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5 things to know for September 26: United Nations, Kavanaugh, Cosby, China, Ebola

Posted at 3:58 AM, Sep 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-26 06:25:28-04

What would a world without mosquitoes look like? A new medical breakthrough could be the key to that reality — but is it really what we want? 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. United Nations 

It was an awkward day for the United States at the UN General Assembly in New York. President Trump gave a speech pushing his “America-first” worldview, saying the US “will always choose independence and cooperation over global governance, control and domination.” He was met with laughter when he boasted about his administration’s “extraordinary progress,” and when he listed off his diplomatic “friends,” North Korea got an early mention, while Germany got criticized and other allies got left out. Trump also praised Poland just a day after the European Commission had decided to sue Warsaw for violating the independence of its judiciary.

2. Brett Kavanaugh

We have a timeline for the rest of the week’s proceedings, and it’s all happening fast. The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled its vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for Friday morning at 9:30 ET, the day after the panel is set to hear testimony from Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexual assault decades ago. Not everyone is happy with the sequence. GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski yesterday suggested Deborah Ramirez, a second accuser, should speak before a Senate panel about her claims of inappropriate sexual behavior by Kavanaugh, also years ago. Remember, the GOP controls the chamber, 51 seats to 49, so it can only afford to lose so many votes and still put Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.

3. Bill Cosby

After more than a decade, two trials and dozens of accusers, Bill Cosby’s fate is finally sealed: A judge yesterday sentenced the 81-year-old to three to 10 years in state prison for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004. Cosby faced a maximum 10 years after prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to merge the three counts of his conviction into one for sentencing. Cosby also will be classified as a “sexually violent predator,” which requires registration and counseling for life. Several of Cosby’s many accusers said they felt relief or closure after seeing him finally put behind bars.

4. China

There’s another growing feud between the US and China, and this one isn’t about trade. The Chinese government has blocked a US Navy ship from docking in Hong Kong just days after the US imposed strict military sanctions on the country for purchasing weapons from Russia. The port cancellation isn’t the only backlash China has unleashed: Earlier this week, China’s top naval officer canceled a high-level meeting in the US with his American counterpart just 48 hours before it was supposed to happen. All this is happening as trade tensions between the two countries are still high.

5. Ebola

Ebola has reared its ugly head again in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The virus has killed at least 69 people in the country’s northern region, but with dozens of cases yet to be confirmed, that number is probably closer to 100. The World Health Organization is concerned about a “perfect storm” of factors — armed attacks in the region, movement of people and community distrust — that could keep the virus spreading and stop people from seeking treatment. Congo is in the midst of a long-term humanitarian crisis that includes intermittent armed conflict, which means other health epidemics, including cholera, measles and polio, are flourishing there.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Dunkin’ Donuts is changing its name to just ‘Dunkin”

The “Donuts” is silent.

Little girl named Florence collects baby supplies for Florence survivors

This needs to be a children’s book immediately.

A beluga whale was spotted in the River Thames

“!!!????!!?!??!?!!!!?????!!!??!!!” — that whale, probably.

Shockwaves from WWII raids reached the edge of space and changed the Earth’s atmosphere

OK, it is ENTIRELY too early in the morning to consider the cosmic consequences of this information.

Does microwaving food cause nutrient loss?

Inquiring breakfast burritos want to know.

TODAY’S NUMBER

€300, or about $350

That’s the fine a man had to pay for sexually assaulting a woman on a bus near Paris. He is the first man to be prosecuted under France’s new anti-catcalling law.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“I mean, how many 15-year-olds handle a lot of alcohol, you know, 36 years ago? When it wasn’t that common, by the way. … Thirty-six years ago, it wasn’t that common for 15-year-olds to be at booze parties.”

GOP US Rep. Kevin Cramer, suggesting the allegations of sexual and physical assault against Brett Kavanaugh, even if they’re true, should not disqualify him from a Supreme Court seat

AND FINALLY

Theremins are out of this world

You’ve probably never heard “Over the Rainbow” like this before. (Click to view.)