5 things for September 21: Maryland shooting, Tanzania ferry, Kavanaugh, immigration

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Astronomers have found an exoplanet that's only 16 light-years away, and it's...

Posted: Sep 21, 2018 9:56 AM
Updated: Oct 2, 2018 8:40 AM

Astronomers have found an exoplanet that's only 16 light-years away, and it's eerily similar to the planet Vulcan from "Star Trek." Maybe the final frontier isn't so far out of reach! Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Maryland shooting

Three people are dead after a woman opened fire at a drug store distribution center yesterday in Harford County, Maryland. The suspect also fatally shot herself. Officials say the suspect was at some point a security guard at the facility, and a source close to the investigation called her a disgruntled employee. The incident is unusual because female shooters are unusual -- only nine of 250 recorded incidents between 2000 and 2017 involved female shooters, the FBI found. The last high-profile case was in April, when a woman shot and wounded three people at YouTube headquarters. The Maryland shooting was the third high-profile shooting in the US in two days and came just months after a gunman killed five people in an Annapolis newsroom.

2. Lake Victoria ferry wreck

A ferry boat overturned yesterday in Lake Victoria in the northern part of Tanzania, killing at least 44 people. Rescue operations have resumed today, but there are complications. Ferries in Tanzania are often overcrowded, and the lack of an accurate passenger manifest makes it difficult to say how many people were on board -- and ID them. Local officials say there could have been anywhere from 400 to 500 people on the ferry when it tipped. If this tragedy sounds familiar, it's because there have been a few similar incidents recently, all sobering reminders of the dangers of overcrowded watercraft.

3. Brett Kavanaugh

It looks like Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in high school, may testify before a Senate panel after all. Her lawyers sent an email to the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday saying Ford "would be prepared to testify next week," if senators offer her "terms that are fair and which ensure her safety." If you'll recall, there was supposed to be a hearing Monday regarding the allegations, but Ford's lawyers told the committee it would be unrealistic for her to testify so soon. The two sides are expected to continue talking details, including whether a potential witness to the alleged attack might testify and whether an outside counsel -- a woman -- would be brought in to question Ford to help the GOP overcome its lack of female senators on the committee.

4. Immigration

Families separated at the US-Mexico border are still being reunited, though the process is slow and incomplete. The US government says 34 more immigrant children have been reunited with their families since last week, but that still leaves more than 100 children in government custody. Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week made two quiet rulings to tighten control of immigration courts. One effectively makes it harder for immigration courts to be lenient with undocumented immigrants; the other may restrict the ability of immigrants awaiting asylum hearings to be let out of detention.

5. China sanctions

The US hit China's military with sanctions yesterday for purchasing weapons from the Russian military, but the move was actually designed to punish the Russian government. The penalties were applied under a law that requires the US to sanction anyone undertaking significant transactions with certain people affiliated with Russian intelligence and military services, including arms manufacturers. According to US officials, this the first time anyone has been sanctioned for doing business with people on this blacklist.


"For a year, he has tried to spin it, but the truth speaks louder than he ever will. He can spin it all he wants. Three thousand people died on his watch."

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who told CNN's Anderson Cooper the tragedies of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico would be remembered as "President Trump's (Hurricane) Katrina."


Two brothers want to revolutionize the food industry with maggots

The words "food" and "maggots" should never be this close together.

Puppies to blame for drug-resistant infection 

Mark this as the only day in history when puppies were bad news.

NASA shares delicious-looking picture of Jupiter's North Pole

It honestly DOES look like pepperoni pizza. What are we supposed to do with this information?!

Disney CEO says they're going to cool it on the 'Star Wars' stuff for now

They're probably just figuring out how to write in a pepperoni pizza planet.

Gap is trying to one-up Lululemon with a men's athleisure line 

This is GOOD. Men, embrace the leggings! Move about unbound. Be free.


Quiz time!

Which hugely popular show took home this year's Emmy for Outstanding Drama?

A. "This is Us"

B. "The Handmaid's Tale"

C. "Game of Thrones"

D. "Westworld"

Play "Total Recall: The CNN news quiz" to see if you're right. And don't forget, you can also find a version of the quiz on your Amazon devices! Just say, "Alexa, ask CNN for a quiz."



The year Britain could becoming a smoking-free society, according to a study from Public Health England. Some 400,000 people gave up smoking in England last year alone.


"Downton Abbey" is getting the show-to-movie treatment next year, and Hulu is reviving "Veronica Mars," so they're our recommendations for this weekend's couch-surfing. Of course, there's always football, too: The Cleveland Browns last night won their first game in almost two years, so maybe the weekend's match-ups will bring some other big surprises.


There is a lot going on here 

"America's Got Talent" crowned a new winner this week, and for some reason, it wasn't these extremely talented and artistic cats. (Click here to view.)

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