In our news wrap Friday, the prime minister of Thailand refused to resign despite a second day of demonstrations in Bangkok. Waves of protesters, mostly young, are demanding democratic reforms of the country’s monarchy. Also, firefighters in Colorado are battling the largest fire in the state’s history. The Cameron Peak Fire has already scorched some 167,000 acres over the past two months.
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In the day's other news: Twitter has now changed its policy on hacked content amid the uproar over its handling of an unverified story about Hunter Biden. Now it will no longer remove hacked material unless it's been shared by hackers and their associates.
It will also label tweets that might contain hacked content, instead of blocking links from being shared.
The pharmaceutical company Pfizer says that it will likely have a coronavirus vaccine ready for emergency approval by mid-November. That comes as U.S. infections topped eight million, and global cases surpassed 39 million.
We will take a closer look at the surge of COVID-19 infections in Europe after the news summary.
The pandemic has also inflicted a devastating toll on the U.S. government budget deficit. The Treasury Department reported that the deficit hit a record $3.1 trillion during the 2020 fiscal year that ended September 30, amid massive coronavirus relief spending. That is three times the size of last year's deficit.
Firefighters in Colorado are battling the largest fire in the state's history. It has already scorched some 167,000 acres over the last two months. Cell phone video showed the Cameron Peak Fire's smoke bellowing over Northern Colorado's suburbs. Mandatory evacuations were in place for much of the Arapahoe and Roosevelt national forest areas.
The Trump administration reversed course today and approved California's request for wildfire disaster aid, after initially rejecting it. California is recovering from six recent wildfires, the latest in a string of devastating fires that have burned a record four million acres across the state this year.
A sweeping new Reuters investigation has found an alarming increase in inmate deaths across more than 500 of America's largest jails. It found 7,571 people held behind bars die between 2008 and 2019. The mortality rate in those jails climbed 8 percent in the last three years, and 35 percent in the last decade. At least two-thirds of the dead were awaiting trial, and were never convicted of the charges on which they were being held.
The Supreme Court agreed today to take up a Trump administration policy that excludes from the census count people living illegally in the U.S. If permitted, the policy would mark the first time in American history that immigrants would be left out of the population count that determines seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Arguments are set for next month.
U.S. authorities have accused a former Mexican defense minister of smuggling thousands of kilograms of illegal drugs across the border in exchange for bribes. Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda was taken into custody yesterday in Los Angeles. He was a senior leader in Mexico's war on drugs under former President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Today, Mexico's current president vowed to root out corruption.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (through translator):
All those involved in this matter and who are acting in the government in the Ministry of Defense will be suspended, withdrawn. And if it is the case, they will be put before the relevant authorities. We won't cover up for anyone.
Zepeda is the first top Mexican military official to be taken into U.S. custody in connection with drug-related corruption.
And on Wall Street today, stocks were mostly higher due to strong U.S. retail sales data. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 112 points to close at 28606. The Nasdaq fell 42 points, and the S&P 500 added half-a-point.