Monday, September 13, 2021

Wake-Up Call: North Korea Tests New Long-Range Missiles

North Korea said Monday that it had successfully tested new long-range cruise missiles over the weekend, with the Korean Central News Agency saying the missiles demonstrated an ability to hit targets 932 miles away. This would be the North's first known missile testing in months. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said it was monitoring the situation with allies. North Korea resuming missile testing is likely an effort to pressure the Biden administration amid stalled nuclear negotiations since the collapse of a summit between former President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in 2019, and continues a tradition of testing new U.S. administrations.

➤TALIBAN SAYS AFGHAN WOMEN CAN GO TO UNIVERSITY, BUT MUST BE GENDER-SEGREGATED: The higher education minister of Afghanistan's new Taliban government said Sunday that woman will be allowed to continue to go to universities, but classrooms will be required to be gender-segregated and the women must be in Islamic dress. The minister said hijabs, or headscarves, will be mandatory, but didn't say if face coverings would be required. He also said the subjects being taught would be reviewed, but didn't give more details. During the first time they were in power in the late 1990s, the Taliban didn't allow girls and women to go to school and were excluded from public life. The Taliban has now suggested they have changed, and this announcement appears to try to show that, however, AP notes women have been barred from sports and the Taliban have used violence in recently days against women protesting for equal rights.

➤THREAT OF HEAVY RAIN, FLOODING IN TEXAS, LOUISIANA, MEXICO FROM TROPICAL STORM NICHOLAS: Coastal areas of Texas, Louisiana and Mexico are facing the threat of heavy rains and flooding from Tropical Storm Nicholas. The storm is moving up the Gulf Coast with top winds of 60 miles per hour, and National Hurricane Center forecasters are saying it's on track to pass near the South Texas coast later today, then move onshore along the coast of south or central Texas by this evening. Rain totals of up to 10 inches are expected in Texas and southwest Louisiana, with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches across parts of coastal Texas through the middle of the week, as Nicholas is projected to move slowly. The threat comes as parts of south Louisiana are still recovering from Hurricane Ida.

➤ISRAEL HITS TARGETS IN GAZA AFTER ROCKET LAUNCHES: Israel hit Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip with airstrikes early Monday after rocket launches toward Israel from the territory. It was the third straight night of fighting between the two sides, amid heightened tensions after six Palestinian inmates escaped from an Israeli prison last week. Four of the six have been recaptured. The Israeli military said there were three rocket launches late Sunday and early Monday, at least two of which were intercepted by its Iron Dome defense system. There were no reports of casualties on either side.

A hospital in upstate New York will put baby deliveries on hold after too many workers in its maternity unit resigned over the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.  Lewis County General Hospital will be forced to temporarily stop all baby deliveries after Sept. 24 due to the staff's refusal to get vaccinated, WWNY-TV reported. So far, six employees in the hospital’s maternity ward have chosen to resign instead of getting the vaccine, while another seven are undecided, Lewis County Health System Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cayer said during a news conference on Friday, according to the station.

➤FOUR INJURED IN EXPLOSION AT ATLANTA-AREA APARTMENT COMPLEX: Four people were injured yesterday in an explosion at an Atlanta-area apartment complex that destroyed several floors of a building. The cause is under investigation, but Deputy Fire Chief Melvin Carter of the DeKalb County Fire Rescue Department told reporters the building's leasing agent reported a strong smell of gas about an hour before the explosion. The fire department said last night that it had completed its search and evacuation of the building in Dunwoody, and no one was trapped.

➤JUSTICE EXPRESSES CONCERNING SUPREME COURT INCREASINGLY SEEN AS PARTISAN: The newest member of the Supreme Court, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, expressed concern yesterday that the high court may increasingly be seen by the public as a partisan institution. Speaking at a lecture hosted by the University of Louisville in Kentucky, Barrett said the media reporting of opinions doesn't capture the deliberative process involved in reaching decisions, while also saying that justices must be, quote, "hyper vigilant to make sure they’re not letting personal biases creep into their decisions, since judges are people, too." She insisted that, in her words, "judicial philosophies are not the same as political parties," and that the Supreme Court, quote, "is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks." She also addressed the criticism of decisions by the court, saying, "To say the court’s reasoning is flawed is different from saying the court is acting in a partisan manner."

➤OLDEST LIVING WORLD WAR TWO VETERAN CELEBRATES 112TH BIRTHDAY: The oldest living World War Two veteran, Lawrence Brooks, celebrated his 112th birthday on Sunday. Brooks was honored with a birthday drive-by at his home in New Orleans, and he waved to a small crowd while wearing a New Orleans Saints jersey. Brooks served in the U.S. Army from 1940 to 1945 as part of the mostly Black 91st Engineer Battalion, stationed in New Guinea and then the Philippines, and rose to the rank of private first class. He returned to New Orleans after the war, where he worked as a forklift operator, married and had five children. He now has 13 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. He was widowed in 2005 when his second wife died.

➤BRITNEY SPEARS ENGAGED: Britney Spears announced on Sunday that she was engaged to her longtime boyfriend, Sam Asghari, three months after she told a Los Angeles judge that the conservatorship that has governed her life since 2008 was robbing her of the ability to make personal decisions.  Brandon Cohen, a talent manager for Asghari, confirmed the engagement Sunday night.

➤EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH HAS FIRST TRANSGENDER BISHOP: The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America installed its first openly transgender bishop Saturday in a service at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral. The Reverend Megan Rohrer will oversee nearly 200 congregations in Northern California and northern Nevada. Rohrer, who is married and has two children, was elected in May to a six-year term as bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod.

Amazon announced last week that they will cover tuition costs for most of their employees, but there is a catch. Due to current federal regulations, they will only offer up to $5,250 per year. The Amazon announcement follows similar moves by rivals like Walmart and Target, which both recently said they would provide tuition assistance to employees.

➤EXERCISE CUTS ANXIETY: Exercise may help to curb anxiety by around 60%. Researchers in Sweden compared people who engaged in long-distance cross-country skiing as a form of exercise with those who do not participate in the sport. The study’s authors, from Lund University, found that the activity cut the risk of anxiety disorders by around 60% overall in men and women. While the study specifically looked at skiing, any forms of exercise are likely to slash anxiety, but the experts don't know exactly how.

➤A THIRD OF ADULTS FALL OUT OVER TEXT MESSAGES: A third of adults have fallen out with someone after misreading a text message. Research from Hidden Hearing found that 40 percent of adults will spend “hours” puzzling over someone’s wording or tone in a message while 20 percent have wrongly assumed someone was upset with them because they guessed the tone of the text incorrectly.

🎾MEDVEDEV WINS U.S. OPEN, DASHING DJOKOVIC'S BID FOR HISTORIC WIN: Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia beat top-seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia to win the U.S. Open yesterday (September 12th), dashing Djokovic's bid for what would have been an historic victory, giving him the first calendar-year Grand Slam in men’s tennis since 1969 and a men's record 21st major. Medvedev won in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, for his first major victory. Asked afterward how he felt, Djokovic said, "Relief. I was glad it was over."

Raducanu Wins Women's Title: History was made on the women's side when 18-year-old Emma Raducanu of Britain won the women's title on Saturday, defeating 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez of Canada to become the first qualifier in U.S. Open history to win the title. Raducanu won 6-4, 6-3 in the first final between unseeded women.

  • Philadelphia Eagles 32, Atlanta Falcons 6
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 23, Buffalo Bills 16
  • Cincinnati Bengals 27, Minnesota Vikings 24 (OT)
  • San Francisco 49ers 41, Detroit Lions 33
  • Arizona Cardinals 38, Tennessee Titans 13
  • Seattle Seahawks 28, Indianapolis Colts 16
  • Los Angeles Chargers 20, Washington Football Team 16
  • Carolina Panthers 19, New York Jets 14
  • Houston Texans 37, Jacksonville Jaguars 21
  • Kansas City Chiefs 33, Cleveland Browns 29
  • Miami Dolphins 17, New England Patriots 16
  • New Orleans Saints 38, Green Bay Packers 3
  • Denver Broncos 27, New York Giants 13
  • Los Angeles Rams 34, Chicago Bears 14
Tonight's Monday Night Football game on ABC and ESPN: Baltimore Ravens at Las Vegas Raiders (8:15 p.m. ET)

🏈TOUGH NFL DEBUTS FOR TOP TWO DRAFT PICKS, QUARTERBACKS LAWRENCE, WILSON: It was a tough NFL debut yesterday for the two top picks in the 2021 draft, quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, who both lost in their first games. The Jacksonville Jaguars led by Lawrence fell 37-21 to the Houston Texans, with Lawrence throwing for 332 yards and three touchdowns, but also being intercepted three times. Wilson's New York Jets also lost their opener, beaten by the Carolina Panthers 19-14. Wilson was sacked six times, but he was nearly able to rally the Jets back from being down 16-0, getting 258 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

⚾METS' LINDOR HITS THREE HOME RUNS IN 7-6 WIN OVER YANKEES: New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor hit three home runs in the Mets' 7-6 win over crosstown rivals the New York Yankees on Sunday. Lindor hit a three-run home run in the second inning, a solo homer in the sixth, and another solo home run in the eighth inning that broke a 6-6 tie and ended up being the winning run. It was the first career three-homer game for Lindor.

⚾DODGERS' SCHERZER GETS 3,000 STRIKEOUTS: Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Max Scherzer got his 3,000th career strikeout yesterday (September 12th) as L.A. beat the San Diego Padres 8-0. Scherzer did it on a day when he was nearly untouchable, taking a perfect game into the eighth inning. That ended when Eric Hosmer hit a double with one out in the eighth. The three-time Cy Young Award winner reached 3,000 career strikeouts in the fifth inning when Hosmer went down swinging for the second out of the inning.

🏈LATTIMORE AGREES TO FIVE-YEAR, $97.6 MILLION EXTENSION WITH SAINTS: Cornerback Marshon Lattimore has agreed to a five-year, $97.6 million extension with the New Orleans Saints, ESPN reported last night after the Saints routed the Green Bay Packers 38-3. The 25-year-old is in the final year of his rookie contract and would have become a free agent in 2022.

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