Google, Early Voting, World Series: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

Credit…Laura Morton for The New York Times

1. The Justice Department filed a long-awaited antitrust lawsuit against Google, accusing the company of maintaining an illegal monopoly over search.

The suit is the most aggressive move against a tech giant in a generation. Google, owned by Alphabet, said the lawsuit was “deeply flawed,” and told its employees to stay focused and quiet.

The government, joined by 11 states, is accusing Google of illegally protecting its dominant position in the market for search and search advertising with the deals it has struck with companies like Apple. Google pays Apple billions of dollars a year to have its search engine as the default option on iPhones and other devices. Here’s a quick overview of the lawsuit.

Attorney General William Barr has played an unusually active role in the investigation. He pushed career Justice Department attorneys to bring the case by the end of September. But the case will likely take years to play out.

Google used to just be a verb for online searches, our columnist writes. Now it’s a tech brand that dominates many corners of our lives.


Credit…Bing Guan/Reuters

2. A third surge of coronavirus infections has now firmly taken hold across much of the U.S.

The latest wave — most acute in the Midwest and West — threatens to be the worst of the pandemic to date. The daily total of cases could soon surpass 75,687, a record previously set in July. Above, Madison, Wis.

With about 1 million people tested on many days, the country is getting a far more accurate picture of how widely the virus has spread than it did in the spring. Hospitalizations are on the rise nationwide. And we know that a rise in deaths tends to lag behind a spike in cases.

Separately, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was optimistic a new pandemic stimulus deal could be reached before Election Day. Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, cautioned against it.


Credit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

3. Joe Biden leads President Trump by nine points, our poll found, and voters view him more favorably on almost every major issue.

A Times/Siena College survey found that Mr. Biden is favored over Mr. Trump to lead on the coronavirus pandemic by 12 points. Voters trust Mr. Biden over Mr. Trump to choose Supreme Court justices and to maintain law and order, by six-point margins. By nearly 20 points, Americans see Mr. Biden as more capable of uniting the country.

In Georgia, Democrats are drawing ahead or even in Senate races, as college-educated white voters turn against Mr. Trump and his party, our poll found. The survey also found some surprising gains for the president among nonwhite voters.


Credit…Joe Raedle/Getty Images

4. More than 339,150 Floridians went to the polls on Monday, setting a record for early voting in the state. With mail ballots factored in, nearly three million Floridians have now voted so far this year. Above, Coral Gables, Fla.

It’s still too soon to tell whether the big early numbers are likely to translate into record turnout, or simply reflect fears of the coronavirus and mail delays. Election supervisors in the state say the hard-earned lessons of the 2000 presidential recount and other messes have taught them well. But the challenges are already apparent.

On the campaign trail, President Trump is heading to Erie, Pa. The first lady, Melania Trump, who had the coronavirus, canceled her campaign appearance because of a lingering cough. Senator Kamala Harris held a virtual rally to kick off early voting in Wisconsin. Joe Biden is preparing for Thursday’s debate.


Credit…Fernando Medina/Reuters

5. Strange sounds, followed by mysterious illnesses, have affected U.S. diplomats in Cuba, China and now Russia, raising speculation about foreign attacks.

Officials say U.S. agencies are concealing the true extent of the episodes. U.S. lawmakers are pressing the State Department to release a study it received in August, which examined potential causes. The symptoms experienced by diplomats at the American embassy in Cuba, above, in 2016 and 2017 came to be known as Havana Syndrome.

We also took a closer look at the Justice Department’s charges against Russian officers who attempted to hack the Winter Olympics, among other events. The accusations present a fresh challenge for the International Olympic Committee, who must decide what, if any, action to take against Russia.


Credit…John Morris/Reuters

6. A battle over the lucrative lobster industry in Nova Scotia has turned violent.

Commercial fishermen have burned down buildings and assaulted Indigenous fishermen, accusing them of threatening their livelihoods by trapping lobsters outside the regulated season.

The members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation negotiated the right to hunt and fish in a centuries-old treaty and a court has ruled in their favor. The fight over lobster is the latest flash point in a series of abuses of Indigenous people in Canada.


Credit…NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona, via Associated Press

7. NASA’s OSIRIS-REX is attempting to suck up rocks and dirt from an asteroid called Bennu.

If it succeeds, the spacecraft will bring the materials back to Earth for closer study, potentially unlocking secrets to what the solar system was like when it formed 4.5 billion years ago. Bennu, discovered in 1999, is a carbon-rich asteroid about 1,600 feet wide (the Empire State Building is 1,454 feet tall).

Bennu is categorized as a near-Earth asteroid, and scientists say there is a small chance it could one day slam into Earth. But even if it does, there’s time to prepare — Bennu won’t begin a series of very close passes of Earth until 2175.


Credit…Eric Gay/Associated Press

8. The shortest and strangest season in Major League Baseball history will finish with a clash of coasts and contrasts.

Madness was expected during this postseason, but in the end, the two best teams during the regular season will face off in the World Series: the Los Angeles Dodgers, one of the oldest franchises in baseball, with a payroll of $225 million, and the Tampa Bay Rays, one of the youngest franchises in baseball, with a payroll of $94 million.

The Dodgers and the Rays both dominated to get to this point, but did so in different ways, our baseball columnist writes. Game 1 is set to begin at 8 p.m. Eastern time tonight on FOX. Here’s what to expect.


Credit…Cassidy Araiza for The New York Times

9. You thought parallel parking was hard? Try parking the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

Not even the pandemic could stop the hot dog company from spreading its brand — and the joy that comes with seeing an automobile that is also a 27-foot-long frankfurter. Six hot-dog-shaped vehicles are traveling America (with some Covid-19 adjustments), led by Oscar Mayer Hotdoggers. Enthusiasts will drive for hours to witness the wurst in all its glory.

The most frequently asked question is if there’s a bathroom in the back, to which they respond, “No, it’s not a Weenie-bago.”

And looking ahead, holiday décor vendors are leaning into the grief, anxiety and nihilism of this year, hoping to make people laugh in the process. Consider this toilet paper ornament.


Credit…Christopher Miller

10. And finally, a feast for the eyes in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest.

Encompassing 16.7 million acres of land, it’s both the largest national forest in America and the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest. But the Trump administration’s lifting of logging restrictions may indelibly alter the land’s character.

Last year, the photojournalist Christopher Miller embarked on a four-day, 30-mile excursion through the heart of Prince of Wales Island in Tongass, along the Honker Divide Canoe Route, over the calm waters of Lake Galea, above, with many giant red cedar, spruce and hemlock trees and animals along the way. Take a look for yourself.

Have a peaceful evening.

Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.

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