Election Day, Kyle Rittenhouse, and Pumpkin Economics Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Tuesday, Nov. 2, and we're covering an off-cycle Election Day, a high-profile trial in Wisconsin, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

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Down to the Wire in Virginia

Virginia voters head to the polls today to determine their next governor in a closely watched race observers say may be a bellwether for the 2022 midterms. The two major candidates, Glenn Youngkin (R) and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) enter the day neck and neck.


Youngkin enters the day with a one-point lead in poll averages. Once an underdog candidate, the former businessman has made education policy a cornerstone of his campaign. In particular, Youngkin has capitalized on controversies surrounding the Loudoun County school board, where parents have clashed over mask mandates, an alleged sexual assault case, and more. The county, located near the nation's capital, is one of the country's wealthiest and is home to more than 400,000 residents. 


Roughly 1.1 million voters cast ballots early, equal to 44% of the total turnout in the previous gubernatorial race. 


Elsewhere, voters in Minneapolis will decide whether to formally replace the city's police force with a Department of Public Safety. See an overview here, and a review of other elections around the country here.

Five Million Deaths

The world passed 5 million confirmed COVID-19 deaths yesterday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The grim milestone makes the disease a leading cause of death worldwide, after heart disease and stroke. Experts believe the total is likely higher due to inconsistencies in reporting. For context, the US has recorded more than 745,000 deaths, while many have questioned (paywall, Economist) China's reported total of fewer than 5,000 deaths.


The US, Britain, the EU, and Brazil account for about 13% of the global population but nearly half of reported deaths. The global rate climbed the last two weeks after declining steadily since an August peak. The news comes as a wide gap remains in vaccine access—only 3.6% of all vaccines have been administered in low-income countries.


In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention meets today to consider a recommendation for the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5 to 11. To date, 78% of those over 12 in the US have received at least one dose of the vaccine.


See photos of global memorials here.

Rittenhouse Trial Begins

Jury selection began yesterday in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, an Illinois teenager accused of killing two people and injuring a third during confrontations amid protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer. Rittenhouse faces six counts, including intentional and reckless homicide. 


The incident occurred last August following the shooting of Kenosha resident Jacob Blake by a police officer responding to a domestic incident (see timeline). As protests over the shooting turned violent, Rittenhouse traveled up to the city near Milwaukee to join armed groups under the premise of protecting local businesses. At one point, an isolated Rittenhouse was chased by protesters; partial video of the incident shows Rittenhouse running from a crowd before falling down, receiving blows, and firing at the crowd multiple times (warning—video contains extremely sensitive content).


Rittenhouse is expected to claim self-defense. The judge in the case, who has said he aims to seat jurors within a day, has barred prosecutors from referring to those shot by Rittenhouse as "victims."

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with CARIUMA 

> Real estate heir Robert Durst indicted in 1982 murder of first wife; Durst was sentenced to life in prison last month for 2000 murder of journalist friend (More)


> Snapchat signs deal with NBCUniversal for rights to use audio from NBCU’s catalog of film and TV shows, such as "The Office" and "SNL" (More)


> Pinterest TV to launch Nov. 8, will allow users to shop while watching live episodes on the app (More) | Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to return to NYC in-person this year after 2020's mostly virtual parade (More)

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Science & Technology

> Apple reportedly planning a crash detection feature in iPhones and Apple Watches that measures extreme changes in acceleration, with an autotriggered call to 911 (More)


> Amazon to launch its first two satellite prototypes in 2022, in bid to compete with SpaceX for space-based internet coverage (More)


> New type of nerve cell discovered in the human retina linked to the processing of visual signals; discovery may help advance treatments for various eye diseases (More)

Business & Markets

> Jes Staley, American CEO of British banking giant Barclay’s, stepping down over previous ties with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein (More)


> Coca-Cola acquires full control of sports drink maker BodyArmor for $5.6B, Coca-Cola previously acquired a 15% stake in 2018; estate of early investor Kobe Bryant to receive over $400M in sale proceeds (More)


> Electric vehicle maker Rivian is seeking a valuation of over $50B in initial public offering, which could happen as early as next week (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> Supreme Court hears arguments on Texas' fetal heartbeat bill, appears inclined to allow abortion providers to pursue legal challenges to the law; decision possibly in December (More) | See overview of bill's provisions here (More)


> More than 100 countries pledge to end deforestation at international climate summit in Scotland (More)


> Ethiopian government accuses Tigray forces of killing more than 100 young residents in the northern town of Kombolcha (More) | See background on the country's bloody, one-year-old civil war (More)



Will Ferrell Just Wants to Entertain You

Hollywood Reporter | Lacey Rose. A sit-down interview with the iconic comedic actor as he reflects on his career, and his future, in a fast-changing industry. (Read)

The Hunt for the Milky Seas

Nautilus | Rebecca Helm. How maritime lore combined with cutting-edge science is beginning to unlock one of the ocean's biggest mysteries. (Read)



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The economics of pumpkin patches.


The best farmers' markets in every state.


"Vax" is the word of the year.


New Zealand's bird of the year is ... a bat.


The year's highest-paid dead celebrities (paywall, Forbes).


Yes, humans look like seals to great white sharks.


There's a new California real estate record.


Atlanta woman hit with $700 bill for sitting in an ER waiting room without treatment.


Clickbait: Hockey stars toss stuffed salmon at fans


Historybook: Marie Antoinette born (1755); Nobel Prize-winning playwright George Bernard Shaw dies (1950); First president of South Vietnam Ngo Dinh Diem assassinated (1963); Martin Luther King Jr. Day is created in the US (1983).


"Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it."

- Martin Luther King Jr.

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