In our news wrap Tuesday, an overloaded boat docked in Sicily overnight with nearly 700 migrants on board — marking the biggest arrival in Italy in 5 years. A federal appeals panel upheld New York City's vaccine mandate for teachers, but teachers said they'll appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Stocks had one of their worst days in months as inflation worries and rising bond yields took a toll.
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In the day's other news: The Senate faced a stalemate over raising the federal debt ceiling and avoiding a national default. Republicans again blocked Democratic efforts to raise the debt limit, as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the deadline is October 18.
Yellen appeared at a Senate hearing and appealed for Congress to take action or risk economic chaos.
Janet Yellen, U.S. Treasury Secretary:
America would default for the first time in history. The full faith and credit of the United States would be impaired, and our country would likely face a financial crisis and economic recession as a result.
It's necessary to avert a catastrophic event for our economy.
Meanwhile, Democratic factions worked on paring down a sweeping domestic spending bill that now totals $3.5 trillion.
We will return to the political battles over all of this after the news summary.
On Wall Street, stocks had one of their worst days in months, as inflation worries and rising bond yields took a toll. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 569 points, 1.6 percent, to close below 34300. The Nasdaq fell 423 points — that's nearly 3 percent — and the S&P 500 gave up 90 points, or 2 percent.
The nation's COVID-19 booster shot campaign is off to a fast start. White House officials say at least 400,000 people got them over the weekend, and another one million scheduled appointments, but the CDC's director warned today that only 30 percent of pregnant women have been vaccinated at all and the rate is lower still for minorities.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director:
About 15 percent of African American women who are pregnant are vaccinated, and this puts them at severe risk of severe disease from COVID-19.
In August this year, we lost 21 pregnant women to COVID-19. So, we absolutely have the data that demonstrates the overwhelming benefit of vaccine, and really very little safety concerns at all.
Separately, New York City's COVID vaccine mandate for teachers is back in effect, for now. A federal appeals panel upheld it last night, but teachers said they will appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court. We will look at New York state's vaccine mandate for hospital and nursing home workers later in the program.
The U.S. State Department now says two American siblings have returned from China after being blocked from leaving since 2018. Cynthia and Victor Liu arrived home on Saturday. China defended holding them until now, as it pursued their parents in a money laundering case. Beijing also denies any link between the Lius and Canada's release of a Huawei executive who'd been held on U.S. fraud charges.
The U.S. has reportedly extradited a convicted hacker back to Russia. It's a rare move, since the two countries don't have an extradition treaty. Russian media reports that Aleksei Burkov was detained today upon arriving in Moscow. He had been serving a nine-year prison sentence in the U.S. for operating Web sites that enabled credit card fraud and hacking.
Investigators for the World Health Organization say agency staffers committed sexual abuse during an Ebola outbreak in Congo. The findings were commissioned by the WHO. They cite at least 83 alleged incidents and implicate at least 21 WHO workers.
In Geneva today, the agency's director in Africa addressed the victims, some of whom were as young as 13.
Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director for Africa, World Health Organization: We in WHO are indeed humbled, horrified and heartbroken by the findings of this inquiry.
As WHO leadership, we apologize to these people, to the women and girls, for the suffering that they have had because of the actions of our staff members and people that we have sent into their communities to help in a very difficult situation of an epidemic.
The Associated Press has reported that senior WHO officials were informed of the abuse claims back in 2019, but failed to act.
An overloaded boat docked in Sicily overnight with nearly 700 migrants on board. That marks the biggest arrival in Italy in five years. Passengers were mostly from Africa and were crammed together on a rusty fishing boat out of Libya. After disembarking, they headed to a reception center.
Nearly 45,000 migrants have reached Italy this year. That's nearly double the total at the same point last year.
Back in this country, the Georgia man accused of killing eight people at spas in the Atlanta area pleaded not guilty to four of the killings. Robert Aaron Long entered the plea in Fulton County, Georgia. He had already admitted guilt to the other killings in a separate county. Six of the eight victims were women of Asian descent.
The gunman who killed five employees at a newspaper in Maryland was sentenced today to life in prison without parole. Jarrod Warren Ramos opened fire with a shotgun at The Capital Gazette in Annapolis back in 2018. It was one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in American history.
And the Obama Presidential Center had its celebratory groundbreaking on Chicago's South Side today. The former first couple attended, along with Chicago's mayor and the governor of Illinois. The center will house the Obama presidential papers, plus a museum and other facilities. The project had been delayed over concerns about displacing Black residents and historic preservation.