Saudi Arabia denies killing journalist

In her weekly presidential briefing, Samantha Vinograd warns that as Saudi officials are still denying any involvement in Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance, their global PR campaign will swing into full force.

Posted: Oct 15, 2018 7:59 PM
Updated: Oct 15, 2018 8:04 PM

We've got big British royals news this morning. Meghan Markle is expecting her first child with Prince Harry. The baby is due in spring 2019. The couple arrived in Australia this morning for a two-week tour. And here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.

1. Sears

Sears filed for bankruptcy early this morning, after the once-dominant retailer couldn't make a $134 million debt payment that was due today. Sears, which also owns Kmart, says it will stay in business and keep open profitable stores as well as its online shopping sites. But it will close at least 142 more stores this year, on top of the 46 store closings it had already planned for next month. Sears, a 132-year-old company, changed how Americans shopped, but it has struggled in the era of big box stores and internet shopping and has been drowning in debt.

2. German elections

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's fragile coalition government just got a lot more fragile. A political party allied with her in the state of Bavaria lost its majority in Bavaria's parliament in an election yesterday. The party, the Christian Social Union, had pretty much ruled Bavaria since the end of World War II, but the refugee crisis in the country fueled the rise of far-right, anti-immigration parties that gained seats in parliament for the first time. Bavaria bore the brunt of the 2015 refugee crisis; at its peak, thousands of asylum seekers were crossing into the state every day. Since then, both Merkel and her CSU allies have been criticized for their management of the influx. The outcome of the election further weakens Merkel's coalition, which took four months to form and almost imploded over refugee issues.

3. Hurricane Michael

Five days after Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle, dozens of people are still missing. About 30 to 35 people remain unaccounted for in hard-hit Mexico Beach. Conditions are dire for survivors, with long lines for food and bottled water. There's also some reports of looting. And local schools are scrambling to get students back in class. The misery extends beyond Florida, with more than 250,000 customers still without power in seven states from Florida to Virginia. Later today, President Trump and first lady Melania Trump visit to survey the damage.

4. Saudi Arabia

International pressure has been mounting on Saudi Arabia for days for an explanation into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey. The UK, Germany and France demand an investigation. Businesses are pulling out of conferences there. Politicians in the US have talked of sanctions. Over the weekend the Saudis pushed back, threatening to retaliate if the US imposed sanctions. Saudi Arabia's King Salman spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which resulted in talk of the two countries possibly putting together a "working group" to deal with the matter.

5. Affirmative action

A lawsuit that could spell the beginning of the end of affirmative action goes to trial today in a federal court in Massachusetts. The suit was filed by a group of conservative advocates on behalf of Asian-American students who failed to gain admission to Harvard. The group wants Harvard's racial admissions practices, that traditionally benefit African-American and Latino students, overturned. This case is all but certain to reach the Supreme Court, where the group's ultimate hope is that the court's new conservative majority will be more inclined to reverse the landmark 1978 Supreme Court case that upheld race-based admissions policies.

NUMBER OF THE DAY

The number of people killed after a snowstorm hit a group of mountain climbers' camp on Nepal's Mount Gurja

BREAKFAST BROWSE

People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.

Not so sweet

Looks like things have turned sour for "Sweetener" singer Ariana Grande and "SNL's" Pete Davidson. Their engagement is off.

Go your own way

Fleetwood Mac is known as much for its drama as its hits. Now ex-member Lindsey Buckingham is suing over getting kicked off the band's latest tour.

Road warrior

She'll visit her 50th state this week -- and she's just 5 months old. What are you doing with your life again?

Let her rest in peace

So there's going to be an Amy Winehouse hologram tour next year. We all miss Amy but bringing her back via hologram is just too creepy.

Got eyes for you

Some prankster put googly eyes on a historic monument in Savannah, Georgia, but city officials don't find it funny at all.

AND FINALLY ...

Smash mash

These elephants at the Oregon Zoo get into the fall spirit by smashing up some giant pumpkins. (Click to view)

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1387217

Reported Deaths: 25469
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook55573410419
DuPage922971318
Will768611027
Lake682821009
Kane59372803
Winnebago34040500
Madison30888526
McHenry29160293
St. Clair28257519
Peoria23437339
Champaign21077153
Sangamon19066237
McLean18540187
Tazewell17207302
Rock Island15238328
Kankakee14529216
Kendall1327098
LaSalle12763249
Macon10980211
DeKalb10099121
Vermilion9988140
Adams8654126
Williamson7566134
Whiteside7195174
Boone682976
Ogle620483
Grundy598278
Clinton578791
Coles5759100
Knox5636152
Jackson509865
Henry507270
Livingston489591
Stephenson481385
Woodford481382
Macoupin478088
Effingham476372
Franklin454478
Marion4509117
Jefferson4417122
Monroe438094
Lee419453
Randolph416087
Fulton405159
Logan396063
Morgan392982
Christian383675
Montgomery379074
Bureau378183
Fayette321655
Perry319860
Iroquois313167
McDonough290051
Jersey271552
Douglas260536
Saline260157
Lawrence241127
Shelby232337
Union227140
Crawford214526
Bond208824
Cass203027
Ford188248
Clark183633
Warren183648
Jo Daviess182724
Pike181753
Wayne180653
Hancock179831
Carroll178037
Richland176740
Edgar176340
White170226
Washington164725
Moultrie162728
De Witt157129
Mason154145
Piatt152214
Clay149243
Mercer149234
Johnson147316
Greene145333
Massac135840
Wabash135512
Cumberland130019
Menard124812
Jasper116118
Marshall108219
Hamilton84215
Schuyler7797
Brown7266
Pulaski6997
Stark64824
Edwards57612
Henderson53014
Calhoun5282
Scott4881
Putnam4863
Alexander47311
Gallatin4684
Hardin39112
Pope3274
Out of IL40
Unassigned02419

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 749097

Reported Deaths: 13745
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1030271775
Lake554211006
Allen41613691
St. Joseph36933564
Hamilton36505416
Elkhart29347459
Tippecanoe22849225
Vanderburgh22540400
Porter19313325
Johnson18386387
Hendricks17583317
Clark13190193
Madison13111344
Vigo12602253
LaPorte12385221
Monroe12152175
Delaware10947197
Howard10250225
Kosciusko9609119
Hancock8541144
Bartholomew8158157
Warrick7854156
Floyd7763180
Grant7227179
Wayne7154201
Boone6911103
Morgan6735141
Dubois6211118
Marshall6205116
Cass5989108
Henry5893108
Dearborn588878
Noble579786
Jackson508374
Shelby500697
Lawrence4727121
Gibson444093
Harrison440473
Clinton439855
DeKalb438585
Montgomery433890
Whitley405642
Huntington402181
Steuben398659
Miami392568
Jasper386254
Knox375690
Putnam371860
Wabash360583
Ripley346470
Adams344955
Jefferson335685
White329753
Daviess3028100
Wells294881
Decatur289992
Greene286385
Fayette284664
Posey273735
LaGrange272872
Scott269855
Clay265448
Randolph244683
Washington244534
Jennings235149
Spencer234131
Starke227558
Fountain218347
Sullivan213943
Owen210858
Fulton201542
Jay200832
Carroll193420
Orange188055
Perry186937
Rush175626
Vermillion173544
Franklin170135
Tipton165746
Parke148916
Pike137934
Blackford136032
Pulaski120047
Newton112636
Brown103943
Crawford102316
Benton100814
Martin91415
Warren83515
Switzerland8098
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0421