9.11.2023

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Good morning. It's Monday, Sept. 11, and we're covering a deadly earthquake in North Africa, a milestone for a rising US sports star, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Deadly Quake in Morocco 

More than 2,100 people were killed after a 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck the North African country of Morocco early Saturday, with officials warning the death toll would likely rise as rescue teams searched through a number of mountain villages. The tremors were felt as far north as Portugal. 

 

The quake struck in the High Atlas mountain range, roughly 50 miles south of the city of Marrakesh, with tremors felt throughout the western half of the country (see maps). While intense quakes are rare in the region—it is believed to be the strongest in the region in 120 years—the country sits just south of the boundary between the Eurasian and African tectonic plates. 

 

A number of historic buildings were damaged, including a 12th-century mosque built during the Berber period in North Africa. Officials said many of the mud-and-brick buildings in villages were susceptible to damage, with the quake striking at 11 pm local time when many families were at home. 

 

See photos of the aftermath here.

 

Gauff Wins Title

American teenager Coco Gauff won the women's singles title at the US Open in New York Saturday, defeating top-ranked Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka in three sets. The win marks the 19-year-old's first Grand Slam title and makes her the first American teenager to win the tournament since Serena Williams in 1999. 

 

Despite her documented speed in defending shots across the baseline, Gauff was overpowered by Sabalenka's strength in the first set. But the momentum shifted Gauff's way and she came back to win the final two sets as Sabalenka ran up 46 unforced errors, twice as many as Gauff. Watch match highlights here.

 

Gauff's career launched at age 15 when she became the youngest qualifier in Wimbledon history; she reached her first major final in last year's French Open, finishing as runner-up. 

 

On the men's side, Novak Djokovic became the oldest player to win the US Open and notched his 24th Grand Slam title against Daniil Medvedev, a record in the Open era.

 

Lee Churns in the Atlantic

Hurricane Lee continued to churn in the Atlantic Ocean over the weekend, sitting as a Category 2 storm as of this writing, located a few hundred miles north of Puerto Rico. The storm reached Category 5 status late last week, losing intensity as it encountered significant wind shear, which disrupted the system's circulation. 

 

Lee is currently headed toward the US Southeast; models predict it will strengthen back into a Category 4 hurricane but also turn northward well short of the mainland sometime around Wednesday. Meteorologists say whether the storm will make landfall along the upper US east coast depends upon a range of factors, including whether an incoming high-pressure ridge will nudge the system in a particular direction. 

 

Lee was the first Category 5 hurricane of the season, which runs from June 1 until the end of November. See the science behind how hurricanes form here

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Spanish soccer president Luis Rubiales resigns over ongoing investigations into misconduct at Women's World Cup final (More) | Michigan State suspends head football coach Mel Tucker amid sexual harassment allegations (More)

> Team USA loses to Canada at the Basketball World Cup, fails to medal for second consecutive World Cup; Canada wins bronze, its first international men's basketball medal in 87 years (More)

> "Poor Things" starring Emma Stone wins top prize at Venice Film Festival (More) | Fran Drescher reelected president of the Screen Actors Guild as actors strike reaches 59 days (More)

 

Science & Technology

> Federal officials close probe into April launch of SpaceX's Starship, will require more than 60 changes before approving the next test flight (More) | First test flight passed maximum dynamic pressure during liftoff but failed four minutes after launch (More

> Microsoft reports its water usage rose by 34% between 2021 and 2022, largely for use in cooling data centers running AI training models; estimates find a half liter of water is needed to perform five to 50 questions, depending on variables (More)

> Study suggests the existence of black holes in the Hyades star cluster; if confirmed, the objects would be the closest black holes to Earth detected to date at roughly 150 light-years away (More)

 

Business & Markets

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> US stock markets close higher Friday (S&P 500 +0.1%, Dow +0.2%, Nasdaq +0.1%) but lower for the week (More)

> French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault acquires majority stake of Hollywood talent firm Creative Artists Agency at reported $7B valuation (More)

> Internal Revenue Service to use artificial intelligence to investigate potential tax violations by business partnerships (More)

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Politics & World Affairs

> Remains of two 9/11 victims of World Trade Center attack identified ahead of today's anniversary; brings number of victims identified to 1,649 with over 1,000 still missing (More) | Perelman Performing Arts Center set to open at ground zero in lower Manhattan (More)  

> G20 Summit in India concluded Sunday with agreement to admit African Union as member; Brazil set to host in 2024 (More) | Thousands of Dutch climate activists arrested amid fossil fuel subsidy protests blocking highways (More) | At least 35 killed in Sudan airstrike amid civil war (More

> Escaped murderer Danelo Cavalcante is seen on front door camera Saturday night 20 miles northeast of Pennsylvania search area with changed appearance, has eluded capture since Aug. 31 (More)

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Etcetera
 

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Clickbait: Searching for the laziest person in Montenegro

 

Historybook: College football coach Bear Bryant born (1913); Chilean President Salvador Allende dies by suicide in midst of coup d'état (1973); Pete Rose breaks baseball’s all-time hits record (1985); Coordinated terrorist attacks in US kill 2,996, injure over 6,000 others (2001); US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, attacked resulting in death of four Americans (2012).

"So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart."

- Billy Collins*

*The final line from the poem, The Names, US poet laureate Billy Collins' ode to the victims of the 9/11 attack.

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