Thursday morning news – October 8, 2020

Pence, Harris face off in VP debate » AUDIO: Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence

The vice president and the would be VP faced off last night in Salt Lake City in the only vice presidential debate of 2020.  

In contrast to last week’s chaotic debate between President Trump and Joe Biden, last night’s debate remained respectful. The most spirited exchange came when Pence pressed Harris on the question of expanding the Supreme Court. 

PENCE: Are you and Joe Biden, if somehow you win this election, going to pack the Supreme Court to get your way?
HARRIS: I’m so glad we went through a little history lesson. Let’s do that a little more. In 1864 …
PENCE: I’d like you to answer the question.
HARRIS: Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking. I’m speaking. 

Harris dodged the question while accusing President Trump of taking the Supreme Court out of the hands of voters by nominating Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the high court just weeks before the election. 

Harris also took aim at the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic.

HARRIS: They minimized the seriousness of it. The president said you’re on one side of his ledger if you wear a mask, you’re on the other side of his ledger if you don’t. 

She charged that President Trump still doesn’t have a plan to deal with it.

Pence countered that Biden’s plan to fight COVID-19 sounds a lot like the White House is already doing. 

PENCE: When I look at their plan that talks about advancing testing, creating new PPE, developing a vaccine, it looks a little bit like plagiarism. 

They also traded shots on healthcare, foreign policy, and the economy. 

Pence and Harris sat 12 feet apart, separated by plexiglass barriers to guard against transmission of the coronavirus. A small audience was socially distanced and wore masks. 

President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are scheduled to square off once again next Thursday in Miami.

White House signals willingness to approve piecemeal COVID-19 relief » The White House says it remains open to passing some piecemeal economic relief measures before the election. 

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Wednesday that he’s been on the phone with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. 

MEADOWS: The secretary and I have been talking about what we can do with stand-alone bills to help airlines, small businesses, and the American people with stimulus checks. 

The president on Tuesday called off talks with Democrats on a wide-ranging relief bill until after the election, saying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wasn’t negotiating in good faith. 

Pelosi called the breakdown of talks “unfortunate.” She said she felt things were moving in the right direction. 

PELOSI: We had such great provisions in the bill, not that they agreed to all of them yet, but we were on a path. 

In a series of tweets Wednesday, the president called on Congress to send him a stand-alone bill for another round of $1,200 stimulus payments to Americans. He said “I am ready to sign right now.”

He also urged Congress to immediately approve $25 billion for airlines and $135 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses.

NFL’s Patriots cancel practice following COVID-19 infections » The New England Patriots have canceled practice amid reports that a third player has tested positive for COVID-19. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Sports Illustrated reported that reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore tested positive on Wednesday and was added to the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list. 

Starting quarterback Cam Newton missed New England’s loss at Kansas City on Monday night after a positive COVID-19 test and was added to the reserve list Saturday. Practice squad player Bill Murray joined him on the list Tuesday.

Newton’s positive test prompted the NFL to postpone New England’s game with the Chiefs by a day.

Newton tweeted a picture of himself Wednesday morning wearing a mask, along with the caption: “WEAR YOUR MASK. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE.”

The Patriots are scheduled to host the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

American and French scientists win Nobel Prize in chemistry » Two scientists won the Nobel Prize in chemistry Wednesday for developing so-called “molecular scissors” to edit genes. Some say that has raised hopes of one day curing inherited diseases.

Frenchwoman Emmanuelle Charpentier and American Jennifer A. Doudna came up with a method known as CRISPR-cas9. It can be used to change the DNA of animals, plants, and microorganisms. 

DOUDNA: We figured out that this protein is able to cut DNA, and importantly that we could control where it cuts DNA by changing the molecule that guides it to a particular DNA sequence, a molecule of RNA. 

Chairman of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry Claes Gustafsson said that development has revolutionized science. He said, as a result, any genome can now be edited “to fix genetic damage.”

But he acknowledged that the technology raises serious ethical questions and said scientists must use it carefully.

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Preparations take place for the vice presidential debate outside Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Salt Lake City. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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