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News Brief: Oct. 8 – Oct. 18


Gang kidnapped 17 missionaries in Haiti

Photo courtesy ABC News.

On Oct. 16, a gang called 400 Mawozo kidnapped a group of U.S. missionaries in Haiti. According to Christian Aid Ministries, 17 people were seized near the capital of Port-au-Prince. 

Dan Hooley, former field director of Christian Aid Ministries, said the kidnapped individuals included adult staff members and two young children. The missionaries were on their way home from visiting an orphanage. 

Christian Aid Ministries said they hope the situation will resolve soon. They said in their message on their website they are in “prayer alert” and hoping “the gang members would come to repentance and faith in Christ.”

Representative Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois and a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said Sunday on CNN that the U.S. government will do everything possible to get the Americans back.

“We need to track down where they are and see if negotiations without paying ransom are possible or do whatever we need to on the military front or police front,” he said.

Mexico City replaces a statue of Columbus with an indigenous woman

On Oct. 12, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum announced the replacement of the statue of Christopher Columbus with a pre-Hispanic sculpture of an Indigenous woman. 

City authorities decided the Columbus statue should be moved to a less prominent site, while the Indigenous women statue will take its place in Mexico City’s most prominent boulevard. It is a replica of a sculpture displayed in Mexico City’s Museum of Anthropology. 

Diego Prieto Hernandez, head of the institute, said threats to the Columbus statue were the reason behind the decision. 

“This was based, not on any ideological judgement of the (Columbus) character, but rather because of a need to conserve the sculptural group, which, if it had been left in place, would have been the target of threats and protests,” Prieto Hernandez said.


Nets bar Kyrie Irving from all games after refusing to get the vaccine

Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez.

On Oct. 12, the Brooklyn Nets announced Kyrie Irving will not participate in games and practices due to not being vaccinated. Irving still has not gotten the vaccine after the team announcement.  

The Nets said Irving is not “eligible to be a full participant,” as New York requires at least one vaccination shot to enter facilities such as sports arenas. 

Sean Marks, the Net’s general manager, said at a news conference it is hard to lose a player like Irving, but the health protocols must be followed. 

“At the end of the day, our focus, our coaches’ focus, and our organization’s focus need to be on those players that are going to be involved here and participating fully,” Marks said. 

Irving already lost $380,000 for missing a preseason game, and the number will continue to grow as he stays away from the courts. Irving posted on Instagram his refusal is a matter of personal freedom. 

FDA recommends Moderna boosters

On Oct. 14, the Food and Drug Administration panel voted unanimously to recommend the Moderna booster shot against COVID-19 for people 65 and older and adults with severe illness. 

FDA officials will consider the recommendation and said they would come to a decision soon. The recommendation comes after the approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot in September. 

During the committee meeting, Peter Marks, director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said all three available vaccines in the United States are effective against severe outcomes of COVID-19. 

“Vaccine effectiveness against mild and moderate disease does appear to wane over time for the different vaccines, and we do need to account for the fact that mild to moderate COVID-19 can be associated with adverse outcomes, such as blood clots and long COVID-19, even in those who have breakthrough infections after vaccination,” Marks said.


Storms caused severe damage to the Oklahoma City area

Photo courtesy of Fox25.

The channel Sky 5 flew over the Oklahoma City metro on Oct. 15 to capture the damage left from the severe storm the previous night.  

Several thunderstorm warnings were issued overnight as storms moved across central Oklahoma. People were advised to stay inside and find tornado shelters because of heavy rain, strong winds and hail in the area. 

Damages were found at the Will Rogers World Airport and southwest Oklahoma City. Downed utility poles have been reported across the metro, leaving some without power. In Midwest City, Sky 5 also captured video of downed trees and damage to homes.

Inmate in custody after escaping Oklahoma County Detention Center

On Oct. 13, Nicolas Leach escaped from Oklahoma County Detention Center in an officer’s car. The inmate was taken back to jail two days after and booked on new charges of escaping custody and stealing a vehicle. 

The detention center officials said he stole a wireless remote and the officer’s keys to get the car. 

Mark Opgrande, communications director for the Oklahoma County Detention Center, said it is necessary that officers keep full attention when on duty. 

“There’s probably going to be some things that we’ll look at and say, ‘OK, we need to change how we do this.’ And a lot of times when you’ve been taken over the facility for just a year, the administration here doesn’t know all of the things that are going wrong with it,” Opgrande said. “They’re trying to find them out, and you find them out in these kinds of situations.”

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