Thursday’s top stories
Europe is now recording more coronavirus deaths than during its April peak.
The good news: The rate of new cases across the continent has leveled off, and it's even fallen sharply in several hard-hit countries. After weeks of growing fear, there is cause for optimism.
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The American public's divided trust in science is a foundational crisis that Joe Biden will have to address in order to tackle the other crises awaiting him on Day 1, including a raging pandemic and climate change.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced that the majority of the state will be under a limited stay-at-home order starting Saturday due to rising coronavirus cases.
The big picture: The announcement brings a monthlong curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. for residents in 41 counties, covering roughly 94% of the state's population. Newsom said earlier this week he was pulling an "emergency brake," halting further reopening plans, tightening restrictions on indoor businesses and strengthening mask mandates.
Roblox, a Silicon Valley-based social gaming platform for tweens and teens, on Thursday filed for a $1 billion initial public offering.
Why it matters: Roblox was big business before the pandemic, but really skyrocketed once kids were stuck at home due to the coronavirus outbreak.
This season could bring exceptionally bad winter blues — and even worse mental health conditions.
The big picture: The pandemic already is causing stress, anxiety and growing mental health disorders — and it could get worse with COVID fatigue, seasonal affective disorder and holiday-related depression, experts warn. But there are steps you can take to alleviate the dangers.
We're eight days away from Black Friday, but this year the event might be about more than bargains and doorbuster stampedes. Instead, the date could help determine whether certain retailers will survive past 2020 or hold on to physical stores.
Axios Re:Cap talks with Fortune senior reporter Phil Wahba about which retailers have the most to gain or lose next week and the broader future of retail.
Air gondolas — ski-lift-type conveyances that have become common sights in Latin American cities like Medellín, Mexico City and La Paz — could one day dot the U.S. urban landscape, some transportation planners say.
Why it matters: These appealing and eco-friendly cable cars — serving commuters and tourists alike — move people quietly and expeditiously and seem tailor-made for the COVID-19 era, since they fit a small number of riders per car.
BuzzFeed has agreed to buy progressive news website HuffPost from Verizon Media in an all-stock deal, the companies announced Thursday.
Why it matters: HuffPost was once one of the most-trafficked news websites on the internet, but an over-reliance on social media distribution and a lack of strategic vision stripped the site of relevance in recent years.
Facebook says it removed more than 265,000 pieces of content from Facebook and Instagram in the U.S. for violating its content policies on voter interference leading up to the election.
Why it matters: The company was much more proactive this election cycle than last in taking down and labeling content attempting to disrupt the election.
Facebook said it took action on 22.1 million pieces of hate speech content to its platform globally last quarter and about 6.5 million pieces of hate speech content on Instagram. On both platforms, it says about 95% of that hate speech was proactively identified and stopped by artificial intelligence.
Details: In total, the company says that there are 10–11 views of hate speech for every 10,000 views of content uploaded to the site globally — or .1%. It calls this metric — how much problematic content it doesn't catch compared to how much is reported and removed — "prevalence."
The CDC issued new guidance on Thursday advising Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving, warning doing so may increase the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.
Why it matters: The U.S. has seen over 1 million new coronavirus case in just this past week — and indoor household gatherings nationwide could make the situation even worse.
After visiting a winery in the Jewish settlement of Psagot in the West Bank, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a new policy on Thursday of allowing products from the settlements to be labeled as “made in Israel."
Why it matters: The policy announced by Pompeo is more radical than the Israeli government's policy regarding the settlements. It signals U.S. recognition of de facto Israeli annexation of much of the West Bank and seems to be a violation of the spirit of the “Abraham Accords” and the recent UAE-Israel peace treaty, under which Israel agreed to suspend its annexation plans.
With the Federal Trade Commission expected to unveil long-awaited antitrust action against Facebook in the near future, the agency's mixed record on regulating tech has experts viewing the case as a "put up or shut up" moment.
The big picture: Most of the tech cases the FTC has tackled involve consumer protection rather than restraining monopolistic behavior. Past antitrust investigations of tech mergers or companies, like a review of Google that ended in 2013, led critics to paint the FTC as toothless.
President Trump's frantic post-election challenges are having the opposite effect of what he intended: He's documenting his demise through a series of court fights and recounts showing Joe Biden's victory to be all the more obvious and unassailable.
Why it matters: The president’s push to overturn the election results is dispelling the cloud of corruption he alleged by forcing states to create a verified — and legally binding — accounting of his election loss.
Tom Donohue — CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and longtime confidant of Republican presidents — tells Axios that Joe Biden is president-elect and President Trump "should not delay the transition a moment longer."
What he's saying: "President-elect Biden and the team around him have a wealth of executive branch experience that should allow them to hit the ground running," Donohue said in a statement.
Dire budget problems in cities from coast to coast mean that furloughs and layoffs of essential workers could ring in the new year. So President-elect Joe Biden will face instant, high-stakes calls for relief.
Why it matters: Suffering municipalities say there's no way they can tackle COVID-19 and all their other problems without direct and immediate aid.
No state in America could clear the threshold right now to safely allow indoor gatherings.
The big picture: This is bad as the pandemic has ever been — the most cases, the most explosive growth and the greatest strain on hospitals. If businesses were closed right now, it would not be safe to reopen them. And holiday travel will be risky no matter where you’re coming from or where you’re going.
Why it matters: Coronavirus cases are soaring in the U.S. and across the world. The findings from the study of 560 healthy adults, including 240 people aged over 70, follow Pfizer's announcement Wednesday that its vaccine is 95% effective and Moderna's data released Monday showing its version has a 94.5% vaccination success rate.
Allegations that elite Australian Defense Force troops unlawfully killed 39 civilians or prisoners in Afghanistan are "credible," said ADF chief Gen. Angus Campbell, announcing findings of a long-awaited report Thursday.
Driving the news: The findings came after a four-year inquiry into alleged war crimes and misconduct by Australia's elite special forces. The report finds most of the people killed in 23 incidents were prisoners and that those who died were "non-combatants or no longer combatants."