10 things you need to know today: November 8, 2021

U.S. lifts ban for vaccinated foreign travelers, Biden slams Nicaragua's "pantomime" vote, and more

A U.S. airport
(Image credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

1. The U.S. lifts travel ban for vaccinated foreign visitors

The United States on Monday lifted 20-month-old coronavirus travel restrictions on foreign visitors, allowing vaccinated non-U.S. citizens from 33 countries to enter the U.S. The U.S. is eliminating a ban imposed by the Trump administration, and accepting fully vaccinated travelers from previously restricted countries — including China, India, and much of Europe — at airports and land borders. The policy was enforced to curb coronavirus infections, but it dealt a major blow to tourism and kept people from visiting family. Airlines and the Biden administration said they expected bottlenecks at first as travel demand surged and airlines checked vaccination documentation.

Reuters The Associated Press

2. Biden denounces Nicaragua's 'pantomime election'

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, are expected to claim victory after national elections Sunday in which they faced only nominal opposition from little-known candidates representing parties seen as friendly to Ortega's Sandinista Front. The Ortega government arrested seven potential opposition candidates starting in May, as well as 32 leading businessmen, journalists, political foes, and student and peasant leaders. President Biden, in a statement Sunday night, called it "a pantomime election that was neither free nor fair, and most certainly not democratic." Biden said the U.S. would work with the international community to "use all diplomatic and economic tools at our disposal to support the people of Nicaragua and hold accountable the Ortega-Murillo government."

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The Wall Street Journal The Washington Post

3. Trump criticizes Republicans who voted for infrastructure bill

Former President Donald Trump on Sunday criticized Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who joined Democrats voting in favor of the more than $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. The House passed the bill on Friday, sending the legislation to President Biden for his signature. The infrastructure package is a key component of Biden's economic agenda, and a deal between the two parties to temporarily raise the debt ceiling gave Democrats time to settle infighting without the added complication of a looming government debt default. "How about all of those Republican senators that voted thinking that helping the Democrats is such a wonderful thing to do, so politically correct. They just don't get it!" Trump said in a statement.

The Hill

4. COP26 shifts from goals to negotiating climate action

The United Nations' COP26 climate conference starts its second and final week on Monday with a shift from setting long-term goals to forging a concrete agreement on what countries will do to fight global warming. COP26 President Alok Sharma told delegates it was time to shift to "a more political, high-level phase of the conference." Heads of state have left and negotiators from nearly 200 countries will start debating the wording of an agreement that could determine what nations will do to meet the goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (about 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). "The next week will be tense, but has to be productive," said Rachel Kyte, dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

The Washington Post

5. Ethiopian rebels advance toward capital

Fighters from the Tigray People's Liberation Front and allied militias advanced toward Ethiopia's capital of Addis Ababa on Sunday. Rebels captured two towns about 230 miles away, expanding the civil war in Africa's second-most populous nation. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, ordered citizens to register for military training in a bid to bolster government forces. Last week, Ahmed promised to win back ground gained by the rebels and defeat them "with our blood and bones." Tens of thousands of people marched in the capital on Sunday to express support for Ahmed and accuse foreign media and Washington of trying to undermine him.

The Wall Street Journal

6. L.A. becomes latest large city to impose vaccine mandate

Los Angeles' coronavirus vaccine mandate takes effect on Monday, requiring people to provide proof they have had the shots before entering restaurants, shopping malls, theaters, and many other businesses. "This is going to be hard for us," said Lucila Vazquez, manager of a struggling nail salon. Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City are among a growing number of U.S. cities across the U.S. requiring people to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 before they go into a wide variety of businesses as new infections edge higher in many places after a sharp drop from an August peak fueled by the fast-spreading Delta variant.

The Associated Press

7. Concertgoer sues over deadly Astroworld crowd surge

A concertgoer has filed a lawsuit over the Astroworld music festival crowd surge that killed eight people and injured dozens more in Houston on Friday. Manuel Souza, who was injured in the tragedy, "suffered serious bodily injuries when the uncontrolled crowd at the concert knocked him to the ground and trampled him," said the lawsuit, which Souza's lawyers filed against rapper and concert organizer Travis Scott, entertainment company Live Nation, concert promoter Scoremore, and others involved in the event. "Defendants failed to properly plan and conduct the concert in a safe manner," the lawsuit said. Concert organizers and Houston city officials were aware of the possibility of crowd problems ahead of the event, The New York Times reported.

CNN The New York Times

8. Ivy League bomb threats deemed not credible

Cornell, Brown, and Columbia evacuated campus buildings on Sunday after bomb threats, officials at the Ivy League schools said. Police determined that the reports of bombs at Columbia and Brown were not credible, and buildings on their campuses were reopened. Cornell administrators told students to stay away from four buildings after a call warning that bombs had been placed in them. Investigations at all three schools were ongoing. Another Ivy League school, Yale, received a bomb threat Friday. Ohio University's Athens Campus and Miami University of Ohio received similar threats, which also were deemed to be unfounded.

The Washington Post

9. New York City Marathon winner makes history

Peres Jepchirchir won the New York City Marathon on Sunday, becoming the first runner in the women's competition to win both Olympic gold and the New York race. "It's not easy," Jepchirchir told ESPN, referring to the New York City Marathon. "Toward the finishing line, I felt something I've never felt before to finish a marathon." The 28-year-old from Kenya finished Sunday's race in 2 hours, 22 minutes, and 39 seconds. Jepchirchir previously won gold in the women's marathon at the Tokyo Olympics. Molly Seidel, an Olympic bronze medalist, scored the fastest time in the marathon for an American woman and revealed she did so despite having broken two ribs.


10. 'The Eternals' leads the weekend box office

Walt Disney Co.'s latest Marvel superhero movie, The Eternals, led the weekend box office despite mixed reviews. The film brought in $71 million in the U.S. and Canada in its debut, short of the $75 million to $80 million projected. The film brought in another $90.7 million internationally. The Eternals was the second Marvel movie in two months to get crowds into theaters as the film industry struggles to lure back moviegoers used to streaming films during the coronavirus pandemic. The Eternals had the fourth-largest debut haul since the pandemic hit the U.S. a year and a half ago, behind Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ($95 million), Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($90 million), and Black Widow ($80 million).

Variety The Wall Street Journal

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