Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), joined by Gov. Chris Christie, speaks at the announcement Mondayof Newark's bid for Amazon's new HQ. (AP's Seth Wenig)

Cities' bids are due tomorrow for the "HQ2" that Amazon plans to supplement its Seattle headquarters, with the prospect of $5 billion in investments and 50,000 jobs. Mayors from Toledo to Tulsa are brandishing bourbon, selling the sun — and making expensive promises that are uncertain to pay off.

AP talked to leaders of more than 50 cities or metropolitan regions about the different ways they're showcasing themselves, and assessed the risk/reward:

  • "The winning city would have to provide Amazon with generous tax breaks and other incentives that can erode a city's tax base. Most economists say [it's probably worth it] — that an Amazon headquarters is a rare case in which a package of at least modest enticements could repay a city over time."
  • "That's particularly true compared with other projects that often receive public financial aid, from sports stadiums to the Olympics to manufacturing plants, which generally return lesser, if any, benefits over the long run. "
  • Enrico Moretti, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley and author of "The New Geography of Jobs": "This definitely beats other deals that I have seen."
  • Why it matters: "High-tech firms like Amazon create a 'clustering effect,' Moretti's research has found, whereby a company attracts workers with specialized knowledge in, say, software and data analysis. These workers are rare in other cities but reach a critical mass in a tech hub. And higher-skilled workers are more productive when they work in proximity to each other, sharing ideas and experiences."

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Deadly Hurricane Zeta churns inland after lashing Louisiana

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta has killed at least one person after a downed power line electrocuted a 55-year-old in Louisiana as the storm moved into Alabama overnight.

What's happening: After "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi," it began lashing Alabama late Wednesday, per the National Hurricane Center.

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Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else in the world has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing," along with the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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