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Trump's positive COVID test throws US election into chaos

US President Donald Trump wearing a face mask against COVID-19. Reuters

A few hours ago, US President Trump announced that he and his wife Melania have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Here's what we know this morning.

The Trump campaign has cancelled all upcoming events as the president is treated. Even if Trump remains asymptomatic, he will have to be isolated for an undetermined period of time at a crucial moment for his campaign. Election Day is only 32 days away.

If the president becomes sick and must be replaced as a candidate, the responsibility for replacing him would fall to the 168 members of the Republican National Committee. That group is composed of three members from each of the 50 US states plus six members from US territories. Under RNC rules, each state delegation would cast the same number of votes that it cast at the Republican convention.

Given challenger Joe Biden's physical proximity to the president during this week's debate, the Biden campaign will be expected to deliver an update on his health as quickly as possible. The Democratic process of choosing a replacement is essentially the same as the Republican process.

The kicker: Millions of ballots have already been mailed to voters with the names Trump and Biden on them. More than one million Americans have already voted.

The risk of chaos in the 2020 US presidential election just went way up.

A decade ago, Bank of America established the Global Ambassadors Program with Vital Voices, and the results are phenomenal. We've provided 8,000 hours of training and mentoring, engaging 400 women from 85 countries and helping women around the world build their businesses.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, US President George W. Bush demanded that Afghanistan's Taliban government surrender Osama bin Laden and end support for al-Qaeda. The Taliban refused.

On October 7, US bombs began falling on Taliban forces. NATO allies quickly pledged support for the US, and US boots hit the ground in Afghanistan two weeks later.

Thus began a war, now the longest in US history, that has killed more than 3,500 coalition soldiers and 110,000 Afghans. It has cost the American taxpayer nearly $3 trillion. US allies have also made human and material sacrifices.

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US and Russia buy time to talk arms control: Americans and Russians are close to agreeing on a one-year extension of their last remaining nuclear arms control agreement. For months the two sides have been unable to settle on terms to extend the New START treaty, an agreement limiting long-range nuclear weapons that was hammered out by the Kremlin and the Obama administration back in 2011, and expires next February. One of the main points of contention was the Trump administration's insistence that Russia bring China into any new arms control pact. But Beijing has no interest in capping its nuclear arsenal at levels far lower than what the US and Russia have, while the Kremlin says that if China is part of it, then other Western nuclear powers like the UK and France should join as well. But those disputes will be shelved now, as Moscow and Washington have agreed to freeze their nuclear arsenals for one year and to keep talking about an extension in the meantime. Of course, the Kremlin — which proposed the one-year extension as a stopgap — can't be sure just whom they'll be talking to on the US side after January…

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It almost didn't happen — but here we are again. US President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden face off tonight in the final presidential debate of the 2020 campaign.

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Three years ago, long before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19, a different kind of virus spread around the world: a piece of malicious software code launched by a nation state. It paralyzed computer networks in hundreds of countries, disrupted global shipping, forced pharmaceutical factories to shut down, and inflicted an estimated $10 billion of economic damage.

On the physical battlefield, a widely accepted set of rules, backed by international law, governs conduct, with the aim of protecting soldiers and civilians. Establishing common rules or guardrails is much harder in cyberspace, where borders can't be easily defined and the tools and tactics of combat are always changing. But it has never been more urgent.

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