Start your day here: A judge denies Trump's request to block Jan. 6 documents; COP26 delegates release a draft agreement; U.N. staffers are detained in Ethiopia
Here's what we're following today:
Kyle Rittenhouse trial: It's now the defense's turn to call witnesses to the stand. Rittenhouse is testifying this morning.
The House Jan. 6 investigation: A judge rejected former President Donald Trump's bid to keep his records private as the House panel subpoenas more former administration officials.
A draft climate agreement at COP26: The document calls on the world to cut about half its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
U.N. workers detained in Ethiopia: The government took custody of more than 20 staffers as armed rebels advance on the capital.
🎧 Also, on Up First, our daily podcast, thousands of migrants are crowded in front of a barbed-wire fence, trying to cross from Belarus into Poland.
— The Morning Edition live blog team
(Carol Ritchie, Rachel Treisman and Chris Hopkins)
Kyle Rittenhouse is testifying in his homicide trial
Defense attorneys called their first three witnesses for Kyle Rittenhouse yesterday, after the prosecution rested its case.
The 18-year-old is on trial for fatally shooting two men and wounding a third — he maintains out of self-defense — at protests last summer in Kenosha, Wis.
Legal experts told NPR's Joe Hernandez that the outcome in the case could ultimately come down to how well the prosecution made its central argument: that Rittenhouse was the aggressor of the violence and not just acting in self-defense.
The defense is expected to call witnesses for the rest of this week, and the trial will likely wrap up early next week.
Wisconsin Public Radio's Corrinne Hess has more trial details on Morning Edition.
This car was parked in the same spot since 1974. It's now an Italian landmark
Back in 1974, Angelo Fregolent parked his car outside the newsstand that he ran with his wife in the Italian town of Conegliano.
Fregolent, now 94, told the Italian newspaper Il Gazzettino that he and his wife, Bertilla, ran the newsstand under their house for 40 years.
"When I opened the business, I was happy to have the Lancia Fulvia parked in front of it because I had the newspapers unloaded in the trunk and then I took them inside," he said, according to a translation from the U.K.'s The Mirror.
They left the car there when they retired — and it has remained in the same spot ever since (here's the proof).
The 1962 Lancia Fulvia has become a local landmark in the intervening decades. Tourists come to see it, and it's even marked on Google Maps.
A car that has been parked in the same place on a street for 47 years has become a tourist attraction and local landmark in Italy. In 1974, Angelo Fregolent, now 94, parked his car at the newsstand he ran with his wife in Conegliano and never came back. 😳😳 pic.twitter.com/YpsZrgx5fK— writers retreat Italy (@ItalyWriters) November 8, 2021
The city government is finally moving the car, evidently because it was blocking the flow of traffic. NPR's Steve Inskeep says the city is also paying for a much-needed paint job.
The landmark was removed on Oct. 20 and briefly put on display alongside other classic cars at the Auto e Moto d'Epoca Motorshow in Padua, according to Insider. It will then be restored and placed in the garden of the Cerletti Enological School, which is across the street from the Fregolents' home.
So they'll be able to see it from their window once again.
France steps up COVID measures, warning that Europe is on the brink of a fifth wave
French President Emmanuel Macron implored the 6 million people in the country who have not received a single dose to do so immediately.
"Get vaccinated," Macron said in a televised speech to the nation Tuesday night. "Get vaccinated to protect yourselves. Get vaccinated to live normally."
With infections and hospitalizations slowly rising, Macron said that starting Monday, school kids must once again wear masks all day.
Beginning Dec. 15, anyone over 65 who has not had a booster shot will not have their health pass activated. France's health pass is the proof of vaccine which allows people to access restaurants and cafes, cultural events and intercity rail travel.
France has one of the highest rates of vaccination, with more than 70 percent of people inoculated. The strict rules have pushed many to get the jab.
The French president said a booster shot campaign for 50- to 64-year-olds will begin in early December.
Vice President Harris and Doug Emhoff laid wreaths at the American cemetery outside Paris
Vice President Kamala Harris and First Gentleman Doug Emhoff took part in a solemn ceremony at the Suresnes American Cemetery outside Paris on Wednesday.
Some 1,500 American troops killed in World War I are buried at the cemetery, along with 24 unknown troops killed in World War II. The ceremony was held the day before what is celebrated as Veterans Day in the U.S. and Armistice Day in France. WWI ended at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
It’s a clear fall day in Paris — crisp air, birds chirping, according to pool press reports. Trees in the cemetery are beginning to have an orange hue.
The vice president was greeted by Ed Ryan, director of cemetery operations, and they walked up a slight paved hill surrounded by rows and rows of identical white cross grave markers in neatly cut green lawn.
Emhoff and Harris stood solemnly with their hands over their hearts as first the U.S. national anthem was played and then "Taps."
Harris seemed to offer a prayer at one point, bowing her head after touching a wreath, and then walked up a set of stairs to the top of the memorial, where there is a panoramic view of Paris with the Eiffel Tower.
Harris is in France on a four-day charm tour to patch up relations with America's oldest ally. French leaders were angry over a U.S. deal on nuclear-powered submarines with Australia that shut them out of a contract. French President Emmanuel Macron took the unusual step of recalling its ambassador to the United States.
President Biden acknowledged last month that the U.S. announcement of the deal had been "clumsy." Read more here about the purpose and significance of Harris' trip.
Harris's trip bears a markedly different tone from former President Donald Trump's trip to Paris in 2018, in which he faced criticism for canceling his scheduled visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery because of rain.
COP26 sees pledges to transition to electric vehicles, but key countries — like the U.S. — are mum
A group of governments, automakers and others have signed on to an agreement to transition to 100% zero-emission car and van sales by 2040 globally and by 2035 in “leading markets.”
Fifteen countries also agreed to a separate pledge to work toward 100% zero-emission sales of new trucks and buses by 2040.
The agreements, both of which were announced at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, were hailed as a significant step toward decarbonizing the automotive industry. Cars and trucks account for roughly one-fifth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
But the agreements were also noteworthy for the names that were missing. The world’s largest auto markets including the U.S., China, Germany, South Korea and Japan were absent from the pledges, and the top two global automakers Toyota and Volkswagen also didn’t sign.
“COP26 marks the end of the road for the internal combustion engine. Today we’re seeing significant commitments from manufacturers, investors, fleet operators, countries, cities, states and regions,” Helen Clarkson, CEO of nonprofit Climate Group, said in a statement.
“Those not at the table on Transport Day are on the wrong side of history,” she added.
Visitors can walk by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier today for the first and last time in decades
Since its creation in 1921, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has drawn crowds of tourists to Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate the unidentified service members who died in U.S. conflicts.
Members of the public don't typically get to walk directly on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Plaza, however — that's a privilege reserved for sentinels of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, or The Old Guard.
But for the first time in nearly a century, visitors are allowed to walk on the plaza and lay flowers in front of the tomb as part of a two-day centennial event.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemoration Public Flower Ceremony is free and open to the public, with registration required. It started yesterday and ends today at 4 p.m. ET.
Visitors must have a government-issued ID and are encouraged to bring their own single-stem flowers, but the cemetery says it will distribute complimentary roses, gerbera daisies and sunflowers.
Additional rules and restrictions can be found here (no selfies, for example).
The cemetery explains that while ceremonies are held at the Tomb almost every day, this particular commemoration was mandated in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. It will recognize the internment of the World War I Unknown Soldier and the dedication of the Tomb exactly one hundred years ago, on Nov. 11, 1921.
And, officials added, it's not likely to happen again anytime soon.
"We do not anticipate holding another event in our lifetimes in which the public will be able to approach the Tomb in this manner," they said.
The cemetery will host additional events for Veterans Day on Thursday. These include a joint full honors procession and joint service flyover that members of the public can watch from a special procession route, as well as a Presidential Armed Forces Full Honor Wreath-Laying Ceremony at the Tomb, which will be invitation-only because of the pandemic.
Ethiopia's government has detained 16 U.N. staffers without explanation
United Nations officials are calling for the release of 16 of its local workers after the Ethiopian government took them into custody.
U.N. spokesman Stéphane Dujarric says the government has given no explanation for the detentions.
"I can't comment on why the government is doing this," he said. "What I can only comment on is that we have colleagues currently in detention that should not be in detention."
The detentions come amid a year-long civil war in Ethiopia in which the government has been battling rebels in the northern Tigray region, NPR's Africa correspondent Eyder Peralta explains. Fighting has intensified in recent days, and the government declared a state of emergency as rebels neared the capital of Addis Ababa.
Government spokesman Legesse Tulu told the Associated Press that the staffers were detained because of "participation in terror" unrelated to their work, but did not elaborate. The AP reports that the 16 staffers were all ethnic Tigrayans.
The U.N. also said on Wednesday that Ethiopian authorities had arrested and detained some 70 truck drivers contracted to the U.N. and other aid groups in the past week. Their arrests may further complicate efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to the Tigray region, which has been without supplies like food and medicine since the Ethiopian military began airstrikes in mid-October.
Air travel remains a nightmare for many people with disabilities, despite demands for change
Congress demanded in 2018 that airlines and the Transportation Security Administration make flying better for people with disabilities. It called specifically for more training, better and faster service and taking better care of equipment like wheelchairs.
And for many Americans, the issue isn't just politics; it's personal. One in four U.S. adults has a disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Three years later, NPR investigations correspondent Joseph Shapiro and multimedia reporter Allison Mollenkamp set out to learn whether these demands had made a difference. The short answer: Not exactly.
More than 225 people responded to NPR's social media callout to share their air travel experiences, and they reported facing the same problems over and over again. Those include wheelchairs breaking in transit, airport escorts failing to show up, children with autism being separated from their parents at security gates and invasive pat-downs.
"Anxiety, dread, humiliation — even potential injury. For many people with disabilities, these are part of the routine of airline travel, from getting to the airport gate to getting on and off the plane," Shapiro and Mollenkamp write.
NASA pushes its goal to land humans on the moon back to 2025
NASA said its first human mission to the moon in more than 50 years won’t happen until at least 2025. The agency is planning at least 10 Moon landings in the future — but it says an overly aggressive timeline from the Trump administration and a prolonged legal fight over a key contract are two reasons why it had to alter plans for its Artemis missions.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said other issues were also in play, including the difficulty of creating a new human landing system during a global pandemic and a lack of sufficient funding.
“Returning to the Moon as quickly and safely as possible is an agency priority,” Nelson said in a NASA press release. “However, with the recent lawsuit and other factors, the first human landing under Artemis is likely no earlier than 2025.”
Nelson said the lunar program was held up by nearly seven months because of Blue Origin’s lawsuit over NASA awarding the lucrative human lander system contract to SpaceX. Blue Origin has said the procurement process was flawed — but the Government Accountability Office has rejected its protests, and last week, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims dismissed Blue Origin’s lawsuit.
As he announced the slower timeline, Nelson emphasized the project’s main goals: to put U.S. astronauts back on the moon.
“The human landing system is a crucial part of our work to get the first woman and first person of color to the lunar surface, and we are getting geared up to go,” he said.
Nelson added that NASA wants to put the U.S. back at the forefront of space activity, noting the need to stay ahead of China’s space program that has notched several milestones in recent years -- including putting three astronauts in its own permanent space station.
He also characterized the Trump administration’s goal of landing people on the moon by 2024 as “not being technically feasible,” according to NASA.
Despite the slowdown, NASA leaders said they are still committed to another historic mission, to send astronauts to Mars.
Draft climate agreement aims to speed plans to cut carbon emissions
A draft agreement being circulated at a United Nations climate summit that’s underway in Scotland calls on countries to phase-out coal power and to come back in a year with commitments for deeper cuts in carbon emissions in order to reach the goal of limiting warming this century to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The text of the proposed agreement, released Wednesday by the COP26 president Alok Sharma, calls on countries to submit net-zero targets and plans for achieving them by next year and to boost shorter-term targets by 2023.
The draft “recognizes that limiting global warming to 1.5 °C by 2100 requires rapid, deep and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, including reducing global carbon dioxide emissions by 45 percent by 2030 relative to the 2010 level and to net-zero around mid-century.” It also “expresses alarm and concern that human activities have caused around 1.1 C (2 F) of global warming to date and that impacts are already being felt in every region.”
Specifically, the proposal aims to revise the timeframe for revised targets for countries, known as Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs, to next year – much sooner than the requirement of every five years as laid out in the 2015 Paris Climate Accord.
“This is crucial language,’’ says David Waskow of the World Resources Institute, a nonprofit climate policy think tank. “Countries really are expected and are on the hook to do something in that timeframe to adjust.’’
While some climate advocates were encouraged by the language in the draft, Greenpeace chastized the summit participants, saying that world leaders were “punting” hard decisions until next year.
The proposal urges the accelerated phasing out of coal and subsidies for petroleum. It acknowledges that rich nations have failed to live up to a pledge to provide $100 billion annually to help poorer countries meet the challenges of climate change.
But the draft is vague on how much money richer countries will actually deliver. It also leaves gaps in procedures to monitor whether countries are keeping their promises, and on a system of carbon credits that would allow companies to cancel out their harmful emissions by paying for projects that cut CO2 somewhere else.
Although the draft is likely to lay the foundation for a final agreement at the Glasgow summit, it is almost certain to evolve as negotiations continue over the final days of the meeting.
The version released Wednesday is likely to encounter resistance from major polluters and oil and gas exporters such as Russia and Saudi Arabia. Coal producers, such as Australia and China, are also not likely to be happy about the language. Meanwhile, developing countries will want to see specifics on finance and adaptation that are lacking in the current draft.
Trump's request to keep Jan. 6 records private is rejected as the House subpoenas more officials
We're following updates this morning in the House committee's investigation of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
The panel has stepped up pressure in recent days, issuing subpoenas for nearly two dozen people close to former President Donald Trump. And last night, a federal judge denied Trump's request to keep the public from seeing what he did leading up to and on Jan. 6.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said the former president's records — which are held by the National Archives — can be released to the panel, citing the public interest in understanding what caused the Capitol riots and preventing such events from happening in the future.
Those records could be handed over to the House committee as soon as Friday, though Trump's lawyers are appealing. More here on the significance of the ruling.
NPR political correspondent Domenico Montanaro broke it down on Morning Edition:
What is the committee looking for?
The panel is seeking more information on what happened on Jan. 6 — such as what Trump knew, when he knew it, what he was saying behind the scenes and what kind of advice he was getting in the lead up and on the day of. The records they're after contain some 800 pages of such information, from call and visitor logs to emails, draft speeches, talking points and memos with possible legal strategies.
What was Trump's argument for keeping them private?
Trump says he should be able to keep Congress from examining these documents by claiming executive privilege, or the right of the president to keep certain documents and conversations from public disclosure.
He has also cited executive privilege to encourage former administration officials — like White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and former chief of staff Mark Meadows — not to cooperate with the investigation.
Why did the judge disagree?
The judge rejected that argument, as Trump is no longer president and Congress is doing its job. Executive privilege sits with the current president, and President Biden supports the release of these records.
"Presidents are not kings, and plaintiff is not president," she wrote.
Chutkan also agreed with congressional investigators who say understanding the causes of the insurrection is a matter of public importance, because it relates to the country's core democratic institutions and the public's confidence in them.
What happens next?
The documents could be released as soon as Friday.
But Montanaro notes that former Trump advisers could continue not to cooperate with the panel and try to delay proceedings past next year's midterm elections, out of the belief that Republicans could win the House and end the investigation.
Here's NPR's tracker of who the panel wants to hear from and where things stand with each.