Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: September 7, 2021

DOJ vows to consider "all options" to fight Texas abortion ban, Biden clears way for N.J., N.Y. aid after Ida's flooding, and more

1

DOJ reviewing 'all options' to challenge Texas abortion ban

The Justice Department is considering "all options" to counter Texas' new law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, and will protect abortion clinics that are "under attack," Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday. The Supreme Court refused to block the state law, the most restrictive in the country, from taking effect last week. President Biden sharply criticized the decision, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said lawmakers would discuss passing a federal law explicitly protecting the right to an abortion. The Texas law is the most direct challenge yet to abortion rights guaranteed by the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which established the right to an abortion without excessive government restrictions.

2

Biden declares major disasters in N.Y., N.J. counties flooded by Ida

President Biden on Monday approved major disaster declarations for six counties in New Jersey and five in New York, paving the way to swiftly get federal aid to areas devastated by flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ida. The region's death toll from flooding caused by the storm's record rainfall last Wednesday has risen to at least 50 people. Many of them were trapped in flooded cars or basement apartments. The White House said Biden would visit the two hard-hit states on Tuesday to survey the damage. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) toured flood-damaged Lambertville on Labor Day, and said Biden's disaster declaration would help flood victims get grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses.

3

4 Americans escape Afghanistan by land as Taliban blocks evacuation flights

Four Americans safely left Afghanistan by land in what one State Department official described Monday as the first such escape since the Taliban took control of the country as the last U.S. forces were leaving. "Our Embassy greeted the Americans as they crossed the border into the third country," an official told CNN. All four were in good condition. The Taliban reportedly knew the Americans were heading to the border and did not stop them. In Mazar-i-Sharif, several planes are ready to evacuate more U.S. citizens and permanent residents but reportedly are being denied permission to leave by the Taliban. The news came as Secretary of State Antony Blinken headed to Qatar to thank Qatari leaders for help in the rushed mass airlift of Americans and vulnerable Afghans.

4

Ohio judge reverses order for hospital to give COVID patient ivermectin

An Ohio judge on Monday reversed another judge's ruling that required a hospital to give a COVID-19 patient ivermectin, a drug commonly used to deworm livestock that has not been proven effective in coronavirus cases. Julie Smith, whose husband, Jeffery Smith, was on a ventilator with COVID-19, sued West Chester Hospital after it declined to give him the drug, even though Smith had found a doctor to prescribe it. Common Pleas Judge Michael Oster said he was "sympathetic" but "does not support allowing a physician to try 'any' type of treatment on human beings." One of Smith's attorneys, Ralph Lorigo, said Smith would not appeal because her husband had received ivermectin for 13 days and would soon be well enough to be taken off the ventilator.

5

Guinea coup leader orders ministers not to leave country

The leader of a coup in Guinea, Col. Mamady Doumbouya, on Monday ordered ministers from the ousted government to hand over their official vehicles, and not to leave the West African nation. Doumbouya gave the order in a meeting with the ministers a day after his forces took over and he announced that the government and constitution had been dissolved to end what he said was corruption under President Alpha Condé. Doumbouya had warned the ministers he would consider it an act of rebellion if they didn't attend the meeting. Doumbouya urged mining companies to keep working, and exempted them from a national curfew. A State Department spokesperson said the U.S. denounced the coup, saying it would "erode Guinea's prospects for peace, stability, and prosperity."

6

Canada's Trudeau hit with gravel after criticizing 'anti-vaxxer mobs'

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was hit by little rocks Monday night as a crowd of protesters gathered around his campaign bus after an event in London, Ontario, about 120 miles southwest of Toronto. Trudeau last month called a snap election for Sept. 20, and his campaign has had several run-ins with angry opponents of COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Trudeau told reporters Monday night that his shoulder "might have" been hit by "little bits of gravel," adding, "It's no big deal." CTV National News said two reporters traveling with Trudeau were also struck by the little rocks. Trudeau's Conservative Party challenger, Erin O'Toole, called the gravel-throwing incident "disgusting" on Twitter. "Political violence is never justified and our media must be free from intimidation, harassment, and violence," he said.

7

Ex-Marine accused of killing 4 in Florida denied bail

A Florida judge on Monday denied bail to a former Marine sharpshooter accused of fatally shooting four members of a family, including a baby, near Lakeland. Bryan Riley, 33, faces four counts of first-degree murder. The victims included a 33-year-old woman, her baby, a 62-year-old woman, and 40-year-old Justice Gleason, the first victim identified. Riley told investigators he didn't know the victims, according to the arrest affidavit, and authorities did not release a possible motive for the killings. Riley was injured in a shootout with sheriff's deputies, and allegedly tried to take an officer's gun as he was being transported to a hospital. Riley reportedly said voices told him to shoot people. When asked why shot the infant, he reportedly said, "Because I'm a sick guy."

8

French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo dies at 88

Actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, star of the classic French New Wave film Breathless directed by Jean-Luc Godard, has died at 88, the office of his lawyer, Michel Godest, confirmed Monday. The cause of death was not disclosed. In the 1960s, Belmondo represented a new kind of leading man. With a flattened nose and muscular physique, he projected virility without the classic good looks of the traditional male movie star. He appeared in more than 80 films over a 50-year career, portraying everyone from thugs to police officers, from priests to Cyrano de Bergerac. French President Emmanuel Macron called Belmondo a "national treasure" who was both a "sublime hero" and "a familiar figure." "In him, we all recognize ourselves," Macron tweeted.

9

Ryanair abandons potential Boeing 737 MAX order over pricing

Ryanair said Monday it was scrapping a potential order for Boeing 737 MAX jets, the latest setback for Boeing as it tries to recover market share it lost during the two-year grounding that followed two deadly crashes. Ryanair, a Dublin-based budget carrier that is Boeing's biggest customer outside of the U.S., said the decision came after a dispute over pricing. Ryanair bought 75 737 MAX jets last year in a vote of confidence for the planes, and recently said it had spent 10 months negotiating a possible order for more. Analysts had been following the discussions to gauge how quickly Boeing would be able to get deliveries back on track after the crisis.

10

'The Wire' actor Michael K. Williams dies at 54

Actor Michael K. Williams, best known for portraying stickup man Omar Little in the HBO series The Wire, was found dead in his Brooklyn home on Monday. He was 54. New York City authorities are investigating the cause of death. Williams worked as a dancer for singers George Michael and Madonna before he was 30. He then moved into acting, and landed a role as a drug dealer in Martin Scorsese's Bringing Out the Dead before his breakthrough role in The Wire. Williams struggled in his personal life, wasting much of what he earned from The Wire on drugs. He was nominated for an award in this month's Primetime Emmys for his role as Montrose Freeman in the HBO show Lovecraft Country.

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