troops each -- down from about 4,500 and 3,000, respectively, the acting defense secretary said. A senior defense official said the move is consistent with Trump's promise to the American people. But it also suggests the President may fall short of fulfilling one of his core pledges to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan before he leaves office -- something he pledged as recently as October.

5. Ethiopia

A deadly humanitarian crisis is developing in Ethiopia, where thousands of people are fleeing violence in the Tigray region. About 4,000 have crossed the border into eastern Sudan every day over the past week, and that number is growing, the United Nations warned. The crisis started on November 4 after the Ethiopian Prime Minister and Nobel laureate Abiy Ahmed launched a military offensive in the region after accusing forces loyal to local leaders of attacking federal troops deployed there. The federal forces have since bombed targets in Tigray, leading to intense clashes with local forces. Pleas from neighboring nations to deescalate have fallen on deaf ears.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Twitter's growing up

The social media platform's introducing a bunch of new features, including disappearing tweets and audio. No edit button, though.

Travel tradition with a twist 

National Geographic unveiled its best travel destinations for 2021 -- but with options that reflect the times we're in.

Persistence does pay

After playing the same set of lottery numbers for 26 years, one North Carolina couple is now $366,000 richer.

Hello, better sleep 

Students designed a series of innovative solutions, including a pillow that forces people off their phones by blocking nearby wireless access.

It was just a matter of time

Amazon's making a leap into the health care industry with the launch of a new digital drugstore that'll have special perks for Prime members.

TODAY'S NUMBER

$1.5 million

The value in bribes a Maryland CEO paid to get his sons accepted to Harvard University, according to federal officials

TODAY'S QUOTE

'You hear about the deaths, but you don't ever really hear about the people left behind, and in this instance, it's a 4-year-old.'

Margie Bryant, great-aunt of a Texas boy who lost both parents to coronavirus

TODAY'S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Patience in action

Ever seen a science project with 250,000 falling dominoes? We haven't either, so here goes. Try not to think about the cleanup. (Click here to view.)

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 155597

Reported Deaths: 2208
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31877528
Washington21211212
Marion18468285
Clackamas13380175
Lane10258126
Jackson8395112
Umatilla765982
Deschutes595259
Yamhill378364
Linn359056
Malheur335158
Polk306442
Klamath279155
Douglas247454
Benton234416
Josephine234050
Jefferson195828
Coos149119
Union128419
Columbia126521
Wasco122126
Lincoln113220
Hood River106929
Morrow104914
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6567
Curry4296
Tillamook4142
Lake3766
Harney2736
Grant2231
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3566914

Reported Deaths: 52158
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles119192321435
Riverside2894503767
San Bernardino2866072874
Orange2612203917
San Diego2600913284
Santa Clara1106211777
Kern102627827
Fresno953931443
Sacramento932811472
Alameda806681242
Ventura77623844
San Joaquin665691101
Contra Costa62248681
Stanislaus56132946
Tulare47784758
Monterey42138328
San Mateo38998515
San Francisco34260412
Santa Barbara31805411
Solano30024164
Merced28915397
Sonoma28141298
Imperial26903591
Kings21955218
Placer19763232
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15467209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12834185
Shasta10985174
Butte10962160
El Dorado9095100
Napa903869
Sutter884597
San Benito576759
Yuba573337
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Nevada396074
Tuolumne394659
Mendocino379643
Amador346341
Humboldt318033
Lake315641
Glenn222523
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128737
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3957
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
Unassigned00
Medford
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Brookings
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Hi: 57° Lo: 37°
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Medford
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Hi: 39° Lo: 18°
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Medford
Partly Cloudy
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Hi: 65° Lo: 30°
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Klamath Falls
Clear
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Very mild start to March
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