10 things you need to know today: August 28, 2023

DeSantis booed during vigil for victims in racist Jacksonville shooting, Florida braces for potential hurricane Idalia, and more

Memorial for 3 victims of racist mass shooting in Jacksonville
(Image credit: Sean Rayford / Getty Images)

1. DeSantis booed at vigil for victims in racist Jacksonville shooting

Mourners booed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Sunday at a vigil for three Black people killed at a Jacksonville Dollar General store by a white 21-year-old gunman who left behind white supremacist writings, according to police. DeSantis, who has loosened gun laws and clashed with civil rights groups, promised funding for security at nearby Edward Waters University, a historically Black college. "We are not going to let people be targeted based on their race," he said. Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said the gunman, Ryan Palmeter, was motivated by a "disgusting ideology of hate" he had outlined in a manifesto. Police said Palmeter, who killed himself after the attack, legally bought the AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle used in the shooting.

The Associated Press Florida Times-Union

2. Florida braces for Idalia

Tropical Storm Idalia formed Sunday, and forecasters warned it could intensify further over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and reach hurricane strength before making landfall in Florida. Idalia is expected to hit western Florida, possibly near Tampa, mid-week. It is projected to have top sustained winds around 90 miles per hour when it makes landfall, and could cause dangerous flooding. "This portion of the Florida peninsula is very storm surge-vulnerable," said Jamie Rhome, deputy director of the National Hurricane Center. "It will not take a strong system or a direct hit to produce a significant storm surge." Later in the week, Idalia could hit Georgia and the Carolinas with heavy rains.

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The Weather Channel The New York Times

3. DC, Atlanta courts hold hearings in Trump election cases

Courts in Washington, D.C., and Georgia are scheduled to hold two potentially crucial hearings in the federal and state criminal cases over former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Biden. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington will consider arguments on when to set Trump's federal trial. Prosecutors want to start it as early as Jan. 2. Trump's defense team wants to delay it until April 2026, long after the 2024 election. In Georgia, a federal judge in Atlanta will consider a request by former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, one of Trump's 18 co-defendants in the Fulton County conspiracy case, to move his charges from state to federal court.

The New York Times

4. Commerce secretary seeks to ease tensions in China trip

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo arrived in Beijing on Sunday to start a four-day visit to China, in the Biden administration's latest push to improve tense relations between the world's two biggest economies. Raimondo said she would be "practical" in seeking ways to mend ties without sacrificing U.S. interests. "I'm also very realistic and clear-eyed about the challenges. And the challenges are significant," she told reporters Saturday before leaving. Raimondo said she would seek "actionable, concrete steps where we can move forward on the commercial relationship." She is expected to discuss boosting travel opportunities to follow up on the recent easing of restrictions on big tour groups from China.

The Associated Press

5. Taliban bans women from Afghanistan national park

Afghanistan's Taliban government has banned women from visiting the country's first national park, Band-e-Amir. Afghanistan's acting minister of virtue and vice, Mohammad Khaled Hanafi, said the policy was imposed because women had not been complying with the requirement that they properly wear traditional Muslim hijab head coverings while visiting the park, a popular destination for families. Fereshta Abbasi of Human Rights Watch noted that the ban coincided with Saturday's Women's Equality Day, reflecting the Taliban's "total disrespect to the women of Afghanistan." The government, which shut universities to women, also has started blocking women from leaving the country with student visas to study abroad, according to BBC News.

BBC News

6. Report: 3M agrees to pay veterans $5.5 billion over combat-earplug complaints

3M has tentatively agreed to pay $5.5 billion to settle claims by more than 300,000 veterans that the company's combat earplugs failed to prevent hearing loss, Bloomberg reported Sunday, citing people familiar with the negotiations. The talks are ongoing, and 3M's board hasn't signed off yet, according to The Wall Street Journal. The veterans in the earplug litigation — the largest mass tort in U.S. history — say 3M and Aearo Technologies, which 3M acquired in 2008, produced faulty earplugs and provided them to the U.S. military, failing to protect users from hearing loss. 3M has argued that the earplugs work when used properly. Some analysts had predicted the case would cost 3M $10 billion or more.

Bloomberg The Wall Street Journal

7. France bars Muslim robes in state schools

France will ban children from wearing Muslim abaya robes in state-run schools, Education Minister Gabriel Attal said Sunday in an interview with the TF1 television channel. "I have decided that the abaya could no longer be worn in schools," Attal said. The policy on the loose-fitting, full-length robes worn by some Muslim women comes after France banned headscarves in schools in 2004, and full-face veils in public in 2010. France's left sees the bans as part of a broad effort to defend secularism against religious conservatism, and the right favors them to oppose the rising influence of Islam in French society, Reuters reported. The policies have angered the country's five million Muslims.


8. Simone Biles wins record 8th US gymnastics championship

Simone Biles won her eighth national all-around gymnastics title Sunday night, breaking a record she had shared with Alfred Jochim for the most championships by a U.S. gymnast. Jochim competed in the 1920s and '30s. Biles dominated the sport with four straight titles from 2013-16. She then took a year-long break after the Rio Olympics and won two more titles in 2018 and 2019. After 2020 COVID-19 shutdowns, she added another title in 2021, then took another break after she withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics team and four event finals due to an anxiety-driven case of "the twisties," when gymnasts lose track of where they are in the air. Biles came off her two-year competition hiatus three weeks ago.

USA Today

9. Spain coach slams soccer federation chief's 'inappropriate behavior'

Jorge Vilda, coach of the Spanish women's national soccer team, became the latest high-profile figure in the sport to criticize Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish soccer federation, for kissing player Jenni Hermoso during the celebration of the team's Women's World Cup victory against England. Vilda said Rubiales' "macho attitude" and "inappropriate behavior" had marred the team's victory. Rubiales rejected calls for his resignation, saying the kiss was "mutual with consent." Hermoso said she was "the victim of aggression, an impulsive, sexist act which was out of place and with no consent on my behalf." FIFA, soccer's world governing body, announced over the weekend that it was suspending Rubiales for 90 days.


10. 'Barbie' set to make Warner Bros. history

Greta Gerwig's "Barbie" was on track to become Warner Bros.' highest-grossing movie ever on Monday, heading into the day just $1 million behind "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" with a total haul of $1.34 billion. Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer" — the other half of the Barbenheimer box-office duo that closed the summer movie season with a bang — has reached $777.2 million. "Oppenheimer" led the international box office over the weekend, taking in $29.1 million in 82 markets. That included Greece's biggest debut of the year, and a $9.2 million launch in Italy, where it had a 70% share across 1,000 screens. The film's China debut is coming up.

Deadline Variety

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.