Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: October 14, 2021

Biden announces push to unclog supply chain, Trump says Republicans won't vote unless fraud claims are investigated, and more

1

Biden announces broad effort to clear clogged ports before Christmas

President Biden on Wednesday announced agreements with the largest U.S. ports, retailers, and freight haulers to expand operations in what administration officials called a "90-day sprint" to clear supply-chain bottlenecks before the crucial holiday shopping season. The Port of Los Angeles agreed to join its sister port, Long Beach, and start operating 24/7, the White House said, while Walmart, FedEx, UPS, Target, and Home Depot committed to sending more drivers to the ports in the expanded hours to remove shipping containers clogging the ports and get the products to shelves. Labor unions agreed to supply the workers. Analysts called it a good first step in resolving supply problems that have fueled rising inflation and caused random shortages of goods, but said there's only so much a U.S. president can do unsnarl a global logistical mess.

2

Trump says Republicans won't vote in 2022, 2024 without investigation

Former President Donald Trump released a statement Wednesday saying that "Republicans will not be voting in [2022] or [2024]" unless the "thoroughly and conclusively documented" presidential "election fraud of 2020" is investigated. He said abstaining from voting was "the single most important thing for Republicans to do." Trump has continued to falsely claim that voter fraud cost him the 2020 presidential election, even though courts and election officials have confirmed President Biden's solid victory. Trump criticized Henry County Superior Court Chief Judge Brian Amero for dismissing a lawsuit that called for reviewing nearly 150,000 absentee ballots from Fulton County, Georgia's most populous county, calling the decision a "disgrace." Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Robb Pitts called it a "win for democracy."

3

At least 5 dead in Norway bow-and-arrow attack

A man walked around the Norwegian town of Kongsberg shooting at people with a bow and arrow, killing at least five people and injuring two others, local police said Wednesday. Officers arrested the suspect, a 37-year-old Danish citizen and recent Muslim convert who had been flagged as having been radicalized. "It is natural to consider whether it is an act of terrorism," Regional police chief Oeyvind Aas said. "But the man has not been questioned and it is too early to come to any conclusion." Investigators believed the attacker acted alone. No details on the identities of the victims were immediately released.

4

Jan. 6 committee hears testimony from 1 Trump DOJ official, subpoenas another

Jeffrey Rosen, the acting attorney general in the tumultuous final days of the Trump administration, sat for eight hours of closed-door testimony Wednesday with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol siege, The Washington Post and Politico report, each citing two people familiar with the meeting. Rosen appeared before the committee voluntarily, and he explained his notes about events leading up to the Jan. 6 riot. The Jan. 6 panel also reportedly asked Rosen about his interactions with Jeffrey Clark, the former acting head of the DOJ's civil division and, according to emails and previous testimony, a key ally of former President Donald Trump in his efforts to stop President Biden from taking office. The committee also subpoenaed Clark on Wednesday, requesting documents and an in-person deposition by Oct. 29.

5

Inflation accelerated due to supply disruptions, high demand

Inflation in the United States sped up in September, reaching its highest rate in more than a decade as the coronavirus pandemic continued to cause labor and material shortages. The Labor Department reported Wednesday that the consumer-price index jumped by 5.4 percent from a year earlier, slightly higher than in August, and the same rate seen in June and July as the economy reopened. The core price index, which factors out volatile food and energy prices, rose by 4 percent in September compared to a year earlier, the same as August's rate. On a monthly basis, the CPI increased by 0.4 percent in September, faster than August's rate of 0.3 percent. In Federal Reserve meeting minutes released Wednesday, Fed officials expressed concerns last month that supply disruptions could increase the risk of persistent high inflation.

6

Data suggest other boosters might be best after J&J vaccine 

People who got Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine could benefit from a second dose of the initial, one-shot vaccine, but might get even better protection from a booster made with different vaccine technology, The Washington Post reported Wednesday, citing data from an FDA review of Johnson & Johnson test results and a preprint study that tested mixing booster doses from different drug makers. About 15 million people received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the United States. Far more got messenger RNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna. An FDA advisory panel of outside experts is scheduled to meet Friday to consider the Johnson & Johnson booster and a National Institutes of Health study in which vaccinated people got boosters made by companies that didn't make their original vaccine.

7

Administration says coronavirus vaccination rates rose after mandates

U.S. coronavirus vaccination rates have jumped by more than 20 percentage points since numerous businesses, hospital systems, social institutions, and government entities adopted vaccine requirements, the Biden administration said Wednesday. Seventy-seven percent of eligible Americans now have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters. President Biden and his team have pushed recently to chip away at resistance among some Americans to take widely available vaccines that proved safe and effective in trials. Biden last month ordered most health-care workers and federal employees to get vaccinated, and urged large employers to make their employees provide proof of vaccination or face weekly COVID testing.

8

Judge says D.C. jail violated Jan. 6 suspect's rights

A federal judge asked the Justice Department to determine whether the Washington, D.C., jail was violating the civil rights of defendants charged with committing crimes during the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a mob of then-President Donald Trump's supporters. District Judge Royce Lamberth said jail officials had violated the rights of one accused Capitol rioter, Christopher Worrell, by failing to get him "proper treatment" for medical issues, including surgery for a broken hand and care for a Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosis. Royce held Warden Wanda Patten and Department of Corrections Director Quincy Booth in civil contempt for failing to turn over Worrell's medical records. An attorney for the jail said Worrell was getting medical care for his cancer and pain management for his broken hand.

9

Fire kills 46 in southern Taiwan apartment building

A fire engulfed a 13-story residential building in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung, killing at least 46 people and injuring 41 others, the government said Thursday. Firefighters rescued at least 62 people between ages 8 and 83. The fire erupted at about 3 a.m. local time, and was extinguished near dawn. The death toll was confirmed after firefighters completed a search of the building. Investigators are working to determine whether the cause of the fire was arson. The 40-year-old building had commercial space on its lower level and apartments above. It was partly abandoned, and previously had restaurants, karaoke lounges, and a movie theater, Mayor Chen Chi-mai said.

10

William Shatner becomes oldest person to visit space

William Shatner, the actor best known for playing Captain James T. Kirk on Star Trek, became the oldest person to fly to the edge of space. Shatner, 90, soared to a maximum altitude of 66 miles with three others on the second human spaceflight of a New Shepard rocket made by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin aerospace company. The rocket left the company's West Texas launch site for the 10-minute trip, which ended with the spacecraft parachuting back to Earth. All four passengers returned safely. "In a way it's indescribable," Shatner told Bezos. "Not only is it different than what you thought, it happened so quickly. The impression I had that I never expected to have is the shooting up: There's blue sky –" he said, pausing when Bezos sprayed a bottle of champagne in celebration.

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