Biden narrowly seizes electoral edge; US daily new COVID-19 cases hits record; Myanmar voters set for election

Nov 6, 2020

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Joe Biden, the former vice president and current Democratic presidential candidate, has narrowly eclipsed Republican President Donald Trump in vote counting for the closely contested states of Georgia and Pennsylvania — moving slowly but almost certainly toward the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the US presidency. With the world still impatiently watching, a few other battleground states like Nevada and North Carolina also were continuing to count their ballots through Friday and likely into the weekend.

Biden’s advances come after Trump appeared at a White House press conference Thursday evening to target the Democratic Party and the media with false and baseless claims of trying to steal the election from him. He also blamed the “phony” polls for allegedly suppressing votes and interfering in the voting. The major US television networks, including cable news channels, either cut away from his remarks or covered them with prominent explanations of the falsehoods that Trump hoped would keep him in the race. 

Social media platforms Facebook and Twitter appeared to have turned the corner by enforcing a ban on groups promoting electoral misinformation and labeling Trump’s comments about fraudulent vote counting as misinformation. Twitter's proviso read: “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process.” While many of Trump’s supporters rallied behind him, he faced an uphill battle in the Electoral College and in proving fabricated accusations that sought to undermine the integrity of American democracy.

“We think there is going to be a lot of litigation because we have so much evidence and so much proof,” Trump said, hinting that court fights could vindicate his claims. But the facts contradicted his statements, which veered into authoritarianism. Meanwhile, state and local officials carried out the vote tallying in a mostly smooth way — despite the US and rest of the globe being bogged down by the worsening coronavirus pandemic.

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As the US election took center stage, the number of daily new COVID-19 infections in the nation hit a record high of more than 120,000 positive tests Thursday, the second day in a row that new US cases exceeded 100,000. The CDC published a forecast suggesting that the US could reach 266,000 fatalities by the end of November. The Upper Midwest and other parts of the country are seeing steep case increases. Looming tensions over possible new shutdowns reflected an international fight against the invisible enemy, with several European countries imposing fresh restrictions on businesses, schools and public life. 

And, voters in Myanmar prepared to cast their ballots Sunday in the nation’s second general election since military rule ended. Aung San Suu Kyi was expected to return to power, as rights groups accused Myanmar’s government of excluding 2.6 million ethnic minorities from the polls. Her party, the National League for Democracy, faces not just public health concerns with the pandemic, but an economic crisis and ongoing allegations of genocide against the Rohingya minority.

From The WorldInternational Crisis Group warns political violence could further polarize the US

The International Crisis Group analyzes and tries to prevent conflicts across the globe, from Lebanon to Ethiopia to Myanmar, and now, the United States — for the first time in the organization's 25-year history.

Stephen Pomper is the lead author of their recent report, “The US Presidential Election: Managing the Risks of Violence." It warns that violence could erupt during protracted ballot counts, aided by the president's “incendiary rhetoric."

"One of the things that we were trying to do with our report was to give a little bit of an early warning because of the mixture of risk factors that we were looking at in this context," Pomper told The World's Marco Werman.

Political cartoonists worldwide see ‘fractured states of America’

As the world waits for results from the hotly contested 2020 US presidential election, political cartoonists around the globe respond to the election drama.

First- and second-generation Americans score historic wins in key races across the nation

Immigrants and children of immigrants won key positions across the US in the 2020 elections. They even helped flip states.

Bright spot

It's a kids song that inspired a global dance movement. It even became an anthem for baseball fans during the 2019 World Series. The infectious Baby Shark earworm released on YouTube by South Korean educational company Pinkfong in 2015 has now been streamed over 7 billion times — the most-watched video of all time.

In case you missed itListen: Immigrants, first- and second-generation Americans continue trend running for office

The election this week saw a continuation of a national trend that began in the 2018 midterms — an unprecedented wave of first- and second-generation Americans running for office. And, for decades, the United States has taken the lead on efforts to contain outbreaks around the globe, from polio to influenza. Now, amid the pandemic, the US election illuminates, even more, a nation divided on science and public health. Also, the earworm “Baby Shark” was posted to YouTube five years ago by the South Korean educational company Pinkfong. This week, it became the most-watched YouTube video ever.

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