We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—Verily's quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Migrant crisis on the Texas border causes conflict with the federal government
With more than 10,000 Haitian and South American migrants encamped on the United States border near the Rio Grande, leaders of the Lone Star State are clashing with federal officials as they struggle to deal with the crisis.
Texas Governor Abbott penned a fiercely worded letter in which he alleged that “The Biden Administration's failure to enforce immigration laws and halt illegal crossings on a federal dam poses life-threatening risks to Texans and the migrants themselves.”
Thousands of refugees fleeing unstable Haiti were apparently drawn to the site under the Del Rio International Bridge by word of mouth and social media postings. The Department of Homeland Security is working to expel them, with multiple deportation flights taking off daily. “If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned. Your journey will not succeed, and you will be endangering your life and your family's lives,” Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas warned other would-be refugees.
Vice President Harris, meanwhile, is demanding an investigation into Border Control’s treatment of Haitian refugees, who were photographed being chased by patrolmen on horseback who were wielding long reins that critics claimed were used as whips. In her own words: “What I saw depicted about those individuals on horseback treating human beings the way they were was horrible. And I fully support what is happening right now which is a thorough investigation into exactly what is going on there. But human beings should never be treated that way and I'm deeply troubled by it.” —Mariel Lindsay
Gabby Petito’s body discovered in a remote location on Sunday
The remains of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, 22, were found Sunday in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. A coroner determined Petito died by homicide on Tuesday.
For several months, Petito and her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, were traveling through national marks in a van they converted into a camper. They both had quit their jobs and Petito started a blog to document their adventures. The couple also had a YouTube channel. Petito posted her first video on their YouTube page called “Nomadic Static” on August 19, a few weeks before she was reported missing. On September 11, Laundrie reportedly returned home to Florida in the van without Petito. He declined to talk to law enforcement. On September 14th, he apparently informed his parents he was going to hike in a nature preserve. Laundrie has not been seen since.
In the weeks leading up to Petito’s death, the couple was experiencing tension. Bodycam footage shows they were pulled over in downtown Moab, Utah, after police were alerted to a domestic dispute. While no charges were pressed at the time, officers had the couple spend the night apart. —Melanie Wilcox
Women shut out of education meetings in Afghanistan
The director of an all-girls’ school in Kabul cannot attend the weekly Taliban committee meetings on education because they are for men only, the New York Times reported.
The educator, whom the Times identified by her first name only, wanted to attend those meetings to learn about how the Taliban will shape girls’ education. But the Taliban turned her down and told her to send a male representative.
It’s just one more incident in the increasing bleak picture for girls’ education in Afghanistan. Even before the evacuation of United States forces this summer, a terrorist bombing in May destroyed Sayed Ul-Shuhada High School and killed many girls.
The Taliban has conveyed it will limit educational freedoms that women and girls have enjoyed over the past two decades. During the American occupation, women started studying business and government and pursued careers in medicine and law. The female literacy rate also jumped to 30 percent. Back when the Taliban ruled from 1996 to 2011, women and girls were barred from attending school.
On Saturday, schools reopened for grades seven through 12. But only boys were summoned to the classroom. The girls stayed home. —MW
The Emmys make history for Netflix, but no breakthroughs for diversity
The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony took place this week, returning to an in-person format for the first time since the pandemic began. A small number of celebrities were on hand in a setting that was technically outdoors. The stars gathered under a tent that included several chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.
As expected, The Crown was the big winner of the night, taking home seven awards, including acting prizes for Oliva Colman, Josh O’Connor, and Tobias Menzies, who play Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, and Prince Philip, respectively. Emma Corrin, who plays Princess Diana, was nominated in the same category as Colman, so the veteran actress’ win meant Corrin went home without a statue. The Crown also won best drama series, a first for Netflix.
The heartwarming Ted Lasso won four statues, including best comedy series and best comedy actor for Jason Sudeikis. The limited series Mare of Easttown won three statues, including an acting prize for star Kate Winslet, and for Evan Peters in a supporting role. The award for best limited series went to The Queen’s Gambit, another Netflix offering. The show’s executive producer, Scott Frank, recently ruled out a second season for the hit show.
Although history was made from a streaming standpoint, critics noted that none of the acting awards went to people of color. —MW
Pfizer expects to have vaccine efficacy data for 5 to 11-year-olds by the end of the month
Pfizer said Monday its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for children ages 5 to 11, and the company will apply for approval in this age group as early as October or November. The Pfizer vaccine is already FDA-approved for children ages 12 and older.
“Many of our team at the FDA are parents and grandparents themselves, and our team shares the same concerns as many in our country about protecting our loved ones from COVID-19,” the FDA said in a statement in September.
The agency explained the need for “thorough and robust clinical trials” to assess the safety and immune response of the COVID-19 vaccine in a patient population that is still growing and developing.
“Conducting clinical trials to determine an appropriate vaccine dose in children requires additional work over that done in the adult studies, including ensuring that the vaccine dosage and formulation strength used is the appropriate one from the perspective of safety and generating an immune response,” the statement said.
Young children have largely escaped being hospitalized with COVID-19, at least not at the same rate as adults. However, with the spread of the highly contagious delta variant, children’s hospitals across the United States have reported a surge in kids with the virus needing in patient care. —MW
Good News of the Week
Colette Maze has been playing piano for 102 years, and she just released a new album
A 107-year-old Frenchwoman who has been making music for more than a century isn’t done yet: NPR reports Colette Maze has put out her sixth album with the help of her 71-year-old son.
Maze always knew she wanted to be an artist, and the piano was a source of stability in a life full of upheaval and drama. She recalls heading to the basement of her family’s Paris apartment as a 4-year-old in the middle of the German bombardments of World War I. When Paris fell to the Nazis during World War II, she and her best friend rode their bikes hundreds of miles to escape.
In between, she was chosen to study with the famous pianist Alfred Cortot, who taught a unique, special way of playing the instrument. Today, she is one of Cortot’s last living pupils, and she continues to play using his method. When she reached her 90s, her son finally convinced her to let him record her music in her little apartment overlooking the Seine River and the Eiffel Tower. The rest is history.
"Youth is inside us," Colette reassures us. “If you appreciate what's beautiful around you, you will find a sense of wonder in it." —Margaret Brady
Watch of the Week
Kanye West’s new album Donda (named after his late mother) debuted at number one and is breaking digital sales records. Here’s the music video for his “Come to Life” track featuring a bridal Kim Kardashian.