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5 things to know for October 13: Covid-19, debt ceiling, economy, North Korea, Petito


By AJ Willingham, CNN

Synthetic chemicals found in items such as makeup, perfume and food storage containers have been linked to up to 107,000 premature deaths a year among people ages 55 to 64 in the US, a new study found.

Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Coronavirus

Coronavirus cases are declining in the US. But the number of new infections in children remains “exceptionally high” — with 148,222 cases reported in the week ending October 7, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. It said children represented nearly a quarter of weekly reported cases. Nationally, Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been dropping. In the past week, an average 87,676 people reported infections and 1,559 people died of the virus a day, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. The infection rate is still well above what’s needed to get control of the pandemic, with Dr. Anthony Fauci saying it should be below 10,000 a day. And with winter sending more people indoors, experts worry cases could go back up again. Kids who are ineligible for vaccination face higher risks. Meanwhile, the US plans to ease restrictions on travel for fully vaccinated visitors from Canada and Mexico starting next month, senior administration officials said. The decision will relax bans that have been in place for over 18 months.

2. Debt ceiling

The House of Representatives approved an extension of the nation’s debt limit through early December after the Senate passed the stopgap measure last week in a bid to avert a catastrophic default and economic disaster. Now that the Democratic-controlled House has passed the short-term extension, it is cleared for President Joe Biden’s signature. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had warned lawmakers that the federal government would likely run out of cash by October 18 unless Congress raised the debt ceiling, setting up a ticking clock and high stakes. Congress may not even have had that long to act since the deadline is more of a best-guess estimate than a set-in-stone deadline. That dynamic intensified pressure on Democrats and Republicans to reach a deal to address the debt limit.

3. Economy

Computer chip shortages. Epic port congestion. And a serious lack of truck drivers. The world’s delicate supply chains are under extreme stress, and it’s jacking up prices for consumers and slowing the global economic recovery. Experts warn the supply chain disruptions will get worse before they get better. “As the global economic recovery continues to gather steam, what is increasingly apparent is how it will be stymied by supply-chain disruptions that are now showing up at every corner,” Moody’s wrote in a report this week. “Border controls and mobility restrictions, unavailability of a global vaccine pass, and pent-up demand from being stuck at home have combined for a perfect storm where global production will be hampered because deliveries are not made in time, costs and prices will rise and GDP growth worldwide will not be as robust as a result.” The report warned the “weakest link” may be the shortage of truck drivers, an issue that has led to congestion at ports and caused gas stations in the United Kingdom to run dry.

4. North Korea

Standing against a backdrop of missiles, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said weapons are needed to defend the country against a “hostile” United States, state media reported. “The US has been frequently sending signals that they are not hostile towards our country, but there is no single evidence that they are not hostile,” Kim said, accusing the US of causing instability in the Korean Peninsula. Photos of the exhibition, released by state media KCNA, appeared to show what analysts believe is the Hwasong-16 — one of the world’s largest ballistic missiles. Also pictured is a hypersonic glide vehicle, which allows missiles to theoretically fly as fast as 20 times the speed of sound and can be very maneuverable in flight — making them almost impossible to shoot down, experts said. Kim described the missiles as “our precious (weapons)” and said every country should maintain strong military power, even in peaceful times.

5. Gabby Petito

There’s now a clearer picture of what happened to Gabby Petito after a coroner ruled that she died by strangulation. But many questions remain. The coroner in Wyoming had previously ruled her death a homicide but declined to provide details about the autopsy or a potential suspect, saying he was limited in what information he could legally release. Who killed Petito, when she was killed and what happened leading up to her death remain a mystery. There were more than 90,000 active missing person cases in the US at the end of last year, but few have received as much national attention as Petito’s. She was reported missing on September 11 and her remains found over a week later in Bridger-Teton National Forest. Authorities are still searching for her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, who returned to Florida without her after their trip across the western US.


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A fiery snack

It consists of a betel leaf filled with anything — from nuts, cardamom, fruit and chocolate. And you can eat fire with it. (Click here to watch.)

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