News Wrap: More than half a million lose power as Tropical Storm Nicholas hits Texas

In our news wrap Tuesday, Tropical Storm Nicholas crawled past Houston, Texas, knocking out power to more than half a million homes and businesses. COVID-19 numbers in the United States are now averaging 170,000 cases per day — their highest levels since early March. Four former Minneapolis police officers involved pleaded not guilty to federal civil rights charges in the death of George Floyd.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: COVID-19 numbers in the United States hit their highest levels since early March. The nation is now averaging more than 170,000 new cases a day and more than 1, 800 deaths.

    Meanwhile, the African Union called today for vaccine manufacturers to ship more doses to the continent. Just 3.5 percent of its population is fully vaccinated.

    The U.S. poverty rate rose slightly last year amid the pandemic, but stimulus aid cushioned the blow. The Census Bureau reports 11.4 percent of Americans were living in poverty in 2020. At the same time, stimulus payments moved 11.7 million people out of poverty.

    Tropical Storm Nicholas crawled past Houston, Texas, today, knocking out power to more than half-a-million homes and businesses. The storm made landfall as a minimal hurricane overnight, with more than a foot of rain in places.

    But Mayor Sylvester Turner says his city escaped the worst.

    Sylvester Turner (D), Mayor of Houston, Texas: Quite frankly, we were blessed last night. I'm not going to even say lucky. The good lord just smiled on the city of Houston, so kind of needed a break.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Houston got more than six inches of rain from Nicholas, compared with 60 inches during Hurricane Harvey four years ago. But Southern Louisiana could get 20 inches through tonight.

    Voters in California are in the final hours of deciding whether to remove Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom from office. More than a third of voters already cast mail-in ballots before this Election Day. Conservative Larry Elder is the leading Republican candidate.

    We will have details on the recall later in the program.

    Four men pleaded not guilty today to federal civil rights charges in the death of George Floyd last year. The former Minneapolis police officers include Derek Chauvin, who is already in prison for Floyd's murder. The other defendants are asking for separate trials.

    Federal agents will have to scale back their use of no-knock warrants. New rules issued today also bar the use of choke holds in most cases. Racial justice activists have protested both techniques.

    In Afghanistan, the Taliban's acting foreign minister pledged again today to bar Islamic militants from using Afghan territory as a base to attack others. But he dismissed questions about elections and women's rights.

    Instead, he urged other nations to end sanctions.

  • Amir Khan Muttaqi, Afghan Acting Foreign Minister (through translator):

    We want good relations with the international community. Our demand from the international community is not to put any further pressure on the Afghans. The policy of aggression has not yielded any results in 20 years. It will not do so in the future.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Elsewhere, thousands protested in Kandahar after 3,000 families were evicted from a district that's home to retired Afghan generals and security forces.

    And, in Washington, Secretary of State Antony Blinken faced a second day of congressional questioning over the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

    We will return to this after the news summary.

    The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the state prison system in Georgia. Today's announcement focused on alleged violence against prisoners and on sexual abuse of gay, lesbian and transgender inmates. The state Department of Corrections denies any systematic violation of prisoners' rights.

    In economic news, consumer prices rose three-tenths of a percent last month, but that was the smallest increase in seven months. Still, Wall Street was down across the board. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 292 points, nearly 1 percent, to close at 34577. The Nasdaq fell 67 points. The S&P 500 slipped 25.

    And former "Saturday Night Live" star Norm Macdonald has died after a long battle with cancer. Macdonald joined the "SNL" cast in 1993 and stayed for five years. He was known for a wide range of impressions and for anchoring the "Weekend Update" segment. Norm Macdonald was 61 years old.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour": Republican Senator John Barrasso discusses the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and more; California voters decide whether or not Governor Gavin Newsom keeps his job; CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on the latest surge of COVID-19; plus much more.

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