Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: November 14, 2022

Focus shifts to tight House races, University of Virginia locks down after deadly shooting, and more


Focus shifts to House after Dems seal Senate control

With Democrats securing a Senate majority thanks to Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto's (D-Nev.) narrow re-election victory, attention shifted Sunday to the last 20 uncalled races that will determine which party controls the House. Republicans have secured 212 seats, just short of the 218 needed for a majority, but Democrats are close behind with 204 seats. Republicans are expected to eke out a narrow majority, but flipping a few tight races could give Democrats a surprise victory. California might hold the key, with 10 of the races most likely to flip remaining too close to call there on Sunday. "It will absolutely come down to California," said David Wasserman, a House campaign analyst with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report with Amy Walter.


UVA students locked down after gunman kills 3 on campus

University of Virginia students were advised to shelter in place overnight after a gunman killed three people and wounded two others in a garage on the school's main campus in Charlottesville, the university's president, Jim Ryan, said Monday in a statement. The University of Virginia police were searching for a suspect they identified as Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., a student. They warned that he should be considered "armed and dangerous." Ryan said classes would be canceled Monday. "They have us locked down right now," said Eva Surovell, editor of the Cavalier Daily. Student body president Cecelia Cain said overnight that she was staying indoors and listening to a police scanner, saying she and other students were "pretty freaked out."


Zelensky accuses Russia of war crimes in Kherson

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday said Russian forces committed war crimes in Kherson before they fled the key city in southern Ukraine last week. "Investigators have already documented more than 400 Russian war crimes. Bodies of dead civilians and servicemen have been found," Zelensky said in his nightly video address. Ukrainian forces swept into the city over the weekend and were greeted by cheering residents. Most homes in Kherson remained without power and water service, but utility companies in the region were working on restoring electricity and other infrastructure damaged or mined by retreating Russian soldiers. Kherson was the only regional capital Russia had been able to capture since launching its invasion in February.


Biden says election results made him 'stronger' ahead of Xi meeting

President Biden said Sunday that he would be "stronger" heading into his Monday meeting in Indonesia with Chinese President Xi Jinping now that his fellow Democrats have held onto their majority in the Senate. Biden and Xi on Monday started their meeting, which was expected to last hours. It is the first time they have spoken face-to-face during Biden's presidency, but Biden said they know each other well. "The world expects ... the U.S. and China to play a key role in global challenges, from climate change to food insecurity, and for us to be able to work together," Biden said in his first remarks. "The United States stands ready to do just that."


Bomb kills at least 8 people on busy Istanbul pedestrian street

A bomb exploded Sunday on a busy pedestrian street lined with shops and restaurants in Istanbul, killing eight people and wounding dozens of others. Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the blast was a "treacherous attack" that had the "smell of terror." Istanbul police said they arrested 46 people over the attack. Interior minister Suleyman Soyu blamed the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, and said the suspects included the "person who left the bomb." A video posted online showed a flash accompanied with a loud bang that sent panicked people dashing for cover in cafes and shops. The country experienced a series of deadly bombings in 2015 and 2017 that were blamed on the Islamic State and Kurdish militants.


Man who inspired 'The Terminal' dies in Paris airport where he lived for 18 years

Mehran Karimi Nasseri, the 77-year-old Iranian refugee who lived for years inside Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and inspired the 2004 movie The Terminal, died of a heart attack over the weekend, a spokesperson for the Paris airport authority said Sunday. Nasseri was exiled or fled political turmoil in Iran in the 1970s. He settled in Belgium but left, determined to find his British mother, and was stopped in the Paris airport in 1988 because he didn't have proper identity papers. He was held in a transit zone for several days, then released into one of the airport terminals, where he stayed for 18 years. He left the airport in 2006 but struggled in outside life, and returned to Charles de Gaulle in September.


Sandy Hook Memorial opens to honor school-shooting victims

A memorial to the 20 first graders and six educators killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting nearly 10 years ago officially opened on Sunday in Newtown, Connecticut. The five-acre site includes a path from the small parking lot leading down a hill to a water feature with a sycamore tree on an island. The names of the 26 who died are engraved on a stone wall supporting the pool. "We just feel her presence there," said Michele Gay, whose daughter Josephine Grace was one of the children who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The old school was torn down, but the new one is visible from the memorial when the trees have lost their leaves.


Farmland prices soar to record high

Farmland prices have soared to the highest level on record this year, pricing out many small farmers, The New York Times reported Sunday. Nationwide, prices have jumped 12.4 percent to $3,800 per acre, with cropland reaching $5,050 an acre and pastureland at $1,650 an acre. High prices for corn, soybeans, wheat, and other commodity crops have contributed to rising land values, as have the robust housing markets and interest rates, which were historically low until recent months. A September survey by the nonprofit National Young Farmers Coalition found that finding affordable land was the top challenge cited by young farmers this year. Government subsidies to farmers have contributed to rising land costs, the Times reported.


Slovenia elects its first female president

Liberal rights advocate Natasa Pirc Musar beat her conservative rival in a runoff Sunday to become Slovenia's first female president. Pirc Musar, a lawyer who has represented former U.S. first lady Melania Trump, received 54 percent of the vote and Slovenia's right-wing former Foreign Minister Anže Logar got 46 percent, according to media reports. "Slovenia has elected a president who believes in the European Union, in the democratic values on which the EU was founded," Pirc Musar said. The role of Slovenia's president is mostly ceremonial, although Pirc Musar will nominate the central bank governor and other top officials, and serve as commander in chief of the armed forces.


'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' sets record for November debut

Marvel's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever grossed an estimated $180 million domestically in its opening weekend, leading the box office. That's a bit below the $202 million opening of the 2018 original, but it's still the second biggest domestic debut of 2022 behind Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which brought in $187 million. This is also the biggest domestic opening ever for a movie released in November, a record previously held by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire with $158 million, and the 13th biggest of all time. It's a major success for a movie that faced a significant uphill battle on its way to theaters, as Chadwick Boseman, who starred as Black Panther in the acclaimed original film, died in August 2020 from cancer.


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