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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 7:04 PM
Updated: Oct 15, 2018 7:04 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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