Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: November 22, 2022

Colorado charges shooting suspect with murder and hate crimes, Ukraine tells residents to leave liberated areas before potentially "life-threatening" winter, and more


Colorado shooting suspect charged with 5 murders, hate crimes

Colorado authorities on Monday formally charged Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, with five murders and hate crimes for a mass shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. Police identified the dead as Kelly Loving, Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Ashley Paugh, and Raymond Green Vance. Retired Army major Richard Fierro, a nightclub patron credited with preventing a worse massacre, told The New York Times his combat training kicked in during the attack. Fierro said he was watching a drag show with his wife, daughter, and friends when gunfire broke out. Fierro charged the gunman, knocked away his rifle, took his pistol, and beat him with it. Another patron, Thomas James, helped, as did a drag performer, who stomped the gunman with high heels.


Ukraine urges residents to leave newly liberated areas before winter

Ukraine's government on Monday started evacuating civilians from areas recently liberated from Russian occupation, urging residents to leave ahead of what could be a dangerous winter due to Russian shelling that has cut off heat, electricity, and water. Authorities said people should move out of parts of the Kherson and Mykolaiv regions that are now back under Ukrainian control, and go to safer places. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said the government would provide displaced people with transportation, housing, and medical care. "This winter will be life-threatening for millions of people in Ukraine," said the WHO's regional director for Europe, Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge.


Jury finds woman guilty on Jan. 6 charges, but not in theft of Pelosi laptop

A federal jury in Washington on Monday found a Pennsylvania woman guilty of civil disorder and five other charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack, but deadlocked over whether she helped steal a laptop computer from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office. Two of the convictions against the 23-year-old woman, Riley Williams, are felonies. She faces two to three years in prison, according to federal guidelines, when she is sentenced in February, prosecutors said. Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered Williams to be detained until sentencing, saying she "was packed and ready to flee before," and "has no respect whatsoever for the enforcement of the law."


Death toll rises after Indonesia earthquake

The death toll from Indonesia's 5.6-magnitude earthquake rose to more than 250 as rescuers continued to search for survivors on Tuesday. At least 377 others were injured, and 31 were still missing. Most of the people killed were inside buildings that collapsed when the quake shook Cianjur, a town in western Java. Many remote villages remained inaccessible a day after the earthquake, due to landslides and other damage. Regional governor Ridwan Kamil said thousands of people have been displaced, and an undetermined number were "trapped in isolated places." Kamil added that the death toll is expected to rise as searches continue.


Alabama governor calls for execution pause after 3rd failed execution

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) asked state Attorney General Steve Marshall to pause executions and conduct a "top-to-bottom" review of the state's capital punishment system after an unprecedented third failed lethal injection. The request came after the state was unable to complete the execution of Kenneth Eugene Smith on Thursday. It was the second failed execution due to problems inserting an IV line in two months, and the third since 2018. The state executed an inmate in July after a three-hour delay attributed in part to the same problem. "For the sake of the victims and their families, we've got to get this right," Ivey said. The governor said prison officials weren't responsible for the problems, blaming "legal tactics and criminals hijacking the system."


Supreme Court rejects Texas state Senate map challenge

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to review an appeal by Black and Hispanic voters who argued that the Republican-led Texas legislature intentionally redrew a state Senate district to reduce their political influence. The decision left in place a ruling by a three-judge federal district court panel denying a request for an injunction against using the redrawn district boundaries. Democratic state Sen. Beverly Powell dropped her re-election bid in April, calling the race "unwinnable." Republican Phil King won, running unopposed. The district court panel agreed that the new map would eliminate "a seat in which minorities were able to elect candidates they preferred," but found no direct evidence the legislature was motivated by racial discrimination.


Union members reject rail contract, raising risk of strike

Members of the SMART Transportation Division, a union that represents freight rail conductors, narrowly rejected a proposed labor contract, union officials said Monday. Members of another large union that mostly represents engineers, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, voted to approve the agreement, with 53.5 percent backing the deal. But unless the SMART Transportation Division's members and the Association of American Railroads, which represents major rail lines, reach a new agreement by early December, the rail workers could go on strike. The latest deal would have increased salaries by 25 percent over five years, but rail workers say their main issue is tough, unpredictable schedules. Retailers warned a strike would be "a self-inflicted economic disaster" that would disrupt the supply chain and worsen inflation.


N.Y. regulators approve state's 1st recreational marijuana retailers

New York state regulators on Monday approved the state's first dispensaries to be allowed to sell recreational marijuana. The permits went to about three dozen businesses that will be able to legally sell cannabis products in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. A federal judge in Albany earlier this month blocked the state's Office of Cannabis Management from approving dispensaries in Brooklyn and several upstate areas, including Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo, due to ongoing litigation. "Not long ago, the idea of New York legalizing cannabis seemed unbelievable," said board chair Tremaine Wright. "Now, not only have we legalized, but we're also building a legal adult-use market with an equity-driven approach."


Biden pardons two turkeys in White House Thanksgiving tradition

President Biden kicked off Thanksgiving week on Monday with the pardoning of two turkeys. The two birds, North Carolina turkeys named Chocolate and Chip, will be spared from joining the millions of birds roasted for Thanksgiving feasts. "The votes are in," Biden said during the ceremony on the White House's South Lawn. "They've been counted and verified. There's no ballot stuffing. There's no 'fowl' play." The White House turkey pardon is a tradition dating back decades. Chocolate and Chip will be sent back to their home state to live out their lives at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, the state capital.


U.S. ties Wales in its opening World Cup match

The U.S. men's national team tied Wales 1-1 on Monday in their opening match in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The U.S. team dominated the first half, going ahead 1-0 with a goal by Tim Weah off a pass from Christian Pulisic. But with about 10 minutes left to play, Welsh star Gareth Bale converted an 82nd-minute penalty to tie the score, giving his team the momentum and leaving the U.S. fighting to hold onto a draw. The U.S. moves on to a tougher challenge Friday against England, the strongest team in their group. England demolished Iran 6-2 in its opener.


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