10 things you need to know today: September 7, 2020

Record heat fuels California wildfires, India surpasses Brazil as nation with second most coronavirus cases, and more

A firefighter in California
(Image credit: SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP via Getty Images)

1. California wildfires set record for acres burned

California wildfires have burned nearly 2.1 million acres so far in 2020, surpassing the record for the most land scorched in the state in a single year, CAL Fire Capt. Richard Cordova said Sunday. "This is crazy," Cordova said. "We haven't even got into the October and November fire season, and we've broken the all-time record." The news came as a record-setting heat wave created new challenges for exhausted firefighters who had finally started making headway containing some of the biggest blazes. At least 224 people who had been trapped at Mammoth Pool Reservoir, a popular recreation site, were evacuated by helicopter on Sunday. The Creek Fire had blocked the only road out. About 20 of the rescued people had injuries such as broken bones and burns. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) declared a state of emergency in five counties. Environmentalists say climate change will make such heat waves more common.


2. India passes Brazil as country with second most coronavirus cases

India on Monday surpassed Brazil as the country with the most coronavirus cases after the United States. India's Health Ministry reported 90,802 new cases in the last 24 hours, lifting the country's total to 4.2 million, second only to the America's more than 6 million. India also reported 1,016 new deaths. India's death toll now stands at 71,642, the third highest in the world. India has posted the world's biggest daily increases in confirmed cases for nearly a month. Despite the spreading of the virus, the Indian government has started relaxing restrictions designed to prevent infections as it tries to revive its economy. The Delhi Metro resumed operations Monday after five months, although only asymptomatic people were allowed on trains and masks, temperature checks, and social distancing were required.

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3. Baseball Hall of Famer Lou Brock dies at 81

Former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Lou Brock, a Hall of Famer and legendary base stealer, died Sunday. He was 81. Brock started out with the Chicago Cubs but went to St. Louis in a 1964 trade. He hit .348 and scored 81 runs in just 103 games that season, helping St. Louis win the National League pennant and the World Series. The next year he started a 12-season stretch in which he averaged 65 steals and 99 runs a year, leading the Cardinals to another World Series win in 1967 with a second straight appearance in the Fall Classic in 1968. Brock hit .439 in the back-to-back Series. In 1974, he stole 118 bases, breaking Maury Wills' single-season record. Brock broke Ty Cobb's all-time stolen base record in 1977, and held the career record at 938 until Ricky Henderson surpassed him in 1991. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch The New York Times

4. Los Angeles County records its highest temperature on record

The temperature in Woodland Hills, California, reached 121 degrees on Sunday, the highest ever recorded in Los Angeles County. The new record was two degrees above the previous high set in 2006. The National Weather Service said the area could get even hotter as a dangerous heat wave continues in California, Nevada, and Arizona, and records could be broken in other parts of the region. San Luis Obispo recorded a temperature of 120 degrees at the Cal Poly weather station, shattering the previous record of 115 degrees, which was set during a 2017 heat wave. "This is unmatched, just unprecedented, unreal," said John Lindsey, a meteorologist with Pacific Gas and Electric.

ABC News The Tribune

5. Mnuchin says he and Pelosi have agreed on averting shutdown

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday reaffirmed that he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) would hammer out a short-term spending bill to prevent a federal-government shutdown on Oct. 1. "The speaker and I have agreed we don't want to see a government shutdown," Mnuchin said on Fox News Sunday. Mnuchin said the two sides expected to pass a "continuing resolution" that would keep government agencies funded into December, preventing a shutdown before the November election. If Congress fails to act, agencies' funding will run out at midnight Sept. 30. Pushing debate on the final spending bill would let lawmakers return to work after the election and pass a longer-term law for the 2021 fiscal year in a lame-duck session before the new Congress convenes in January.

The Washington Post

6. New coronavirus cases rise in 22 states

Confirmations of new coronavirus cases are rising in 22 of the 50 U.S. states, Reuters reported on Sunday, citing the news agency's analysis of public health data. The news came as Americans gather for the Labor Day holiday weekend that traditionally marks the end of summer, and public health authorities warned that holiday crowds raised the risk of new infections. Most of the states reporting rising infections are in thinly populated parts of the Midwest and South. South Dakota showed the largest increase on a percentage basis, with 3,700 new cases over the past two weeks, a 126 percent increase compared to the previous two weeks. Some of the new cases were linked to the massive annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, which attracted hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists in August. Nationwide, the increases were offset by falling new infections in the heavily populated states of California, Florida, and Texas.


7. Typhoon Haishen hits South Korea, Japan

Typhoon Haishen hit South Korea's east coast on Monday a day after battering Japan's southern islands, where four people went missing when a mudslide hit the office of a construction firm. The storm, with top sustained winds of 70 miles per hour, knocked out power to more than 17,500 households on the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula, where it made landfall in the city of Ulsan. Haishen uprooted trees and caused landslides on Geoje Island, and left at least one person injured when a car overturned in high winds. Two nuclear reactors in the city of Gyeongju, about 235 miles southeast of Seoul, were shut down and train service was suspended.


8. China reportedly stops renewals of U.S. journalist credentials

China has halted press-credential renewals for foreign journalists working for some U.S. news outlets, The New York Times reported Sunday, citing six people with knowledge of the situation. The news organizations affected include CNN, The Wall Street Journal, and Getty Images. Beijing implied that it could start expelling journalists next if the Trump administration further restricts Chinese media employees working in the United States. The moves escalated tensions between the world's two biggest economies that have included clashes over trade, technology, diplomatic missions, and other matters. So far, at least five journalists in four organizations have been told their credentials, typically good for a year, would not be renewed. One said the Foreign Ministry said his case hinged on whether the U.S. renews the visas of Chinese journalists.

The New York Times

9. Tenet scores biggest U.S. film opening since pandemic hit

Christopher Nolan's Tenet brought in $20 million in domestic ticket sales over the weekend as it had the highest grossing opening weekend of any film in the U.S. since the coronavirus pandemic forced cinemas across the country to close. The spy thriller has made nearly $150 million worldwide following up on last week's surprisingly strong foreign debut, adding $78.3 million in foreign markets over the weekend, including $30 million in China. Tenet would have been expected to make $35 million to $55 million in its domestic debut pre-COVID, which would have put it in the neighborhood of other Nolan films such as Interstellar and Inception. The weekend's take was limited by a cap on attendance at 50 percent capacity. Also, only about 65 percent of U.S. theaters have reopened.


10. Djokovic disqualified in U.S. Open

Novak Djokovic, the world's top-ranked men's tennis player, was disqualified in the U.S. Open on Sunday after smacking a ball in frustration and hitting a line judge. The lineswoman crumpled in pain and Djokovic rushed to her side. He immediately apologized and said he had not meant to hit her, but officials said the rule requiring his disqualification was clear. "Players have been defaulted for less," said Darren Cahill, a veteran coach who was covering the match for ESPN. "I think the tournament made the right decision." The incident occurred after Djokovic lost his serve to fall behind 5-6 in the first set of a fourth-round match against Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta.

Reuters The New York Times

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.