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5 things to know for Nov 8: Astroworld, infrastructure, Covid, cybersafety, Nicaragua

By AJ Willingham, CNN

A first-of-its-kind study used a new climate model to predict localized extreme weather events years in advance, and the results are not pleasant.

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

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1. Concert tragedy

Houston authorities say the criminal investigation into a crowd surge that killed eight people and injured dozens more Friday evening at the Astroworld Festival at NRG Park could take weeks. The crowd of 50,000 was packed so tightly that as headliner Travis Scott took the stage, concertgoers were crushed and trampled as waves of people moved toward him. The youngest victim was just 14 years old. Scott has spoken out about the tragedy, saying he is devastated and is working to help the families of the victims. A concertgoer who was injured is suing Scott, who organized the festival, as well as entertainment company Live Nation, concert promoter Scoremore and others involved in the event.

2. Infrastructure

The House has passed the much-debated $1 trillion infrastructure bill after months of tense negotiation and despite pushback from progressives. The bill already passed the Senate in August. Once President Biden signs it, federal money will soon flow to repair the country’s potholed roads, aging airports, crumbling bridges and antiquated railroads, with more funds targeting rural broadband and earmarked to catalyze a fast evolution of electric vehicles. Experts consider the bill’s passage a big win for Biden after a week of disappointing returns for Democrats in several state elections. It is less of a win for the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which tried to delay the vote until the Senate passed the massive spending package.

3. Coronavirus

The US is opening its doors to vaccinated international travelers today after 20 months of restrictions. While this is an important step in the gradual recovery of airline business, industry leaders warn things could be a little sloppy at first, with long lines and wait times as international flights fill back up. Meanwhile, a federal appeals court temporarily blocked the Biden administration’s new vaccine mandate for private businesses with 100 or more employees, health care workers and federal contractors. The White House chief of staff says he’s confident the courts will uphold the rule before January 4, when it is due to take effect. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has signed agreements with 20 unions to reaffirm the city’s vaccine mandate — but not with the police or fire departments’ unions.

4. Cybersecurity

Suspected foreign hackers have breached nine organizations in the defense, energy, health care, technology and education sectors, including at least one organization in the US. This is the conclusion of findings that security firm Palo Alto Networks shared exclusively with CNN. A senior executive of the firm said the confirmed victims are the “tip of the spear” of the apparent spying campaign, and more victims are expected to emerge. While it’s unclear who is responsible for the activity, some of the attackers’ tactics and tools reportedly overlap with those used by a suspected Chinese hacking group. The National Security Agency and other federal units have been working with cybersecurity experts to track down hackers trying steal key data from US defense contractors and other sensitive targets. Federal officials told CNN this revelation of hacking activity is evidence of their work to stay on top of threats.

5. Nicaragua

Protests broke out across the world this weekend in reaction to Nicaragua’s fraught presidential election. President Daniel Ortega has received international condemnation for eliminating dissent and quashing competition in the run-up to his reelection bid. Dozens of opposition figures, including seven presidential candidates, have been arrested in Nicaragua in the past few months. At least 20 more people were arrested Saturday, a day before the election. While the Nicaraguan government spoke highly of voter turnout, some citizens called voting a “joke” and said others were afraid to even leave their houses to cast a ballot. Biden called the election a “sham” and a “pantomime” and said the international community would work to support the Nicaraguan people until a functioning democracy is restored.


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