Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: October 18, 2021

Jury selection set to begin in Ahmaud Arbery case, Haitian police blame notorious gang for U.S. missionaries' abduction, and more

1

Jury selection begins in Ahmaud Arbery case

Jury selection is set to begin Monday for the trial of three white men charged with chasing and fatally shooting Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black man who was running through their neighborhood outside Brunswick, Georgia. It is expected to take two weeks or more to pick a jury in the case, after the killing was captured on a graphic video that sparked a national outcry resulting in the arrest of father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan. An ex-prosecutor has been accused of "showing favor" to the suspects. Arbery's father said he was praying for justice that Black victims are often denied. "This is 2021, and it's time for a change," Marcus Arbery Sr. told The Associated Press.

2

Haiti police blame notorious gang for U.S. missionaries' kidnapping 

Haitian police said Sunday that the notorious 400 Mawozo gang, which has spread terror with a string of kidnappings and murders, was responsible for the abduction of 17 missionaries from the U.S.-based Chrisian Aid Ministries. The Ohio-based missionary group said the victims included five children, seven women, and five men. Sixteen are U.S. citizens. One is Canadian. The organization said the missionaries had gone to visit an orphanage when armed men seized them. Christian Aid Ministries returned its American staff to the organization's Haiti base last year after a nine-month absence prompted by Haiti's worsening security situation and kidnapping epidemic. Police said 400 Mawozo, which means "400 inexperienced men" in Haitian Creole, controls the Croix-des-Bouquets area where the crime occurred.

3

China's economic growth slows 

China's economy grew by 4.9 percent in the third quarter, the slowest pace in a year for the world's second largest economy, according to data released Monday. The drop from the previous quarter's 7.9 percent pace came as supply chain delays and power outages hurt factory output. A construction downturn and fallout from the coronavirus pandemic also hurt. In the first quarter of the year, the economy grew a record 18.3 percent, as overseas buyers snapped up Chinese-made goods when the winter coronavirus surge eased. China could see more "ugly growth numbers" in coming months, and that could prompt policymakers to "take more steps to shore up growth," said Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at Oxford Economics.

4

Fauci: J&J vaccine probably should have been 2 shots all along

Johnson & Johnson's single-shot coronavirus vaccine probably should always have been given in two doses, the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said Sunday on ABC's This Week. A panel of Food and Drug Administration advisers on Friday recommended emergency-use authorization for a second J&J shot to boost immunity, noting that the company's vaccine had been shown to offer less protection than the vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. "What the advisers to the FDA felt is that, given the data that they saw, very likely this should have been a two-dose vaccine to begin with," Fauci said. The FDA advisers unanimously voted to recommend booster shots for everyone 18 and older who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, as early as two months after the initial shot.

5

Bill Clinton released from California hospital

A Southern California hospital released former President Bill Clinton on Sunday after treating him for a non-COVID-19 infection. Clinton is expected to continue his recovery and finish a course of antibiotics at home in New York. An aide said Clinton had a urological infection that spread to his bloodstream. Clinton, accompanied by his wife, Hillary Clinton, walked slowly out of the hospital, shaking hands with doctors and nurses. He gave a thumbs-up sign before getting into a black SUV and leaving in a motorcade escorted by the California Highway Patrol. President Biden spoke with Clinton by phone on Friday. "He's doing fine. He really is," Biden said.

6

Maduro ally to make 1st appearance after extradition

Colombian businessman Alex Saab, allegedly a financier of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, is scheduled to appear in court Monday after being extradited from the West African island nation of Cape Verde to the United States to face money-laundering charges. Saab is accused of using his U.S. accounts to launder money siphoned from a government-subsidized food program called CLAP to provide hundreds of millions of dollars for Maduro and his allies. "Rather than ensure that this vulnerable population receives the food it desperately needs, the regime uses the CLAP program as a political tool to reward support and punish political criticism," the U.S. Treasury Department said in 2019. Maduro's government has halted talks with the U.S.-backed opposition in retaliation for Saab's extradition.

7

Adele single smashes record for most streams in a day

The singer Adele's new single "Easy on Me" shattered the record for most streams in a single day with 24 million listens over the weekend, more than double the previous record, the streaming service Spotify announced. The song was released Friday, six years since the British singer's last album. Amazon Music announced Saturday that the single had "the most first-day Alexa song requests in Amazon Music history." "Easy on Me" is on Adele's highly anticipated album 30, which is due out on Nov. 19. Her last album, 25, was a smash in 2015, with the most first-week sales in U.S. album-chart history. The video for "Hello" from that album hit 1 billion YouTube views faster than any video ever.

8

Investigators believe cargo ship dragged pipeline months before leak

A 1,200-foot cargo ship's anchor might have dragged an oil pipeline in rough seas months before the line broke, leaking oil that killed wildlife and fouled nearby beaches on the Southern California coast, Coast Guard Lt. j.g. SondraKay Kneen said Sunday. Federal investigators believe the Panama-registered MSC DANIT bent the pipeline during a January storm, knocking off an inch-thick concrete casing, but not breaking the line. The inquiry has not determined whether the impact caused the leak of about 25,000 gallons, a total that turned out to be far less than initially feared. A team of investigators boarded the MSC DANIT over the weekend off the Port of Long Beach when it returned to the area, which is where the spill occurred in early October.

9

'Halloween Kills' scores best horror-film debut of pandemic

Halloween Kills, the 12th installment in the long-running slasher-movie franchise, took in $50.4 million at the domestic box office this weekend, Variety reported Sunday. It beat A Quiet Place Part II to post the biggest opening-weekend haul for a horror film during the pandemic. The debut was impressive given lingering coronavirus concerns and the fact that the film was made available to stream on Peacock at no additional cost to subscribers. The last Halloween movie to come out before the pandemic brought in $76 million in its 2018 debut. Halloween Kills was the latest in a series of blockbusters to come out simultaneously in theaters and streaming platforms as moviegoers and theaters slowly come back after pandemic-induced shutdowns.

10

Chicago Sky wins its 1st WNBA championship

The Chicago Sky won the franchise's first WNBA championship on Sunday, defeating the Phoenix Mercury 80-74 in Game 4. Allie Quigley scored 26 points for the Sky, making five 3-pointers, followed by Candace Parker with 16 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists. Kahleah Copper, who averaged 17 points and 5.5 rebounds for the Sky during the series, was named Finals MVP. "I've never been one to say I don't have anything if I don't win a championship," Quigley said after the game. "But I also know how much it means if you do have one. I feel like you're elite when you have a championship. It's just something in your legacy that makes you special."

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