5 things to know for October 27: SCOTUS, coronavirus, election, China, NASA

American Airlines is so set on convincing passengers the beleaguered Boeing 737 Max planes are safe to fly, it plans to give tours and Q-and-A sessions.

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

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1. Supreme Court 

Amy Coney Barrett is the newest Supreme Court associate justice. Barrett’s nomination was confirmed by the Senate, and the White House held a constitutional swearing-in ceremony last night. Chief Justice John Roberts will administer Barrett’s judicial oath swearing-in today. It only took one month for Barrett to reach the bench after her nomination following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The court now holds a 6-3 conservative majority, and the consequences of that ratio could come into play almost immediately. The Supreme Court is poised to make key decisions soon about President Trump’s taxes, several election cases, and cases regarding abortion law.

2. Coronavirus 

The US has seen almost half a million new coronavirus cases in one week as the dreaded fall surge continues to grow, and some places could be close to what former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb called “an exponential spread.” That’s not the only bad news: A new British study has shown a decline in coronavirus antibodies over three months — a sign that immunity to Covid-19 wanes. This aligns with other studies that showed people who tested positive but had no symptoms are likely to lose antibodies faster than people with more severe symptoms. The American Academy of Pediatrics says it’s seen a 14% increase in child Covid-19 cases over the last two weeks, and pediatric cases now make up more than 10% of all US cases.

3. Election 2020

Two agencies of the Department of Homeland Security are preparing for the possibility of civil unrest as next week’s contentious election inches closer. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is putting personnel on standby, and Customs and Border Protection has been regularly training personnel since agents were controversially deployed this summer to respond to unrest in US cities. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has delivered a blow to Democrats in Wisconsin by rejecting their attempt to extend the state’s mail-in ballot deadline past Election Day. Last week, the court upheld a ruling by a state court in Pennsylvania extending the mail-in ballot deadline there.

4. China 

Several conflicts are escalating among China and its regional rivals, and the US is involved in all of them. The country has said it will impose sanctions on American companies, including Boeing and Lockheed Martin, that have been involved in selling weapons to Taiwan. The US has been forging stronger relations with the self-governing island, much to China’s frustration. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of US and Japanese troops will begin joint military exercises in the Pacific this week. The military operations are a signal to China that the US backs Japan’s claim to the Senkaku Islands, a Japanese-controlled area that both Japan and China claim as their own. Finally, India has entered into a defense agreement with the US following standoffs with China along their shared border in the Himalayas.

5. NASA

NASA has exciting news: There may be more water on the moon than previously believed, including on its sunlit side. Researchers have long thought there could be water on the moon’s sunlit side, but recent data gathered by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has confirmed it. Why does it matter? If there is water on the moon, it could be a resource in deep space exploration and missions like NASA’s return of humans to the lunar surface through the Artemis program. It also changes scientists’ understanding of the moon’s surface, how it works, and what’s within it.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera rings the bell after completing his last round of cancer treatments

This is the victory that matters most. 

Here are the American Music Awards nominations 

Hats off to The Weeknd and Roddy Ricch.

Families are bored, so Monopoly sales are soaring

Maybe they should call them … bored games. (I’m sorry.) 

Tennis great Rafael Nadal finishes 6th in a professional golf event 

That much athleticism just isn’t fair.

Asteroid Bennu has been hanging out with Earth for over a million years

It’s been here all this time but has never hung out with us? … Oh, wait.

TODAY’S NUMBER

$4 million

That’s about how much the Treasury Department has refunded the FDNY World Trade Center Health Program, which provides medical care to 9/11 first responders. The money, which had been withheld by the administration, has been the subject of contention between New York officials and the federal agency.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“Responding to climate change is no longer a constraint on economic growth.”

Japan’s new Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, who says the country is aiming to have zero emissions and be carbon neutral by 2050

TODAY’S WEATHER

Hurricane Zeta makes landfall in Mexico

Zeta has struck the Yucatán Peninsula as a Category 1 hurricane, bringing heavy rains and a storm surge threat. Zeta will likely lose energy over the next day, but it could remain a Category 1 as it moves across the Gulf Coast to make landfall tomorrow evening between the Mississippi River Delta and Mobile, Alabama.

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Just a little scream

It’s one week until Election Day. Express your feelings through this very tiny frog. (Click here to view.)

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