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Singaporeans Stuck on Island Turn to Private Jets, Daycations

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Whether it’s chartering a private jet for a flight to nowhere or hiring a luxury yacht, some in Singapore are going to extraordinary lengths to cure the cabin fever that’s set in as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

For many — expats and locals alike — the beauty of the city-state, outside of its year-round balmy weather and efficiency, has always been its hyper connectivity. But travel curbs aimed at shutting out the virus mean leaving Singapore is basically off the table, a challenge for those of the financial hub’s 5.6 million residents used to popping to a Malaysian resort for the weekend, or scooting over to Bali.

Sergey Tkachev has taken to the sea. The Russian businessman chartered a yacht from White Label Charters around Singapore’s southern islands, a collection of sleepy islets lapped by green waves. He’s taken the boat out four times now — being careful not to venture into international waters.

“It’s been a big stress for us not being able to travel,” said Tkachev, who has lived in Singapore for 12 years. “People with money usually travel every month, but now we can’t. It’s depressing.”

At just 50 kilometers (31 miles) from east to west and 27 kilometers from north to south, Singapore is tiny. Drive for 30 minutes either way, and you’re almost in neighboring Malaysia, or the South China Sea. News last week of an imminent travel bubble that wouldn’t require quarantine between Singapore and Hong Kong was met with instant excitement. The price of air tickets spiked overnight and bookings were made even though few details have been announced — including when the corridor will even start.

Singaporeans are a mobile bunch, spending more than S$34 billion ($25 billion) on overseas travel in 2018, compared with the some $12.5 billion that residents of similarly-sized Denmark spent on international tourism the same year. The easing of the country’s partial lockdown in mid-June has provided some relief, but despite a few green corridors for business travel, vacations overseas remain largely off limits. Many of Singapore’s migrant laborers, those most affected by the pandemic, have found themselves restricted not just to the island, but to their living quarters.

To read more:
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The British Expat Paying $7,000 to Swim in Singapore’s Lockdown
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How Singapore Flipped From Virus Hero to Cautionary Tale

Since some social-distancing restrictions started to be lifted amid a dwindling of virus cases, demand for yacht charters has shot up by more than 20%, according to Sylvia Ng, a senior manager at One Degree 15 Luxury Yachting, which has over 42 vessels in its fleet. Most offer four- to five-hour sailing packages, plus overnight stays in some cases, and provide a variety of water toys like paddle boards and kayaks. Jetskis are available upon request, as are extras including a personal chef and wait staff.

For some Singaporeans, the solution to cabin fever is to seize on anything that reminds them of travel. Seats on Singapore Airlines Ltd.’s superjumbo-turned-pop-up restaurant sold out in 30 minutes, with some paying upwards of S$600 ($440) for a meal in a suite on the stationary Airbus SE A380.

Cruise lines Genting and Royal Caribbean will run “cruises to nowhere” out of Singapore in November and December, and some are already sold out. Changi Airport, routinely ranked as one of the world’s best, remains open for business despite there being hardly any flights, with people able to shop and dine at shopping mall Jewel and order online from retailers on the transit side.

While Singapore’s size means the pressure to ease border restrictions is acute, the government is cautious.

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung spoke plainly in parliament earlier this month. “What is at stake is not just hundreds of thousands of jobs, but our status as an air hub, Singapore’s relevance to the world, our economic survival, and in turn, the ability to determine our own future,” he said. “We must open up slowly, carefully, and holding each other accountable for our collective safety. But open up we must.”

As in all countries, there’s a “tension between the demands to boost the economy with those of protecting health,” said Alex Cook, an associate professor and vice dean of research at the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.

“If travelers move between countries of similar incidence, the risk of transmission shouldn’t change. So the objective now is to calibrate border control measures to the risk posed,” Cook said.

Booked Out

That’s especially pressing for Singapore, which has an open economy buffeted by trade winds and global macroeconomic forces beyond its control.

Until that point of opening — which bodies like the International Air Transport Association are pushing to come with scalable, affordable and fast Covid-19 testing rather than a vaccine, which could be months or even years away — residents of Singapore are having to explore home.

Hotels are booked out for months, despite the lack of international visitors. In the first eight months of this year, 2.7 million people visited Singapore, down almost 80% from a year ago, according to the tourism board.

The city-state received around $20 billion in tourism receipts last year and while the domestic market is much too small to make up the shortfall, the government has rolled out various initiatives including a S$45 million local travel campaign aimed at encouraging residents to take staycations, dine out and explore the island’s local attractions.

As the only full beach-front resort on the island, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa has created daycation packages that give guests access to the beach, pools and sea sports for a set number of hours, as well as restaurant credits. They’re fully booked into next month and have waiting lists, general manager Gavin Weightman said.

“The response has been very encouraging,” Weightman said. “With travel restrictions in place, the ambiance of Sentosa island and the resort is reminiscent of overseas beach holidays.”

Customized Flights

Air Charter Service meanwhile did three times as many charter flights in and out of Singapore between March and August this year versus the same period of 2019, according to CEO Brendan Toomey. Business has been so good that the firm has launched its own “flight to nowhere” from the city-state’s smaller secondary Seletar Airport (Singapore Airlines mulled one of its own, but scrapped the idea after some people voiced environmental concerns).

For those who can afford it, Air Charter also has the option of chartering a private jet for a two-hour customized flight, complete with three-course meal and champagne at 30,000 feet, no quarantine required.

Air Charter can also help those who aren’t fazed by the strict quarantine required on returning to Singapore from another country. Recently, the company flew a couple wanting a romantic getaway out of the city-state to the Maldives, where they stayed for 10 days. The had to quarantine for two weeks on their return.

“There’s been a large increase in inquiries and bookings from clients completely new to aircraft charter,” Toomey said, adding that demand was fueled by “the lack of available commercial flights, and also the concern people now have with passing through airports and sitting in an enclosed commercial plane for long periods of time.”

— With assistance by Kyunghee Park

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World News

Biden nixes reciprocation in Trump's attacks on family: 'It's crass'

FBI to interview former Hunter Biden business associate

New York Post opinion editor and columnist Sohrab Ahmari weighs in on Hunter Biden’s business partner approaching the FBI.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden called attacks on a candidate's family "crass" during an interview with "Pod Save America" published Saturday.

Podcast host Dan Pfeiffer asked Biden why he has not brought up President Trump's own children and made the case that they have financially benefitted from his presidency.

President Trump and Biden clashed over alleged foreign financial entanglements in the final presidential debate on Thursday night, as Trump questioned Hunter Biden's overseas business ventures and accused the former vice president of benefiting from them.

BIDEN CAMPAIGN SLAMS HUNTER BIDEN ASSOCIATE'S CLAIMS ABOUT OVERSEAS BUSINESS AS 'DESPERATE, PATHETIC FARCE'

"I just think it’s crass," Biden said Saturday. "I’m running against Donald Trump, not his children. And the American people want to hear about their families. Not about Trump’s family or my family, although I’m very proud of my family."

Hunter Biden, left, introduces his father Vice President Joe Biden during the World Food Program USA’s 2016 McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony. (Kris Connor/WireImage)

He continued: "… It’s just not how I was raised. It’s that basic."

EX-HUNTER BIDEN ASSOCIATE'S RECORDS DON'T SHOW PROOF OF BIDEN BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP AMID UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

Work that Hunter Biden did as a board member for Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, has come under renewed scrutiny this month after The New York Post reported on emails recovered from a laptop purportedly belonging to him. The contents of the laptop were shared with the Post by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.

The younger Biden's work with Burisma was at the heart of Trump's impeachment earlier this year on allegations he improperly conditioned delivery of U.S. aid to Ukraine on an announcement that the country's government was investigating the Bidens. The Republican-led Senate voted to acquit the president.

Trump said Tuesday said Attorney General William Barr needs to “appoint somebody” to investigate the laptop's contents after nearly a dozen House Republicans urged him to tap a special counsel for that purpose.

HOUSE REPUBLICANS URGE BARR TO APPOINT SPECIAL COUNSEL TO REVIEW HUNTER BIDEN LAPTOP

The president also brought up the laptop during Thursday night's debate with Biden, referring to "horrible e-mails," and the former vice president dismissed the claims.

"I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life," Biden responded at the debate.

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Fox News' Adam Shaw, Brooke Singman and Tyler Olson contributed to this report.

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Markets

AT&T, Chipotle, Netflix, Tesla and More Major Earnings Coming This Week

A new earnings reporting season is underway. Obviously, the pandemic again will weigh heavily on results this quarter, but there could still be some bright spots. A few of the major banks that reported this past week showed promising results, so there is some optimism.

Here, 24/7 Wall St. offers a preview of what to expect from some of the most anticipated quarterly results due this week. We have included the consensus earnings estimates from Thomson Reuters and the stock price and trading history.

Be advised that the earnings and revenue estimates may change ahead of the formal reports, and some companies may change earnings dates as well.

Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM) is scheduled to report its third-quarter results early on Tuesday. The consensus estimates call for $1.36 in earnings per share (EPS) and revenue of $7.28 billion. Shares recently traded near $79 apiece. The consensus price target is $90.25, and the 52-week trading range is $56.01 to $90.17.

Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP) is set to release its third-quarter numbers after Tuesday’s closing bell. The consensus estimates call for a net loss of $0.05 per share and revenue of $549.99 million. Shares were trading below $28 apiece. The consensus price target is just $26.87, and the 52-week trading range is $7.89 to $28.56.

Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) is expected to report its latest results late Tuesday as well. The consensus estimates call for $2.13 in EPS and revenue of $6.38 billion for the third quarter. Shares were changing hands near $539 on last look. The analysts’ mean price target is $526.97, and the 52-week trading range is $265.80 to $575.37.

The Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) third-quarter report is due late on Wednesday. The consensus estimates call for $3.40 in EPS and $1.59 billion in revenue. Shares traded late in the week above $1,342. The consensus price target is $1,310.26, and the 52-week range trading range is $415.00 to $1,384.46.

Third-quarter results for Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) also are expected after Wednesday’s close. The consensus forecast sees a net loss of $0.71 per share on revenue of $5.14 billion. Shares traded around $446 on Friday, and the consensus price target is down at $309.55. The 52-week range trading range is $50.04 to $502.49.

Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) is scheduled to report its third-quarter results on Thursday before the opening bell. The consensus estimates call for a net loss of $2.35 per share and revenue of $1.7 billion. Shares were last trading just above $39 apiece. The consensus price target is $45.47, and the 52-week trading range is $22.47 to $58.83.

Look for American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL) to share its third-quarter numbers early on Thursday as well. The consensus estimates call for a net loss of $5.88 per share and revenue of $2.76 billion. Shares were trading just above $12, while the consensus price target is down at $11.25. The 52-week trading range is $8.25 to $31.67.

The report from AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is expected first thing Thursday morning. The third-quarter consensus estimates are $0.76 EPS on revenue of $41.61 billion. Shares traded above $27 late in the week, in a 52-week range of $26.08 to $39.70. The consensus price target is $31.96.

Watch for Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) to release its most recent quarterly results early Thursday. The consensus forecast calls for $0.05 in EPS and $1.94 billion in revenue for the third quarter. Shares traded shy of $6. The consensus price target is $6.96, and the share price has ranged from $4.11 to $7.40 in the past 52 weeks.

Mattel Inc.’s (NASDAQ: MAT) third-quarter report is due Friday morning. The consensus estimates call for $0.38 in EPS and $1.46 billion in revenue. Shares traded above $12 on Friday. The consensus price target is $13.08, and the 52-week range trading range is $6.53 to $14.83.

ALSO READ: What to Expect When American Express, Coca-Cola, Intel, Verizon and More Report This Week


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World News

Facebook and Twitter CEOs will have to answer to Senate Republicans after Biden NY Post story controversy

  • On Wednesday, Facebook and Twitter acted surprisingly quickly to limit distribution of an unverified New York Post report claiming to contain a "smoking gun" email related to Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
  • The decision is all but certain to come up at an upcoming Senate hearing where both CEOs previously agreed to testify. Republicans on the committee have expressed concerns about alleged bias on the platforms.
  • But what risks getting flattened in the discussion is Facebook and Twitter's very different reasons and methods of reducing distribution of the Post story, which the Biden campaign has rebutted.

Facebook and Twitter typically take heat for acting too slowly to reduce the spread of harmful misinformation. But on Wednesday, both companies acted surprisingly quickly to limit distribution of an unverified New York Post report claiming to contain a "smoking gun" email related to Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

The timing of the decision could hardly be more fraught for the companies. Both CEOs previously agreed to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee in just two weeks at a hearing that was already expected to be rampant with questions about the platforms' alleged bias against conservatives. The chief executives only agreed to appear voluntarily after the committee unanimously decided to authorize subpoenas if they didn't. That hearing will occur on Oct. 28, less than a week before Election Day.

But what risks getting flattened in the discussion is Facebook and Twitter's very different reasons and methods of reducing distribution of the Post story, which the Biden campaign has rebutted.

Twitter's stated reason was more technical in nature and its method more disruptive to individual users. Facebook's reason was more explicitly related to its election policies, but its method was more subtle for the casual user.

Twitter cited its hacked material and private information policies as reasons for preventing users from posting or sharing (even in private direct messages) links to the original Post article. The Post claimed the source of information for the unverified story was a laptop that an owner of a repair shop in Delaware believed belonged to Hunter Biden. When no one came to pick up the drive, the owner allegedly made a copy of the hard drive and gave it to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's lawyer before supposedly handing the original over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Post said it later obtained a copy from Giuliani.

Twitter claimed that the link violated its policies because the material in the report, which included photos from the allegedly copied hard drive, supposedly contained hacked materials. The article also included an unredacted copy of a message with supposed email addresses for Hunter Biden and two others. Sharing a non-public personal email address also violates Twitter's policies.

Users could still share articles commenting on the piece that did not contain the allegedly hacked or personal information. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, even posted a copy of part of the article on his own website, which the House Judiciary Committee GOP's Twitter account posted. That version of the article did not contain the images allegedly taken from the hard drive or the unredacted email addresses. Twitter has left that link in tact as of Thursday morning.

But CEO Jack Dorsey said in a tweet late Wednesday that Twitter's communication about its actions was "unacceptable."

Twitter shared a thread explaining its reasoning for the decision Wednesday night, saying, in part, "We don't want to incentivize hacking by allowing Twitter to be used as distribution for possibly illegally obtained materials."

Facebook did not prevent users from sharing the link to the article but said it reduced its distribution pending a fact-check review. Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone first announced the fact-check review a few hours after the article was originally published Wednesday, but as of Thursday morning – more than 24 hours after it was first posted on Facebook – Facebook posts containing the link still did not have any labels showing that it was under review.

Stone wrote on Twitter that the review is "part of our standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation," including a link to Facebook's election integrity policies. On that page, Facebook says it is committed to fighting foreign interference, increasing transparency and reducing misinformation. As part of its commitment to reducing misinformation, Facebook says in the blog post it will include "clearer fact-checking labels."

In many cases of content moderation, Facebook and Twitter are damned if they do and damned if they don't. Democrats have slammed the platforms in the past for decisions not to remove or label doctored or misleading information on their sites. For example, both platforms refused to take down an edited video posted by President Donald Trump showing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripping up Trump's State of the Union Address. The edited video made it appear she ripped the pages after positive moments into the speech, when she only did so at the very end.

But at least as often, the platforms take criticism from Republicans like Jordan and Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who suspect them of rigging their algorithms and policies against conservatives. Facebook and Twitter have repeatedly denied this and reporting shows conservative viewpoints often achieve wide reach on the platforms.

When the Commerce Committee voted to authorize subpoenas for the CEOs earlier this month, Ranking Member Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said that in agreeing to do so, she did not want to see "a chilling effect on individuals who are in a process of trying to crack down on hate speech or misinformation about Covid during a pandemic." It now seems all but inevitable that Republicans on the committee will hammer both CEOs for their moderation processes.

Andrew Bates, spokesman for the Biden campaign, responded to the New York Post's story in a statement:

"Investigations by the press, during impeachment, and even by two Republican-led Senate committees whose work was decried as 'not legitimate' and political by a GOP colleague have all reached the same conclusion: that Joe Biden carried out official U.S. policy toward Ukraine and engaged in no wrongdoing. Trump Administration officials have attested to these facts under oath," Bates said.

"The New York Post never asked the Biden campaign about the critical elements of this story," he added. "They certainly never raised that Rudy Giuliani — whose discredited conspiracy theories and alliance with figures connected to Russian intelligence have been widely reported — claimed to have such materials.

"Moreover, we have reviewed Joe Biden's official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place."

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Economy

NYC businesses sue de Blasio to block transfer of homeless to their neighborhood

Cuomo isn’t ‘following the science’ on coronavirus lockdowns: Kelly Jane Torrance

New York Post editorial board member Kelly Jane Torrance blasts Gov. Andrew Cuomo over threatening to withhold funding from local governments for not enforcing coronavirus lockdowns.

A group of Lower Manhattan residents and businesses sued the city Wednesday morning to prevent Mayor Bill de Blasio from moving about 240 homeless men from the Lucerne Hotel on the Upper West Side to a former Radisson Hotel in their neighborhood.

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“The city has reacted recklessly and erratically by repeatedly uprooting these individuals based on political pressure,” said Christopher Brown, co-founder of Downtown New Yorkers Inc.

De Blasio announced his plan to move the homeless men from the Lucerne West 79th Street in September after a lawyer representing a UWS neighborhood group threatened legal action over their continued presence in the area. Locals had complained that recovering addicts and other homeless men at the Lucerne accosted residents, openly used drugs in the street and caused other quality-of-life issues.

The move is expected sometime this month.

CUOMO, DE BLASIO PUT FEUD OVER SAFETY AS CORONAVIRUS CRACKDOWN LEADS TO CHAOS IN NYC: REPORT

Officials dramatically expanded their use of hotels to provide emergency shelter space for New York’s least fortunate during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic as the usual congregate shelters lacked the needed space for social distancing.

Before the pandemic, there were roughly 3,500 homeless people placed in hotels — a figure that quadrupled to more than 13,000 as the coronavirus ravaged the Big Apple.

When Lower Manhattan residents discovered the de Blasio administration’s plans to move the Lucerne occupants to a shuttered Radisson Hotel on William Street, they organized, hired the law firm Cozen O’Connor, and started raising money to bring a lawsuit.

The mayor has promised to end the use of hotels to house the homeless, but his administration wants to make the Radisson Hotel a permanent shelter.

TRUMP SAYS NYC IS 'LIKE A GHOST TOWN,' SAYS SON WOULD NOT GET ELECTED MAYOR 

The Downtown New Yorkers’ new Manhattan Supreme Court suit says “the city is exploiting the current humanitarian crisis to cover up its own mismanagement” because there’s no “public health rationale” for the proposed transfer.

There’s no contract with the shelter operator, Project Renewal, to assure accountability and transparency, according to court papers. City officials haven’t performed an analysis to see if the location is appropriate.

Residents argue it’s not because of the congested streets, the proximity to several schools, and the lack of support systems.

“We believe that the homeless men are better served by remaining on the Upper West Side, where they have access to extensive social programs — including a powerful jobs program — that are not available in Lower Manhattan,” Brown said.

The suit even quotes a Lucerne resident named Shams who told the local community board at a recent meeting that he and others living on the UWS prefer to stay put.

“Many of us at the Lucerne do not wish to move. We don’t want to move because we’ve been moved around quite a bit. And just up and moving like that, especially with such short notice, is traumatizing, to say the least,” Shams said, according to court papers.

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A spokesman for de Blasio’s Law Department said, “The entire city has a moral and legal obligation to provide safe shelter to all who need it.

“This shameful attempt to dodge that obligation through a technical procurement challenge will fail in court. Using this hotel to provide shelter during this unprecedented pandemic is not only a justified use of the Mayor’s emergency powers, it is absolutely the right thing to do,” the spokesman said.

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Supreme Court blocks attempt to prevent Planned Parenthood funding in South Carolina

Fox News Flash top headlines for October 13

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The Supreme Court Tuesday rejected an attempt by South Carolina Republican lawmakers to block public funding for Planned Parenthood.

The case, which sought to omit abortion clinics from the state's Medicaid program, was one of the first reproductive rights cases reviewed by the court since the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Congressional Democrats have voiced concern about adding an additional conservative judge to the Supreme Court with the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett – though Tuesday’s decision could be an indicator of how the high court justices will continue to interpret the law.

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Republicans and Democrats across the country are watching how the Supreme Court will handle cases involving reproductive rights and whether or not rights established under Roe v. Wade will be rolled back – a topic at the forefront of questioning as Barrett faced her second day of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

The high court blocked a request by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, to review two decisions made by the lower court that found the governor’s policy violated the rights of Medicaid enrollees, as it would prevent them from being able to choose from any qualified medical provider.

The decision by the lower court was in response to a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood, which offers many other medical services aside from abortions.

Planned Parenthood has been targeted by GOP-led states in their attempts to separate the organization from state Medicaid services, and the Supreme Court has rejected several similar appeals in recent years.

In 2018, the Supreme Court blocked similar bans by Louisiana and Kansas lawmakers, who sought to end Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood along with other abortion providers. 

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanagh, who was appointed under President Trump, joined the liberal Supreme Court justices in blocking the state’s attempts, reported Reuters Tuesday.

Barrett has previously voiced strong opinions when it comes to abortion, and Democrats are worried she would be in favor of overturning the landmark rulling Roe v. Wade – a concern not eased by a response she gave during her Tuesday hearing.

“Do you agree,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked Tuesday, “that Roe was wrongly decided?”

“I completely understand why you are asking the question, but I cannot pre-commit or say 'I am going in with some agenda,' because I am not,” Barrett said. “I have no agenda.”

Barrett later said that she did not consider Roe v. Wade to be a “super precedent” – meaning a case that cannot be over ruled.

But she added, “That doesn’t mean that Roe should be overruled.”

Barrett was not able to ease congressional Democrat’s concerns over how she would rule if confirmed into the Supreme Court, because she said she could not “pre-commit” to any ruling.  

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“Roe v. Wade is supported by 77 percent of the country,” Alexis McGill Johnson, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund said Tuesday. “By saying that a 47-year old decision is not ‘well settled’ law, simply because there have been calls for it to be overruled by a dogged and vocal minority, Amy Coney Barrett makes it perfectly clear that her addition to the Supreme Court would put the right to access safe, legal abortion, at risk.”

Barrett will return for another day of questioning Wednesday.

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Investors prepare for higher Treasury yields as election looms

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The Bear Traps Report founder and editor Larry McDonald highlights voter registration data as an indicator of voter enthusiasm.

The prospect of a Democratic sweep in next month’s elections is helping to push U.S. government-bond yields higher, stirring memories of four years ago when yields climbed sharply after a Republican victory.

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Yields, which rise when bond prices fall, have climbed in recent days as polls have shown a growing lead for former Vice President Joe Biden over President Trump, as well as improving chances that Democrats could end up holding both houses of Congress.

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For debt investors, the key isn’t necessarily whether Mr. Biden or Mr. Trump wins. It is whether one party or another has unified control of government, making it easier to expand the federal budget deficit through tax cuts or spending programs.

Bigger deficits can push yields higher for two reasons: first, by increasing the supply of outstanding bonds as the government ramps up borrowing and, second, by potentially boosting economic growth and inflation, which makes bonds less attractive.

The improving poll numbers for Democrats in November dovetailed last week with renewed discussion in Washington about another round of coronavirus relief aid before the election. That gave investors a double-dose of stimulus hopes, though prospects of a pre-election bill appeared to dim over the weekend.

As of Friday, the yield benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note stood at 0.775%, up from 0.644% before the presidential debate on Sept 29. The yield on the 30-year bond has climbed even more, to 1.573% from 1.404%. But some investors see room for a bigger rise, which could have repercussions on other assets like stocks and gold that have benefited from ultralow yields.

For investors, “this election is about the implication for fiscal policy,” said Thanos Bardas, global co-head of investment-grade securities at Neuberger Berman. The 10-year yield, he added, could in time “go to 1.3% easily on a full sweep” by Democrats.

Investors can’t take any scenario for granted. In 2016, few predicted Mr. Trump’s victory or how the market would respond. This time, polls suggest that Republicans could hold on to the Senate even if they lose the White House, a potential recipe for legislative gridlock.

Any number of other events, such as the approval of a coronavirus vaccine or a marked slowdown in the economic recovery, could also diminish the importance of the election.

Bardas, for one, said his team wasn’t making any big bets on the path of Treasury yields, in part because investors could pile into bonds if the outcome of the election is contested or uncertain.

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

A sustained move higher in Treasury yields could be difficult to achieve. Not only is the economy suffering due to the pandemic, but its average growth rate outside of recessions has declined in recent decades. At the same time, inflation has remained stuck below the Federal Reserve’s 2% annual target. As a result, investors widely expect the central bank to hold short-term interest rates near zero for years and to keep buying Treasurys — both policies that should constrain longer-term yields.

When Republicans captured the Congress and the White House in 2016, the 10-year yield stood at around 1.9%. It quickly rose to 2.6%, lifted by expectations that the Republican-controlled Congress would try to lift economic growth by slashing regulations, cutting taxes and boosting infrastructure spending.

Ultimately, Mr. Trump did sign a tax cut estimated to cost nearly $2 trillion over 10 years, though not a major infrastructure bill. The 10-year yield subsequently reached as high as 3.2% before declining as global growth slowed and the Fed started cutting interest rates.

Mr. Biden’s platform doesn’t signal as dramatic a selloff in bonds, analysts said. Among other things, he has called for raising taxes on corporations, which could drag on stocks and increase the appeal of bonds. Still, estimates of his spending proposals in areas such as health care and renewable energy infrastructure total trillions of dollars more than his tax increases. If Democrats win Congress and the White House, it is also likely that they would pass additional coronavirus aid.

Despite all the forces pushing down on yields, analysts say that deficits still matter for the bond market. Earlier this year, emergency coronavirus legislation was funded primarily through the issuance of short-term Treasury bills with maturities of one year or less. By August, though, the Treasury Department was ramping up issuance of longer-term debt, widening the gap between short- and long-term yields and sparking selloffs heading into debt auctions.

“It’s become very clear in the last three or four months that the bigger supply especially at the longer end of the curve necessitates [a] market concession,” said Thomas Simons, money-market economist in the fixed-income group at Jefferies LLC.

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If Democrats sweep, the prospect of even larger debt auctions will likely push yields higher, said John Briggs, head of strategy for the Americas at NatWest Markets. In addition, just a small shift in growth and inflation expectations could put added pressure on the market as investors re-evaluate the chances that the Fed will raise interest rates over the next several years.

“You don’t have to have the market price in a rate hike,” Briggs said. “It just has to start pricing in the probability of some chance of a rate hike, which we don’t have now for so many years.”

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Lindsey Graham's battle to keep Senate seat labeled 'toss-up' by influential Cook Political Report

Fox News Flash top headlines for October 8

Sen. Lindsey Graham’s race to hold onto his seat in the one-time conservative stronghold of South Carolina has now been labeled a toss-up race by the Cook Political Report.

Cook Political Report, which is looked to for nonpartisan election analysis, recently changed its outlook on the South Carolina seat from “leans Republican” to “toss up.”

Cook calls the race the most  "surprising race" of the year. Graham, the incumbent Republican senator, is going up against Democratic upstart Jaime Harrison.

"It's a jump ball at this point," one South Carolina Republican strategist told Cook. "Jaime is peaking at exactly the right time, and he's got a deluge of money. [Harrison] is blocking every pass there is from Republicans."

Harrison and Graham are scheduled to debate Friday evening.

Graham, chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee and a close ally of President Trump, has held his seat for 18 years and served 10 year in the House before that. He cruised to victory in his last race in 2014 by 15 points.  Harrison, on the other hand, has never held elected office.

Still, Harrison is well-funded by Democrats to unseat the influential Republican, and he’s dominated the airwaves with ads about his life story of overcoming poverty.

Liberals are all hands on-deck for Harrison after Graham announced he’d move forward with confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court before the November election.

A Republican super PAC aimed at preserving the Senate’s GOP majority announced last week they will spend $10 million on advertising in the state in a three-week blitz beginning last Saturday. The announcement came after a liberal super PAC announced it was pumping $6.5 million into advertising in support of Harrison’s campaign.

Harrison has outraised Graham in each quarter of this year, allowing him to blanket Palmetto State airwaves unlike any other. He’s spent or reserved time through Election Day on TV and digital ads of upwards of $60.3 million, according to Cook. Meanwhile, Graham has spent or reserved $20.6 million so far.

Still, the Graham campaign said their internal polling has them on track for a victory in November, noting that Graham is "fighting for every vote."

“Senator Graham is fighting for South Carolina, helping families and businesses get through the pandemic, and working to ensure a conservative Supreme Court with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the newest member.  Meanwhile, Democrat Jaime Harrison in on his way to spending $100 million in out-of-state, liberal money in an attempt to buy a Senate seat with wall-to-wall negative ads," Graham campaign communications director T.W. Arrighi said in a statement to Fox News.

"‘Hiding Harrison’ thinks he can hide his radical views from voters and run from reporters, but South Carolinians know a liberal Democrat when they see one.," he continued.

The Harrison campaign said the race rating had changed because  Graham has changed.

“After 25 years in Washington, Lindsey has changed into someone who voters can no longer trust,” Harrison campaign spokesperson Guy King said in a statement. “Jaime Harrison’s values-driven campaign is exciting voters across the political spectrum, and addressing issues that Lindsey Graham forgot about long ago – like healthcare, broadband internet, and COVID relief for small businesses. Less than a month from election day, this movement is in a prime position to defeat Lindsey Graham and bring hope back to all 46 counties of South Carolina.”

Harrison ads have hit Graham particularly hard over health care, claiming that Graham’s plan with Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., would impose an “age tax” on older Americans by eliminating two sources of financial assistance that help make health coverage affordable.

“Lindsey Graham still supports cutting Social Security and Medicare — key lifelines for our state’s seniors, especially as the coronavirus pandemic rages on,” King said in a press release for the new ads.

Graham’s campaign calls such an assertion a “lie” designed to “scare seniors.”

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“Under Senator Graham's plan, power over our health care would be taken out of the hands of Washington bureaucrats and placed in the hands of states.  In fact, Graham-Cassidy would provide South Carolina 123% more money than it receives under Obamacare,” the campaign said in a release.

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Dr. Marc Siegel tells Pelosi to 'stop pontificating' about Trump's condition

Dr. Siegel tells Pelosi to ‘stop pontificating’ on Trump’s condition

Fox News medical contributor shares his thoughts about president’s recovery on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight.’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., should "stop pontificating" about President Trump's health, Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel told "Tucker Carlson Tonight" Wednesday.

"To Speaker Pelosi, who is not a physician, I wish she would stop pontificating on the president’s health given that not only isn’t she a physician, but she hasn’t seen his chart," Siegel told host Tucker Carlson.

Siegel made the comment after Pelosi questioned whether the president's use of steroids to treat his coronavirus infection had impacted his sudden decision to halt negotiations on another relief bill Tuesday.

"I haven’t seen his chart … so I’m not going to say what the impact of steroids or anything else is other than … he looks healthy, he’s breathing comfortably," Siegel said. "He’s not short of breath, he doesn’t have oxygen and he’s going back to work in the Oval [Office]. That, to physicians, is a very positive sign."

Siegel said Regeneron's experimental treatment, which has been touted by the president, looks "very effective in multiple trials."

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Trump spent the day in the Oval Office Wednesday, two days after he was released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He had spent three nights at that hospital over the weekend after testing positive for the virus.

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Don’t expect a repeat of the Trump-Biden clash at VP debate

Pence, Harris gear up for tomorrow’s VP debate

Bill McGurn, WSJ ‘Main Street’ columnist, weighs in on what to expect from tomorrow’s highly anticipated VP debate. 

After a chaotic clash in Cleveland, Ohio, in the first presidential debate between Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Trump, a more sane showdown is expected at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday in Salt Lake City, Utah.

That’s where Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Vice President Mike Pence will face off in their only debate of the general election.

The first debate – described as a “debacle” and even a “s— show" – was plagued by incessant interruptions and insults. President Trump was the larger of the two culprits – according to a Fox News analysis, the president interrupted Biden and moderator Chris Wallace of "Fox News Sunday" a total of 145 times, with the former vice president interrupting Trump and Wallace 67 times.

Don’t expect such turbulence at the vice-presidential showdown at the University of Utah.

“I think they’re two very different debaters from Trump and Biden. So I think you will see a very different style of debate,” Mo Elleithee, the founding executive director of Georgetown University's Institute of Politics and Public Service and a Fox News contributor, said.

Elleithee, a senior spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign who later served as communications director for the Democratic National Committee, predicted that “it will be edgy at times, but I don’t think it’s going to turn everybody off the way last week’s debate turned a lot of people off.”

Colin Reed, a longtime GOP strategist and veteran of multiple Republican presidential and Senate campaigns, forecast that we’ll “see a very different debate in style and substance than we did last week.”

“I think both Sen. Harris and Vice President Pence have both done their homework and spent a lot of time preparing for this and they’re going to be able to not only drive against their opponent to exploit their vulnerability but also be ready to defend their own possible vulnerabilities as well,” said Reed, a managing director at the crisis management and strategic communications firm The Levinson Group. “I think both of these candidates are people who can really sell on the debate stage.”

A large painting is seen in the auditorium at Kingsbury Hall as preparations take place for the vice presidential debate at the University of Utah, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Salt Lake City. The vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is scheduled for Oct. 7. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

There will also be some obvious physical differences compared to the first debate.

Unlike Biden and the president – who stood at lecterns during the first showdown, Harris and the vice president will be seated at desks – at a distance of 12 feet and 3 inches. And plexiglass will be used as part of the organizers' push to keep the candidates safe from COVID infection amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But similar to the Biden-Trump face-off, there will be no handshakes or physical greetings between the two candidates and the debate moderator, Susan Page of USA Today.

Also similar to the first debate, there will be no opening or closing statements from either Harris or Pence.

Both debates – as well as the remaining two presidential showdowns, are 90 minutes in length and commercial-free. But while the first presidential debate was divided into six 15-minute sections, the vice presidential face-off will be divided into nine 10-minute segments.

There’s no word yet from the Commission on Presidential Debates on the topics for the nine segments.

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