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THE WEEK AHEAD IN POLITICS
The midterms are 16 days away, and the political universe is going nuts. (If you're not so hot on politics these days, skip to the next section for the rest of the week's big events.)
Debates this week will give candidates a stage to make their final pitches.
• Wednesday night features two key matchups: Gillum and DeSantis meet again at 7 ET in a debate set to air live across Florida; and New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, who escaped charges in a long-running bribery case, debates the GOP's Bob Hugin at 7 ET on C-SPAN.
• Another double-header is set for Friday night: Embattled Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota faces GOP US Rep. Kevin Cramer at 8 ET, with streaming at CNN affiliate WDAY; and Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democrat Tony Evers, the state schools chief, are due to debate at 7 ET, broadcast on CNN affiliate WTMJ.
Big-name boosters also hit the campaign trail this week. President Trump will spend part of Monday in Texas, where a key Senate race is getting hot, then head Wednesday to Wisconsin. His predecessor, Barack Obama, stumps Monday in Nevada, where Dems are aiming for a US Senate seat and the governor's mansion. Hillary Clinton heads Tuesday to Florida.
• Look up! The Orionid meteor shower hits its peak, as Earth passes through a debris stream left by Halley's Comet.
• Julia Louis-Dreyfus receives the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, but you'll have to wait until next month for the ceremony to air on PBS.
• Officials of dozens of countries meet in Hobart, Australia, to decide whether to create an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary. The 772,000-square-mile zone would be Earth's largest protected area and provide safe haven for whales, penguins, seals and other creatures to live and recover from human threats. The meeting runs through November 2.
• US health officials on are due to update the number of cases of polio-like acute flaccid myelitis. The rare but serious disease affects the nervous system, causing muscles and reflexes to suddenly become weak. It has affected a reported 127 patients, with an average age of 4, this year. Experts haven't found a cause in most cases and can't explain why the illness recently has proliferated every other year.
• The Future Investment Initiative summit opens in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, though without key players from the West. Leaders, including US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, fell like dominoes from the conference, known as "Davos in the Desert," amid the international outcry over the kingdom's involvement in the death of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Though the Trump administration has taken a tougher public stand against Saudi Arabia, it's still not clear how hard the White House will come down on its key regional ally.
• The University System of Maryland's Board of Regents reportedly will meet behind closed doors to discuss the results of an investigation into College Park campus' reportedly toxic football culture and the death in June of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair.
• The Lantern Tour kicks off, with visits this week to five cities for a special concert series in support of migrant families separated at the US border. The all-star lineup includes Jackson Browne, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, Lila Downs, Steve Earle, Graham Nash and Emmylou Harris.
• Haven't heard enough from Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House communications chief? His new book, "Trump, the Blue-Collar President," hits store shelves.
• The World Series begins with a matchup of two storied teams: the Boston Red Sox vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers. The two franchises haven't met in the Fall Classic since 1916, when the Dodgers were in New York and known as the Brooklyn Robins.
• Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is due to testify behind closed doors on Capitol Hill to address reports he discussed wearing a wire to secretly record President Trump and mentioned invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. Though it looked like Rosenstein would be fired over the news, Trump has suggested the Justice Department's No. 2 may not lose his job. If he did, it would turn the Mueller probe on its head.
• "Are we expecting it? Not really. Perhaps we are hoping for it." That's reportedly what a Paris auctioneer said about another stunt unfolding when three works by Banksy hit the block. A print by the anonymous graffiti artist "self-destructed" this month in London when a shredder hidden in its frame chewed up the work moments after it sold for $1.4 million.
• ACLU and government lawyers are due to update a federal judge on efforts to reunite undocumented immigrant families separated by the US government, including reconnecting dozens of kids with parents who were deported without them. The judge hopes the process will be complete within weeks. Meantime, the administration is weighing a proposal that could mean immigrant families would be split up again, but it would be the parents' choice.
• Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe begins a three-day visit to China. He's due to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, just months after the two talked by phone for the first time. The visit marks a further thawing of ties. Territorial disputes over islands in the East China Sea and grievances dating to World War II have dogged Japan-China relations.
• The 48th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships begins in Doha, Qatar.
• Voters in Ireland go to the polls to elect a president, with five challengers hoping to unseat Michael Higgins. The impact of Brexit has been a key campaign issue. A referendum on the decriminalization of blasphemy will also be held, while a vote on whether to remove a constitutional reference to a "women's place ... in the home" was postponed.