By AJ Willingham, CNN
Today is Veterans Day in the US, and we honor all who have served in the military. If you don’t know the difference between this and Memorial Day, you’re not alone — and now is your time to brush up.
Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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The Biden administration announced a deal with Johnson & Johnson and COVAX, a global Covid-19 vaccination program, to distribute J&J’s Covid-19 vaccine to people in conflict zones and other difficult-to-reach settings. The company’s vaccine is preferred for this kind of work because it is more easily stored and transported, and it requires only one dose. Meanwhile, states are still struggling with how to approach mask mandates. In Texas, a federal judge ruled the state’s ban on mask mandates in school violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. A court in Pennsylvania, however, struck down a mask requirement in schools. Gov. Tom Wolf has appealed, effectively keeping the mandate in place. Places in Europe are going further with new restrictions, with Berlin set to ban unvaccinated people from restaurants, bars, gyms and hairdressers next week.
2. Capitol riot
After a wave of subpoenas for allies and officials of former President Trump, the House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot is now interested in gathering information from at least five members of former Vice President Mike Pence’s inner circle. Among them is Pence’s former national security adviser. Multiple sources told CNN some Pence aides may be willing to engage with the committee. Trump is still trying to keep secret documents from his presidency away from the committee. A federal judge yesterday declined another Trump effort to pause the document handover and said Trump, as a former President, can’t claim executive privilege — as he tries to slow the process down — when the current President supports their release.
3. Rittenhouse trial
Kyle Rittenhouse, the armed Illinois teenager who killed two people and wounded another during unrest in 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, testified in his own defense yesterday during his trial on homicide charges. Rittenhouse, now 18, is charged with five felonies. He got emotional on the stand, saying he did nothing wrong and used deadly force to defend himself. However, Rittenhouse admitted one of the men who approached him was unarmed — but said he was confident the man would take his gun away and try to harm him. Rittenhouse’s defense team today is expected to call more witnesses, including a doctor and a Kenosha police officer. The defense is also asking for a mistrial, claiming prosecutorial overreach.
The US and China surprised delegates yesterday at the COP26 summit by announcing an agreement to work together to increase their climate ambitions. However, that doesn’t mean their goals are the same. China did not commit to the Global Methane Pledge, which has been spearheaded by the US and EU, nor any other major international agreements. China’s climate envoy said the country wants “differentiated” responsibilities, including its own plan for methane reduction. A draft of the Glasgow Agreement was also released, and delegates will spend time hammering out details, especially when it comes to that all-important global warming cap of 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, Saudi Arabia is proving to be a holdout on fossil fuels and other provisions, and the UK is trying hard to get the Gulf nation on board.
Sixteen women have accused fighters from Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region of gang rape and physical assault, according to a report released by Amnesty International. The women, from the neighboring Amhara region, say fighters associated with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, committed widespread sexual violence in August, raping and assaulting women and hurling ethnic slurs. Amnesty also reported the women couldn’t seek medical assistance after the assaults because the nongovernmental organization that provides care left the region due to security concerns. The TPLF has been fighting Ethiopia’s central government in a yearlong war in the country’s north, and lack of humanitarian access to the region has become a central feature of the conflict. All sides have been accused of human rights violations by international observers.
THIS JUST IN …
Former South African President FW de Klerk, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela, has died at 85. De Klerk was the last leader of apartheid South Africa and released Mandela from prison.
Here’s who won big at the 2021 CMA Awards
A little twang, a little glitz and a LOT of talent.
Mariah Carey is giving away free McDonald’s during the holidays
I don’t want a lot for Christmas. A free Big Mac is all I need.
Venomous sharks found in London’s Thames river
Why some people think leisure is a waste of time
Not THIS person. Not in THIS newsletter!
Tourists having sex in the dunes is ruining a Spanish beach
Behave yourselves, people. No dune canoodling allowed.
That’s the final price tag of a settlement for victims of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Flint declared a state of emergency in 2015 over dangerous levels of lead in its water. The payout will focus largely on those who were younger than 18 at the time, since children were especially vulnerable to neurological disorders and learning disabilities from exposure to toxins and lead.
“What has happened in this case is a lynching in the 21st century.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who asked for a just verdict in the trial of the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot last year while jogging in Georgia.
A sacred place
If you have about nine minutes, Arlington National Cemetery has a fascinating look at the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. (Click here to view.)
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