5 things to know for November 23: Coronavirus, election, economy, Venezuela, Ethiopia

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

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1. Coronavirus 

2. Election 2020

President-elect Joe Biden is set to make his first round of Cabinet announcements tomorrow. Antony Blinken, a longtime foreign policy adviser who served in the Obama and Clinton administrations, is rumored to be Biden’s pick for secretary of state. Former Obama administration official Jake Sullivan is the top contender for national security adviser, and Linda Thomas-Greenfield, an African American woman with a long career in foreign service, is the likely pick for UN ambassador. Meanwhile, President Trump is continuing his attack on the election results as states begin to certify their official counts before the December 8 deadline. His campaign has successfully requested another recount in Georgia, though it’s unlikely to reverse Biden’s win there. More Republicans, like Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, are beginning to publicly tire of Trump’s baseless election fraud claims.

3. Economy 

Two crucial pandemic unemployment assistance programs are about to run out, and they could leave 12 million Americans blowing in the wind just after Christmas. About 7.3 million independent contractors, gig workers, freelancers and self-employed people will lose benefits provided by the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Beyond that, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which provides 13 more weeks of payments after traditional state benefits are exhausted, is also set to expire. Some 4.6 million recipients will see these extra payments disappear unless Congress can hammer out extension measures or another stimulus package. Retailers are also worried possible shutdowns amid the worsening pandemic could eat into holiday shopping revenue, and some are lobbying states to stay open as Black Friday approaches.

4. Venezuela

Many Latin American countries have closed their official border crossings to curb the spread of coronavirus, but human rights groups and government officials say these restrictions have created more dangerous conditions for women trying to flee struggling, economically bereft places like Venezuela. Refugees fleeing Venezuela often cross the border into Colombia, but with more border restrictions, many are forced to pursue unregulated paths. Since the start of the pandemic, humanitarian agencies like the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees say there has been a marked increase in gender-based violence along border regions, and homicides in Venezuelan border zones up by 28.7% from April to June, compared to that period in 2019.

5. Ethiopia

After weeks of deadly conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed yesterday gave Tigrayan forces a 72-hour deadline to surrender. Ethiopian federal forces have been at war with the regional government of Tigray since the beginning of November, when Abiy announced military intervention after Tigray elected a regional administration against the Prime Minister’s wishes. Since then, civilians have been massacred in the Tigray region, a humanitarian group says, though the government has denied targeting civilians. The tragedy has pushed even more Ethiopian citizens to flee to neighboring Sudan. The UN has said what’s going on in Tigray is a  humanitarian crisis that may only escalate in the coming weeks.


Pat Quinn, cofounder of the viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, has died

Who won what at the American Music Awards 

Facial recognition software is learning to identify cows and bears, too

That’s better than most humans can do! 

More restaurants are offering full-blown Thanksgiving meals to go 

Why cook when you could just pick up some Denny’s or Cracker Barrel?

Canadian officials warn drivers not to let moose lick their cars



That’s how many homicides the Los Angeles Police Department has reported so far this year. The LAPD says that’s the highest rate it has seen in more than a decade and a significant increase over the 257 homicides reported in all of 2019.


“Some people are mad at it bc some folks are very sensitive to examining and exploring gender roles in society. Perhaps for some people it provokes some anger or insecurity around masculinity/femininity/etc. If it does, then maybe that’s part of the point.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who shared her thoughts via an Instagram story about singer Harry Styles donning a dress for his recent Vogue cover



Two precious creatures

David Attenborough saying “boo” to a sloth should provide you all the serotonin you need to get through the day. (Click here to view.) 


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