Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: October 11, 2021

A Navy engineer is charged with trying to sell U.S. submarine technology, the U.S. calls Taliban talks "candid," and more


Navy engineer charged with trying to sell nuclear-submarine secrets

U.S. Navy engineer Jonathan Toebbe and his wife have been charged with trying to sell submarine-technology secrets to another country, according to court documents unsealed Sunday. The information concerned the nuclear propulsion system of U.S. Virginia-class attack submarines, technology covered in the recently announced U.S. defense agreement with Britain and Australia. Russia and China have been trying to get their hands on U.S. submarine propulsion secrets, although it was not immediately clear whether one of them had sought the information from Toebbe. The U.S. technology, which Toebbe had worked on for the Navy since 2012, can reduce noise and vibration, making submarines harder to detect. Nuclear-powered submarines also have limitless range.


U.S. says talks with Taliban were 'candid'

The Biden administration said Sunday that its first face-to-face talks with senior members of the new Taliban government in Afghanistan were "candid and professional." State Department spokesman Ned Price said U.S. officials at the weekend talks in Doha, Qatar, focused on security and terrorism concerns, as well as human rights, the participation of women and girls in Afghan society, and safe passage for Americans, other foreigners, and Afghans who want to leave the country now that the Taliban has taken over in the wake of the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops from the country. Price said the two sides also discussed "the United States' provision of robust humanitarian assistance, directly to the Afghan people." No formal agreements were announced.


Facebook unveils options for supervising teen Instagram use

Facebook's vice president for global affairs, Nick Clegg, unveiled new controls aiming to help parents supervise teens' use of the company's Instagram platform. Clegg outlined the plans in a series of appearances on Sunday news talk shows following a week of testimony by a whistleblower who told lawmakers that Facebook prioritized profits over shielding young users and others from harmful and misleading content. "We cannot, with a wave of the wand, make everyone's life perfect," Clegg said on CNN's State of the Union. "What we can do is improve our products." Josh Golin, executive director of the watchdog organization Fairplay, said there was "tremendous reason to be skeptical" about Facebook's efforts until it has research to show its methods to protect teens work.


ABC News' Jonathan Karl: Trump boasted about Jan. 6 mob's size

ABC News' chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl said Sunday on ABC's This Week that former President Donald Trump watched TV in the White House private dining room during the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol attack by a mob of his supporters, at one point boasting to aides about the size of the crowd. Trump also argued with advisers who urged him to tell his supporters to end the riot and go home, Karl said, citing information in his new book, Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show. Karl said that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called Trump imploring him to tell rioters to leave. "I just got evacuated from the Capitol! There were shots fired right off the House floor. You need to make this stop," McCarthy said, according to Karl. When Trump did record a video message praising his supporters and telling them to leave, he had to record the message several times before aides "thought he got it right," Karl said. 


Texas GOP gubernatorial candidate Allen West hospitalized with COVID-19

Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Allen West said Sunday via Twitter that he and his wife, Angela, "underwent monoclonal antibody infusion therapy" in Dallas after West contracted pneumonia due to COVID-19. West's wife was released from the hospital. West said she had been vaccinated, but he hadn't. West, a former Florida congressman and ex-Texas GOP chair, tweeted after his diagnosis and treatment that he was "even more dedicated to fighting against vaccine mandates," and would "vehemently crush anyone forcing vaccine mandates" in Texas, if elected. "Our bodies are our last sanctuary of liberty and freedom," he wrote. West said he was taking hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. Public health officials have warned that neither drug has been shown to be effective against COVID-19.


Iraqi election sees record-low turnout

Turnout in Iraq's weekend parliamentary election was the lowest the country has seen since the U.S.-led invasion that ousted dictator Saddam Hussein, the independent body overseeing the vote said Monday. The Independent High Electoral Commission said preliminary results indicated that 41 percent of eligible voters cast ballots, down from 44 percent turnout in the 2018 elections, which marked the previous low. This year's election was held months early in response to a popular uprising led by youth activists who protested corruption and mismanagement. More than 600 people were killed by security forces who responded to protests in late 2019 and early 2020 by firing live ammunition and tear gas at crowds. The weekend's low turnout was seen as a sign of ongoing distrust of the government.


Poll: Most Republicans want candidates who support vaccines, oppose mandates

A new CBS News/YouGov poll released on Sunday found that 64 percent of Republican voters want to cast their ballot for a GOP candidate who actively encourages people to get coronavirus vaccinations. But an even greater number — 75 percent — would rather that candidate also oppose vaccine mandates. In short, the poll suggests the consensus opinion of Republican voters is that getting vaccinated is a smart, but ultimately individual, decision. Meanwhile, 90 percent of Democrats prefer candidates who encourage vaccinations, and pro-mandate candidates received nearly as much love, with 86 percent of voters expressing their preference for that viewpoint. The CBS News/YouGov poll was conducted between October 6-8 among 2,054 American adult residents. The margin of error is 2.6 percentage points.


Lebanon restores some power after day-long shutdown

Lebanon's state electricity supplier restored power on Sunday after a one-day shutdown of the country's power grid. Officials had warned when the country's two biggest power stations shut down on Saturday that the blackout could last for several days, but the energy ministry said Sunday that Lebanon's central bank had granted $100 million of credit to buy fuel to restart power stations and keep them running. The military also said it would pitch in by sending power stations some of its fuel until more can be imported. The shutdown followed 18 months of extreme fuel shortages, which have exacerbated an economic crisis. Even before the shutdown, people received as little as two hours of power per day.


London police end investigation of Prince Andrew, Jeffrey Epstein

London's Metropolitan police is dropping its investigation into sex-abuse allegations against Prince Andrew and the late accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, although the department said it would continue to "liaise with other law enforcement agencies who lead the investigation," according to Sunday media reports. Scotland Yard completed two reviews after Virginia Giuffre, 38, said in a lawsuit that Andrew, the Duke of York, sexually abused her three times when she was 17 years old, including once in the London home of Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell. Andrew, 61, has denied the allegations. Queen Elizabeth II relieved him of his royal duties after he gave a television interview on the allegations by Giuffre, also known as Virginia Roberts.


'No Time to Die' trails other recent Bond films

The latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, brought in $56 million in the United States and Canada over its debut weekend, falling short of the last two installments in the Bond franchise after the coronavirus pandemic delayed its release for more than a year. Cinemas around the world have reopened, although some still have COVID-19 policies that limit attendance and many moviegoers still feel more comfortable streaming video at home rather than risking infection by going out. United Artists Releasing, which distributes Bond movies for its studio, MGM Holdings, surveyed audiences in six cities and found that about one-quarter of people who saw No Time to Die hadn't been to a theater in 18 months. "You have to get them used to coming back," said Erik Lomis, president of distribution at United Artists Releasing.


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