Veterans Day, Astroworld tragedy, Kyle Rittenhouse trial, COVID-19 cases. It’s Thursday’s news.

Emilee Geist

‘You’ve done it for America’ Biden visits Tomb of the Unknown Soldier President Biden visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, Virginia on Veterans Day. This year marks the 100th commemoration of the Tomb. Staff Video, USA TODAY President Joe Biden honored the military for Veterans Day. A […]


President Joe Biden honored the military for Veterans Day. A ninth victim died in the tragedy at Astroworld. And critters such as seahorses and seals are returning to live in the River Thames.

👋 Hello! It’s Laura. Nothing rhymes with Thursday, so here’s the news.

But first, veterans, we salute you! 🇺🇸 It’s Veterans Day. Check out some great photos of Americans honoring those who served in the armed forces.

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Racism along this historic Maryland route was rampant. Then students helped ignite change. The latest installment of “Seven Days of 1961” looks back at Nov. 11, 1961, when hundreds of students drew attention to segregated restaurants along a popular travel route.

Honoring those who served

To our veterans: Thank you for your service on Veterans Day – and every day. 

President Joe Biden honored those who have served in the U.S. military in a Veterans Day speech Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery. “Our veterans represent the best of America,” the president said. “You are the very spine of America. Not just the backbone, you’re the spine of this country. And all of us – all of us – owe you.” The White House announced new actions Thursday to allow veterans to make medical claims on certain lung and respiratory effects they may have experienced because of exposure to contaminants and environmental hazards, including those who were exposed to Agent Orange.

Ninth person dies in Astroworld concert tragedy

The tragedy at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival claimed the life of a ninth victim. The death of Bharti Shahani, 22, a college student, brings the toll to nine. Scores of other attendees were injured and at least one was hospitalized after a crowd surge pushed concertgoers toward the stage. Shahani, a computer science major, attended the show with her sister, Namrata, and her cousin, Mohit Bellani, who described the crowd surge as a “sinkhole.” In a statement Thursday, Scott’s team said the rapper is “distraught” by the tragedy and will work on providing aid to families who lost loved ones “as soon as possible.” 

What everyone’s talking about

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Defense rests in Rittenhouse trial

A day after emotional testimony and a call for a mistrial in Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial, his defense attorneys rested Thursday after building their self-defense case by calling a use-of-force expert, media commentator and police officer to the stand. Jurors heard from John Black, an expert in use of force from Oregon, ​​who said about one minute and 20 seconds passed from the time of Rittenhouse’s first shot to his final shot. Rittenhouse, 18, is charged with killing two men and injuring a third during chaotic protests in this city south of Milwaukee after a white police officer shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, in August 2020. Catch up on the latest from the trial.

COVID-19 cases on the rise … again

New coronavirus infections are rising again in most states for the first time in two months, and deaths are increasing in about half of the states. In the week ending Wednesday, case counts were higher in 29 states than they were the week before. A month ago, cases were rising in 12 states. The states reporting increased infections are primarily in the North, which had fared far better in the late summer as the delta variant clobbered the South. The highly contagious delta variant began dominating even after vaccines, which are most effective at preventing severe disease and death, became widely available to all adults. Health officials encourage booster shots and authorized a vaccine for children. 

Real quick

Seals, seahorses, birds return to River Thames

After almost 65 years, the River Thames is making a comeback. Declared “biologically dead” in 1957 because of years of pollution, the 205-mile-long river is again home to seals, seahorses and certain kinds of birds, according to the 2021 State of the Thames Report. After years of conservation efforts, the river is home to myriad “wildlife as diverse as London itself” and has seen an increase in bird and seal populations, the report said. Despite positive moves toward wildlife and water quality, the report revealed climate change’s effect on the river, and the agency hopes to revisit the report within five to ten years.

A break from the news

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