Thursday morning news – November 12, 2020

Trump, Biden honor veterans in separate ceremonies » President Trump made his first public appearance this week, paying his respects Wednesday at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

Vice President Pence joined him for the Veteran’s Day observance as a steady rain fell on Arlington National Cemetery.

AUDIO: [Sound from Tomb of Unknown Soldier]

Former Vice President Joe Biden, meantime, attended a service at the Philadelphia Korean War Memorial. 

On Tuesday, Biden said he’s pushing ahead with preparations to become America’s next commander in chief though President Trump is disputing election results in several states.  

BIDEN: We’re well underway. And the the ability for the administration in any way by failure to recognize our win does not change the dynamic at all of what we’re able to do.

However, Biden is not receiving top-level national security information just yet. 

Director of National Security John Ratcliffe’s office says by the terms of the Presidential Transition Act, it won’t have any contact with Biden’s transition team until the General Services Administration says the election results are clear. That’s a process called “ascertainment.” 

Georgia to recount presidential ballots by hand » But that may not happen quickly. The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in multiple states and at least one state plans to recount every vote by hand. 

Biden holds a slim lead in Georgia, about 14,000 votes out of roughly 5 million cast. 

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Wednesday…

RAFFENSPERGER: We’ll be counting every single piece of paper, every single ballot, every single lawfully cast legal ballot. 

He said the recount will likely take until November 20th. That’s the state certification deadline. The recount will only apply to the presidential election. 

U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations hit record high » A record number of Americans are now flooding hospitals due to COVID-19. 

That as the country surpassed 1 million new confirmed cases through the first 10 days of November. 

The new wave appears bigger and more widespread than earlier surges. But experts say the nation is better able to deal with the virus this time around.

The death rate from COVID-19 is less than half of what it was in the spring. Still, hospital workers say capacity is a real concern. 

Dr. Julie Watson is a vice president with Integris Health. It operates a network of hospitals in Oklahoma.

WATSON: Our local and state resources are approaching their limits. And if nothing is done soon to slow the rise in cases, our hospitals will be more overwhelmed than they already are, and we won’t be able to be there for those who need it. 

More than 60,000 Americans are now hospitalized, according to the COVID Tracking Project. 

And Harvard epidemiologist William Hanage said holiday gatherings could make matters worse. He told PRI’s “The World” that there are “three Cs” to avoid if at all possible. 

HANAGE: Closed spaces, close contact, and crowding. And it’s fairly easy to see how those three can easily come all together when it comes to the holidays.

Newly confirmed U.S. infections are at an all-time high of well over 100,000 per day. 

TikTok asks court to intervene as U.S. deadline to sell expires » The future of the popular video-sharing app TikTok is in limbo. That as the Trump administration’s deadline to sell off its U.S. operations expires today. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown has more.

ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: President Trump issued an executive order back in August setting the November 12th deadline. 

The administration said it was concerned that TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, could be sharing its user data with the Chinese government. 

In September, Trump gave his tentative blessing to a deal for ByteDance to place TikTok under the oversight of American companies Oracle and Walmart. Both companies would receive a financial stake in the company. 

But ByteDance said this week it’s received “no clarity” about whether the U.S. government has signed off on the deal. 

The company filed a petition Wednesday, asking a federal appeals court to review Trump’s divestment order and the government’s national-security review.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown. 

Tropical Storm Eta lashes Fla. for second time » Tropical Storm Eta is lashing Florida for a second time this morning. 

As of last night, Eta was still packing winds of about 70 miles per hour, just below hurricane strength. 

Stacy Stewart with the National Hurricane Center said he expected it to slam the coast somewhere north of Tampa, but…

STEWART: Water’s going to be pushed up into the drains in the metropolitan area there, in the Tampa Bay area.  And then you put on top of that rainfall totals perhaps exceeding 4 to near 6 inches of rain, and that water will begin to back up and will definitely flood streets and other low lying areas. 

Storm tracks show Eta passing over Jacksonville later today before spinning back out over the Atlantic. 

The storm already struck the Florida Keys and soaked South Florida on Sunday. 

Court approves sale of J.C. Penney » A U.S. bankruptcy court has approved the sale of the century-old retail chain J.C. Penney, a move that could save 60,000 jobs. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: J.C. Penney is on course to emerge from bankruptcy by Thanksgiving. That after a Texas judge gave the green light to sell the ailing retailer to its largest landlords and lenders for $1.75 billion. 

Under the terms of the sale, the chain will split into two entities. 

The nation’s largest shopping mall owners will take over one part of Penney’s.  

Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and Simon Property Group will acquire its retail and operations assets. 

Penney’s creditors will take over the other part of the company … buying its distribution centers and other real estate properties. 

Still, the retailer faces an uphill battle to attract shoppers this holiday season as they stay away from the malls and stores for safety reasons and shop online more.

J.C. Penney filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May, becoming one of the largest retailers to do so during the pandemic. Without a sale, the company faced liquidation. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) President Donald Trump salutes as he participates in a Veterans Day wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. 

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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