10 things you need to know today: September 11, 2023

Morocco earthquake survivors spend 3rd night outdoors as rescue effort continues, Biden signs a partnership with Vietnam to counter China's rise, and more

Villagers in Morocco camp outsie
(Image credit: Nathan Laine / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

1. Morocco earthquake survivors spend 3rd night outside as rescue effort continues

Survivors on Sunday spent a third night outside in towns devastated by Morocco's deadliest earthquake in more than 60 years. Rescue crews raced against time, sifting through debris in hopes of finding more people alive. The death toll from Friday's magnitude 6.8 quake reached at least 2,122 people, with another 2,421 injured, according to state TV. The temblor, Morocco's strongest in a century, hit hardest in remote villages in the Atlas Mountains, but it also caused extensive damage to parts of Marrakech's old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Local media in the North African nation reported that a historically important 12th century mosque collapsed.


2. Biden signs partnership with Vietnam to counter China's rise

President Biden on Sunday signed a "comprehensive strategic partnership" with Vietnam during a landmark trip to Hanoi. The upgrade in relations, long sought by Washington, came despite concerns about a report that Hanoi has secretly pursued an arms deal with Russia, according to The New York Times. Biden has pushed for closer relations with Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations as part of a broad effort to counter China's increasing aggression in the region. The pact with Vietnam "has strengthened our ties with another critical Indo-Pacific partner," Biden said after meeting with Nguyen Phu Trong, the general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam. "The United States is a Pacific nation, and we're not going anywhere."

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The New York Times

3. Djokovic wins US Open for record 24th Grand Slam title

Novak Djokovic beat Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 on Sunday to win the men's U.S. Open, becoming the first tennis player to win 24 Grand Slam titles in the Open era. Djokovic, the oldest male champion of the era, now has one more singles title than Serena Williams and has equaled Margaret Court's pre-Open-era record. Medvedev beat the 36-year-old Serbian in the 2021 final to end his bid to take the first calendar-year Grand Slam in more than half a century. Djokovic was unable to compete in the 2022 tournament because he isn't vaccinated against Covid-19. Sunday's win extended his lead for the most male Slam titles; Rafael Nadal has 22 and Roger Federer, who retired last year, won 20.


4. Russian shelling kills 2 foreign aid workers in Ukraine

Russian shelling hit a van carrying a team of volunteers from the Ukrainian humanitarian organization Road to Relief on Sunday, killing two of the aid workers. The group's volunteers were trapped inside the van when it flipped over and caught fire near the town of Chasiv Yar in eastern Ukraine, the non-governmental organization said. Anthony Ihnat of Canada reportedly died; medical volunteer Ruben Mawick of Germany and Swedish volunteer Johan Mathias Thyr were seriously wounded. The organization's director, Emma Igual of Spain, was also believed to have been in the van, and the Spanish government said it had received "verbal confirmation" of her death, according to The Associated Press.

The Associated Press

5. Brazil president says Putin can attend next G20 summit without fear of arrest

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said over the weekend that Russian President Vladimir Putin would be able to visit Brazil for next year's Group of 20 summit without fear of arrest over alleged war crimes in Ukraine. "I believe that Putin can easily go to Brazil," said Lula, whose country's will host next year's annual meeting of the intergovernmental forum of 19 countries, the European Union and the African Union. Putin, who faces an international arrest warrant over his Ukraine invasion, skipped this year's meeting, which ended Sunday in India. Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said Moscow viewed the summit as a success because it managed to block the West's attempt to "Ukrainize" the agenda.

Bloomberg The Guardian

6. Sudan air strike kills dozens at market

At least 35 people were killed and more than 60 wounded Sunday in an air strike by Sudan's army on a crowded market in the capital, Khartoum. Local residents said a military aircraft bombed the Qouro market in an area also hammered recently by artillery fire. "We're trying to save the lives of people whose body parts have been ripped off by the explosion," Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) said. "It was carnage" and "another day of unthinkable suffering and loss of life." A civil war erupted in April between forces loyal to army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former ally Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

BBC News

7. Spanish soccer federation chief resigns over unwanted kiss

Luis Rubiales announced Sunday that he was resigning as president of Spain's soccer federation following weeks of criticism for kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent after the Spanish women's team beat England to win the World Cup last month. Spain's attorney general on Friday issued a formal sexual assault and coercion complaint against Rubiales, who has maintained that the kiss was "mutual" and "consensual." FIFA, soccer's global governing body, had already suspended Rubiales for 90 days. Rubiales said in a statement that given the proceedings against him, "waiting and holding on is not going to contribute to anything positive, neither to the federation nor to Spanish football."

The Washington Post

8. Michigan State suspends football coach accused of sexual harassment

Michigan State University suspended head football coach Mel Tucker without pay on Sunday, hours after USA Today reported that Tucker is accused of making sexual comments to Brenda Tracy, a rape survivor who travels the country educating athletes about sexual misconduct. Tucker and Tracy joined forces to fight the culture of sexual violence in sports. They worked together for eight months until an April 2022 phone call in which Tracy says Tucker made sexual comments and masturbated, reopening wounds she suffered 25 years ago when she was raped by two Oregon State University football players, according to a complaint Tracy filed with the university's Title IX office in December. Tucker says he and Tracy had consensual "phone sex."

USA Today The New York Times

9. Kim leaves for meeting with Putin

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has left on a rare trip to Russia for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, BBC News reported Monday, citing South Korean media. Kim is traveling on an armored train to Vladivostok for a meeting expected to occur as early as Tuesday. He is meeting Putin to discuss supplying North Korean weapons to help Russia in its invasion of Ukraine, according to U.S. officials. Kim took his last trip, also to Vladivostok in eastern Russia, for a summit with Putin after Pyongyang's nuclear disarmament talks with then-President Donald Trump collapsed. This week's meeting comes after the White House received new information that arms negotiations between Russia and North Korea were "actively advancing."

BBC News

10. US marks 22nd anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks

Americans are gathering at memorials, fire stations and other sites Monday to mark the 22nd anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people and sparked a global war against Islamist extremists. Events will be held at New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where terrorists crashed hijacked planes. President Biden is expected to attend a ceremony at an Anchorage, Alaska, military base. On Sept. 11, 2001, "we were one country, one nation, one people, just like it should be," Eddie Ferguson, fire-rescue chief in Virginia's Goochland County, told The Associated Press. "That was the feeling — that everyone came together and did what we could, where we were at, to try to help."

The Associated Press

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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.