Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: September 16, 2018

Bonnie Kristian
A woman on cellphone calls for help at her flooded residence in Lumberton, North Carolina, on September 15, 2018 in the wake of Hurricane Florence.
Alex Edelman/Getty Images
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Florence kills a dozen as flooding continues

At least 12 people have died in connection to Tropical Storm Florence, which continues to bring record-setting rain to the Carolinas and nearby states. "It may be hard to believe," the National Weather Service tweeted Saturday, "but there's MUCH more rain to come. Parts of the Carolinas will see more than 15 inches of additional rain in the next couple of days." The storm is moving inland at just 2 mph and is expected to turn north Sunday. "Deepest sympathies and warmth go out to the families and friends of the victims," President Trump tweeted of Florence Saturday. "May God be with them!" [The New York Times, CNN]


Typhoon Mangkhut pummels Hong Kong, Macau

After sweeping through the Philippines, leaving at least 40 people dead, Typhoon Mangkhut hit Hong Kong Sunday with sustained winds up to 170 mph, the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane. Mangkhut has been downgraded from a super typhoon to a severe typhoon, but Hong Kong remains on highest alert with rain falling as quickly as 4 inches per hour. The strongest storm on the planet this year, Mangkhut is now heading toward the Pearl River Delta on China's southern coast, including the city of Macau, the most densely populated area in the world. [The Wall Street Journal, CNN]


Trump expected to impose new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods Monday

President Trump is expected to levy a new round of tariffs on Chinese imports as soon as Monday, this time targeting $200 billion in goods with a tax around 10 percent. That rate is lower than the 25 percent proposed last month, and sources told The Wall Street Journal it is intended to have a less onerous impact on Americans' holiday shopping. However, the rate reportedly could increase if Trump is unsatisfied with Beijing's response — and as Beijing has already pledged retaliation to Trump's next trade war volley, a rate hike is plausible. The tariffs would take effect in November. [Fox News, The Wall Street Journal]


Koreas prep for Tuesday summit

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will travel to Pyongyang Tuesday for his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in 2018. Moon's trip will be the first time a South Korean president has visited the North's capital city in more than a decade, and the meeting is expected to be a landmark moment for both Moon's presidency and inter-Korean relations. These overtures come as U.S.-North Korean diplomacy has reached a lull, but Moon's administration has argued building positive relations will "provide North Korea with all the support and encouragement to make the right choices for itself." [The Washington Post, Bloomberg]


FEMA to send national text test Thursday

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will send most cell phone owners in the United States a text message Thursday. It's a test of the agency's "presidential alert" system, which allows the president to send out national texts in the event of a catastrophe. The test message will read, "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed." The texting program was started in 2012, but it has not been tested before. Legally, a test is required at least once every three years. [CNN, USA Today]


Biden hints toward 2020 in speech slamming Trump

Former Vice President Joe Biden raised the question of his 2020 ambitions with a speech targeting the Trump administration Saturday night at the Human Rights Campaign's annual dinner in Washington. Former President "Barack [Obama] and I agreed we would be quiet for the first year to let the new administration get up and running. God forgive me," Biden said. "We are in a fight for America's soul." Both Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, who also spoke, described President Trump as a "bully," and there's "nothing that makes either of us more angry than a bully," Jill Biden said. [Politico, New York Post]


Pope Francis urges Mafia members to repent

Pope Francis visited the Sicilian capital of Palermo on Saturday, urging those involved in organized crime to repentance. You "cannot believe in God and be Mafiosi," Francis said, calling on his "brothers and sisters" in the Mafia to be "men and women of love, not men and women 'of honor,'" as Mafia members refer to themselves. "Stop thinking about yourselves and your money," the pope said. "Convert yourselves to the real God, Jesus Christ." Francis spoke at a memorial for Father Giuseppe "Pino" Puglisi, a priest murdered by the Mafia in 1993 for challenging their authority and practices. [Reuters, BBC News]


Border Patrol agent who allegedly murdered 4 women labeled a serial killer

A U.S. Border Patrol agent named Juan David Ortiz was arrested Saturday and charged with the murders of four women over the past two weeks. Ortiz was caught after he allegedly attempted to abduct a fifth woman who was able to escape his vehicle and contact the police. "We do consider this to be a serial killer," said Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz. "It meets the qualifications or definition of being a serial killer — in this case we have four people murdered." The names of the victims have not been released, and two bodies have yet to be identified. [ABC News, CNN]


Man dies from shark attack at Cape Cod

A man identified as Arthur Medici, 26, was fatally attacked by a shark at a Cape Cod beach on Saturday. He was boogie boarding in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, around lunch time when a shark thought to be a great white attacked. Medici is the first person to be killed by a shark in Massachusetts since 1936, though another man was severely injured by a shark in the area last month. "Just a giant eruption of water. 15 feet wide," said an eyewitness, Joe Booth. "I saw a tail and a lot of thrashing." [Cape Cod Times, BBC News]


Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge breaks the world marathon record

Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge broke the marathon world record by more than a minute Sunday, winning the Berlin Marathon with a stunning time of 2:01:39. The previous record, also set in Berlin, was a 2:02:57 race run by Kenya's Dennis Kimetto in 2014. "I had a great belief that I would run a world record," Kipchoge said after his victory. "But I didn't know I'd run 2:01. I didn't know that what I was believing translated to 2:01, but I'm happy for it." Kipchoge, who has been hailed as the "greatest marathon runner of all times," won Olympic gold for the marathon in 2016. [ESPN, CNN]