Colin Powell, the United States’ first Black secretary of state, died at 84. The FBI has joined the effort to free missionaries kidnapped in Haiti. And Apple unveiled some new gizmos and gadgets.
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But first, flutter back, butterflies. 🦋 As monarch butterflies begin migration to warmer climates, nature watchers hope numbers increase rather than continue their steep decline.
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Colin Powell dies at 84
Flags at all public properties will be flown at half-staff through Friday to recognize Powell, the nation’s first Black secretary of state, who died Monday of complications from COVID-19. President Joe Biden remembered Powell as an American hero who led with honor, integrity and wisdom during his four decades in public life, calling Powell a “dear friend and a patriot of unmatched honor and dignity.” The retired four-star general was born in New York City to Jamaican immigrants, served four U.S. presidents and rose to become the first African American and the youngest chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer. He died Monday at Walter Reed National Medical Center. His family said he was fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
FBI joins efforts to free missionaries abducted in Haiti
The White House said the FBI and State Department are working toward gaining the release of hostages after the audacious abduction of U.S. missionaries and their family members as they left an orphanage outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Seventeen people – seven women, five men, five children, all Americans except one Canadian – were seized Saturday. Biden is receiving regular updates on the abduction, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. The kidnapping was the work of the 400 Mawozo gang, which controls the area where the attack took place, according to Haitian police. It wasn’t clear why the gang would target Christian Aid Ministries. Aid groups in Haiti often rely on guarantees of safe passage from gang leaders who issue public assurances for aid workers. Still, the disintegration of government control in recent months has fueled an alarming increase in kidnappings.
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Trial begins in killing of Ahmaud Arbery
Jury selection began Monday in the murder trial of the three white men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was shot while out jogging in the small coastal Georgia town of Brunswick on Feb. 23, 2020. On trial are father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, who were charged with murder and other crimes. Bryan recorded part of the shooting in a graphic video that set off a national outcry and widespread media attention over the lack of arrests early in the case. The defendants’ attorneys say the men pursued Arbery to make a citizen’s arrest because they suspected he was a burglar and that Travis McMichael shot Arbery in self-defense.
Supreme Court sides with police in qualified immunity cases
The Supreme Court sided Monday with police in two cases in which plaintiffs claimed officers used excessive force, overturning separate lower court rulings that had allowed the officers to be sued for civil rights violations. In two unsigned opinions, the court stressed police are entitled to be shielded from liability unless it is “clear to a reasonable officer” that their actions are unlawful. In both cases, the court ruled that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity, the legal doctrine that protects police from liability for civil rights violations in many circumstances. There were no dissents from any justice in either case. Read more about the cases here.
New AirPods and HomePods and MacBooks – oh my!
If you’re a fan of Apple AirPods, Monday’s announcement may be music to your ears. The tech giant revealed during a virtual event the third generation of its popular AirPods wireless earbuds. They cost $179 and are available for preorder starting Monday. The new AirPods go on sale Oct. 26. AirPods weren’t the only new products in the spotlight. Apple also introduced new models of its HomePod Mini speakers in different colors – white, black, orange, yellow and blue – along with two new MacBook Pro models, one with a 16-inch display and another with a 14-inch display.
A break from the news
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