10 things you need to know today: September 12, 2021
FBI releases newly declassified 9/11 document after Biden order, Disciplinary action recommended for 6 Capitol Police officers, and more
FBI releases newly declassified 9/11 document after Biden order
The FBI on Saturday released a newly declassified document connected to its investigation into the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and whether the Saudi government provided support for the hijackers. President Biden previously issued an executive order to declassify materials on the issue following a push from 1,600 people directly affected by the attacks. The heavily-redacted document, which is a 16-page summary of a 2015 FBI interview, does detail contacts some of the hijackers had with Saudi associates — including those who provided them with logistical support — in the United States prior to the attacks, but it does not conclude that senior Saudi government officials were complicit in the terror plot, which is in line with the findings of the 9/11 Commission report in 2004.
Disciplinary action recommended for 6 Capitol Police officers
Internal U.S. Capitol Police investigators are recommending disciplinary action for six police officers because of their conduct during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the department said in a statement Saturday. The officers were singled out for unbecoming conduct, failure to comply with directives, improper remarks, and improper dissemination of information. The agency reviewed 38 cases and found no wrongdoing in 20 of them, while in 12 instances investigators could not identify officers at the center of complaints. One inquiry remains open.
U.S. commemorates 9/11 at Ground Zero, Pentagon, Flight 93 memorial
Events took place at all three sites directly affected by the hijacked planes on Sept. 11, 2001, as the U.S. commemorated the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks. At Ground Zero in New York, President Biden joined former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama for a ceremony, which included six separate moments of silence. Meanwhile, former President George W. Bush (who was in office at the time) and Vice President Kamala Harris gave remarks at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin addressed a crowd at the Pentagon. Biden made appearances at both of those sites, as well.
18-year-old Raducanu caps stunning U.S. Open run with finals victory
Great Britain's Emma Radacanu defeated fellow teenager, Canada's Leylah Fernandez, 6-4, 6-3, on Saturday in the women's final at Arthur Ashe stadium in New York. It's the first major tournament title for the 18-year-old (the youngest player to achieve such a feat since Maria Sharapova won at Wimbledon in 2004), who was competing in just the second Grand Slam event of her career. Raducanu had to earn her way through qualifiers to enter the main draw at the U.S. Open. No player in tennis history has ever won any of the big four tournaments taking that route. On Sunday, Novak Djokovic aims to complete the first calendar-year Grand Slam in men's tennis since 1969 when he takes on Daniil Medvedev in the U.S. Open final. If he wins, he'll also break the record for most major tournament wins in a career.
Taliban raises flag over presidential palace in Kabul
The Taliban on Saturday raised its flag over the presidential palace in Kabul during a ceremony to mark the beginning of the work of the group's governance of Afghanistan. The flag-raising took place the same day as the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which the Taliban did not explicitly or formally reference Saturday, making it unclear if there was any connection between the two events. Meanwhile, on Sunday, the Taliban's higher education minister, Abdul Bari Haqqani, said women in Afghanistan can continue their studies in universities, including at the post-graduate level, but they'll have to do so in separate classrooms. Islamic dress is compulsory, he added.
Report: U.S., Uzbekistan reach deal to transfer Afghan pilots
The United States has struck an agreement with Uzbekistan to transfer a group of Afghan Air Force pilots and their relatives who are in the latter country to a U.S. military base in the near future, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The U.S.-trained pilots flew themselves and their families to neighboring Uzbekistan aboard Afghan Air Force helicopters and planes amid the Taliban offensive in Afghanistan last month. Since then, the Taliban has placed pressure on Uzbekistan to hand over the pilots. Although the group has promised amnesty to Afghan government officials and forces, the pilots reportedly fear for their safety because the Afghan Air Force was particularly hated by the Taliban for carrying out airstrikes against them. The State Department and Uzbek officials in Washington declined to comment on the reported deal.
Iran to allow U.N. watchdog to service cameras at nuclear sites
Following talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran's atomic energy body said in a statement Sunday that Tehran will allow the United Nations' nuclear watchdog to service monitoring cameras at Iranian nuclear sites. The discussions were part of an effort to reduce tensions between Iran and Western powers who are working on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal. The IAEA said earlier this week that no progress had been made on two key issues: Iran explaining why uranium traces were found at several old, undeclared nuclear sites and getting access to monitoring equipment so the agency can continue to track Tehran's nuclear program.
England to forgo COVID-19 vaccine passport system for crowded events
COVID-19 vaccine passports for access into nightclubs and large events will not be introduced in England, the United Kingdom's Health Secretary Sajid Javid said. The potential plan was to have people show proof of full vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test, or completed self-isolation after a positive PCR COVID-19 test to gain entry into crowded events, but Javid said the government nixed the idea after looking at the evidence. The U.K.'s live events industry had pushed back against the plan, which many anticipated would go into effect later this month, and has subsequently praised the latest update. The government has said it will keep the plan "in reserve" should it be needed going forward. Denmark similarly announced Friday that, due to the country's high vaccination rate, people will no longer be required to show digital passes when entering nightclubs.
Pope Francis meets with Viktor Orban in Hungary
Pope Francis arrived in Budapest, Hungary, on Sunday, launching a multi-day trip to Central Europe. His Hungary stop was particularly anticipated because of his meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The two leaders have very different views on migration, with Orban advocating for tougher borders and Francis calling for greater aid to refugees across the world. Francis has subsequently been the subject of harsh criticism from Orban-supporting media outlets and political figures. Both Orban and the Vatican released brief statements on the meeting, but it's unclear if they discussed migration. After the meeting, Orban, a member of the Calvinist Hungarian Reformed Church, was seated in the front row during an outdoor Mass presided over by Francis.
NFL kicks off first full Sunday slate of 2021 season
The 2021 NFL season will kick off in earnest on Sunday. The defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially opened the season with a 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night, but Sunday provides the first full slate of games. Some of the more anticipated matchups include a 1:00 p.m. ET clash between the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars, for whom the 2021 No. 1 overall draft pick Trevor Lawrence will line up as the starting quarterback. Later in the day, the defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs will square off with the Cleveland Browns, who have their eyes on a deep playoff run. And after a dramatic offseason, Aaron Rodgers is back under center for the Green Bay Packers, who will take on the New Orleans Saints. That game will be played in Jacksonville instead of New Orleans as a result of Hurricane Ida.