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Hard Numbers: Three keys to the White House, early voting records, Florida's minimum wage, searching for mail-in-ballots

A voter drops off her vote by mail ballot at the Supervisor of Elections office on election day in West Palm Beach, Florida on August 18, 2020.

3: As votes continue to trickle in, three yet-to-be-called battleground states — Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — now appear to hold the key to the White House. It could take days to find out the final tallies as each of the states works through its own count of early votes, mail-in ballots, and election day votes.


101 million: More than 101 million Americans voted early in this year's presidential election, according to the US Elections Project. Social distancing restrictions and fears about the pandemic caused an influx of mail-in ballots and early in person voting. In 2016, some 47 million Americans voted early, while 32 million people cast their ballots early in 2012. Analysts are predicting unprecedented levels of voter turnout when all is done and dusted.

15: Floridian voters have approved "Amendment 2," which will raise the state's minimum wage to $15 by 2026. (Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25.) While in recent years the move towards a $15 minimum wage has gained momentum across the country — and is a key part of the Democratic party's platform — Florida is the first southern state to approve the measure.

300,523: The US Postal Service said that some 300,523 mail-in-ballots around the country could not be found Tuesday afternoon, having received incoming scans at processing depots but not exit scans. A federal court ordered the agency — and law enforcement — to "sweep" processing plants by the time polls closed, but the mail service (represented by the US Justice Department) said it would make decisions about its own inspection schedule. Voting rights advocates are up in arms as the situation gets messier and messier.

Knowing the secrets of the Earth requires a great deal of exploration and intellectual curiosity. Fit for this job is geologist Giuseppe Valenti, Eni's Senior Vice President, whose role is to explore below the Earth's surface and understand the history, movements and age of each single grain of sand. Today, he is able to go underground without leaving the office thanks to new technologies and advanced x-rays that relay real-time data. Though working in the lab is distinctly different from his past adventures traveling the world, Giuseppe is not nostalgic for the past. He says he will always be Indiana Jones in spirit.

Watch the latest Faces of Eni episode to learn more about Giuseppe's inspirational life.

The person a US president taps to assume the coveted role of secretary of state, the nation's top diplomat, says a lot about that president's foreign policy ambitions and global vision.

Indeed, the selection of Henry Kissinger (Nixon and Ford), James Baker (George H.W. Bush), Hillary Clinton (Obama) and Rex Tillerson (Trump) to head the State Department, provided an early window into the foreign policy priorities — or lack thereof — of their respective bosses.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hey, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, happy Monday, Thanksgiving week. Things starting to look increasingly normal in terms of outlook, in terms of having all of these vaccines. I understand that the next few months in the United States are going to be incredibly challenging, but so much easier when you see that there's light at the end of the tunnel and you know where that's coming. Most recently, the AstraZeneca announcement, which for me, in some ways is a bigger deal globally, even than what we've seen from Moderna and Pfizer, because it doesn't require freezing, it's just refrigeration, which means that countries around the world that don't have the infrastructure to deal with this cold chain requirements of these vaccines will be able to use another set of vaccines with different technology. That's not just AstraZeneca, it will be Johnson and Johnson. It's the Russians. It's the Chinese.

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Although the United States and the European Union have comparable population sizes, until recently the trajectories of their COVID-19 outbreaks have been vastly different, with the EU seeming to have kept the pandemic mostly in check during the summer months. The US has now surpassed twelve million total infections as most states, particularly in the Midwest, are fighting massive outbreaks. But now Europe is doing even worse: states across the continent are seeing an uptick in average infection and mortality rates that dwarf those of the US, leading several European countries to implement fresh national lockdowns. Here's a look at the seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases, and three-day rolling averages of new deaths and new deaths per capita in the EU vs the US since March.

Guatemala in crisis: In the latest unrest to hit the streets of a Latin American capital, a group of demonstrators — angry about a controversial new budget — set fire to the Guatemalan parliament building over the weekend. The budget, negotiated largely in secret while the country reels from the impact of the pandemic and back-to-back hurricanes, cuts funding for healthcare, education, and human rights organizations while boosting money for infrastructure and — get this — adds more than $50,000 for lawmakers' meal stipends. The mostly peaceful protesters, along with the Catholic Church, are demanding at a minimum that President Alejandro Giammattei veto the budget, but some on the streets are calling for him and his whole government to step down entirely. Vice President Guillermo Castillo has offered to do just that, but only if the president jumps ship with him. Can Giammattei find a solution or is this a rerun of 2015, when mass protests unseated the government of then-President Otto Perez Molina? With its economy battered by the pandemic and natural disasters, Guatemala can ill afford a prolonged crisis.

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The 2020 US Election

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