10 things you need to know today: September 9, 2023

More than 1,000 dead following massive earthquake in Morocco, G20 countries to unveil rail and ports corridor linking Middle East and Europe, and more

President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Biden and Modi are leading a new rail and ports project to connect Europe and the Middle East
(Image credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

1. More than 1,000 dead following massive earthquake in Morocco

More than 1,000 people died following a devastating earthquake in Morocco on Friday, the country's interior ministry said. The 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck the North African nation in the province of Al Haouz around 11 p.m. local time, according to a reading from the U.S. Geological Survey. Located around 43 miles from Marrakesh, the earthquake destroyed numerous buildings throughout the historic city and sent residents scrambling for cover. The shaking was also felt in a number of other cities, including Rabat, Casablanca and Fez. Many of the victims are believed to have lived in remote areas, and officials said that rescue efforts will likely take days as the death toll rises.

The Washington Post BBC News

2. G20 countries to unveil rail and ports corridor linking Middle East and Europe

The United States, India, the EU and other G20 allies are expected to unveil a plan Saturday to construct a rail and shipping corridor that would link Europe with the Middle East. The project, described by President Biden as a "really big deal," is aimed at boosting economic prosperity throughout the Middle East while also providing a pathway to new deals in Europe. The corridor would include routes throughout India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Israel and the European Union, Biden's national security adviser Jake Sullivan said. Though a timeline for the project's completion was not given, American and EU officials remained optimistic about its propensity for economic investments.

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The Associated Press Bloomberg

3. Biden administration brings abortion pill access to Supreme Court

The Biden administration sent a request to the Supreme Court on Friday asking it to overturn a lower court decision restricting access to the abortion pill mifepristone. The prior ruling, handed down by a federal appeals court in Louisiana this past August, said that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had overstepped its power by allowing mifepristone to be delivered by mail. However, the Biden administration, which has been attempting to make access to the drug easier amidst conservative crackdowns on abortion rights, appealed this ruling to the high court, in a battle that will likely continue the legal drama for months. Mifepristone will continue to be available while the Supreme Court considers taking the case.

USA Today The Wall Street Journal

4. Judge denies Mark Meadows’ request to move Georgia case to federal court

A judge denied a request Friday by former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to move his Georgia criminal indictment to federal court. Meadows, who was charged along with former President Donald Trump and 17 others in Georgia for allegedly attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election, argued that his case should be tried federally because he was a federal official, an argument that is also being made by Trump himself. However, U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones ruled that Meadows was not acting in an official government capacity when he committed his alleged crimes, writing that he had "not shown that the actions that triggered the State's prosecution related to his federal office."

The New York Times NBC News

5. Court rules Biden administration likely violated 1st Amendment in dealing with social media companies

A federal appeals court said Friday that the White House, FBI and other government officials likely violated the First Amendment by pressuring social media companies to moderate content posts about Covid-19. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans ruled that the Biden administration asked these companies to moderate false posts about Covid "by way of intimidating messages and threats of adverse consequences" and "significantly encouraged the platforms' decisions by commandeering their decision-making processes." However, the court also slimmed down the scope of the prior order that had barred the administration from contacting social media companies about content moderation, dampening what appeared to be a large conservative victory.

The New York Times USA Today

6. New Mexico governor temporarily suspends public gun carry laws in Albuquerque

New Mexico Gov. Lujan Grisham (D) issued an order Friday temporarily suspending open and concealed carry gun laws across the city of Albuquerque. The order, which also applies to the city's surrounding Bernalillo County in its entirety, will be in effect for at least 30 days, Grisham said, and is part of an effort by the governor to call for changes to the state's gun laws. Grisham said that she wanted to "create a cooling off period while we figure out how we can better address public safety and gun violence." The order came days after 11-year-old Froylan Villegas was shot and killed during a road-rage incident while leaving a baseball game in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque Journal Newsweek

7. Jalisco, Mexico hit by 5.5 magnitude earthquake

The state of Jalisco, Mexico, was hit by a magnitude-5.5 earthquake on Friday, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC). The earthquake, which registered at a depth of 14 miles below the surface, was followed by a magnitude-5.8 aftershock approximately one hour later, data from the EMSC showed. No deaths have been reported from the earthquake so far, though officials have been giving updates on the situation. Jalisco sits in a seismically active area, and the earthquake comes just two months after a 5.6-magnitude rumble hit the region. A 6.8-magnitude earthquake in Jalisco last September left one dead and caused buildings throughout the state to crumble.


8. Former Philadelphia police officer charged with murder for Eddie Irizarry shooting

The former Philadelphia police officer who shot and killed Eddie Irizarry last month has been charged with murder, prosecutors said Friday. Mark Dial surrendered himself to the authorities and is facing charges of first-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and other related crimes, District Attorney Larry Krasner said during a press conference. The charges come less than one month after the controversial Aug. 14 shooting of Irizarry. Police officials originally said that Dial shot the 27-year-old Irizarry after the latter lunged at him with a knife. However, body cam footage released following the incident shows Irizarry sitting in his car with a knife when Dial approaches him and begins firing, just seconds after arriving on scene.

The Philadelphia Inquirer CNN

9. US Open to conclude between Coco Gauff and Aryna Sabalenka

The US Open will conclude Saturday with American phenom Coco Gauff facing Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka in the final. Gauff, a 19-year-old widely considered one of the best players in the world, has become the youngest American player to reach the final of the prestigious tournament since Serena Williams did so in 1999 when she was 17. However, in order to claim the title, Gauff, ranked at world No. 6, will have to beat 25-year-old Sabalenka, the more experienced world No. 2 who is also considered one of the best tennis players on the globe. The final, taking place at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City, will give Gauff a chance to best Sabalenka on home soil.


10. Fran Drescher re-elected SAG-AFTRA president as strike continues

Fran Drescher was re-elected president of SAG-AFTRA in a landslide on Friday, in what was a large showing of unity for the leader of one of Hollywood's two ongoing strikes. Drescher, who has led the actor's union since 2021, garnered 81% of the vote, while her opponent, Maya Gilbert-Dunbar, received 19%. In a statement, Drescher said she was "honored to serve my union as president for another term" and said SAG-AFTRA "would weather the storms, stand on our principles and make sure our major contributions to this collaborative art form shall never again be diminished." Along with the Writers' Guild, SAG-AFTRA has been striking for equity and protections against AI in the entertainment industry.

Los Angeles Times

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Justin Klawans

Justin Klawans is a staff writer at The Week. Based in Chicago, he was previously a breaking news reporter for Newsweek, writing breaking news and features for verticals including politics, U.S. and global affairs, business, crime, sports, and more. His reporting has been cited on many online platforms, in addition to CBS' The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

He is also passionate about entertainment and sports news, and has covered film, television, and casting news as a freelancer for outlets like Collider and United Press International, as well as Chicago sports news for Fansided.