In our news wrap Thursday, the U.S. Treasury reports the federal government ran up a record $284 billion budget deficit for the month of October. That shortfall is more than double what it was last year. Also, a helicopter carrying Multinational Force and Observers peacekeepers crashed off the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, killing at least eight people -- including six American service members.
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In the day's other news: Despite a dramatic surge in COVID-19 infections, the U.S. labor market is showing some signs of healing; 709,000 more Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week.
That's the lowest level since March and the fourth straight drop. Still, numbers remain — excuse me — at historic highs. Overall, 6.8 million people continue to receive jobless aid.
The U.S. Treasury Department today reported that the federal government ran up a record $284 billion budget deficit just for the month of October. That shortfall was nearly double what it was in October of last year.
Meanwhile, on Wall Street, stocks plummeted amid the record-shattering surge in COVID-19 infections. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 317 points to close at 29080. The Nasdaq fell 77 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 35.
In Egypt, a helicopter carrying multinational force and observers peacekeepers crashed today, killing at least eight people, including six American service members. It went down off the Sinai Peninsula. Authorities said it appeared to be an accident. The multinational force monitors a 40-year peace agreement between Israel and Egypt.
The United Nations Migration Agency says at least 74 migrants drowned after a Europe-bound ship broke down and capsized off the coast of Libya. It's the latest tragedy in a series of at least eight shipwrecks in the Central Mediterranean since October. So far this year, at least 900 people have drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe.
Pro-democracy legislators in Hong Kong officially handed in their resignation letters today. It was a mass protest after Beijing kicked out four of their colleagues this week. The 15 opposition lawmakers refused to attend this morning's legislative session, leaving their seats empty.
They insist that Hong Kongers must continue to stand for autonomy from Beijing.
So, what's left for Hong Kong's democracy fight? That's the most valid question.
But it doesn't mean that, oh, so that's the end of it, and we all go home, and forget about democracy or human rights or any core values. We do not underestimate Hong Kong people, especially our young.
The mass resignations come as Beijing continues its crackdown on the semiautonomous region.
The Legislative Council is now left with 43 lawmakers, 41 of whom are considered pro-Beijing.
In the Philippines, the aftermath of a destructive typhoon has left the country reeling. At least 13 people died and 15 others are still missing. Floodwaters completely submerged some northeastern towns, forcing people to climb on their rooftops. Rescue efforts are under way, as many residents remain trapped. Some 200,000 people were forced to evacuate.
Back in this country, heavy rains pummeled Florida's western coast today, after Tropical Storm Eta crashed ashore for a second time. It happened before dawn just north of the Tampa Bay Area, packing maximum sustained winds of 50 miles an hour. Now out to sea, Eta is forecast to lose strength as it moves northeast over the Atlantic.
And a federal appeals court in Boston has ruled that Harvard University's admissions policies do not discriminate against Asian Americans. An affirmative action group had argued the school went too far in using race to consider students. But two judges today upheld a lower court decision that rejected those claims. Today's ruling paves the way for a possible review by the U.S. Supreme Court.