July 11, 2016

Never fear, America: Donald Trump, "the law and order candidate," is here. In a speech Monday in Virginia Beach, Virginia, following the Dallas police shooting Thursday, Trump reassured America that he's here to ensure that the U.S. "maintain law and order at the highest level." If we don't, Trump warned, "we will cease to have a country. One hundred percent."

Trump insisted, however, that he wouldn't be ruling with an iron fist — he would simply be working to "make America safe again for everyone." "Not only am I the law and order candidate, but I am the candidate of compassion," Trump said. "Believe it." Becca Stanek

9:30 a.m.

The number of new jobless claims for last week has come in worse than anticipated.

The Labor Department said Thursday that 870,000 Americans filed new jobless claims last week, which was about 4,000 claims higher than the revised total from the week prior. The number was above the level that economists were expecting, as experts had forecast a decline to 850,000 claims, CNBC reports.

This was another week that the new jobless claims remained below one million, but months into the coronavirus crisis, they're still at a level that far surpasses the worst week of the Great Recession. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the record for most claims filed in a single week was 695,000 in 1982.

"That number is still above the previous height for jobless claims since before the COVID crisis started," Schmidt Futures labor economist Martha Gimbel told NBC News. "It is astonishing that we are getting used to a number every week higher than we have ever seen before." Brendan Morrow

8:29 a.m.

Helsinki Airport has started making use of dogs to detect COVID-19.

The airport in Finland is deploying trained sniffer dogs as part of a new trial after researchers said that in preliminary tests, dogs could "identify the virus with nearly 100 percent accuracy," including "days before before a patient developed symptoms," The Guardian reports. They can reportedly detect it in 10 seconds or less.

"It's very promising," University of Helsinki researcher Anna Hielm-Björkman, who is overseeing the trial, told The Guardian. "If it works, it could prove a good screening method in other places."

The trial reportedly involves having passengers use a wipe to dab their necks, which one of the dogs then sniffs, and if it detects the coronavirus, the passenger can then take a polymerase chain reaction test. Participation in the trial is voluntary, The New York Times reports.

Hielm-Bjorkman told the Times that it's not entirely clear what the dogs are actually detecting, explaining that "we know how dogs detect it — by smell — but we have no clue what they detect yet." But she added, "If we find this out, we can train thousands of dogs across the world." Airport Director Ulla Lettijeff in a statement said "we are pleased" with the start of the trial, adding, "This might be an additional step forward on the way to beating COVID-19." Brendan Morrow

7:54 a.m.

Cat Stevens released his groundbreaking album Tea For the Tillerman 50 years ago, and to mark that anniversary he has recreated the album with some new lyrics and new instrumentation. Stevens, now using the name Yusuf Cat Stevens, played his new version of "Wild World" for Stephen Colbert on Wednesday's Late Show, and if the new version sounds similar to the old, wait until the end of the first chorus, at about the 1:30 mark.

The new album, Tea For the Tillerman 2, also has a new cover, Stevens explained to NPR's All Songs Considered, and a version of "Fathers and Sons" in which he sings with himself 50 years ago. "Essentially, the song lives in these two kinds of universes," he said. "There's the son and there's the father. And right now, you're going to hear me singing the whole song except for the son's part because the son is going to be me, which we've lifted off a recording from the Troubadour and back in 1970. So, you got me like 50 years ago singing with me today. Wow."

You can watch that version, with stop-motion animation by Chris Hopewell, below, and NPR has the new version of "Where Do The Children Play." Peter Weber

7:05 a.m.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is leading President Trump by more than 7 percentage points in national polling averages, but as Trump showed in 2016, winning the Electoral College is what gets you elected. Well, "Trump is on the defensive in three red states he carried in 2016," The New York Times reported Thursday morning, unveiling new Times/Sienna College polls of likely voters in Iowa, Georgia, and Texas.

Thanks to "a wall of opposition from women," the Times reports, Trump trails Biden by 3 points in Iowa, is tied with him in Georgia, and is ahead by 3 points in Texas, and the Democrats are competitive in those states' Senate races as well.

Biden is beating Trump among women by 14 points in Iowa, 10 points in Georgia, and 8 points in Texas. Trump leads among men in all three states, but Biden has "sharply narrowed" Trump's advantage among men "while improving on Hillary Clinton's 2016 lead with women in Texas and Iowa," the Times reports. And "the overwhelming majority of voters — about nine in every 10 in all three states — say they have definitely made up their minds about whom to vote for, leaving relatively little room for late developments to shift the overarching shape of the race."

The Times/Sienna poll was conducted via phone among likely voters Sept. 16-22 and its margin of sampling error is ± 4 percentage points for Texas and ± 5 points in Georgia and Iowa. The results are mostly better for Biden than in polling averages, where Trump leads by 0.9 points (FiveThirtyEight) or 1.2 points (RealClearPolitics) in Georgia, 0.4 points (FiveThirtyEight) or 1.4 points (RCP) in Iowa, and 1 point (FiveThirtyEigth) or 2.3 points (RCP) in Texas. Peter Weber

6:08 a.m.

The British government is on the verge of approving and funding the first clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines in which healthy volunteers are deliberately infected with live coronavirus, the Financial Times reports. Such "challenge trials" are not new — they have been conducted since the 1790s — but they are more dangerous than double-blind placebo studies and therefore more rare. Still, 2,000 people have signed up to participate in the proposed trials in east London, FT reports, and Britain could green-light the research as soon as next week.

The volunteer subjects will be young, healthy, and deemed at low risk of being harmed by exposure to the new coronavirus. They will first be given a dose of the experimental vaccine and then later get a "challenge" dose of the coronavirus, to see if the vaccine works, FT reports. Imperial College London will reportedly be the academic lead on the trials. It's not clear which vaccines will bet tested at the proposed new London quarantine facility, but AstraZeneca and Sanofi both told Reuters they are not involved. Peter Weber

4:46 a.m.

"A chicken in every pot and a vaccine by Election Day!" That's how Politico paraphrases President Trump's election pitch, plus a chicken. Trump keeps promising a pre-election COVID-19 vaccine, "even though his own top health officials, including the former drug company executive leading his Operation Warp Speed vaccine initiative, have said again and again they are highly dubious of his rosy timeline," Politico notes. The public has noticed, and their faith in the safety of a vaccine has dropped accordingly.

The top vaccine developers have responded the apparent politicization of the COVID-19 inoculation by releasing their typically private blueprints to their vaccine safety and approval process, and the Food and Drug Administration is reportedly preparing to issue stricter guidelines for emergency approval of a vaccine. Trump was asked about the FDA's plans on Wednesday, and he did not seem pleased. "That has to be approved by the White House," he said. "We may or may not approve it. That sounds like a political move. ... I think that was a political move more than anything else."

Still, "if Trump thinks an October vaccine is the key to his election, he may be the one who gets a surprise," Politico reports, citing a new poll conducted with the Harvard T.C. Chan School of Public Health. It turns out, "getting a vaccine before Election Day would have virtually no effect on how likely voters cast their ballots," Politico says. "That's what 84 percent of voters favoring Trump say, along with 89 percent of those supporting Joe Biden." Roughly equal numbers say a pre-election vaccine would make them more likely (7 percent) and less likely (6 percent) to vote for Trump.

The Politico/Harvard poll surveyed 1,459 likely voters via phone from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6, and its margin of error is ± 3 percentage points. Peter Weber

3:29 a.m.

"On a normal election night, the story is predictable," Trevor Noah said on Wednesday's Daily Show: "The votes are counted, cable news paints the states red or blue, a winner is declared, and the loser calls the fireworks company to see if they can get a refund. But this year, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, more people than ever will be voting by mail," and "it might be a while until we know who actually won the election."

And "while the FBI is warning America about foreign adversaries spreading disinformation after the election," before all the votes are counted, Noah said, "we don't need to wait for Russia to undermine America's election, because America's president is already doing it himself. I guess he is bringing foreign jobs back to the U.S. after all. I mean, if Trump isn't working with Russia on this, then the Russians must be really confused."

"But here's the thing: Because this is 2020 and everything is a nightmare, it turns out that Trump doesn't even need to prove that mail-in ballots are invalid in order for him to snatch the election away," Noah said. "All he needs to do is prolong the fight over it," specifically for 35 days. "Now, is Trump going to get away with any of this?" he asked. "Ultimately that's going to be up to the Supreme Court — which is exactly what Donald wants. ... The one thing I'll always appreciate about Donald Trump is that he doesn't try and make us work to figure out his evil plan."

"But there are two flaws in Donald Trump's plan," Noah said. "One is that even the justices that he put on the Supreme Court could end up ruling against him — and based on how many people Trump's hired that end up hating him, that could actually happen. The second flaw in Trump's plan is that if people come out to vote against him in high enough numbers, the results will be so clear and resounding that there will be no way he can challenge them."

Yes, "there's increasing concern that even if he loses, Trump will refuse to leave the White House," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. "But here's the thing, it's simple: If the American people want to guarantee that Donald Trump will leave us, there's a very simple thing we can do — marry him." Watch below. Peter Weber

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