Happy Tuesday—and happy Election Day! If you haven’t already, we hope you take a few minutes today to exercise your patriotic duty and vote.
Unless you’re one of the people who prompted the National Park Service to issue a bulletin asking visitors to stop licking the Sonoran desert toads. The election you vote in is next Tuesday.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- Without providing details, Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin admitted Monday to interfering in U.S. elections—and said he planned to continue doing so. The State Department in July offered a reward of up to $10 million for information about his alleged election interference, and he’s now one of the first such implicated figures to publicly acknowledge his meddling. An ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prigozhin also admitted in September to founding the Kremlin-backed paramilitary Wagner Group, which has operated in Syria, Africa, and Ukraine.
- Ukraine’s National Securities and Stock Market Commission used wartime powers on Sunday to take control of five companies owned by powerful Ukrainian oligarchs, including Vyacheslav Boguslaev. Boguslaev was arrested last month during an investigation into whether his company was supplying Russia with helicopter parts. The output of the companies—which are involved in engine making, oil production and refinement, and other key industries—will be directed to keep Ukraine’s military supplied.
- China’s General Administration of Customs reported Monday that exports from China declined 0.3 percent year-over-year last month—a surprising drop, if accurate, as economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal expected a 4 percent increase. China’s export data is generally viewed as a bellwether for the global economy, and the drop suggests consumers have cut spending as central banks raise interest rates to battle inflation. The Chinese Communist Party said exports to the U.S. fell 13 percent year-over-year in October, while those to the European Union dropped 9 percent.
- North Korea’s military confirmed Monday via state-run media that it launched more than 80 missiles last week to simulate attacks on targets in South Korea and the United States in retaliation for the two countries’ recent joint military exercises. The military’s statement didn’t address what South Korean officials suspect was a failed test launch on Thursday of an intercontinental ballistic missile, but blamed the U.S. and its allies for “reckless military hysteria” moving the Korean Peninsula toward “unstable confrontation.”
- Florida’s Board of Medicine voted Friday to adopt a new standard of care prohibiting doctors from prescribing puberty blockers and hormones or performing surgeries on minors experiencing gender dysphoria, with exceptions for children already receiving the treatments. The Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine approved similar restrictions Friday but included an exception for children enrolled in clinical studies. The approved rules will undergo a 21-day period of public comment which could trigger another hearing before they take effect.
- Subtropical Storm Nicole is forecast to strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane before making landfall near West Palm Beach on Florida’s east coast on Wednesday or Thursday. The forecast could change, but Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in 34 counties to spur preparations for flooding, high winds, and heavy rainfall which could affect much of Florida and parts of coastal Georgia.
- Cobb County Superior Court Judge Kellie Hill on Monday ordered the Georgia county’s election officials to extend the absentee ballot receipt deadline to November 14 after election officials failed to send ballots to more than 1,000 voters. “Many of the absentee staff have been averaging 80 or more hours per week, and they are exhausted,” County Elections Director Janine Eveler said, blaming the delay on “human error.”
- A not-yet-peer-reviewed study of 56,340 patients with at least one risk factor for severe COVID-19 found that those who took the antiviral drug Paxlovid within five days of testing positive for coronavirus were 26 percent less likely to have long-COVID symptoms about 90 days later compared to patients who didn’t receive antiviral or antibody treatments. The effect didn’t depend on whether the patients had been vaccinated and suggests that Paxlovid may reduce long-term effects of COVID-19 in addition to cutting the risk of hospitalization or death.
Some Light Reading While You Wait for Results to Roll in
We’ve finally made it. You’ll still see the same four commercials looping on TV over and over again after today, sure, but they’ll be about Liberty Mutual’s new home insurance bundle and Taco Bell’s breakfast crunch wrap, not Mark Kelly’s preferred border policy and Don Bolduc’s abortion views.
All of us here at The Dispatch are excited about all the midterms-related content we have planned in the coming days—most of our D.C.-based team is planning to work through the night in the office as results roll in—but today, we want to re-up two pieces that should prove useful while you’re waiting for polls to close.