Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 22, 2017

Rare total eclipse leaves millions of Americans awestruck, Trump unveils Afghanistan strategy, and more


Americans awed by rare total eclipse

Americans gazed up wearing special protective glasses to watch a rare solar eclipse on Monday, with millions converging on the narrow "path of totality" to watch the moon completely blot out the sun. The 70-mile wide swath where the eclipse was total stretched from Salem, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina, crossing 14 states. It was the first time in 99 years that a total eclipse had been visible from coast to coast. "We just saw this beautiful view," said Bob Harris, 72, who watched in Oregon and was struck by the sudden darkness and temperature drop. "There was a ring of light around the moon, like a diamond ring, and just as the sun started to come out from behind the moon, you saw the diamond."


Trump reverses call for Afghanistan exit and vows to 'fight to win'

President Trump on Monday announced his strategy for the war in Afghanistan, reversing a campaign pledge to withdraw and vowing to increase U.S. troop strength and "fight to win." Trump said his "original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts," but that he became convinced in discussions with his military advisers that "a hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum for terrorists, including ISIS and al Qaeda." Trump declined to spell out his goals or say how much he would increase troop strength from the 8,400 currently training and supporting Afghan forces, but promised not to give the military a "blank check." He also said the U.S. would "no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organizations."


Spanish police kill man believed to have driven van in Barcelona attack

Spanish police on Monday tracked down and fatally shot Younes Abouyaaqoub, the Islamist militant suspected of driving the van that killed 13 people in Barcelona last week. The Moroccan-born Abouyaaqoub allegedly stole a car, killed its driver, and fled after the attack. Police caught up to Abouyaaqoub, 22, in a rural area near Barcelona after a five-day manhunt. He held up what appeared to be an explosive belt, and shouted "Allahu Akbar" (Arabic for "God is greatest") before he was shot. The explosive belt turned out to be fake. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack.


Most Americans disapprove of Trump's Charlottesville response

Fifty-six percent of Americans disapprove of President Trump's response to the deadly white supremacist protest in Charlottesville while just 28 percent approve, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Still, a majority of Americans back Trump at least somewhat, and nine percent of respondents said that it was acceptable to have white supremacist views. The Charlottesville white nationalist protesters said they had turned out in opposition to the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from a park. Another poll, by Reuters and Ipsos, found that 54 percent of adults said Confederate monuments "should remain in all public spaces" while 27 percent said they "should be removed from all public spaces."


Navy suspends operations of all ships for safety review after latest collision

The Navy is suspending operations for all of its ships worldwide for one or two days to conduct safety checks following the second collision between Navy destroyers and commercial ships in two months, Adm. John Richardson, the U.S. chief of naval operations, said Monday. The inspections will cover basic seamanship and teamwork. The announcement came after the guided-missile destroyer John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker early Monday off Singapore, leaving five sailors injured and 10 missing. Richardson also ordered a months-long review of operations in busy waters in the western Pacific, where four Navy ship accidents have occurred since February. On Tuesday, the remains of some of the 10 missing sailors were found, the Navy said.


Ohio judge shot in ambush-style attack outside courthouse

The father of a high school football player convicted of rape in 2013 allegedly shot and wounded an Ohio judge on Monday near the Steubenville courthouse. Authorities identified the attacker as Nathaniel "Nate" Richmond, father of Ma'Lik Richmond, who served 10 months in juvenile detention after he was convicted along with another Steubenville High School football player of raping a 16-year-old girl when he was 17. Authorities said the judge and a probation officer returned fire, killing the elder Richmond. The judge, Joseph Bruzzese Jr., had nothing to do with Ma'Lik Richmond's case. Records show Bruzzese was overseeing a wrongful death lawsuit Richmond filed in April against the Jefferson County Metropolitan Housing Authority.


Secret Service running out of money allotted to protect Trumps

The Secret Service said Monday that it would run out of money for salaries and overtime to protect President Trump and his family at the end of September unless Congress lifts a spending cap. Extensive business and vacation travel by Trump and members of the extended first family has placed an unexpected strain on the Secret Service, as well as local governments and the Coast Guard. Roughly 1,100 employees will work overtime exceeding pay caps this year, Director Randolph "Tex" Alles said in a statement. "To remedy this ongoing and serious problem," he said, "the agency has worked closely with the Department of Homeland Security, the administration, and the Congress over the past several months to find a legislative solution."


33 injured in suburban Philadelphia train crash

A high-speed train crashed into an empty train at a suburban Philadelphia station early Tuesday, injuring 33 people, four of them seriously. The cause of the crash is under investigation. "The conductor is in the hospital right now, I can't release his condition," Upper Darby Mayor Nicholas Micozzie said at a news conference. The inbound Norristown High Speed Line train slammed into the parked train at the 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby around 12:15 a.m. "My face hit the wall, put a big hole in the wall and I went straight down and I blacked out. There was blood everywhere," a passenger told NBC. "The driver is all banged up and there was this one girl bleeding out of her face pretty bad."


Jury orders Johnson & Johnson to pay woman $417 million in talc lawsuit

A California jury on Monday found Johnson & Johnson liable for failing to warn a woman over the alleged risk of ovarian cancer from the company's baby powder, and ordered it to pay $417 million. The verdict includes $347 million in punitive damages. Johnson & Johnson has lost four previous jury verdicts with judgments in St. Louis totaling $300 million, and it faces 5,500 claims altogether linking its baby powder and Shower to Shower talc to ovarian cancer and a failure to adequately warn customers. The Monday verdict was the first outside Missouri. The company said it would appeal.


Protesters shout down Charlottesville City Council members

Angry protesters on Monday briefly shut down a meeting of the Charlottesville, Virginia, City Council, its first since a white nationalist rally where deadly violence broke out. Residents and activists shouted down city officials over their decision to allow the "Unite the Right" rally, with about 100 people chanting "Shame" and "Shut it down!" Three people were charged with disorderly conduct. To restore calm, the protesters were given the opportunity to speak one by one, and the Council agreed to have a third-party review of its response to the rally. Council members also voted to start working toward removing a statue of the Confederate general Stonewall Jackson. The white nationalist rally was prompted by an earlier decision to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.


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