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Headlines: Tuesday, October 19, 9:50 PM
Syfy has canceled its paranormal dramedy, SurrealEstate, after one season. "Hey folks. Sorry to tell you that we will not be moving forward with Syfy on Season Two of #SurrealEstate. But we have no intention of leaving Luke alone in a bowling alley when his mom is out there somewhere and mortgage rates are so reasonable," showrunner George R. Olson tweeted Tuesday. Olson added: "We're committed to finding a new home for #SurrealEstate, and if there's one thing The Roman Agency knows about, it's finding new homes. You can help us by keeping #SurrealEstate in your hearts, minds, tweets and posts." The series starred former Schitt's Creek cast-mates Sarah Levy and Tim Rozon as real-estate agents who specialize in selling haunted properties. "After helping so many others find a home, it's time for the team to find a new one for ourselves. #SurrealEstate. Thank you so much for the continued support," Rozon tweeted.
Bone-dry Northern California will receive a series of soaking rains this week, weather forecasters said Tuesday, bringing hope that the start of this year's Fall wildfire season will be significantly dampened. Forecasters said an "atmospheric river" bringing moisture in from the Pacific Ocean will result in up to 5 inches of rain in some parts of the San Francisco Bay Area as much of California is experiencing driest conditions ever seen in some areas of the state. The rain is especially welcome following two consecutive years marked by a record number of wildfires and extremely dry conditions. The rain was expected to move onshore over parts of Northern California and the Pacific Northwest overnight Tuesday and continue into Wednesday evening before tapering off early Thursday. Then, a second and more potent shot of rain moving along the atmospheric river is forecast to move into Northern California Sunday night, likely resulting in an additional 4-6 inches of rain -- the most precipitation in nine months. Fire officials were optimistic the rains will dramatically reduce fire danger across Northern California -- perhaps ending it altogether in some places. AccuWeather meteorologist Alex DeSilva said the storm has the potential to "be a tremendous shot in the arm due to the long-term drought in the region." As of Oct. 12, 46% of California was in exceptional drought, the highest level of drought severity, according to data from the U.S. Drought Monitor. Mary Eldridge, public information officer for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's unit in the Sierra Nevada foothills, said firefighters are "obviously" grateful for the rain but warned the fire danger isn't over yet. She told The (Nevada County, Calif.) Union that experts are "just as hopeful as everyone else" that the high fire risk will be eliminated by the rains and officials will be able to lift burn bans.
A former nurse faces the death penalty after a jury on Tuesday found him guilty of murdering four heart patients with air injections in an East Texas hospital. William George Davis, 37, of Hallsville, Texas, was pronounced guilty of capital murder after a state court jury in Tyler, Texas, deliberated for about an hour, the Tyler Morning Telegraph and KSLA-TV reported. Prosecutors said Davis caused the deaths of four men in 2017 and 2018 by injecting air into their arterial systems while they were recovering from heart procedures at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital in Tyler. The victims were identified as John Lafferty, Ronald Clark, Christopher Greenaway and Joseph Kalina. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Davis, who entered a not guilty plea at the start of his 11-day trial and declined to take the stand in his own defense. Smith County Assistant District Attorney Chris Gatewood said Davis' motive was the pure enjoyment of committing murder. "There is a motive here for Will Davis. It's simple," he said in his closing arguments. "He likes to kill people. He enjoyed going into the rooms and injecting them with air. If you watch the video on Kalina, [Davis] sat at the end of the hall and he watched those monitors and he waited. That's because he liked it." His attorney, Phillip Hayes, contended that the patients showed signs of strokes and their deaths could be attributable to health complications. He argued that Davis had tried to administer first aid to at least two of the patients, but also acknowledged the he lied to hospital administrators as they were investigating the sudden patient downturns. The case will now proceed to the punishment phase, in which the jury will hear more testimony before reaching a decision on whether to sentence Davis to life in prison or the death penalty.
A group of nine major companies including Amazon, Ikea and Unilever on Tuesday pledged to only use ocean shippers that run on zero-carbon fuel by 2040. The initiative known as Cargo Owners for Zero Emissions Vessels, or coZEV, was organized by the nonprofit Aspen Institute, which listed Amazon, Brooks Running, Frog Bikes, Ikea, Inditex, Michelin, Patagonia, Tchibo and Unilever as partners. "By setting this target and signaling our dedication to decarbonize this part of our supply chains, we hope to inspire a surge in investment by ocean freight carriers and producers of zero-carbon shipping fuels," the companies said in a joint announcement. The companies said they will work to track their maritime transportation emissions, seek opportunities to expand the group of cargo owners engaged in maritime decarbonization and unify their collective freight demand to help accelerate the transition. They also called for lawmakers to act in their "domestic, regional and international capacities" to align the shipping industry with the goals of the Paris climate agreement by implementing regulations and market-based measures to promote rapid production of new fuels and technology, thus allowing zero-carbon shipping fuels to "become competitive with fossil fuels as soon as possible." Environmental groups praised the companies for committing to zero-carbon shipping but said the 2040 goal date was not soon enough. "We're asking Big Retail to be first movers in shipping's clean energy transition -- not just float along -- which means a 2040 target date is not sufficient," Madeline Rose, climate campaign director of Pacific Environment, said in a statement. Rose also noted that several big-name retailers were absent from the agreement. "We're shocked to see that Walmart, the single-largest maritime importer to the United States, did not join today's commitment," she said. "Where are Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowes and many leading maritime importers as documented in our Shady Ships report?" Tuesday's announcement comes amid an increased focus on the supply chain, which is beset by increased congestion and shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. President Joe Biden last week ordered major ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., to run for 24 hours a day and couriers such as FedEx and retailers such as Walmart, Target and Home Depot to expand their hours to relieve the slowdowns.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, the agency confirmed Tuesday. Mayorkas, 61, is fully vaccinated and is showing only mild symptoms, DHS Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs Marsha Espinosa wrote in a Twitter message. "Secretary Mayorkas tested positive this morning for COVID-19 after taking a test as part of routine pre-travel protocols," she wrote. "He is experiencing only mild congestion; he is fully vaccinated and will isolate and work at home per [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] protocols and medical advice." Mayorkas assumed the leadership of DHS in February, becoming the first Latino and immigrant to oversee the agency which implements and oversees the nation's immigration policies. He served as deputy Homeland Security secretary from 2013 to 2016. Just a month into his tenure, he fired all but three members of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, including Democrats, Republicans and allies of former Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli and former acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan. The move came amid a migrant surge at the southwestern border which has continued throughout this year and has contributed to sagging poll numbers for President Joe Biden. In April, Mayorkas ordered an internal probe for domestic violent extremism and White supremacists within the ranks of DHS in the wake of the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol building by supports of former President Donald Trump. The department, which oversees the Coast Guard, Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Secret Service and includes 240,000 employees, has been criticized following several high-profile instances of racism and White supremacy among its ranks. Mayorkas is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday for a DHS oversight hearing. It was was not immediately known if the testimony would proceed in light of his COVID-19 diagnosis.
Humid Florida air may have caused valves to stick in Boeing's Starliner space capsule during preparation for a test launch Aug. 3, causing further delay in NASA's astronaut launch program, the company and NASA announced Tuesday. The capsule, already four years behind schedule at a development cost of $4.6 billion, may not be launched again until early 2022 as the valve investigation continues, NASA officials said in a virtual press conference. At stake is the competitive nature of NASA's crew launch program that takes astronauts to the International Space Station, as Boeing has a contract to provide an alternative to SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule. The Dragon has carried three astronaut crews to the orbiting laboratory, as well as an all-private crew on a three-day orbital journey. Two astronauts selected to fly in the Boeing capsule have been transferred to fly on SpaceX Crew-5 as early as fall 2022. Despite Boeing's repeated delays, NASA officials say they still have confidence that the aerospace firm will deliver, said Steve Stich, the space agency's manager for the commercial crew program. "We have every confidence that Boeing will be flying crew soon," Stich said, adding that many Starliner systems performed well during a 2019 test flight. That flight, however, revealed that Boeing software failed to pick up the mission timeline from the Atlas V rocket that launched it, causing the Starliner capsule to miss a rendezvous with the space station. NASA found a similar glitch could have destroyed the capsule as it returned to Earth. Failure of the 2019 test flight prevented NASA from certifying the capsule for astronaut launches. However, "the guidance and navigation systems, propulsion systems, the thrusters on the service module, life support, avionics -- all performed really well" during that test, Stich said. Starliner is designed to fly astronauts to the space station much like SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft. NASA intended to have dual domestic providers for the astronaut missions to promote competitive pricing and to ensure that a problem with one company wouldn't create a gap in U.S. launches. After more than a year of fixes following the 2019 failure, Boeing mounted the capsule on a rocket again in August, but the stuck valves forced launch cancellation. A substance in Starliner's system that helps initiate a chemical reaction -- known as an oxidizer -- interacted with humidity to corrode at least 13 of 24 valves, said Michelle Parker, Boeing chief engineer for space and launch systems. "It was a humid time of year, in August," Parker said. "We had looked at the humidity, and we've physically seen some evidence of condensation within the service module." Tests after the Aug. 3 scrub managed to free nine of those stuck valves using electric pulses or heat, Parker said. But the company still isn't certain of the root cause, and has sent two valves to NASA facilities for further tests.
A Canadian man who won a lottery jackpot of more than $16 million said he forget the ticket in his wallet for nearly two months. Jerry Knot, of Wasagamack, Manitoba, told Western Canada Lottery Corp. officials he bought a ticket for the Aug. 24 Lotto Max drawing in Lac du Bonnet and placed it in his wallet -- and promptly forgot about it. Knot said it was nearly two months later when he was visiting Winnipeg for his daughter's wedding and noticed the ticket in his wallet. He took the ticket to a store to use the scanner. "I saw a two a bunch of zeroes and thought, 'Cool I won $20,000,'" Knot recalled. He said the store's clerk told him to take a second look. "I didn't know what she was talking about until she scanned it again and saw there were a few more zeroes than I originally thought," he said. Knot had won the drawing's $16,180,800 ($20 million Canadian) jackpot. The winner said he plans to use his windfall to build some cottages with his brother in Big Stone Lake for a planned treatment center or wilderness experience business. "We were inspired by all of the big companies that have come up north to build remote fly-in fishing resorts," he said.
An Alberta man captured photos when a bear wandered into his family's home and made a mess of his son's gaming computer. Sean Reddy said the bear encounter at his Fort McMurray-area home began when his dogs cornered the bear in the family's garage. Reddy said he got his dogs to safety and the bear was gone when he checked the garage, leading him to assume the animal had left the area. The father said he soon discovered he was wrong when his 10-year-old son reported hearing scratching sounds inside the house. The bear had climbed in through a window and Reddy saw the animal cross a hallway into his son's bedroom. Reddy posted photos to Facebook showing the bear investigating his son's computer. The resident enlisted the help of a neighbor to use a bookshelf and other furniture to create a barricade before reopening the bedroom door to allow the bear to leave through the same window it used to enter the home. Reddy said the damage to the house was minimal, but the bear smashed his son's computer monitor and ate some cereal that had been left out. Alberta Fish and Wildlife officials said they set up a trap outside Reddy's home, but the bear has yet to return to the scene of the break-in.
U.S. markets climbed on Tuesday amid a round of strong third-quarter earnings reports from major companies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 198.7 points, or 0.56%, while the S&P 500 climbed 0.74% and the Nasdaq Composite closed the day up 0.71%. Johnson & Johnson stock rose 2.35% and Traveler Companies gained 1.64% after both companies reported earnings that exceeded analysts' expectations. Proctor & Gamble stock meanwhile fell 1.18% despite posting better-than-expected earnings as the company also noted the rising cost of materials and shipping prices, projecting it will see $2.3 billion in after-tax expenses within the fiscal year. After the bell, Netflix reported 4.4 million new paid subscribers in the quarter, surpassing its own forecast of 3.5 million. Shares rose 0.16% during normal trading and saw a 0.69% boost shortly after its earnings report. Walmart stock also rose 2.12% after Goldman Sachs added the retailer to its conviction buy list, projecting the stock could rally by about 40%. As of Tuesday morning, 82% of S&P 500 companies reported better-than-expected earnings. "The financials got earnings season off to another strong start, but let's be honest, COVID and supply chain issues aren't going to impact this group," said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at LPL Financial. "Now it gets very interesting to see what other industries will have to say about the health of the economic recovery." Tuesday also saw the launch of the first bitcoin-linked exchange-traded fund by ProShares launch on the New York Stock Exchange trading under the ticker symbol "BITO." The fund closed the day up 4.85% at $41.94.
A Grateful Dead T-shirt from the band's original merchandise was auctioned for a record-breaking price. The 1967 shirt, sold as part of Sotheby's "From the Vault: Property from the Grateful Dead and Friends," sold for $17,640, setting a new world record for the most money spent on a vintage rock shirt. The previous record was set in 2011, when a vintage Led Zepplin shirt was sold for $10,000 on eBay. The Grateful Dead shirt was one of the band's first pieces of official merchandise and was designed by Allan "Gut" Terk, a Hells Angel and graphic artist who was a prominent figure in California's counterculture movement in the 1960s. The winning bidder, Bo Bushnell, operates the Outlaw Archive account on Instagram, which is dedicated to 1960s motorcycle culture. Bushnell wrote on the page that he purchased the shirt "to keep the memory of #GutTerk alive and to keep his history together under one roof."