10 things you need to know today: September 24, 2021
CDC approves vaccine boosters for seniors and vulnerable people, U.S. Haiti envoy resigns over "inhumane" deportations, and more
CDC clears Pfizer booster shots for seniors, vulnerable people
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Thursday endorsed the Food and Drug Administration authorization to give Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine boosters to people 65 and older and people facing an elevated risk of infection and illness due to their jobs or medical conditions. In a rare move, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky gave final approval to broader eligibility recommended by the Food and Drug Administration, overruling a narrower booster plan recommended by the CDC's own advisers, who voted unanimously to make the third shot of the vaccine available to the elderly and residents of long-term care facilities. The CDC panel also recommended giving Pfizer boosters to people with underlying medical conditions making them more vulnerable to severe COVID-19, but only those ages 50 and up.
U.S. Haiti envoy quits over 'inhumane' deportations
The U.S. special envoy for Haiti, Daniel Foote, has resigned over what he called the Biden administration's "inhumane" decision to deport thousands of Haitian migrants to their home country as it struggles with threats from armed gangs controlling widening areas. "Our policy approach to Haiti remains deeply flawed, and my recommendations have been ignored and dismissed," Foote wrote Wednesday in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Foote was named as America's special envoy to the Caribbean nation after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise intensified already crippling security problems. The administration said Thursday it was halting horse patrols by border agents near a makeshift camp near Del Rio, Texas, following an outcry over viral images showing agents on horses chasing Haitian migrants.
Draft of audit report confirms Biden beat Trump in Maricopa County
A draft copy of an election audit conducted for Arizona's Republican-controlled Senate confirmed that President Biden defeated former President Donald Trump in Maricopa County. The review by the firm Cyber Ninjas found that Biden won in the state's largest county by about 45,000 votes, a slight increase over his official margin of victory. Local and state election officials opposed the review, which was funded by nonprofits set up by prominent members of the "Stop the Steal" movement that falsely claims Trump won the election. Maricopa County officials said the report vindicated their election results. But the early version of the report, which is scheduled to be released Friday afternoon, alleged that there were irregularities with tens of thousands of ballots and recommended reform that "tightens up the election process to provide additional certainty to elections going forward."
House Jan. 6 panel subpoenas Trump aides
The House select committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a mob of former President Donald Trump's supporters issued its first subpoenas Thursday to former senior Trump administration officials. The committee demanded documents and depositions from former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and one-time Trump strategist Steve Bannon, as well as former senior White House aide Dan Scavino, and Kash Patel, who was chief of staff for the acting defense secretary at the time of the riot. The panel said it was seeking information about Trump's actions before, during, and after his supporters forced their way into the Capitol hoping to prevent lawmakers from certifying Trump's election loss to President Biden.
Ex-Louisiana state trooper charged in flashlight beating of Black motorist
Jacob Brown, a former Louisiana State Police trooper, was charged Thursday with violating the civil rights of Aaron Larry Bowman, a Black man he hit 18 times with a tactical flashlight. If convicted, Brown, 31, faces up to 10 years in prison. This is the first criminal case to come out of federal investigations into the assault of multiple Black motorists by members of Troop F, a police unit made up primarily of white officers. Brown previously was charged with using unreasonable force during the arrests of Bowman and two other Black motorists; he was arrested in December and resigned three months later. The Associated Press obtained records showing that over five years Brown was part of 23 use-of-force incidents, with 19 involving Black people.
Taliban co-founder says executions, amputations will resume in Afghanistan
One of the founders of the Taliban, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the Islamist group will bring back executions and amputations of hands it used the last time it ruled Afghanistan to punish people for violations of its harsh interpretation of Islamic law. In the past, the executions were sometimes carried out in public and denounced by world leaders. "Everyone criticized us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments," said Turabi, who was the chief enforcer of the Taliban's laws before the group was toppled 20 years ago by a U.S.-led invasion. "No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Quran."
Trump criticizes Bush over fundraiser for 'warmongering' Liz Cheney
Former President Donald Trump continued his feud with former President George Bush after news broke that Bush was sponsoring an Oct. 18 Dallas fundraiser for the re-election campaign of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), a frequent Trump critic. Trump is backing a Republican challenging Cheney in the GOP primary next year. Trump lashed out at both Bush and the "warmongering and very low polling" Cheney. "Bush is the one who got us into the quicksand of the Middle East," Trump said in a statement. Previously, Trump criticized Bush for saying on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that domestic extremists and Islamist terrorists posed similar threats to the United States. Bush and Cheney are among numerous high-profile Republicans who have criticized Trump for falsely claiming that voter fraud cost him the 2020 election.
Federal agencies told to prepare for possible shutdown
The White House budget office on Thursday told federal agencies to prepare for a partial government shutdown in case negotiators in Congress fail to reach a funding deal. The request followed a tradition of getting ready to shut non-essential offices and services seven days before agencies run out of the money they need to stay open. Democrats and Republicans have said they plan to approve a stopgap spending measure before funding runs out on Sept. 30, but negotiators can't get past several sticking points. House Democrats this week approved a bill seeking to fund the government, suspend the debt ceiling, and expand disaster-relief funding, but Senate Republicans plan to oppose the effort to lift the debt ceiling. Democrats said they planned to take the House bill to the Senate so Republicans will have to go on record against it.
Memphis-area mass shooting leaves 1 victim dead, 12 injured in Kroger store
A gunman opened fire in a Memphis-area Kroger grocery store on Thursday, killing at least one person and injuring 12 more. The suspected attacker also was found dead at the back of the store from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. Local Police Chief Dale Lane said it was the "most horrific event" in the history of the town, Collierville. There were 44 employees and an undetermined number of customers in the store when the gunfire started. "We found people hiding in freezers and in locked offices," Lane said. "They were doing what they had been trained to do. Run, hide, fight." Investigators could not immediately confirm a suspected motive for the attack. Mass shootings this year have left more than 500 Americans dead, CBS News reports.
Fossilized footprints suggest humans reached Americas earlier than previously thought
Researchers say in a new report that fossilized footprints found in a dry lakebed in New Mexico indicate that early humans were present in North America about 23,000 years ago, thousands of years earlier than many experts previously thought. The first of these footprints were discovered in White Sands National Park in 2009. Many archaeologists have long argued that humans first came to the Americas at the end of the Ice Age, based on the oldest known tools, which date to about 13,000 years ago. The analysis of the footprints suggests that there were humans in the area during the Ice Age. "This is probably the biggest discovery about the peopling of America in a hundred years," said Ciprian Ardelean, an archaeologist at Autonomous University of Zacatecas in Mexico, who was not involved in the work.