10 things you need to know today: November 20, 2021
Build Back Better passes the House, Kenosha jury finds Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty, and more
Build Back Better bill passes House
The House officially passed President Biden's $2 trillion spending package 220-213 on Friday. All Republicans and 1 Democrat voted against the legislation, which includes provisions for climate and social safety net programs. The vote was delayed by a record-breaking 8.5 hour speech from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) opposing the bill Thursday night. The measure's passage comes about two weeks after Congress passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which Biden signed into law on Monday. The bill will now move to the equally split Senate, where it is expected to be significantly modified and returned to the House for reconsideration.
Kyle Rittenhouse acquitted
Kye Rittenhouse has been found not guilty. Rittenhouse shot three protestors during civil unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year, killing two of them. He was 17 at time. Kenosha prosecutors argued that the defendant's possession of an AR-15 and his behavior throughout the night provoked the attacks against him and that he used excessive force. Rittenhouse's lawyers claimed he acted in self-defense. Friday morning, the jury acquitted him on all counts. Rittenhouse will make his first post-trial media appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight Monday at 7 p.m. Carlson has also announced that a documentary on Rittenhouse will air in December as part of his Tucker Carlson Originals series.
Portland protestors throw rocks, break windows after Rittenhouse verdict
Protestors reacting to Kyle Rittenhouse's exoneration broke windows and threw rocks at police officers in Portland, Oregon, Friday night. Local law enforcement said they had expected such a response to a not-guilty verdict, and the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office declared a riot around 9 p.m. after demonstrators began breaking the windows of city buildings and hurling objects at cops. Protestors also defaced property with graffiti that read, "Kyle Rittenhouse is guilty" and "No just verdict." The crowd had mostly dispersed by 11 p.m. As of late Friday night, no arrests had been announced.
U.S. policymakers debate response to Russian troop assembly
Ukrainian government sources report that an estimated 90,000 Russian troops have assembled on the Ukrainian border, prompting fears that Russian President Vladimir Putin may be planning an invasion. U.S. lawmakers and diplomats are divided on how to address the situation, since stepping up support for Ukraine, which is not a NATO member, could spark a wider conflict. Putin claims NATO naval exercises on the Black Sea and America's policy of supplying weapons to help the Ukrainians fight Russian-backed rebels in the eastern part of the country have had the effect of "exacerbating the situation." In July, an official Kremlin publication claimed that the Russians and Ukrainians are "one people."
Riots roil Rotterdam
Dutch police shot and wounded at least two people Friday night during anti-lockdown riots in Rotterdam. The protests led to seven injuries and at least 20 arrests. Police used water cannons and lethal force in response to what a police spokesperson told Reuters was a "life-threatening" situation. Rioters threw rocks and fireworks at police and torched several police vehicles. These demonstrations come on the heels of similar clashes that took place Nov. 13 in The Hague after the Dutch government imposed new COVID-19 restrictions. These restrictions include a three-week lockdown, restaurant and store closures, a ban on crowds at sporting events, and the cancellation of New Year's Eve fireworks. Infection rates in the Netherlands have spiked to over 1,000 new cases a day, the highest since the pandemic began.
Belarusian president says he 'didn't invite' migrants
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told the BBC Friday that it is "absolutely possible" government troops helped migrants cross into the European Union but denied intentionally orchestrating the border crisis. Migrants, mainly from the Middle East, have been gathering along the Polish, Lithuanian, and Latvian borders for months. Lukashenko said he "didn't invite them" but that he "won't stop them" either. A former Soviet apparatchik who has been in power since 1984, Lukashenko is widely seen as an authoritarian dictator. The EU has accused him of weaponizing migrants in retaliation for 2020 EU sanctions against Belarus.
Chinese state media claim Peng Shuai is alive and well
Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who disappeared after accusing a high-ranking Chinese Communist Party official of sexual misconduct on Nov. 2, is staying at home willingly and will appear in public "soon," according to Chinese state media. Chinese censors quickly deleted the social media post in which Peng made her accusation and banned all online discussion of it. Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the state publication The Global Times, has shared purportedly current pictures of Peng, but the authenticity of these pictures has not yet been verified. International athletic bodies, including the International Olympic Committee and Women's Tennis Association, have floated the idea of pursuing sanctions against China if Peng suffers harm or disappears completely.
Family of Elijah McClain wins $15 million settlement
The city of Aurora, Colorado, will pay a $15 million settlement to the family of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died at the hands of police in 2019. Police accosted McClain, who was unarmed and on his way home, after receiving a report about a "sketchy" individual. After McClain became agitated, officers placed him in a chokehold, causing him to lose consciousness. Paramedics arrived and administered an excessively large dose of ketamine, which may have contributed to McClain's death. Three police officers and two paramedics still face criminal charges for their role in the incident, and McClain's family is pursuing a federal civil rights lawsuit.
Cash blankets San Diego highway
Motorists snagged handfuls of cash after the rear door of an armored car popped open on a Southern California freeway on Friday, showering the pavement with bills. Interstate 5 was briefly closed down after incident, and two people were arrested at the scene. According to the California Highway Patrol, around a dozen people have already returned the money they'd picked up. "People are bringing in a lot … People got a lot of money," California Highway Patrol Sgt. Curtis Martin told AP. Police have also warned that anyone who fails to return the money could face charges.
Black Panther sequel star recovering, to resume filming
Marvel has announced that the injuries Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star Letitia Wright suffered as a result of an on-set accident in August were "much more serious" than initially thought. These injuries included "a critical shoulder fracture, and a concussion with severe side effects," Marvel Studios executives Kevin Feige, Louis D'Esposito, and Nate Moore said. Despite the injuries and other concerns about Wright's COVID-19 vaccination status, Marvel's statement expressed optimism that "as of now, we're on schedule to resume filming — with Letitia — in January 2022." The film is currently scheduled to debut in November 2022.