Midterm elections: Outcomes yet to be determined
Stacey Abrams’ historic effort to become the nation’s first African American female governor remains on hold Thursday despite GOP candidate Brian Kemp declaring victory in Georgia’s gubernatorial race. Abrams’ campaign said it would not concede and hoped that thousands of absentee and provisional ballots yet to be counted contained enough votes to force a runoff election next month. Meanwhile, in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott declared victory in his Senate race over Sen. Bill Nelson, but Nelson’s camp refused to concede, and there could be a recount if Nelson is within a 0.5 percentage point of Scott. And in Arizona, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema trailed Republican Martha McSally, 49-49 percent. An official victor may not be known for days and possibly longer if the final tally triggers a recount or legal challenge.
Obamacare sign-ups begin under Trump rules
The six-week open enrollment period for health plans under the Affordable Care Act begins Thursday. New rules created by the Trump administration allow more options, including less-expensive, bare-bones plans that lack the consumer protections found in Obamacare insurance. While the plans are less expensive, they often don’t cover the minimum set of benefits such as prescription drugs, mental health or maternity care that Obamacare plans must cover. And unlike Obamacare plans, they can also exclude or limit coverage based on pre-existing medical conditions.Companies that sell short-term plans say consumers should be aware of what they are buying and the various conditions that come with these plans.
Arctic blast will stun central, eastern U.S.
It’s back! A chunk of the polar vortex — a large area of cold air high in the atmosphere that normally spins over the North Pole — is forecast to slide over the central and eastern U.S. over the next few days, bringing temperatures that will be more like mid-January than mid-November. Daytime highs may struggle to get out of the 30s and 40s, the Weather Channel said. The northern Rockies and northern Plains will feel the chill first, followed by the Northeast this weekend. Dress warm.
NASA’s ICON launch … take two
After a launch attempt Wednesday had to be pushed because of an “anomaly,” the Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL carrying the $242 million Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) could be launched Thursday in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This NASA mission aims to study the interaction between Earth and space weather in the upper atmosphere. The mission had been scheduled to launch nearly a year ago, but was held up by issues with the rocket’s separation systems, along with a launch site change and NASA’s busy schedule of science missions. If the rocket is not launched Thursday, the mission loses the Eastern Range for an unspecified period — it’s not immediately clear when the next opportunity would be available.
Fed likely to keep rates unchanged
The Federal Reserve winds up a two-day meeting Thursday but it’s not expected to raise its key short-term interest rate after bumping it up by a quarter percentage point in September for the third time this year. The central bank is likely to maintain its upbeat view after the economy in the third quarter capped its best six-month stretch since 2014 and unemployment reached a near 50 year low. Jitters over the escalating US trade war with China and the recent market sell-off will likely not be mentioned, especially after stocks recently pared their losses. All of that will leave the door wide open for another anticipated rate hike in December.
Bonus: Get ahead of the holiday shopping frenzy
Thanksgiving is just two weeks away and Black Friday sales ads are flying in. Walmart unveiled its Black Friday plans early Thursday, with the in-store sale starting on Thanksgiving Day. The world’s biggest retailer also shared some early deals available right now, including a 55-inch Sharp 4K Ultra HD Smart TV for $299, more than a $200 savings, and a 65-inch RCA 4K tv for $399. Looking for more early deals? Check out Reviewed’s best pre-Black Friday deals.
Scores of stores are waiting until Black Friday to open. However, even as that number grows, other stores are opening earlier Thanksgiving Day.
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