CNN Five Things to Know for October 23, 2020

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5 things to know for October 23: Debate, election, coronavirus, immigration, Poland

1. Debate

The second and final presidential debate was far less chaotic than the first. Maybe it was because new rules allowed muting of candidates’ mics when the other was speaking, or because President Trump’s advisers urged him to play it cool during one of the last major events of the election season. Asked about the pandemic, Trump argued the situation could be a lot worse and that the virus is “going away” despite surging numbers around the country. He also tried to find traction with unsubstantiated and convoluted claims about Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, which have failed to manifest into the October surprise many Trump supporters hoped for. Trump also cast Joe Biden as a typical politician who hasn’t solved major issues during his decades in office. For his part, Biden talked about moving away from an oil-based economy and increasing the minimum wage. He also said the Trump administration’s practice of separating families at the southern border has made the US a “laughingstock” on the world stage.
Final presidential debate: Full video

2. Election 2020

Russian hackers are targeting state and local officials and stealing data in a possible attempt to meddle in the election, US national security officials claim. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said the state-sponsored hackers successfully stole data on at least two attempts, though he didn’t say what information they had or how they may intend to use it. Earlier this week, US officials accused Iran-backed hackers of using stolen data to send spoof emails to US voters, and there’s concern Russia may do something similar. Meanwhile, a Georgia county has suffered what may be the first ransomware attack to hit election infrastructure this political season. The attack affected Hall County’s voter signature database and a voting precinct map. The county says the voting process has not been impacted.
Undecided voters say who they will vote for after debate

3. Coronavirus 
The US Food and Drug Administration has given the go-ahead to remdesivir, making it the first drug specifically approved to treat Covid-19. Trials of the antiviral drug have shown it may not have significant benefits for some coronavirus patients, but it’s what we have now. Elsewhere on the medical front, a new report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy reveals the pandemic is causing “unacceptable” shortages of US drug supplies. The report says shortages have limited 29 of 40 drugs critical for treating Covid-19 patients, including hydroxychloroquine and fentanyl, as well as 67 out of 156 other critical acute drugs.
Wisconsin using overflow facility to keep up with Covid-19 cases

4. Immigration

International advocates are working to locate and reunite hundreds of families separated under the Trump administration’s so-called “zero tolerance” immigration policy. The policy ended in 2018, but news this week that at least 545 children remain separated from their families has brought it — and its devastating impact — back to the forefront. Nonprofit Justice In Motion says some parents it serves have no idea where their children are. In other cases, children who are found and delivered somewhere safe often have lasting psychological damage. Some of the 545 children could be in US foster care, the group said. The White House has downplayed reports of parents who haven’t been found and said the administration has done everything it can to reunite families — a claim advocates and activists hotly dispute.
Trump's border wall vs Biden's focus on asylum

5. Poland

Poland’s highest court has ruled against abortions due to fetal defects. The country already had some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe, and this decision moves it closer to a near-total ban on pregnancy terminations. Around 98% of abortions in Poland are conducted due to fetal defects. Poland’s socially conservative leadership has pushed for abortion restrictions for years now, and its efforts have drawn nationwide protests. The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights condemned the decision, calling it a “sad day for women’s rights.”
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