5 things to know for August 11: Coronavirus, immigration, China, US election, Beirut

The G7 meeting, which was going to be held in June and then was moved to September, is now officially postponed until after the US election.

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

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1. Coronavirus 

There have now been more than 20 million cases of coronavirus worldwide and at least 736,000 deaths. As the virus continues to spread, experts say exploring the relationship between vaccines and asymptomatic carriers — that is, people who have the virus but are not affected — may be key to getting it under control. New research suggests people who got vaccines to prevent other ailments may be less likely to suffer from Covid-19. Meanwhile, Russia claims to have registered a vaccine, though the country has released no scientific data on its testing. The latest clinical trials from drug company Moderna in the US suggest there’s no chance of a vaccine by Election Day in November. And fall stands to be even less fun in the US, since college football teams are debating postponing their seasons altogether over the virus.

2. Immigration

The Trump administration is considering new ways to restrict entry at the US-Mexico border, citing coronavirus concerns. This could include blocking some US citizens and lawful permanent residents from reentry. The administration has taken several steps to seal off the border since the pandemic began, including instituting new laws to swiftly remove migrants attempting to cross it. The immigration process is being hit hard by the pandemic, too. US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency responsible for granting citizenship, may have to furlough two-thirds of its workforce by the end of the month because of stalled stimulus negotiations. If that happens, the immigration process would likely grind to a halt.

3. China

China imposed sanctions on 11 Americans, including six lawmakers, for “behaving badly on Hong Kong-related issues.” Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are among those called out by the country. This come days after the US imposed sanctions of its own related to China’s new restrictive national security law in Hong Kong. It’s a familiar back-and-forth that signals another wave of tensions between the two countries. Sure enough, China is also stepping up military drills around East Asia, just as US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is visiting the self-governing island of Taiwan. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Azar’s visit is “a serious breach” of US commitments on Taiwan, which Beijing regards as Chinese territory.

4. Election 2020

President Trump and his Republican supporters are trying to stop states from moving forward with expanded mail-in voting measures. Nevada is fighting a recent challenge from the Trump campaign to the state’s plan to send absentee ballots to all active voters. In Rhode Island, the Republican National Committee has asked the Supreme Court to intervene after the state decided to lift witness requirements for absentee ballots. Meanwhile, Democrats are openly accusing the Trump administration and the US postmaster general of “deliberate sabotage” of the postal service in the form of slower service and fewer hours, just months before an election that will rely heavily on the USPS to deliver critical election materials.

5. Beirut

Lebanon’s government has stepped down as the country comes to terms with the political fallout of last week’s explosion in Beirut. In his resignation announcement, Prime Minister Hassan Diab called the explosion a “disaster beyond measure” and reprimanded Lebanon’s political elite for creating “an apparatus of corruption bigger than the state.” Three cabinet ministers and seven members of parliament had already quit before Diab’s resignation. Diab rose to power in December, just two months after a popular uprising brought down the previous government. Now, in addition to rebuilding parts of their capital city and facing economic and political crises, the Lebanese people will be tasked with choosing their third prime minister in less than a year.


No, it’s not your imagination. Halloween candy really has come early this year

Since normal spooky events are probably on hold this year, companies are releasing treats early to extend the season.

Some Las Vegas hotels are offering a ‘work from Vegas’ package 

Ah yes, certainly no distractions there.

Here’s how to watch the Perseid meteor shower

When everything on Earth is chaos, just look to the flaming rocks above.

Now Twitter may be interested in buying TikTok 

Remember, the clock is TikTok-ing on President Trump’s ultimatum for the video app: Be sold, or be banned.

People are loving the reemergence of ‘charming little wine holes’ during the pandemic in Florence 

Petition to have “charming little wine holes” everywhere, pandemic or not.



That’s nearly how many air travel passengers TSA screened on Sunday, marking the first time it saw more than 800,000 people in a single day since the pandemic disrupted air travel in mid-April.


“Minimum standards for democratic elections were not fulfilled during the presidential election.”

German government spokesperson Steffen Seibert, on the controversial presidential elections in Belarus. World powers, including Germany and the US, have expressed concern over the elections, which longtime President Alexander Lukashenko won in a landslide.


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Sleepy marsupial baby

If you’ve never seen a ringtail possum before, today is your lucky day. (Click here to view.)


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