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Morning headlines: Biden-Harris debut; Facebook targets misinformation; NBA activism focused on voting
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Morning headlines: Biden-Harris debut; Facebook targets misinformation; NBA activism focused on voting

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Today is Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. Let's get caught up.

These non-virus headlines are in the news this morning: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris made their first appearance together as running mates; Facebook is stepping up efforts to combat misinformation ahead of the November election; and the NBA's latest wave of activism hopes to provide lasting change by focusing on voting.

Read on for these stories, other top headlines, celebrity birthdays and more.


Top stories

Biden, Harris lash Trump at debut of historic VP choice

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris pushed past their one-time political rivalry to deliver an aggressive attack on the character and performance of President Donald Trump in their historic first appearance as running mates.

The physical debut of the Democratic ticket on Wednesday was without parallel in recent political annals. The coronavirus prevented Biden and Harris from appearing before the large, adoring crowd that typically greets a presidential nominee and his or her running mate. Instead, they spoke in a mostly empty high school gym where reporters nearly outnumbered campaign aides and the candidates' family members.

While the pandemic made a traditional campaign rollout impossible, it gave Biden and Harris a setting to emphasize their criticism of Trump as unable to contend with the most severe public health crisis in a century.

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Facebook beefs up anti-misinformation efforts ahead of election

Beginning Thursday, U.S. Facebook users who post about voting may start seeing an addendum to their messages — labels directing readers to authoritative information about the upcoming presidential election.

It's the social network's latest step to to combat election-related misinformation on its platform as the Nov. 3 election nears — one in which many voters may be submitting ballots by mail for the first time. Facebook began adding similar links to posts about in-person and mail-in balloting by federal politicians, including President Donald Trump, in July.

These labels will link to a new voter information hub similar to one about COVID-19 that Facebook says has been seen by billions of users around the world. The labels will read, “Visit the Voting Information Center for election resources and official updates.”

Despite such efforts, Facebook continues to face widespread criticism around how it handles misinformation around elections and other matters. The company has generally refused to fact-check ads by politicians, for instance, and a two-year audit of its civil rights practices faulted the company for leaving U.S. elections “exposed to interference by the President and others who seek to use misinformation to sow confusion and suppress voting.”

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Voting focus could be legacy for latest wave of NBA activism

NBA players are building on the framework of Colin Kaepernick’s protests during the national anthem that helped raise awareness about police brutality, efforts that have permeated the league since it restarted its season in Florida last month amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But where Kaepernick’s demonstrations raised awareness, NBA players want their actions to move the needle further. But transforming the widespread embrace for social justice in America from a moment into a movement requires targeting systemic barriers and changing laws, not just mindsets.

One target has been voting, with initiatives such as the LeBron James-led More Than A Vote. “We have some ears," James said recently, “and we will continue to push the envelope."

Pushing the voting envelope could provide a tangible legacy for today’s socially conscience players who want to transition symbolism into substantive change.

In other news today ...

  • Joe Biden raised $26 million in the 24 hours after he named Kamala Harris as his running mate, doubling his previous one-day record and signaling enthusiasm among Democrats following the selection of the first Black woman on a major party's presidential ticket.
  • Harris, the daughter of a Jamaican father and an Indian mother, often focuses on her identity as a Black woman. Still, the possibility she would be the U.S. vice president, which has already triggered sexist and racist commentary, created instantaneous glee among South Asians worldwide and put the spotlight on her as the first person of Asian descent on a major party presidential ticket.
  • Republican Sen. Ron Johnson is defending his committee's investigation into Ukraine and Joe Biden from criticism that his probe is politically motivated and advancing Russian interests.
  • Trump's administration is expected to undo Obama-era rules designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas fields and pipelines, formalizing the changes Thursday in the heart of the nation's most prolific natural gas reservoir and in the premier presidential battleground state of Pennsylvania.
  • The Iranian navy boarded and briefly seized a Liberian-flagged oil tanker near the strategic Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions between Tehran and the U.S., a U.S. military official said Thursday.
  • Puerto Ricans prepared Thursday for a second consecutive weekend of primary elections after the U.S. territory's Supreme Court ordered authorities to reopen polling centers where botched ballot supplies prevented people from voting in the first round.
  • Hundreds of people were back on the streets of Belarus' capital on Thursday morning in a show of solidarity with protests against an election many say was rigged to extend the rule of the country's authoritarian leader.
  • The explosion in Beirut left around a quarter of a million people with homes unfit to live in. But they have not had to crowd into collective shelters or sleep in public parks. That’s because in the absence of the state, Lebanese have stepped up to help each other.

Click on the links below for full versions of these stories and scroll further for trending stories, a look at today in history and celebrity birthdays.

Today's national forecast

From Texas to the Pacific — more than 60 million Americans will be sweltering as a new heat wave settles into the West. CNN Meteorologist Derek Van Dam has the details.

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