Need2Know: Vax Halted, SCOTUS Hearings & Prime Day Deals

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In this undated photo provided by Johnson & Johnson in September 2020, a woman receives an injection during phase 3 testing for the Janssen Pharmaceutical-Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the United States. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)
October 13, 2020
Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Tuesday, October 13, 2020:

SCOTUS CONFIRMATION HEARINGS

The first day of Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett featured hours of opening statements, with Republicans focusing on Barrett’s qualifications and Democrats slamming her as an ideologue who would overturn Obamacare and Roe v. Wade. Barrett, who sat silent and masked for most of the day, will get more speaking time today when the floor opens to questions. AP

COVID-19: LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

Johnson & Johnson has paused its vaccine trials over an unexplained illness in one of the volunteer patients. It’s not known whether the patient was receiving a placebo or the actual vaccine. With cases in the northern UK soaring, PM Boris Johnson unveiled a three-tiered lockdown system. The SEC has postponed the Vanderbilt-Mizzou game after positive test results. STAT

RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE

Thousands of people waited in line for hours -- 10 or 11 hours in some cases -- to cast their ballots on the first day of early voting in Georgia, a preview of what could be a record-turnout election and the problems some states can expect. In Southern California, officials say the state GOP installed dozens of unofficial ballot drop boxes that are illegal and must be removed. President Trump got back out on the campaign trail, saying he felt great and offering a “big fat kiss” to supporters at a rally in Florida, as Dr. Fauci warned that large rallies are “asking for trouble.” Stumping in Ohio, Joe Biden accused Trump of “reckless behavior” since he contracted the virus. REUTERS

IN MEMORIAM: ROBERTA MCCAIN

Roberta McCain, the mother of John McCain and matriarch of the McCain family, has died at the age of 108. Cindy McCain announced the passing of her mother-in-law, calling her a role model and friend. Once asked by Vogue to explain how she remained so active at such an old age, McCain said: “I don’t do anything I’m supposed to do. I don’t exercise and today, I’ve already eaten a half a box of caramel popcorn...Honey, I’ve had a dream life, and it was all luck.” OBIT

FACEBOOK HATE SPEECH REVERSAL

Facebook will ban content that “denies or distorts the Holocaust,” a major reversal for the company after years of pointing to Holocaust denial as a form of protected speech on the platform. Facebook cited a recent survey that found almost a quarter of Americans aged 18-39 believed the genocide of millions of Jews and others at the hands of the Nazis was either faked or exaggerated. NY TIMES

NEW IPHONES TODAY

Apple is set to unveil its first 5G-enabled iPhone at a virtual event today. This is the most highly anticipated new iPhone model since at least 2017, and Apple is counting on millions of iPhone users who have been holding onto their devices for longer than ever to finally cave and splurge on the new redesigned phone. The livestream starts at 1 pm ET: WATCH HERE

PRIME DAY

By one measure, the holiday shopping season starts today. After Amazon postponed its annual Prime Day over the summer as it dealt with an overloaded supply chain, the two-day sales event is officially here. More than one million items on Amazon are discounted, including surprise “lightning deals” for Prime members. Fire pits, vacuums and electronics are expected to be among the big sellers. Some of the TV deals went live last night: SEE THEM

DISNEY DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER

Last week, Disney announced that its much-anticipated new Pixar film, Soul, would bypass movie theaters and head right to Disney+ for a Christmas Day premiere. Now the Mouse House says it will restructure its media and entertainment divisions in order to make streaming its “primary focus,” accelerating a shift away from the big screen that could be disastrous for cinemas. (Soul, by the way, is getting rave reviews.) CNBC

SPOTTED...

...Baby Yoda, looking adorable in the new posters for the upcoming second season of The Mandalorian: SEE PIC
...Madonna, looking nearly unrecognizable with pink hair in a series of selfies urging people to get out and vote: SEE PICS

LEFTOVERS: I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW

Eye doctors around the country are reporting a resurgence in interest for Lasik surgery, especially among younger people, with the average age for the procedure now 34 years old. One reason: “the foggy glasses” phenomenon, familiar to any bespectacled mask-wearer. But the bigger reason has to do with the “K”-shaped economic recovery. Americans who have kept their jobs and incomes through the pandemic aren’t spending their disposable income on travel, but instead are putting it towards home improvement projects, new cars -- and even elective surgery. BLOOMBERG
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