What happened. The U.S. men’s national team didn’t qualify for the World Cup after losing, 2-1, to Trinidad and Tobago. This will be the first time the team hasn’t played in the World Cup since 1986. They were expected to easily slide on to Russia for the competition, only needing to tie against a team which had lost eight of their last nine games and had no chance of qualifying. The loss, along with wins by Panama and Honduras, sealed the deal. It was a worst-case scenario.
The Presidential Daily Brief
It’s time to talk. Following days of tense speculation, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont announced that he wants to accept his region’s vote to secede from Spain, but would seek negotiations with the central government first. In an address to the regional parliament, Puigdemont proposed suspending a formal independence declaration in favor of dialogue with Madrid. Thanking supporters and calling for de-escalation, he also chided Spanish authorities for their heavy-handed response to Catalonia’s referendum last week, during which hundreds where injured in clashes with police.
It’s up in smoke. Powerful winds fueled the flames, which quickly consumed swaths of the state’s verdant wine country, leaving at least 17 dead and 2,000 homes and businesses destroyed. Sixteen fires are still burning in the counties north of San Francisco, prompting mass evacuations. While wildfires aren’t uncommon in California’s dry season, the high number of simultaneous fires burning “at explosive rates” has made this one of the most destructive firestorms in the state’s history. Gov. Jerry Brown has declared emergencies in seven counties while firefighters continue to battle the blazes.
The floodgates have opened. More actresses, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, have come forward to accuse producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, further deepening a scandal that’s rocked the movie industry. Before being fired by the board of his own company, Weinstein begged several Hollywood executives via email to speak up on his behalf and save his career. But his alleged attempt to intimidate staffers into stonewalling any investigation only compounded the issue. Now the company’s considering a name change while the mogul’s moniker is removed from all its TV series.
Can you dig it? In a campaign promise playing to America’s struggling coal industry, President Donald Trump vowed to roll back regulations that aimed to curb carbon emissions by 32 percent before 2030. Today, EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s expected to sign a rule rescinding President Obama’s Clean Power Plan — a move likely to face legal challenges. Even without the regulations, the coal industry’s anticipated to continue its decline, as cheap renewable energies bite into its market share — and individual states develop their own, more progressive climate policies.
She’ll be missed. Sirleaf, Africa’s first female president and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is stepping down after two terms, and the race to succeed her is fierce. Nineteen of the 20 candidates — who include front-runners George Weah, a soccer star, and incumbent Vice President Joseph Boakai — are male. Whoever wins today’s election will have to contend with Liberia’s crippling poverty and the continuing fallout of a civil war that saw former President Samuel Doe killed in 1990, under orders of current candidate Prince Johnson.
This goes all the way to the top of the search results. Google says it’s discovered election-season ad buys from Russian-linked operatives that, much like those on Facebook and Twitter, sought to divide American voters on sensitive issues, rather than advocating for a political side. Broad rules ban foreign sources from attempting to influence U.S. elections, and Russia has denied any meddling. Now Google’s investigating whether there were similar ads on YouTube. Representatives from Google, Facebook and Twitter are expected to testify before Congress Nov. 1.
Know This: The timeline of the Las Vegas shooting has changed, as police now say gunman Stephen Paddock shot a security guard before the attack rather than after. Texas Tech was on lockdown last night after a student allegedly shot a campus police officer. And Thailand’s ruling junta has announced it’ll hold elections next year.
Remember This Number: 47 percent. That’s the proportion of American voters outside of urban areas who approve of President Trump’s performance, a significant slump from the 55 percent who approved when he first took office.
It runs in the family. As tensions increase between Washington and Pyongyang, all eyes are on strongman Kim Jong Un — but maybe we should be watching his younger sister. Last weekend, Kim Yo Jong was appointed to North Korea’s powerful Workers’ Party Politburo, a move experts say means the dictator is concentrating power in a tight inner circle. Thirty-year-old Kim Yo Jong is reportedly responsible for her brother’s public image, and some hope interpreting her behavior could help understand what’s happening inside the Hermit Kingdom.
They’ve hatched the ultimate plan. Researchers in Japan have used genome editing technology to breed chickens that lay eggs containing a pharmaceutical agent called interferon beta, a protein used to treat hepatitis, multiple sclerosis and skin cancer. The scientists say these medically magical eggs could one day produce cancer drugs at one-tenth of the current cost, but Japan’s stringent regulatory process could take a while. Researchers aren’t putting all their eggs in one basket, though: While they await approval, the interferon beta will be used for research purposes.
Do as they say, not as they do. Despite promises to “drain the swamp,” Republicans in Washington have seen a number of personal fiscal scandals, from insider trading to campaign-funded transport for a giant rabbit. Now Democrats are pressing the point, hoping next year’s election will see frustrated voters push back on the GOP. But a lack of headline-grabbing scandals (and controversies on their own side of the aisle) could jeopardize the strategy in Congress, even as Democrats target an ambitious 80 House seats next year.
Hope the game goes swimmingly. When the U.S. men’s national soccer team arrived for practice ahead of its World Cup qualifying match against already-eliminated Trinidad and Tobago, it found the field partially underwater, with a running track turned into a shallow moat. While some brave players waded through ankle-deep waters, others opted for piggyback rides from training staff to reach the pitch. If FIFA lets today’s match go ahead, the U.S. likely only needs a tie to float through to the 2018 World Cup.