First Thing: Biden raised $4m from the ashes of the first debate

The Democratic candidate broke fundraising records after Trump’s debacle in Cleveland. Plus, the exodus from Hong Kong

Joe Biden boards his campaign train in Pittsburgh




Joe Biden boards his campaign train in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
Photograph: Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

Good morning,

It is Joe Biden who appears to have benefited from Tuesday’s acrimonious presidential debate, raising $3.8m in the hour immediately following his televised clash with Donald Trump, whose performance Biden described afterwards as “a national embarrassment”. The Commission on Presidential Debates has said it will announce “additional structure” in the format of the two remaining debates, in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the chaotic scenes in Cleveland.

Trump, meanwhile, pleaded ignorance of the Proud Boys, whom he had urged to “stand by” during the debate – comments his critics say are in keeping with previous extremist rhetoric from the president. Multiple US law enforcement agencies, local and federal, have described the Proud Boys as a dangerous white supremacist group.

  • The first climate question at a presidential debate for 20 years yielded perhaps the most substantive segment of the night, writes Emily Holden – though that’s not saying much, given the low bar.

  • There was also a party leaders’ debate in New Zealand this week. The stylistic contrasts with Trump v Biden were … stark.

Brad Parscale has disembarked from the Trump train

Trump’s former campaign manager is detained outside his home in Florida last week.


Trump’s former campaign manager is detained outside his home in Florida last week. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Trump’s former campaign manager Brad Parscale has stepped away from his remaining post as a senior adviser to the re-election campaign. On Sunday Parscale’s wife, Candice, called police to their home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, saying he had threatened to harm himself with one of several firearms he kept in the house. He was hospitalised under a state law that allows anyone deemed a threat to themselves to be detained for 72 hours for psychiatric evaluation.

  • Facebook has removed some Trump campaign ads that make misleading and inaccurate claims about Covid-19 and immigration, including an assertion that accepting refugees to the US would increase Americans’ chances of catching the coronavirus.

A Catholic group wiped Amy Coney Barrett from its website

Amy Coney Barrett


Judge Amy Coney Barrett met several Republican senators in Washington on Wednesday. Photograph: Getty Images

For decades, Amy Coney Barrett has been a member of the small and secretive Catholic “covenant community” People of Praise, which opposes abortion and holds that men are divinely ordained as the head of the family. Now that she is Donald Trump’s supreme court pick, the group has erased all mentions and photos of Barrett from its website, completing a process it began in 2017 when she was on Trump’s shortlist for the supreme court seat that ultimately went to Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Sean Connolly, People of Praise’s spokesman, confirmed that the information was being wiped from the group’s website, saying in an email:


Recent changes to our website were made in consultation with members and non-members from around the country who raised concerns about their and their families’ privacy due to heightened media attention.

A suspect was charged in the shooting of two LA deputies

Alex Villanueva


Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva comments on the shooting of two deputies, an incident that was captured in CCTV footage. Photograph: Damian Dovarganes/AP

A 36-year-old man has been arrested and charged in connection with the attempted murder of two Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies who were shot while sitting in their squad car in the city’s Compton neighbourhood last month. The suspect, Deonte Lee Murray, was already in custody for an unrelated carjacking. The deputies, a 31-year-old woman and 24-year-old man, received head wounds in the 12 September shooting but have since been released from hospital.

  • Black residents are almost four times more likely to be cited for minor infractions by LA police than others, according to a new analysis of public records.

In other news …

LeBron James drives to the basket for the Lakers on Wednesday night.


LeBron James drives to the basket for the Lakers on Wednesday night. Photograph: Kim Klement/USA Today Sports
  • The LA Lakers crushed the Miami Heat 116-98 in Game 1 of the 2020 NBA finals in Orlando on Wednesday night, with Anthony Davis the Lakers’ leading scorer at 34 points.

  • Survivors of the 2017 Las Vegas Strip mass shooting and relatives of the 58 victims are to share a settlement totalling $800m from MGM Resorts and its insurers, settling dozens of lawsuits just before the third anniversary of the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

  • California will consider paying reparations to the descendants of slaves and those affected by slavery, after the state became the first in the US to pass a landmark law mandating the development of proposals around the issue.

  • Climate change is heating up nights faster than days in many parts of the world, findings that could have “profound consequences” for wildlife and their capacity to adapt to the climate emergency, researchers say.

Great reads

Christian Pulisic: ‘well on the way to becoming one of the most entertaining attacking players in the world.’


Christian Pulisic: ‘well on the way to becoming one of the most entertaining attacking players in the world.’ Photograph: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC/Getty Images

Are the US men in danger of becoming a world-class team?

The US men’s soccer team was humiliated by its failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. But now a crop of younger American players such as Christian Pulisic are playing at some of the biggest clubs in Europe – and by 2022 they’ll be hitting their prime, writes James Nalton.

Jackass at 20: disgusting, dangerous and … heartwarming?

It’s two decades since Johnny Knoxville emerged from an upturned porta potty covered in excrement in the very first episode of Jackass. Hannah Woodhead looks back on a televisual experiment in pain tolerance and gross-out humour, and finds something unexpectedly wholesome in the friendships it depicted.

Opinion: Beijing’s tyranny has forced me to flee Hong Kong

The democracy activist Nathan Law is one of many Hong Kong residents who chose to flee after China imposed a security law on the territory. He says he’ll keep fighting for democracy in exile.


I hope my advocacy work can pave my way back to Hong Kong, when I will finally get to greet my fellow Hongkongers with a bright smile as we cast our ballots to elect a leader to truly serve the people.

Last Thing: America’s most body-positive contest

Holly, aka Bear 435, the winner of Fat Bear Week 2019, reclines in Alaska’s Katmai national park.


Holly, aka Bear 435, the winner of Fat Bear Week 2019, reclines in Alaska’s Katmai national park. Photograph: National Park Service/Reuters

Voting has begun in what may be the nation’s most body-positive competition: Fat Bear Week 2020. The contest pits 12 portly contenders against each other for the title of most aesthetically pleasing ursid in the weeks before they go into annual hibernation in Alaska’s Katmai national park. Among the brown bears in contention is last year’s winner, Holly, and two-time champion Otis.

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