Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: November 1, 2021

G-20 summit calls for meaningful climate action, Johnson starts COP26 with warning it's 'one minute to midnight' in climate crisis, and more

1

G-20 summit closes with climate statement critics call weak

World leaders agreed at the Group of 20 summit in Italy that all nations should take meaningful action to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. But critics noted that the two-day gathering of the leaders of the world's 20 biggest economies included few concrete commitments to help reach the target, which was recommended in the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord. Greenpeace said G-20 leaders "failed to meet the moment" ahead of this week's COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. The final G-20 communique did not include a promise to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, as climate activists had hoped. Instead, G-20 leaders stressed the importance of reaching that goal around the middle of the century, wording preferred by oil-rich Saudi Arabia and China, the world's biggest polluter.

2

Johnson warns 'It's 1 minute to midnight' in climate crisis

The COP26 climate talks are getting underway in Glasgow, Scotland, with more than 120 leaders set to speak Monday. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose government is hosting the United Nations event, will warn participants in his opening speech: "It's one minute to midnight, and we need to act now. We have to move from talk and debate and discussion to concerted, real-world action on coal, cars, cash, and trees." About 25,000 people are participating in COP26, making it one of the biggest international events since the coronavirus pandemic began. It follows a year of extreme weather that fueled a sense of urgency about the need for policy changes to sharply curb greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change.

3

Jen Psaki tests positive for COVID-19

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced Sunday that she tested positive for the coronavirus and would work from home during a 10-day quarantine. Psaki said she was experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, but they were mild "thanks to the vaccine." Psaki said she hadn't been in contact with President Biden or his top aides since Wednesday. She decided not to accompany him on his overseas trip to the Group of 20 and United Nations climate summits as a precaution, because members of her household had tested positive. Psaki tested negative through Saturday before getting her positive test on Sunday. She added that she hoped to test negative and return to work after her quarantine. Earlier this month, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas became the first member of Biden's Cabinet to test positive.

4

Supreme Court to hear arguments on Texas abortion ban

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday in a challenge against Texas' new law banning nearly all abortions in the state. The law, known as Senate Bill 8, prohibits most abortions in the state and lets private citizens file lawsuits against anyone performing or aiding in any abortion that occurs after fetal cardiac activity can be detected six weeks into a pregnancy. The court declined to block the ban before it took effect. The justices now will consider two challenges. One was filed by the Justice Department, the other by abortion providers and advocates. The Supreme Court will consider the way the law is enforced, but is not expected to rule directly on abortion rights, which court precedents guarantee until fetal viability at about 24 weeks.

5

Military jurors recommend clemency for tortured Qaeda courier

Seven military jurors sent a letter to a Pentagon authority recommending clemency for a terrorist after hearing graphic descriptions of his torture by the CIA. The jurors, all senior military officers, called the treatment described by Majid Khan, a suburban Baltimore high school graduate turned al-Qaeda courier, "a stain on the moral fiber of America." The letter was signed by seven of the eight members of the sentencing jury brought to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, last week to hear evidence. The jury sentenced Khan to 26 years in prison, but the Pentagon official overseeing the war court makes the final decision. Before deliberations, Khan spent two hours describing the sexual abuse and isolation CIA agents and operatives subjected him to in prisons in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and a third country.

6

Moderna: FDA needs more time to assess vaccine for teens

Moderna said the Food and Drug Administration needs more time to fully assess its coronavirus vaccine's potential use in children ages 12 to 17. The company said in a statement Sunday that the review might not be done until January 2022, as the FDA considers the potential for rare cases of inflammation of the heart muscle, or myocarditis. Moderna said it would request emergency-use authorization for a smaller dose in children ages 6 to 11 while the review of the dose for older children continues. Moderna said in May that tests showed the vaccine to be 100 percent effective against COVID-19 among 12- to 17-year-olds. Moderna said it was "grateful to the FDA for their diligence."

7

1 dies, 13 rescued attempting to swim around border barrier

One woman drowned and 13 other migrants were rescued after a group of about 70 people tried to swim around a border barrier to enter the United States from Tijuana, Mexico. Federal officials said Sunday the woman was found unresponsive when Border Agents arrived to investigate a report that dozens of migrants were trying to swim around a barrier to Border Field State Park in San Diego. The agents performed CPR until they could transfer her to a San Diego Fire-Rescue emergency medical services team. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The Coast Guard pulled 13 people from the water. State and federal authorities searched the area and took another 36 Mexican nationals into custody. "This is yet another example of the ruthless tactics smuggling organizations use to bolster their power and profits," San Diego Sector's Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke said.

8

American Airlines cancels hundreds of flights 

American Airlines canceled 634 flights on Sunday, bringing its total cancellations since Friday to more than 1,500. The company blamed bad weather and staffing shortages. As they struggle to rebuild their staffs now that travel is bouncing back, some airlines have faced sporadic service disruptions. American said it expected 1,800 flight attendants to return from leave on Monday, with more coming back to work Dec. 1. Airlines offered buyouts and early retirement in early 2020 to cut costs as the coronavirus pandemic caused a sharp decrease in air travel. Southwest had a similar crunch over a weekend earlier in October, blaming its disruptions on air traffic control problems, bad weather, and limited staff availability in Florida.

9

Roblox comes back online after 3-day outage

Roblox came back online late Sunday after three days of disruptions for millions of players who use its game and related website. The popular game-creating platform started having problems Thursday night. Roblox said then it was "working hard to get things back to normal," but the problems persisted. The company tweeted Sunday that it had pinpointed the root cause and had a solution. Service was restored hours later. The company told The Verge the problem was due to an internal issue and not an "external intrusion" by hackers. Roblox also said the outage had nothing to do with a Chipotle promotion involving $1 million worth of free burritos, which some users had noted went live just before the Halloween weekend glitch.

10

Astros beat Braves in Game 5 to stay alive in World Series

The Houston Astros came back from a four-run deficit to beat the Atlanta Braves on Sunday and stay alive in the World Series. The Astros' 9-5 victory in Game 5 sent the best-of-seven series back to Houston for Game 6 on Tuesday, with the Braves leading three games to two. The Astros got an offensive surge from the team's infield of Yuli Gurriel, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman, who went 8-for-19 with four RBI after going 10-for-59 in the previous World Series games. Martin Maldonado drove in three runs, and Marwin Gonzalez came off the bench to pinch-hit and hit a single that drove in two runs, putting the Astros ahead for good.

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