10 things you need to know today: September 3, 2023


Biden visits Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia

President Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden traveled to Florida on Saturday to surveil the damage from Hurricane Idalia. The pair viewed the damage from the Category 4 storm before meeting first responders and receiving a briefing in the town of Live Oak. One person who did not join the president, though, was Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), seemingly snubbing an apparent meeting that the White House says was intended to occur. DeSantis’ team has denied this, and Biden seemed to downplay any controversy about the incident. He was instead joined in Live Oak by Florida Sen. Rick Scott (R), despite the fact that Biden admitted they don’t agree on “very much at all.”

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Former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson dies at 75

Bill Richardson, the former New Mexico governor, United Nations ambassador and humanitarian activist, died Friday at the age of 75. His death was announced by his self-founded Richardson Center. While it was stated that he died at his home in Chatham, Massachusetts, a cause of death was not revealed. A Democratic Party mainstay, Richardson served as governor of New Mexico from 2003 to 2011, and served as both the UN ambassador and the U.S. energy secretary during the administration of Bill Clinton. Following this career, Richardson became known for working to free captured Americans who were detained abroad. He was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize just days before his death. 

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Russia attacks Ukrainian port prior to grain talks with Turkey

Russian drones attacked a port in the Ukrainian region of Odesa on Sunday, officials said, just one day before Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are set to hold talks about resuming the Black Sea grain agreement. At least 25 Iranian-made drones were fired by Russia along the Danube River, Ukrainian officials said. While most of these were shot down, at least two people were hospitalized following the attack. The strike was described by one Ukrainian official as an effort by Russia “to provoke a food crisis and hunger in the world.” Moscow left the Black Sea agreement this past July, a deal that allowed grain to be exported from Ukraine to at-risk countries. 

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North Korea performs simulated ‘tactical nuclear attack’

North Korea said Sunday that its military had performed a “tactical nuclear attack” drill. In a report from the country’s state-run news agency, KCNA, officials said they launched a series of cruise missiles in an effort to “warn the enemies of the actual nuclear war danger.” While specific details of the drill were unclear, KCNA said it involved “two long-range strategic cruise missiles with mock nuclear warheads.” It added that the drill was in response to a joint U.S.-South Korean military exercise that took place in the region this past week. “The recklessness and dangerous nature of the confrontation hysteria…are unprecedented in history,” the KCNA said of the U.S. and South Korea. 

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At least 1 dead at Burning Man as thousands remain stranded from flooding

At least one person died at the site of the Burning Man festival in Nevada, officials said Saturday, as thousands of festival attendees remain stranded due to flooding. Massive rainfall left giant pits of mud in the Black Rock Desert, where the annual festival takes place. The Burning Man organizers wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that no attendees are currently being allowed in or out of the event at this time, and only emergency vehicles are being permitted. As throngs of people remained stuck in the muddy desert, the Burning Man X account urged people to “conserve food, water and fuel, and shelter in a warm, safe space.” Mobile cell and internet trailers were also reportedly being set up.

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Florida redistricting plan violates state constitution, judge rules

A Florida circuit judge ruled Saturday that a redistricted congressional plan helmed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) violated the state’s constitution and needed to be redrawn. Circuit Judge J. Lee Marsh found in favor of voting rights groups, which had brought a lawsuit against the state after they claimed that a North Florida district had been redrawn during the 2022 midterm elections. The lawsuit claimed that the district was specifically crafted to prevent African Americans from having a say in their elected officials. Marsh agreed, writing in his opinion that the plan “results in the diminishment of Black voters’ ability to elect their candidate of choice in violation of the Florida Constitution.”

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Thousands evacuated from Taiwan as Typhoon Haikui hits

Nearly 4,000 people were evacuated from areas throughout Taiwan as Typhoon Haikui made landfall on Sunday, bringing torrential downpours and rapid winds to the island. The typhoon reached Taiwan’s shores in the county of Taitung, a coastal region to the country’s east that was less populated than the island’s main metropolitan areas. The first major storm to hit Taiwan in four years, Typhoon Haikui has injured at least two people, with officials expecting additional injuries and potential deaths to occur. At least 21,000 people across Taiwan lost power in the lead-up to the storm, and 9,000 still remain in the dark. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen urged people to avoid going outside during the storm.

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India sets moon rover to ‘sleep’ following successful landing

India said Saturday that its moon rover had completed its walk on the lunar surface and was preparing for the long haul. The rover “completed its assignments” and is “safely parked and set into sleep mode,” the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) wrote on social media. The ISRO added that the rover’s battery was fully charged and ready for any new assignments on the moon, but would otherwise “forever stay there as India’s lunar ambassador.” The rover was launched less than two weeks ago and became the first manmade object to land on the south pole of the moon, an area that is reportedly ripe with frozen water that could be used in future space expeditions.

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UNC response to active shooter criticized by students

Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are continuing to criticize the school’s response to a recent active shooter. As police searched for the suspect, Tailei Qi, during the shooting on Aug. 28, the university began sending out a series of alerts that both students and educators have decried as being unclear, vague and resulting in confusion. Senior Micah Baldonado told The Associated Press that his professor “kept teaching for maybe 30 minutes even after receiving alerts of an active shooter.” While UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said the situation “played out as best as we could have asked for,” many across campus have been similarly expressing their anger at the emergency response. 

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Fans across US mourn passing of Jimmy Buffett

Fans of Jimmy Buffett paid tribute this weekend to the tropical rock singer after his death in locales across the United States. Known as Parrotheads, Buffett’s fans were seen gathering in California, Florida and other states to express their condolences. The 76-year-old died at his home Friday evening, causing an outpouring of sympathy from public figures throughout the country. This included President Biden, who said in a statement that Buffett was “an American music icon who inspired generations to step back and find the joy in life.” Known for his 1977 classic “Margaritaville,” after which he also named a chain of restaurants, Buffett became synonymous with the island lifestyle that was his brand’s hallmark. 

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