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Georgia, Virus Restrictions, Kim Ng: Your Friday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. The two final states.

President-elect Joe Biden flipped Georgia, becoming the first Democratic presidential candidate to win there since 1992, and President Trump took North Carolina. The victories do not affect the overall election result. Mr. Biden also won Arizona overnight.

Mr. Biden now has 306 electoral votes and Mr. Trump has 232.

With his win in Georgia — once a reliably Republican state whose politics have been pushed to the left — Mr. Biden has flipped five states that Mr. Trump won in 2016. Mr. Trump did not flip any states this year. The call for Georgia came hours after auditors began an arduous recount of nearly five million ballots, pictured above in Gwinnett County.

In a blow to the Trump campaign’s legal efforts to try to overturn the election results, a Michigan judge rejected a request to halt the vote certification in a heavily Democratic county. And the campaign dropped a lawsuit in Arizona that claimed some ballots cast for Mr. Trump were invalidated after voters used Sharpie pens.

2. Could state legislatures pick electors to vote for President Trump? Election law experts are highly skeptical.

President Trump’s last-ditch efforts to reverse the election may come down to a far-fetched scenario in which Republican-led state legislatures would overturn the will of voters by choosing the members of the Electoral College. Leaders of the Republican majorities in key legislatures like Pennsylvania, above, told The Times that they saw no role for themselves in picking electors.

3. New Mexico and Oregon issued the strictest U.S. measures of the fall to combat a surge in coronavirus cases. Above, Portland.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico issued a two-week “stay at home” order that begins Monday. She said nonessential businesses and nonprofits must cease in-person activities.

Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon placed the state in a partial lockdown for two weeks starting Wednesday, ordering gyms to close, restaurants to serve only takeout and social gatherings to be limited to six people. Oregon also joined its neighbors California and Washington to require that travelers arriving in their states quarantine for 14 days.

4. In his first public address since losing re-election, President Trump made no acknowledgment of the surge of coronavirus cases gripping the nation.

Instead Mr. Trump praised his administration’s response to the virus and Operation Warp Speed, the government’s vaccine effort. He also took credit for a promising Pfizer vaccine.

Officials said that two vaccine candidates are under review for emergency use authorizations, from Pfizer and from Moderna, and that 20 million people could be vaccinated in December.

5. We took a closer look at a few of President-elect Joe Biden’s policy plans.

If Mr. Biden wants to make progress on climate change, he’ll need the help of President Xi Jinping of China, pictured together in 2015. The cards may seem to be stacked against Mr. Biden, with the U.S.-China relationship at its lowest point in a half-century. But the world needs the two countries to get it together to minimize the damage of global warming — and to do it quickly.

And on education, Mr. Biden has presented an agenda that is starkly different from that of the Trump administration, including drastically increasing resources for public schools, expanding civil rights advocacy for marginalized students and reasserting department leadership in policymaking.

It also includes a far more cautious approach to school reopenings.


7. Holiday gatherings are going to look very different this year.

Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, begins on Saturday. We talked to families around the U.S. about how they are using this unusual year not only to reaffirm their family traditions, but also to create new ones.

“We can’t let everything that’s happening take away our ability to create joy,” said Nidhi Chanani, above, an Indian-American artist and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

If you’re traveling in the coming days, we talked to experts about the risks, including:


8. A sports milestone.

Kim Ng was named general manager of the Miami Marlins, becoming the first woman in baseball history to lead a front office. The M.L.B. says it believes Ms. Ng is also the first woman to hold the title of general manager for any of the major men’s professional sports leagues in North America.

Ms. Ng, 51, was long viewed as the person who would break baseball’s glass ceiling. In more than 30 years in baseball, she had been an assistant general manager for both the Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers, and earned praise at every stop. She entered baseball as an intern, and said the new position was “the honor of my career.”


9. Michael J. Fox can teach you something about living with uncertainty.

After spinal surgery, learning to walk again and then badly fracturing his arm, the actor and activist, who has lived with Parkinson’s disease for nearly three decades, wondered if he oversold the idea of hope in his first three books. “I thought, what have I been telling people?” he said. “I tell people it’s all going to be OK — and it might suck!”

10. And finally, the platypus does it again.

As if an egg-laying, venom-producing mammal with webbed feet and a duck-like bill wasn’t confounding enough: It turns out platypuses’ drab-seeming coats have been hiding a secret — when you turn on blacklights, they start to glow.

A lot of manufactured objects (white T-shirts, Froot Loops and petroleum jelly) and living things (scorpions, lichens and puffin beaks) have pigments that pop under UV light. But mammals seem to have generally gotten the short end of the paintbrush.

We still don’t know why the platypus does it — if there is a reason at all — but one researcher said it won’t be the last creature that turns out to secretly glow in the dark. “Stay tuned,” he said.

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